Have you ever wondered why some people have it waaay better at Disney World? Is it MAGIC?
No, friends — it’s because some people are privy to a little expert knowledge you might not know about!
But that’s why you’ve got pros like us in your corner! You see, we’re all about helping you simplify your Disney World vacation so that you and your family can have the best time EV-AH! Let’s explore a few little changes that could have a big impact on your enjoyment!
Don’t Wait Until The Last Minute to Buy Your Souvenirs
A lot of folks wait until the last day of their trip to buy keepsakes, but that’s often a bad idea! Many of the Disney parks’ items are exclusive AND super-popular — meaning they have a pesky little way of selling out!
But it’s not just that — not every store carries the same stuff! You might be heading to Disney Springs on your last day and hitting up World of Disney thinking they’ve got it all, but some items are truly unique and only sold inside the parks at certain spots!
So if you see it, snag it! (I once passed up a Flower and Garden Dooney and Bourke Bag at Epcot, and it STILL haunts me to THIS day!)
Don’t want to carry those Starbucks Mugs, Minnie Ears, or apparel that you purchased at the parks around with you all day? Have it sent back to your resort! If you’re staying on-property, any gift shop can send your merchandise directly back to your hotel’s main gift shop. That way you DON’T have to haul it around with you and you can usually pick it up the very next day!
If You Don’t Like Your Room You Can Ask to Switch
Speaking of hotels, not all guest rooms are created equal. Some might have a different layout than you’re used to if you’ve stayed at that resort before. Or maybe you got saddled with a view of the pool when what you really wanted was a lagoon-view room instead. No matter what the case may be, if your guest room isn’t doing it for you, our advice is to ask for a swap.
This is also a great way to get closer to the elevators because in most cases rooms at the END of the hall with a loooong walk are usually an even-trade with ones that are more centrally located. (But, naturally, if you want to upgrade to a better room [say you want a king-size bed instead] you may have to pay the extra cost.)
Keep in mind most guests can make a general room request when they do online check-in, so be sure to check. Your hotel might not be able to accommodate a room change if space is limited, but it never hurts to ask!
Always Know When Your FastPass Booking Window Opens
Many of the most popular rides at Disney World book up FAST! That’s why it’s important to know when your FastPass window opens up. This happens 60 days out from the first day of your arrival if you’re staying at a Disney World or select Good Neighbor hotel OR 30 days out for everyone else. You can begin booking at 7AM EST sharp!
If you’re like us, you might be making your reservations several months in advance, but always set a reminder (or mark it with a BIG red magic marker on your calendar) so that you don’t forget to make those FastPasses on the very first day of your booking window!
Don’t Take a Bus If You’re Running Late to Your Reservation
It’s easy to get caught up in your room (or oversleep!) and forget you have a FastPass or dining reservation starting in 30 minutes. You might be tempted to hop on a bus with the hopes you’ll make it there in time, but there are plenty of other options, too!
Remember — buses only run every 10 or 20 minutes or so from the resorts to the parks at the busiest times of day (morning and evenings). Midday you might be waiting even longer! If you just missed the last bus, you could be in for a long wait and miss your reservation. That’s why we recommend calling a Minnie Van or using a Ride Share service (or call a taxi!).
You WILL have to pay out of pocket for this option, but you won’t have to worry about waiting for a bus and you’ll probably get to your destination a lot more quickly.
And for the chronically-running-late, Disney typically offers a grace period (usually about 15 minutes for FastPasses and dining reservations), but still, we wouldn’t want you to chance it!
Ride Seats Matter
Did you know your ride experience may vary depending on where you sit? If you’re seeking “maximum thrills,” ask the boarding Cast Member if you can sit in the very last row of coaster-type rides such as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or Slinky Dog Dash. You’ll get whipped around like a ragdoll — which our kids happen to REALLY enjoy! Ourselves? Maybe not quite as much! 😉
Soarin’ can be extra-exhilarating if you ask to be seated in a row at the very tippy-top of the attraction, and don’t forget — Rise of the Resistance and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway offer unique experiences depending on where you’re seated each time! We bet you’re totally going to see some stuff you didn’t catch on your first ride through!
Check out some of our Disney World ride hack video here to learn more of these juicy little secrets!
Did you know there are actually TWO different versions of Rise of the Resistance?! See which one we like better here!
Don’t Rule Out Disney World’s Value Resorts
Disney’s most inexpensive resorts, known as the Value resorts, don’t get the credit they deserve sometimes! A lot of people dismiss them because they associate “value” with “economy,” but in actuality, there are some pretty great options out there when it comes to Disney World’s value resorts.
Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort are two of our favorites. Pop Century recently remodeled its rooms and both resorts are on Disney’s Skyliner line with access to Epcot and Hollywood Studios!
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort also offers family suites. These rooms have separate sleeping quarters for parents, PLUS two bathrooms to get park-ready in! For all that extra space at the same price as a higher-end moderate resort, it’s definitely worth considering!
Several of the All-Stars Resorts have also recently renovated some of their rooms (which you can ask for when you book!). While value resorts might not be for everyone, they’re awesome for folks who are planning on spending more of their time at the parks anyway. They have great food courts, themed-play areas, and over-the-top pools, too!
Plan to Visit Around Disney World’s Busier Times but Not DURING Them
You’ve probably heard some horror stories about the crowd levels at Disney World (or seen them televised!) around Christmastime, but that shouldn’t scare you away from a winter trip to Disney World!
The holiday “transformation” in Disney World typically starts to happen almost immediately after Halloween. Sure, all of the special festivals and events might not be happening quite yet, but you can still see a lot of the Christmas decorations and even enjoy some of the special holiday treats that begin arriving as early as November 2nd!
And believe it or not, Halloween season in Disney World normally kicks off as early as mid-August, meaning you can celebrate with Mickey and his friends way before the throngs of people begin to flood in!
Always Aim for the Second Parade or Show
A lot of people who have spent a long, full day at the parks will try to hit the first evening show or parade so that they can file out immediately afterward, but that doesn’t mean you have to! We prefer to ride attractions (which usually have a shorter wait time) during the first show. Then once the park begins to empty out a little, we walk right up and catch the second show without a lengthy wait.
Yup! On less crowded days, we’ve often found a good spot just a few minutes before the show started without having to secure it an hour+ in advance. Of course, if you want a really, REALLY good spot because parades are one of the most important parts of your trip, it wouldn’t hurt to stake your claim a little early — just in case! We’re just saying the “you-must-secure-your-fireworks-or-parade-spot-one-hour-in-advance” rule isn’t really ALWAYS a thing!
And there you have it! More pearls of wisdom from some classy Disney dames who are always happy to dish out a little expert advice!
Join the DFB Newsletter to get all the breaking news right in your inbox! Click here to Subscribe!
Which of our tips was the most helpful for you? Let us know in the comments below!