If you wanna learn how to navigate Disney World like a pro, you’re in luck!
We love bringing you the latest Disney tips, from navigating the newest tech to clueing you in on how to get on rides with a shorter wait (and without FastPass!). And today, we’re telling you ALL about the Disney rules you won’t see written down anywhere. They’re unofficial tricks that experts know — and now, you’re gonna know them, too! Let’s get started.
1. To the Left to the Left
When you’re navigating a crowd and you’re faced with a fork in the road, we suggest going left! People naturally tend to move towards the right. Just for starters, you may notice shorter wait times at temperature check and security at the park entrances.
And in Magic Kingdom, most people head right towards Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Space Mountain at the beginning of the day. Instead, turn left towards Adventureland. You should be able to hop on a few big rides with shorter wait times — and you can take a nice stroll through the land without those heavy crowds!
The only time this tip may not work is in Animal Kingdom. Early in the day, a TON of people will turn left towards Pandora. Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey are 2 big-ticket attractions, and they draw big crowds pretty early on. If you wanna take the path less traveled, you may want to head right in this condition.
2. Wear Your Celebration Button
If you’re celebrating a big event like a 1st visit, birthday, engagement, or honeymoon, wear your celebration button loud and proud! You’ll be able to pick one up for free at most gift shops. And if you’re celebrating something unique, grab a blank celebration button instead (they’re the green ones!). Then you can write in your own milestone.
While it’s not guaranteed, Cast Members will often make some extra magic for guests wearing a celebration button. You could get a free cupcake, a card signed by some characters, and more! Don’t ask for, expect, or take advantage of these freebies — but you may be pleasantly surprised.
3. Look for Closures Before You Go
Refurbishments happen pretty frequently in Disney World, but most of them are announced in advance. If you don’t visit the parks often — or maybe it’s your first trip! — make sure that ride you’re itching to go on will be available (PeopleMover, we’re looking at you!).
You can check the refurbishment schedule on Disney World’s website — and we’ll keep ya posted, too! Currently, attractions like the Hall of Presidents, Kali River Rapids, and Swiss Family Treehouse are all down for refurb. Just keep in mind that these schedules can and do change, so nothing’s guaranteed!
You’ll typically see more rides closed in January or other slow seasons. Water rides (like that Kali River Rapids refurb!) will often undergo maintenance during these colder months, too. So while you’ll enjoy lower crowds and wait times that time of year, you may not be able to experience every attraction in the parks.
4. Schedule an Early Breakfast
A lot of restaurants have reservation times before park opening, so you can get into the park before anyone else! A Cast Member will check for your reservation at the park entrance and then let you in before official opening. Pretty cool, right?!
You’ll wanna book that early ADR (that’s Disney lingo for an advanced dining reservation!), chow down on your breakfast, and get right in line for a popular ride. For some extra strategy, pick which restaurant you eat at based on which ride you wanna hop on first. Do note, that not everything is open for breakfast right now and things are a little different. So plan accordingly.
5. Use the Resort Monorail
The crowds can be overwhelming leaving Magic Kingdom at the end of the night! But if you need to go back to your car at the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC), there’s a lesser-known way to get there. Take the Resort Monorail instead of the Express Monorail!
That’s right: there are 2 monorail lines that run between Magic Kingdom and the TTC! The Express Monorail will take you directly there and back, and it’s the more popular choice. The Resort Monorail runs between Magic Kingdom and the 3 Magic Kingdom (when things are operating normally) area hotels — but it still stops at the TTC, too! This monorail usually has a shorter line because fewer people are traveling to those Magic Kingdom resorts, and many don’t know that it’ll drop ya off right at the TTC.
On the way back from Magic Kingdom, the Resort Monorail’s only stop before the TTC is Disney’s Contemporary Resort. That extra stop may be worth it if you’re trying to avoid a long line! And just an added tip: we don’t suggest taking the ferry boat at night, either. It takes a while to load and unload — your safest bet is that Resort Monorail.
6. Bring Your Own Snacks
You can save a lot of money if you choose to pack your own snacks instead of buying them in the parks. And you’ve got a few options for how you wanna do it! For an easy solution, your hotel gift shop stocks lots of food (like bread and lunch meat) that you can use to make your own meals.
You can also opt to have your groceries delivered to your resort. Just keep in mind that any Amazon, Fedex, or UPS deliveries will be held at the front desk with a fee of $6 per box. Avoid that fee by using a grocery delivery service with a set arrival window!
If you do choose to pack your own snacks for the parks, remember not to bring loose or dry ice. It’s not allowed anymore! Instead, use cooler packs.
7. Compliment a Cast Member
If you meet a Cast Member who goes above and beyond, make sure you let someone know! There’s a few ways that you can make sure your Cast Member compliment gets to the right person. If you’ve got your phone on ya, tweet @WDWToday with the #CastCompliment!
You can also reach out to Guest Services by phone or email, or stop by Guest Relations. No matter which method you choose, make sure you provide the Cast Member’s name and the area they were working. If you remember the hometown on their name tag, that doesn’t hurt either!
8. Character Calls
If someone in your travel party has a birthday, you’ll wanna make sure you know about this one! You can get them a call from Mickey and friends to wish them a happy birthday. If you’ve got a resort phone on hand, dial 8 and then enter 224-2144. You may also be able to get one of these calls from a gift shop — just ask a Cast Member there!
You can also get a wake-up call from Disney characters by setting the wake-up button on your resort phone with the time. You never know who will call you to get you up and ready for a day in the parks!
Whether it’s your first visit or your tenth, you’re on your way to navigating Disney World like a pro with these hacks! And we’ve got even MORE pro tips for you to discover in this DFB video.
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What’s your favorite Disney World pro tip? Let us know in the comments!