But we recently reached out on social media to Cast Members to get some feedback on the one thing they wished guests knew before they came to Disney World. And we got a LOT of responses!
So Cast Members see all kinds of things ALL the time, and they have a unique perspective that many of us don’t when it comes to visiting Disney World. Hopefully, these will be some great tips to help you not only plan the best Disney World vacation ever but also make sure you have the most magical time possible while you’re there! So let’s get started!
Please Be Courteous And Kind
So the most golden rule of all — the thing you should remember — is to always be courteous and kind. Don’t forget that Cast Members are people, too. They are doing their best to make your Disney World trip a magical experience.
Yes, because they are people, too, you may find the occasional Cast Member having a bad day. But overall, Cast Members want to help you enjoy your time at Disney World.
Cast Members Don’t Make The Rules
Please also remember that Cast Members don’t make the rules — maybe you don’t want to pay for parking or stand in line for a shop. Please try not to take it out on Cast Members if you disagree. Please don’t yell at them. They are just doing their job.
Also, don’t forget that Cast Members have the power to occasionally add a little extra magic to your day, and you’re much more likely to get that extra magic if you’re nice and not yelling at them. In other words, you’ll catch more bees with honey (and yes, that phrase is used a lot, but it’s true!).
Use The My Disney Experience App
In case you didn’t know, you can download the My Disney Experience app before your trip, and get familiar with how it works. This is a totally free app that lets you do just about everything you’ll need to do at Disney World, such as enter your hotel room, book FastPasses (when offered), make dining reservations, modify your hotel reservations, check wait-times, mobile order food, and more!
You will also have access to the MagicMobile Service through the app that will do everything a MagicBand (which is no longer free to Disney World guests) does, ALL on your phone. You’ll be able to use your phone to enter theme parks, connect PhotoPass photos, and access the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance virtual queue with your boarding pass (should you be lucky enough to get one).
Also, you’ll soon be able to charge purchases to your Disney hotel with MagicMobile, just like you would with a MagicBand!
Understand That FastPass Is Free
Although the FastPass program is currently suspended, when it comes back, you’ll need to know that FastPass at Disney World is 100% free. It seems that a lot of people in the parks don’t realize a few things about FastPass — they don’t understand what it is, but they also don’t know that it’s free.
This is maybe because other parks around the country actually charge for the ability for quick front-of-line access. But not at Disney World. You can even book it way ahead of time, too — you can book it 30 days in advance if you’re not staying at a Disney resort and 60 days if you are staying at a Disney Resort or Good Neighbor Hotel.
And if you don’t know what it is, here’s everything you need to know about FastPass!
Listen To The Cast Members
Not only is it important to be courteous with Cast Members, but also, they would like you to listen to them. They want you to be safe and happy. There’s a reason why there are rules — if a Cast Member tells you to stay behind the yellow line or the tape or the ropes, it’s for your own safety.
That’s their job — to make sure that nothing happens to you! That’s why the rules are there, so please, just listen to Cast Members when they ask something of you. It will make your life — and theirs — a lot easier!
Height Requirements Are For Your Child’s Safety
Along those same lines, height requirements at rides are there for your child’s safety. We know your little one may really want to ride but those height requirements are there because it’s literally not safe for them to ride that attraction if they aren’t tall enough.
The way the ride vehicles are created means that your child could be seriously injured if they’re too short to be on the ride in the first place. So whatever you do, please don’t try to cheat the system by stuffing their shoes or putting them in heels — it is for their safety to not ride until they’re tall enough.
Outside Attractions Have To Close When There Is Lightning
Speaking of safety, it’s important to know that outside rides HAVE to close when there is lightning. This includes rides like Test Track and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Although these rides can run in the rain, if there is lightning, they must be shut down for saftey.
You might not see the lightning, but the rides will be shut down if the nasty weather is on its way. So if you’re headed over to Splash Mountain and see that it’s closed, know that it’s not the Cast Members’ fault, but it’s just general Disney World policy. So be prepared, and if you know lightning storms are going to be in the area, be flexible to move some of your plans around for more indoor rides and activities.
Cast Members Don’t Control the Weather
Now that we’re discussing the weather, which can be very temperamental in Florida, please know that the Cast Members have ZERO control over what the weather does on any given day. So no, Disney isn’t in a scientific bubble where someone behind a computer tells it to rain, although it might feel that way.
And it’s not the Cast Members’ fault when it rains or storms — that’s just the reality of being in Florida. So don’t take it out on them when you’re faced with bad weather. And be prepared — bring a poncho or raincoat you can easily fold up into your day bag.
You Will Have to Wait in Lines at Some Point
It seems like a lot of Disney World guests go to Disney World thinking that they’ll never have to wait in line, and then they get there and are shocked when they might have to wait in even a short line for transportation, a ride (even with FastPass) or at a counter service restaurant (or these days — for mobile order).
Here’s the truth — you will probably have to wait in one or more lines during your time at Disney World. Lines will vary depending on the day or the crowds. So be prepared with some games on your phone or download the Play Disney Parks app to help keep ya busy before heading to Disney World.
Know How Disney World Transportation Works
There is a lot to know about how Disney World transportation works, and you should research it before your trip so you know what’s available and when. There are buses, monorails, boats, and a Skyliner Gondola system that go to and from parks and to the resorts and Disney Springs. That’s FREE transportation for you to use if you’re a guest or have a Disney World ticket.
But you’ll have a much smoother trip if you know what transportation options you have, what time they start, what time they stop, how often they run, etc. So brush up before your trip, and if you need it, we’ve got a good guide to get you started.
Ice Water Is FREE
You do NOT have to pay for water at Disney World, and if you read us a lot, we’re ALWAYS talking about how you can ask for a FREE cup of water at many of Disney World’s counter service restaurants — and Cast Members are wanting you to know this, too.
It’s important to stay hydrated during your day — especially in that hot Florida sun, so remember, you don’t have to buy water. There are also bottle refill stations around the parks, so you can bring a reusable water bottle as well.
Gratuity Is Not Included in Table Service Prices OR With the Dining Plan
It’s important to remember to always tip your server in table service restaurants because gratuity is NOT included in the price of your table service meal or as part of the Disney Dining Plan (which is currently suspended).
Sometimes depending on the size of the party, your tip will be included but make sure you double-check. And make sure you think about those tips when budgeting for your trip. It’s an easy thing to accidentally overlook when it comes to budgeting.
If You Need to Stop, Move Over to the Side
Here’s one that Cast Members mentioned a lot. This probably happens a lot because there are SO many distractions at Disney World and a lot of people just stop in the middle of a walkway, forcing other guests to have to go around them. We get it — we always have to stop and admire the castle view at Magic Kingdom, too — but try your best to do it from the side when if you can.
This also goes for if you need to stop and check your map, check something on your phone, or stop for any other reason — move over to the side– or even go into a shop — to get out of other guests’ way. This can help with traffic jams, especially in crowded areas.
Do Your Research and Don’t Overschedule
Here’s one of the best tips we got from Cast Members — do your research, pre-plan, look at those menus ahead of time, look at the park hours, etc. There is so much to see and do in Disney World. Having a plan will help make sure you don’t feel overwhelmed and that you are able to accomplish your must-dos. But with us saying that, we’re going to tell you this, too — you don’t want to overschedule for you and your family — make sure you have downtime in your plan!
You’re not just going to need time to sleep, but you’ll also want to have some breaks during the day. So many guests go to Disney World thinking they can do it all, but you can’t — so take it easy, and allow yourself time to just take it all in AND rest. If you have time, even take a day off from the parks for a resort day to hang out by the pool or just chill somewhere. And leaving a bit of time in your plan allows for you to add in things you end up wanting to do that you didn’t know about prior to visiting.
Make Advance Dining Reservations
Along those same lines, Cast Members told us that guests should make sure to make Advance Dining Reservations. We feel like we share this tip ALL the time, but Cast Members just want you to know how important they are! It’s rare to just be able to walk into a popular restaurant and get a table (even with Disney’s Walk-Up Waitlist feature). This is especially true now with restaurants operating with limited capacity. You can start booking ADRs up to 60 days in advance plus the length of your stay up to 10 days.
AND…if you can’t make your reservation, don’t forget to cancel it one day in advance because you will, otherwise, be charged for it.
Please, Don’t Ask for Magical Moments
A magical moment is when a Cast Member does something extra special and unexpected for a guest. But here’s the thing — magical moments are magical for a reason. They’re unexpected and meant to catch you by surprise. If you ask for them, you’re taking the magic out of it! Yes, Cast Members have the opportunity to make your trip even better by offering some extra magic — maybe you get a special FastPass or a birthday treat or you get to interact with a character you wouldn’t normally get to interact with.
Asking for them takes the magic out completely and puts the Cast Member in an awkward situation. So, just let those magical moments just happen as they are meant to happen.
It Takes More Time To Do Anything On Property Than You Think
You might not think about it, but it takes more time than you think to do anything at Disney World. Disney World is HUGE. That means it takes a long time to travel around the resort, there are lines, there are crowds, and there are a lot of unanticipated situations that could slow down your day.
So what can you do? Give yourself plenty of time between all your planned activities. Make sure you have adequate time — and then some — to get to a park, to a reservation, or to anywhere you might want to be at a specific time. And make sure you have some free time scheduled around these activities, just in case.
If a Cast Member Stands Out, Compliment Them
Keeping that in mind, if a Cast Member does something to make your trip extra magical, be sure to compliment them! You can hop over to Twitter to commend a Cast Member with the hashtag #castcompliment. Be sure to mention the Cast Member’s name and the area where they work and then use @wdwtoday with your tweet.
Be sure to do this because they get commended for that, they get certificates, and they look forward to getting that positive feedback.
We want to thank all the Cast Members who gave us feedback, and we hope this has helped you a little bit in planning your next trip to Disney World to make their lives — and yours — more magical. If any of you are Cast Members and have anything to add, please leave us a comment!
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Are you a Cast Member with some tips for guests? Let us know in the comments!