If you’re planning a trip to Disney World, we’re sure you’ve heard LOTS of advice.
It’s all well-meaning — and most of it is solid, too! But here at DFB, we’re constantly bringing you the latest Disney World tips. It’s what we do! That means we’ve heard the good and the bad and everything in between!. If you hear any of these 6 tips while you’re planning your vacation, do us a favor and don’t listen. We’ve got some better advice for you to follow instead! Then, you’ll be well on your way to crushing Disney like a pro.
Try to Do It ALL in One Day
When we say people try to do it all day, we really mean they try to do it ALL. People may advise you to spend a few hours at each park and try to get all 4 done in one day.
While you can technically visit all 4 parks in 1 day (and we’ve done it!), we definitely wouldn’t recommend it. Between travel and going through the security/turnstiles at each park, you’ve wasted a lot of valuable time. Not to mention, it’s much trickier to visit more than 2 parks now that you can’t Park Hop until after 2PM!
Here’s what we’d suggest instead: stick to 1 or 2 parks each day. If you only have 1 day in Disney World, really sit down and figure out which parks you can’t miss. You’ll have more time to explore what each park has to offer instead of rushing around trying to get to your next destination.
Of course, if you’re up for the challenge, you can attempt to check out all 4 parks in 1 day! But it’s tiring, and you won’t be able to ride or do much. We wouldn’t recommend it for your average Disney visitor (or even for a seasoned pro unless you want to check that off your “Disney World Bucket List!”).
Knock Out as Many Rides as Possible
This well-intended tip is pretty similar: have you ever had someone lay out a full-blown strategy for you to maximize how many rides you can get on in a day? We have! And not only does it give us a headache — it’s STRESSFUL. Of course, people go to Disney for different reasons. If you’re there to experience the rides and the rides only, go for it! But we wanna give you a friendly tip that Disney has SO much more to offer.
If you spend your whole vacation waiting in lines and riding things, you’ll miss out on some really cool experiences. Save time on your trip to watch the character cavalcades, visit the well-themed shops, explore walkthrough attractions, and even search for Hidden Mickeys! And of course, be sure to sample some food. You KNOW we’re all about that. 😉
Now, it does help to have a ride strategy, especially with FastPass+ unavailable right now. We’ve laid out some advice on that for you here! With these handy tips, you’ll be well on your way to striking a good balance between rides and, ya know, everything else.
Plan a Full Schedule of Table Service Reservations
This one HURTS us, people. Sure, Disney World has some fantastic Table Service restaurants. But it’s overkill if you make a Table Service reservation for every meal of the day. First of all, Table Service meals take time! And if you’ve got 3 a day or even 2 a day, that starts to encroach on time you could be doing literally anything else.
Secondly, when you’ve got too many of ‘em, these pricey meals are an easy way to break the bank. Table Service meals really add up, guys! A Hollywood & Vine breakfast, Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater lunch, and Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano dinner averages to about $100 per adult — and that’s on the VERY conservative side! That’s almost the price of a 1-day ticket to the parks, which would cost ya $109!
Plus, the LAST thing you want to be doing is walking around in the Florida heat, stuffed with food and dreading your next sit down meal just hours later, when you’ve gotta sit down and do it all over again. We’ll save you that suffering. Make 1 Table Service reservation per day, if that. You’ll thank us later.
And hey! With all that time (and space in your tummy) that you’re NOT at a sit-down meal, you’ll be able to try some of the other great food around Disney World! There are plenty of tasty snacks up for grabs, and they come and go so you always have new options. And of course, Quick Service meals are not to be underestimated. They’re fast, easy, and yummy!
Arrive at Park Opening If You Want to Rope Drop
Heard of rope dropping? This nifty little trick involves getting to the parks early (before scheduled opening) so you’ll have shorter lines early in the day.
Unfortunately, even with the best of intentions, people tend to get rope drop wrong. They’ll arrive at 9AM for a 9AM park opening and be surprised when the lines are long to park…then getting in…then RIDE lines are already long too! But don’t worry. We’re gonna clue you in. If you’re planning on TRULY rope dropping, you’ll want to get to the parks WELL before they open.
If you’re staying at a Disney hotel, hop aboard that transportation right when it starts running. That’s 45 minutes to 1 hour before opening. And if you’re driving, be AT the parking booth an hour before opening. They’ll typically let cars filter in about 45 minutes prior! You’ll be able to get into the parks well before the official opening time, which gives you plenty of time to get in line for rides (and even knock out a few!). You can also enjoy the quieter crowds early in the day.
So yes: rope dropping is a great Disney tip! You’ll just need to know how to do it right.
Skip EPCOT If You Have Kids
Ah, this age-old tip has led so many astray. Whether it’s because of the whole drinking around the world thing or because it’s not quite as “magical” as Magic Kingdom, people tend to consider EPCOT an “adult” park. But if you and your kiddos skip it, you’re missing out!
There are quite a few experiences geared solely towards kids here, like the Kidcot Fun Stops around the World Showcase. That’s an educational, interactive activity that allows little ones to collect “postcards” from each World Showcase country!
The Seas area is also incredibly kid-friendly. The Seas with Nemo and Friends is a slow, dark ride filled with fun from Finding Nemo. Then, families can head over to the aquarium to see fish up close. There’s even a scavenger hunt to complete there! It’s the second-largest aquarium in the United States, which means there’s plenty of space for energetic little ones to run around and explore. There aren’t many places like that in Disney World, so you’ll wanna take advantage of it!
There are fewer rides overall in this park, but the ones here are pretty great. Zipping around Test Track? Soaring high up on Soarin’ Around the World? Seeing Anna and Elsa on Frozen Ever After? All MEGA fun for kids and adults alike! Not to mention pretty soon we’ll have Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure AND the crazy fun for (bigger) kids Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind coaster!
Lastly, the EPCOT festivals can have some great eats for kids. At the Flower and Garden Festival this year, there’s a Froot Loops Shake (yum, right?!) and Frushi! The Festival passport even has kid-friendly items marked to make it easy on ya. Don’t discredit this park just because you have little ones. There are activities here for ALL ages.
Follow a Strict Itinerary
You may be told you have to arrive at Disney World with a jam-packed itinerary. We’ve seen friends with 3 ring binders cram-packed with minute-by-minute activities!! Trust us, we’ve seen this in action — and we’ve even DONE it. Toting an actual BINDER around the parks doesn’t exactly seem like bucket loads of fun, does it? But if you’ve been planning your Disney World trip for months, you may feel like this is the only way to guarantee you’ll get your time (and money!) worth.
Luckily, that’s not the case! You just need to know what to plan. You’ll want to lay out what days you’re visiting which parks, any Table Service reservations you want to make, and of course your hotel details far in advance. As you get closer to your trip, you’ll want to pull together an overview of what you want to get done each day. It’s not anything super detailed! List out your must-dos (whether that be rides, characters, or snacks) for EACH person in your group so you know what to prioritize.
Then, when it’s your park day, ENJOY it. Make a conscious effort to get those must-dos done, but don’t stress about the little stuff! There’s no need to plan your trip down to the minute. It’ll just lead to chaos when things get thrown off track — and they undoubtedly will, somehow. It could be a rainy day, someone in your travel party could get sick, you could oversleep for your breakfast reservation…the list goes on. Stay flexible so you can brush it off!
If you need more planning tips, check out our ultimate guide for your first Disney trip! We’ve got ya covered.
If you’re planning a Disney World trip, be sure to keep these 6 little tips in mind! And stay tuned to DFB — we’ll keep you posted with plenty more Disney advice.
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Have you gotten any Disney World advice you shouldn’t have followed? Let us know in the comments!