There’s a lot of BAD Disney World advice out there, and we try to make sure to point it out to you when we can!
Some people say you should just go with the flow (yikes), not make any dining reservations (AH!), or even skip the most iconic snacks (omg please no!!!). Don’t worry though, we’re not here to give you bad advice — we’re doing the opposite! Let’s break down some Disney World tips that actually ARE as good as people say they are!
If you’re unfamiliar with rope dropping, it’s when you get to the park before it opens, so you can be one of the first people inside! A lot of times, you’ll be allowed to go inside the parks before the actual time it opens up, but you won’t be able to get on any rides or anything. BUT this at least gets you closer to the ride you want to go on so that you have a shorter wait time!
The main purpose of rope dropping is to ride things that normally have very long wait times later on in the day, like Rise of the Resistance or Flight of Passage. You COULD rope drop less popular rides like Spaceship Earth or Mad Tea Party, but it wouldn’t be the best use of your time if you’re trying to maximize the amount of rides you can go on in one day. And, these days, rope dropping is pretty much your best (and sometimes only) shot at getting on ALL of the major rides in the parks.
Rope dropping is especially useful at Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, as these parks have more ride and more rides with higher wait times. Even with using Genie+, we would suggest rope dropping at these 2 parks if you want to get on almost all of the rides.
Sometimes, you can knock out 2-3 popular rides within the first hour of the park opening, especially if you are able to go into the park early using Early Theme Park Entry (which is only available to guests staying at either a Disney hotel or other select hotels). A great way to maximize your time would be to rope drop a popular ride that usually runs out of Genie+ reservations (or doesn’t have them until way later in the day), and use your Genie+ reservations for rides that are available earlier.
Okay, this sounds dramatic — we don’t mean literally escaping from Disney World, but we’re talking about taking a break to escape the crowds for a little bit! The crowds can be overwhelming in the parks, especially as the day gets busier in the afternoons. Some people just need a breather from being around all of those PEOPLE! Trust us, you might be wanting a break too after you’ve been run into by your 3rd stroller of the day.
So, a great way to do this is to leave the park and head back to either your hotel for a couple of hours or go explore another nearby Disney hotel! At your hotel, you can take a little cat nap, spend some time at the pool, or grab a bite to eat.
But, if your hotel isn’t nearby or you just want something different, make a dining reservation at Disney hotel that’s close where you can relax and get away from the crowds for a while. This will also give you the chance to explore other hotels and try out restaurants you may not have otherwise!
And the nice thing is that all of the parks have fun hotels nearby! If you’re at Magic Kingdom, you can visit one of the hotels on the Monorail loop or Wilderness Lodge, at EPCOT, head on over to the BoardWalk area, at Hollywood Studios, get on the Skyliner and visit a hotel on the line, and if you’re at Animal Kingdom, pop over to Animal Kingdom Lodge!
We’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times, you HAVE to drink water while you’re at Disney World, y’all! You might be thinking “well, duh!” but we want to emphasize that you should most likely drink more water than you think you need. Central Florida is HOT and with all that walking you’ll be doing, you can get dehydrated way quicker than you normally would just hanging out in the air conditioning of your home.
Drink water as you’re getting ready in the morning, as you’re walking around, with snacks, with meals, before you go to bed at night, and ESPECIALLY between alcoholic drinks. It can be easy to forget to drink water if you’re drinking around the world, since you’ll most likely have another kind of drink in your hand most of the time, but you gotta keep drinking water too. We promise you will thank us in the morning!
And, if you want to take it a step further, bring some drinks with electrolytes in them on your trip. You can even just keep some Gatorades or some Liquid IV in your hotel room to drink once you’re back in the room for the evening. And remember, you don’t have to pay $3.50 for water all around Disney World, you can bring your own refillable bottles or get those free water cups you can find at almost any quick service spot!
Mobile Ordering (Before You’re Hungry)
Mobile Ordering can be a saving grace at Disney World quick service spots, but only if you know how to use it right! There are mobile order time windows you select at these restaurants, and sometimes the windows can fill up at popular spots, so it’s important to figure out where you’re going to want food later in the day if you want to eat at one of these places!
It’s especially important to figure it out before you’re hungry! It is not fun to be with a group of hungry people who can’t pick up their food for another hour because that’s when the next available pickup window is open.
So, at the beginning of your day (or at least an hour or two before you want to eat) put your order in for the place you want to eat at and select the pickup window that works best for you, that way you can go about your day without worrying about where you’re going to get food!
Give Yourself Extra Time
It takes longer than you think it does to get things accomplished in Disney World, especially when it comes to getting from one place to another! Give yourself more time than you think you need to get to dining reservations or to get to the park for rope drop. Also understand that park hopping usually takes longer than you would expect it to. Sometimes you have to wait a longer time for a Monorail or bus to arrive.
You will be thankful for this extra time you’ve built in! If you end up not needing it, then great — now you have extra time to use however you want to. It’s better to have extra time than to be running out of it!
Bring Rain Gear
It. Will. Rain. Read that again — IT. WILL. RAIN. If you go into your Disney World trip with this mentality than you won’t be caught of guard when you inevitably encounter that afternoon torrential downpour. Of course, there are exceptions, but know that in the warmer months especially, rain is almost a daily occurrence.
SO! You should pack ponchos, umbrellas, rain jackets, hats — whatever you need to stay dry while in the parks! A lot of people will run for shelter or even leave the parks during some heavy rain, so this is a great time to stick it out and get on some rides. It’s also way better to bring your own of these items than having to buy the expensive Disney versions of them in the parks.
Change Your Shoes (and DON’T Wear New Ones)
Most people will walk WAY more than they’re used to while they’re in Disney World. You might think walking 10,000 steps in your normal daily life is a lot, but then you’ll go to Disney and easily walk 20,000 a day! It’s some serious exercise, which means it can seriously hurt your feet.
One way to help alleviate and prevent some of this foot pain is to switch up your shoes every day in the parks! Don’t wear the same shoes over and over — it will help your feet to have different shoes on. You can even go as far as switching shoes halfway through the day if you’re carrying a big park bag or go back to your hotel.
And, definitely DO NOT wear brand new shoes to the parks! You need to break in shoes beforehand or you’ll end up with some big blisters, and that’s no fun at all. Also, make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes, obviously. Pick comfort over style every. single. time.
Do Your Food Research
Oh look, DFB is talking about food again? Shocking. 😉 But seriously, familiarizing yourself with the menus around Disney World at least a little bit will be super helpful. You don’t want to wait until you’re hungry to figure out a place where you want to eat! Scrolling through dozens of menus can and should be done beforehand, that way you can make a list of places you know you’ll enjoy.
Wear (and REAPPLY) Sunscreen
Again, you probably think this is common sense but do NOT underestimate that Florida sun, people! It is STRONG — especially if you aren’t used to it. Put on sunscreen in the morning and bring it with you to reapply throughout the day. Put it on your face, scalp (yep, that can most definitely get burned), shoulders, knees, toes — everywhere that is exposed to the sun!
There are great sunscreens that you can even apply over makeup without messing it up, as well as spray on your scalp without your hair getting greasy! And, of course, you can always wear a hat or UV protection clothing to add extra coverage. Just trust us when we say that you do NOT want to be sunburned in Disney World — some of those ride restraints will be very painful for you if you are!
Skip the Fireworks for a Ride
Okay, before you get upset, this just applies to people who don’t really care about watching the fireworks, or who would much rather prioritize rides. The crowds at EPCOT and Magic Kingdom will gather to watch the show, which means the lines for rides usually get significantly lower!
This is a great time to hop on over to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Frozen Ever After! If you time it right, you might even get to watch the fireworks while ON rides like Splash Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain, which is super cool. We’d recommend this as a great option also for people who have already seen the fireworks shows a couple times, or if you’re planning on watching them another night.
So, those are the tips that really ARE as good as people say they are in Disney World! We’ve tested them out multiple times, so we can safely say that these tips are worth your time. Stay tuned to DFB for more Disney World news and updates!
What is your favorite Disney World tip? Tell us in the comments!