If you plan on traveling to Disney World this year, I wanted to offer you some Disney World tips and tricks to help you with your adventures. These Disney World tips should make your vacation a bit smoother – especially if you are traveling with kids. I asked over 50 of my friends what they would tell someone hitting the Disney Parks and this is all the information I received.
Lots of great stuff here, folks!! If you are looking for Disney World secrets, you’ve come to the right blog. These Disney World tips and tricks will have you zipping around the park with a little extra magic in your step.
Disney World Tips
Look over all of the line items below and let me know what you think in the comments. Do you have something you’d like to add? Please do! I would love to keep updating this blog post every now and then. This could become a great resource for all future Disney World family travelers. We could all use a little help in 2020, right?
** this post contains affiliate links
Disney World Tips And Tricks
Wear comfortable shoes while walking around the Disney Parks – Wear your most comfortable shoes. It is crucial they have been tried and tested. No new shoes. (Pamela)
One small backpack for everything – Take a backpack that you can tuck under your stroller and that has ALL valuables in one place. Then when you park your stroller, just grab that and head to the ride hands-free without a lot of shuffling junk around. (Kristi)
The Dumbo Ride has air conditioners – When you’re overheated in the Magic Kingdom, go to the Dumbo ride for an air-conditioned dark place with an inside playground for kiddos. You don’t have to ride the ride if you don’t want, but it is the best chillaxing spot I know in the MK! (Lindsay)
Consider Good Neighbor Hotels – Staying on the property will save you $$ on parking/uber trips BUT the Good Neighbor hotels are a great off-site alternative. PLUS GN hotels are near Disney Springs and are currently offering 60-day FP bookings. (Misti)
Disney Springs is so much fun – Don’t forget to visit Disney Springs. There are some amazing places to eat over there. (Misti)
If you are visiting Disneyland, be sure to ride the Matterhorn – Be sure to ride the Matterhorn. (Marshall)
Download the Disney Fast Pass app – Get the fast pass app!! With this app, you are also able to access professional pictures from your trip. (Nadine)
Don’t forget your strollers – Make sure to bring or rent a stroller for kids five and under. (Beau)
More Great Disney World Tips And Tricks
Try a character meal – Disney character meals are a great way to see a number of characters at one time and offer a much-needed break while inside the parks! (Diana)
Plan a midday break – If you are traveling with kids and/or special needs people- plan a midday break. Nap, pool, something. Refresh before returning for more. (Brett)
Don’t miss out on the Haunted Mansion – Disney’s Haunted Mansion has so many Easter eggs and cool moments. It is one of our favorite rides. Bonus if you have a crazy Disney fan to ride with. (Dana)
Bus wait times – Bus wait times are now available in the My Disney Experience app. You’re welcome. (Avi) This should be at the top of the Disney World tips and tricks list. LO
Don’t forget your ears – Everyone needs a pair of ears. Don’t forget the adults, too. (Aiden)
You can still enjoy date night – If you’re looking to have some alone time during your trip, Pixar Play Zone is a great space to consider. Parents can bring their kids to be supervised while they go out to dinner or the parks for a date night. (Andrea)
A Note About These Disney World Tips And Tricks
You will find that most of these Disney World tips and tricks are simple. You might be reading this and thinking to yourself… “easy shoes and a light backpack”??? HUH?! Well, believe me – I’ve been on the other side of that coin and it matters.
I’ve been to Disney about 15 times and there is a HUGE difference when you go with one bag that is easy to manage versus 3 diaper bags and a purse and a little tote for the kids. Total disaster if you have trust issues like me and refuse to leave anything in your stroller. So, while you are reading these Disney World tips and tricks – keep that in mind.
Ok, back to your regularly scheduled program. More Disney World tips and tricks – here we go. –>
Continuing With The Disney World Tips And Tricks
Ditch the pressure – I went a million times as a kid, but the first time I went with my kid, she was too little to remember it so there was no pressure and I decided to just follow her lead. She wouldn’t ever know what she missed. We followed princesses and ate fun snacks and rode some rides depending on the line and played in the sprinkler park. We missed lots of the “you can’t miss this!” and we didn’t care at all. She LOVED it. (Casey)
Related: Disney Maternity Shirt Ideas
Plan ahead – My #1 Piece of advice I give everyone for any Disney trip (land or sea) is to plan ahead. Get overwhelmed NOW and with a bit of a daily outline (no every minute doesn’t have to be scheduled) you will be much better prepared in those OOHHH SHINY moments. (Andrea)
Chewing gum – Do you like chewing gum? Well, you better bring it because Walt Disney would turn over in his grave if he saw one of his parks selling any. None will be found in any of the parks. Didn’t think this would be part of my Disney World tips and tricks, right? But it is because I am a HUGE gum chewer.
Don’t forget about the rain – Buy and take cheap ponchos because FL weather is unpredictable. (Jeanette)
(NOTE FROM ME – we buy ponchos from home and bring them down. Much cheaper than at the parks. Ok, back to my Disney World tips and tricks list)
Handheld fans – I talked people into buying handheld fans once while we were in the parks and they thanked me! You can buy them right off of Amazon while you are getting ready at home. They are rechargeable and have three different speeds. They feel like air conditioning – especially considering Disney is usually in the mid 90’s. (Alena)
Beat the high score in Toy Story Mania (a gamer’s favorite Disney World tip) – Head on over to Toy Story Land and try to beat the high score at Toy Story Maina. The last time I visited it was 500,000. If you’re a sharpshooter, you’ll do great. (Joyce)
I’m interrupting my Disney World tips and tricks post to pop in a little photo I did to give a nod to Mary Poppins because I love her. Do you do any DisneyBounding?! I couldn’t resist with this Mary Poppins Disneybounding.
DisneyBounding is so much fun – Be sure to dress up and have some fun while at the parks! (Vera)
Track your steps and wear already broken in shoes – Wear comfortable shoes that are already broken in and track your steps. You’ll see why! (Brett)
Stay on property – Stay at an on-site hotel (especially on the Boardwalk area) because there is so many things to do right at the resorts and all along the Boardwalk area. This is helpful if you don’t want to go to the parks one day but still want to feel all the Disney Magic! (Clarissa)
Find restrooms easily with the My Disney Experience app – Download the My Disney Experience app onto your phone. It’s an absolute must. It comes in handy for last minute dining reservations, wait times, fast passes, locating restrooms, PhotoPass and so much more. You can pretty much manage your whole Disney vacation from the app. (Angela)
Use A Disney Travel agent – They are so knowledgable and they don’t cost you any money to use. They’ll tell you which fast passes to get, what parks to go to what days, make your dining reservations, etc. (Lisa)
Bring a collapsible step stool for the bathroom – This came in SUPER handy for us when planning a Disney trip with friends for brushing teeth and washing hands! (Michelle)
Don’t forget about Jedi Training sign up – Run in early and sign up for the Star Wars “Jedi training”. It fills up REALLY fast and it’s super duper fun. It was one of my kiddos’ favorite things. Hit the shows too – they are awesome. (Angela)
Rent a home off property – Skip the hotels and stay in a HOUSE. We always do a house – off property but close – and have a place to wash clothes, have drinks in the fridge, and set up base camp. It’s not noisy, everyone has their own space, their own TV… it’s amazing. (Trisha)
Buy Disney costumes at outlets – Buy costumes and “gifts/souvenirs” ahead of time at either a Disney outlet or Target. You’ll save a ton of money. (Erica)
(Note from me – I think this is an important one too. Get what you think your kids will want ahead of time and save a few dollars. These Disney World tips and tricks can really save you some serious $$)
Fireworks are magic – Even if you have little kids, try to stay for the fireworks. They are truly spectacular. (Vanessa)
Get The Memory Maker – Get the memory maker and leave your camera at home so you can get professional pictures all over the park! (April)
(Note from me – ok, seriously – as I am writing up this Disney World tips and tricks post, it’s forcing me to search for all of these old pictures and it’s making me want to return to Disney World! AHHHHH I didn’t expect this feeling, but here we are!!!! Back to the list… also I’m now searching for flight costs. UGH.)
Disney World Tips And Tricks Continued
Don’t forget to pick up an old-fashioned silhouette at Disney World – Looking for a beautiful souvenir? Get an old-fashioned silhouette for around $8. You will find this in Liberty Square. (Lindsey)
Dining reservations close up fast – When dining reservations open up, be sure to access them right away. (Misti)
Uber and Lyft are great options – If you don’t want to wait around for the buses, now you don’t have to. We used Uber all throughout our stay and saved a ridiculous amount of time. (Charles)
Don’t be afraid to get matching family t-shirts – Sure, it might seem a little silly while you are doing it, but they are so fun to look back on!! (Vera)
(Note from me — The last time I went down to Disney, I went with several families and we had the BEST time. My family bought matching t-shirts from Etsy and they were stormtroopers with bunny ears because we went Easter week. So funny! If you want to make your own Disney shirts, I have a tutorial on how you can make your own Disney tshirts here. )
Food Related Disney World Tips and Tricks
Make dining reservations earlier than usual – When making advanced dining reservations, consider the normal time you would want to eat and make it for 30 min – 1 hour earlier. It prevents meltdowns! We’ve done Disney since my kids were 6-months-old and it always helped. So, 12pm lunchtime – we’d make 11 or 11:30am reservations. Plus, it makes it easier to grab them at off times. (Linda)
Look for a kitchenette – Stay in a hotel with a kitchenette and make breakfast and dinner there as well as packed lunches. This way, you stick to your typical grocery budget. But definitely splurge on churros once and dole whip as many times as your budget allows. (Kristi)
Disney Experience App now allows you to order your food ahead of time – While you are waiting in line for a ride, consider figuring out what your family wants to eat as soon as you get off and out of the exit. You no longer have to wait in the food line. Now you just have to look for the “Mobile Orders Here” sign and check in. (Krystyn)
Dole Whip tips – In the Magic Kingdom, get your Dole Whip by the Tiki TIki Room, go to what looks like you’re “inside” the ropes EVEN THOUGH YOU AREN’T. There is a line on the back side of the Aloha Isle Refreshments stand, and people usually only line up on the front side. You’ll save a ton of time by going to the back line. And the Dole Whip Float is what you really want. Yummm! (Michelle)
Decide on character meals first – My top tip would be to figure out the character meals and other main restaurants you want to eat at. Book those early and plan the rest of your schedule around those times and locations. (Susan)
Visit the T-Rex Cafe – If you are looking for a fun place for children of all ages, head over to T-Rex Cafe in Downtown Disney. (Liz)
Don’t feel pressured about the Disney Dining Plan – Disney Dining Plan isn’t for everyone so don’t feel like you need to do it. (Misti)
Don’t be afraid to speak to the chef – If your kid has food allergies, make reservations at the restaurants in the park and make any special dietary concerns and requests known. Don’t try to wing it. And when you get there, ASK TO SPEAK TO A CHEF. They will lead you through the menu and point out what is and isn’t safe at all the buffets. Disney is perfect for kids who have allergies. They go out of their way to be accommodating and safe. (LaShawn)
Be sure to visit The Yachtsman Steakhouse – If you are looking for a great steak, make a reservation at The Yachtsman Steakhouse. You won’t be disappointed. (Patty)
Start out slowly with Disney Character experiences – If you aren’t sure if your toddler will be terrified of the characters, start out with a face character (like one of the princesses). That’s a good way to get them acclimated to seeing a character in person, before having them see Mickey or Minnie (who can be large and intimidating to little ones). (Jodi)
Don’t forget to try all of the Disney related desserts – You will find Mickey everywhere you look. Be sure to stop and check out all the shops, dessert stores, and carts. (Maria)
Best Times For Disney World Tips And Tricks
I want to offer up a few Disney World tips and tricks of my own before I let you read what my friends wrote. Basically, avoid the middle of the day. I don’t know how else to say it. Either get there super early or plan to stay until the park closes. We usually opt for the latter. I love to stay until the very end of the night because most families with little kids are back at the hotel. I did this even with a three-month-old. They will survive it. It’s only vacation. Everyone will go back to their regularly scheduled sleep patterns as soon as we head home. But when we are at Disney, we are riding those rides until they kick us out.
Ok, onto the Disney World tips and tricks that my friends told me when I asked for their help –>
Get up EARLY – Get up EARLY and get to the park before it opens. (Andrew)
Early morning and after hours are your best bets – Don’t shy away from the “early morning” and “after hours” premium events. We did the Early Morning Magic at Toy Story Land and it was AMAZING. We rode Slinky Dog Dash 7 times, Toy Story Midway Mania twice and had a delicious breakfast, all before most people came into the park. Disney has a lot of these events now, and it’s hard to keep up, but if there is an area of the park that is a “must-do” it could be worth it for you and your family. (Ellen)
Non-peak hours are key – Try and go during the non-peak times to avoid insane crowds and lines. Stay at a Disney Resort for the perks of extra magic hours and take advantage of them to do rides and attractions that usually have longer lines and wat times. (Tiffany)
Pace yourself – Pace yourself. Plan for a lazy day – it’s important to have one as part of your vacation while at Disney. Enjoy whatever resort your family has booked. There are great things at that location I am sure. Last but not least, be sure to get in some of the pictures, mom! (Tomika)
Pin trading – Not only is pin trading so much fun, but it gave my kids many opportunities to practice their manners and overcome their shyness around adults. (Lindsay)
Hit your favorite rides during the parade – Ride Splash Mountain first right when they open and the parade is going on to avoid lines. Use Single rider lines when you can to save time. (Alison)
Don’t forget your special button – If you are celebrating a special occasion, head to guest services at your hotel or in the park to pick up a button representing the occasion. (Tim)
It’s all about planning ahead – Book your fast passes as soon as you book your vacation. Make restaurant reservations as well; for a first trip I would splurge on a character meal and those fill up pretty fast. (Jeanette)
Buy some pins on eBay before heading to Disney – We stocked up on trading pins from eBay before heading down to Disney and everyone had no problem trading them. The kids had so much fun and we saved a ton of money. (Marisol)
Get that free wifi – Free Wi-Fi is available at all of the theme parks and resort hotels at Walt Disney World.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at night – For some reason, my family loves to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at night. It is a MUCH better ride in the dark. BONUS if you can catch it while the fireworks are going off. Try to get your FastPass during the later hours. (Annabelle)
Extra Magic Hours – Stay on property for the extra magic hours. (Kelly)
Arrive early – Go at the opening and pick a spot with lots of rides and be sure to ride them first thing. My family likes to do The Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Carribean, Thunder Mountain, and Splash Mountain. Once you are done, be sure to have things scheduled with fast passes for the rest of the day. (Amy)
Take advantage of Disney Fast Passes – Take the time to set up your Fast Passes and do them early. (Connie)
Epcot Adventures – If the adults are dying to experience EPCOT World Showcase (because hey – eating & drinking your way around the world!!!), but the kids think it’s going to boring, then design your own little EPCOT Scavenger Hunt – we used to challenge our kids to do stuff like find the weirdest hat or snack or funniest t-shirt, etc… and take pics. Then we’d have a fun time watching them all together later. We’ve also had them dress up in different costumes in every country for cute pics. They’ve loved it. Also EPCOT World Showcase is a great place for Character Meet ‘n Greets! (Teronya)
Avoid the busy weeks – DO NOT go during Christmas week. It’s packed. (Tai)
Remember to be patient – Don’t forget to pack your patience. Sometimes the kids get overwhelmed, hot or hungry so watch for the signs. (Pamela)
Try to see the princesses as early as possible – If you’re not using the FastPass feature, try to see the princesses and popular attractions first thing in the morning. It can mean the difference between a 15-minute wait and an hour and a half wait. (Deborah)
Buy the unofficial guide – Buy the Unofficial Guide. Before we went with my then 7-year-old, we looked at every ride and decided what we would go on and mapped it out using a tablet. When we went, it was like “boom, boom, boom”, nothing to figure out, no waste of time and we got everything done. (Elizabeth)
PHEW! What do you think about this list?! Did it help you at all? I certainly hope it gave you a little clarity before your big trip. Let me know if I missed anything of if you thought of something along the way. Come back here after your trip and let me know what worked for you and what didn’t. Like I mentioned above, my mission is to keep updating this Disney World tips and tricks post over and over again.
I hope you have a fantastic Disney vacation with your family! There’s magic where that mouse lives.