When vacationing at Walt Disney World, there are a lot of insider tips and tricks that can help you save both time and money. Here is a list of random tips and tricks that we have gathered in our 20 years of experience visiting Walt Disney World. This is meant to be an open blog post meaning that we will continue to update this list every week with more tips and tricks as they come in. Your help and comments are greatly appreciated and if you have any tips or tricks that you would like to see on this list please comment below or visit our contact us page and send us an email. Thank you and Enjoy!
1. Carry a water bottle with you at every park, the average cost of a bottled water in the parks is $3 and refilling your water bottle at a fountain is free
2. Arrive at the parks 20 minutes before they open or stay until the park closes to avoid long lines on popular attractions, most guests won't show up until an hour or two after the park has been open and they usually leave an hour before the park closes leaving you with all of your favorite rides to yourself.
3. Instead of sitting down and buying lunch, eat snacks throughout the middle of the day, the average cost of lunch in Disney world is $15 while a couple of snacks can be had for less than $7
4. If the lines in front of the main entrance of Animal Kingdom seem too long, use the "secret entrance" by going through Rainforest Cafe, there are turnstiles on the other side and most people don't know about this entrance giving you a VIP entrance into the park
5. Download a Walt Disney World Wait Time app before heading to the parks, these are usually pretty accurate and will give you an idea of the wait times of an attraction before you show up. Our favorite is Disney World Wait Times by Undercover Tourist and can be downloaded from the app store.
6. There is a 15 minute grace period for Faspass+, while we recommend showing up on time, it's not the end of the world if you're a little late
7. Disney Vacation planners are free to use, you'll get the same specials as you would through Disney plus you'll get the extra perks and tips your Disney Vacation planner is offering, it's a win win
8. If you are going to Disney with little ones, you need to know about an unadvertised Disney amenity called Rider Swap. Rider Swap enables a parent to ride with the older children while the other parent waits with the younger child. After the older children ride, the parents swap places and they ride again. To use this feature, just approach the Cast Member at the entrance of the ride and let them know that you want to do Rider Swap.
9. You can get free water at any snack stand or Counter service, just ask politely for a cup of Ice Water, the cast member will be more than happy to pour you one
10. If you're staying on site, we recommend buying a Resort Refillable Mug, you can get unlimited free refills at any resort and while the Initial $16 price tag may seem steep, the amount of money it will save you over the course of your stay is well worth the initial investment
11. If you plan on staying for fireworks, we recommend getting a seat as close to the exit as possible. You can see the fireworks from almost anywhere in all 4 of the parks and you'll be able to beat the rush out of the park once the show ends
12. If you plan on trading pins with cast members, we recommend purchasing as many pins as you can from eBay or Amazon before your Walt Disney World vacation. Paying $1 per pin is a lot better than the $7-$8 they charge in the parks
13. If you're looking for a great Disney World Souvenir, consider pressed pennies. Not only are they extremely cheap at $.51 a piece, but kids love them because they get to crank the huge handle by themselves and watch the penny get flattened
14. Make sure to show up to the Magic Kingdom atleast 20 minutes before the park opens, there is a great welcome show that starts 20 minutes before the park opens and it is something everybody should see on there Disney vacation
15. Want to enter the Magic Kingdom before other guests? Just book a dining reservation in the 8 o’clock hour with either Crystal Palace or Cinderella’s Royal Table. You should be able to get a picture of Cinderellas Castle without any other guests in the photo!
16. If you get thirsty at Epcot, Stop by Club Cool in the Innoventions building and test Coke products from around the world for FREE! Beware though, the taste of some of these coke products are less than pleasant, You've been warned....
17. Want the Recipe to your favorite Walt Disney World Dish? Just ask you waiter/waitress and they will be more than happy to provide you with the recipe as well as how to go about preparing it
18. The best time to visit Walt Disney World is when the kids are in school with no holidays in sight. Families generally don't like there kids missing school for long vacations and unless you really want to See Walt Disney World all dressed up for Halloween or Christmas, we suggest you stay away from these holiday dates at all costs as the crowds are a nightmare
19. Don't be so eager to be the first in line for Disney shows that require you to sit down, Disney cast member will make guests move all the way down the row so if you want the best seat, wait until the rows start to fill up a bit, then choose a row to get those perfect seats in the center of the theater
20. If you're looking for a place to take a break in the Magic Kingdom, The Walt Disney World Railroad is hands down your best bet. It offers beautiful scenery and views of the entire park, is fully covered offering you great protection from the sun and is the only Magic Kingdom attraction where they don't require you to disembark after one trip, you can ride as long as you'd like
21. If your child’s too short to ride something—height requirements are on the guide map, and there are rulers before every queue entrance—ask the nearest cast member to give you a voucher that enables them to cut the line when they grow tall enough. For Splash Mountain, they’re dubbed a “Future Splash Mountaineer,” and on Space Mountain, they’re handed a “Mousetronaut Certificate.” Many other major rides have their own versions.
22. To make the most of your $$$, request your fountain drinks without ice, they come out of the machine cold and the cups can hold twice as much liquid without ice
23. If you hate the long lines at Magic Kingdom and don't mind a little rain, visit the park when it's raining. Almost all of the attractions are indoors and The rain will scare off 80% of the visitors, there will be almost no wait for most of the attractions
24. If you're looking for a little free fun, There is a Camp sing-along with Chip 'n' Dale nightly near Meadow Trading Post at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground
25.Ride during parades and fireworks shows. During parades the lines will become much shorter due to people watching the parade and the same goes for the fireworks shows, if you have already seen them than this is the perfect time to ride your favorite rides!
26. If you are trying to get in the line to sign up for Jedi Training Academy can get a jump start on the line by making an 8:00 a.m. breakfast reservation at Hollywood and Vine in Hollywood Studios.
27. Take pictures of things like your parking spot, luggage or even your child each day of your trip to make them easier to find later.
28. Install Dropbox or another cloud based photo storage app on your phone to store your photos so you don't run out of room on your trip. This also makes transferring your photos to your computer much easier later on
29. Most Disney World resort rooms don’t have microwaves but you can use the microwaves in the food court or Quick Service location of your Disney hotel.
30. The Electric Water Pagent is a cute little (unpublicized) light parade on Bay Lake outside the Magic Kingdom. Show times are: 9 p.m. at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, 9:15 p.m. at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, 9:30 p.m. at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, 9:45 p.m. at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground, and 10 p.m. at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
31. If you are celebrating a special occasion, make sure to pick up a button for your special occasion at your resort hotel or in the parks from Guest Services. You may receive special treatment if wearing the buttons, I had a birthday recently and was moved to the front of the line 3 times and also got free snacks throughout the park.
32. A sidewalk that travels past Disney’s BoardWalk Inn (or Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts) and the Swan & Dolphin connects Epcot (through the International Gateway) to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Walking between the two parks takes around 30 minutes and can be faster than any other transportation between the two parks. While the buses may be easier. They can take over an hour to take you from park to park
33. In the parks, Sunshine Seasons and Electric Umbrella at Epcot, Tortuga Tavern and Be Our Guest Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom, Backlot Express in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Restaurantosaurus in Disney’s Animal Kingdom all have drink refill stations for free refills. Use a paper cup you've bought that day or your Disney mug to use these stations
34. If you want to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from outside the park, the best location is from the Ticket & Transportation Center, to the right of the ferry launch
35. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Expedition Everest are both much better at night. If you haven't tried riding them at night we highly recommend it. Try riding them right before closing to avoid lines.
36. While most people take there family photo from the front, dead-center of Cinderella Castle, the back of the Castle is arguably prettier and a much more unique location for that family photo, there will also be far less foot traffic than in the front.
37. Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe and Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe both have similar toppings bars including items such as pickles, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Piling these toppings on your meal of choice will allow you to get the most food for your money
38. Most Likely, it will rain/sprinkle at least once during your trip unless you are the luckiest person alive. Throw-away ponchos at Walt Disney World are almost $10/each. Purchase packs of throw-away ponchos before your trip for $1 each.
39. If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, you can order a regular OR large fountain drink at counter service restaurants. The default is regular, so make sure to specify large. It costs nothing extra and you get much more bang for your buck
40. Attractions don’t close right when the parks close, meaning that you can get in a 90-minute line at 10:59 p.m. when the parks close at 11 p.m. and be in the park well past closing time. This is a great way to experience rides that have incredibly long lines during normal operating hours and not have to wait at all.
41. Ask for ketchup at Whispering Canyon Cafe. We promise you you'll enjoy it.
42. Shops on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom are open up to an hour after the park closes. Do your shopping once the attractions shut down to maximize your time in Magic Kingdom
43. There are “party line” phones on Main Street and in Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom. Pick them up to listen in on some hilarious conversations.
44. Character meet and greets are usually longest in the Magic Kingdom and shortest in the Animal Kingdom, Keep this in mind when planning out your day.
45. Crystal Palace and Cinderella’s Royal Table in the Magic Kingdom are open for breakfast an hour before the park opens. This is a great opportunity for empty photos of the Magic Kingdom!
46. If you give a PhotoPass photographer a (discrete) heads up, they generally can help you capture photos of your proposal.
47. Make an effort to hang around the Magic Kingdom for 30 minutes after it closes. You’ll be rewarded with The Kiss Goodnight (the Magic Kingdom’s way of saying “goodbye” to guests at the end of a long day.)
48. Chewing gum is not sold anywhere on Walt Disney World property in an attempt to keep the parks clean. Plan accordingly if you think you may need some.
49. The Disney website will automatically charge you regular price unless you go through their special offers page. You can book regular price now and when specials come out, you can call and ask them to apply the special to your vacation. They will not do it automatically.
50. When you enter a park, you must first go through security. To make this process move quickly, go ahead and unzip all of your bag’s compartments. Also the security guard will first check the bag to the person on his left and then he will check the person on his right. Try to go thru the shortest line! Don’t just follow the crowds.