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An Insider’s Guide To Walt Disney World – 15 Things You Should Know

We’re sharing 15 tips that Disney insiders have learned through multiple trips to Disney World that will help you plan your next magical vacation.

15. Head to Na’vi River Journey

Most people arrive early at Animal Kingdom and get in line for Flight of Passage. But instead, head to the left when you enter Pandora in the morning, and ride Na’vi River Journey first. This line is much shorter first thing in the morning. Even if you arrive early, chances are you will have to wait a while in line for Flight of Passage. Ideally, plan in advance and snag an Avatar Flight of Passage FastPass+ and arrive early for Na’vi River Journey.

14. The Goodnight Kiss

Stick around about half an hour after closing at Magic Kingdom and you will experience the Goodnight Kiss. A heart-warming message plays throughout the park, and the castle twinkles and changes color. It’s not a big spectacle, but it will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy as you exit the most magical place on earth.

13. Dine at the Resorts

When making dining reservations, consider the resorts. The deluxe resorts have some of the best dining options at Disney World. Kona Café at the Polynesian has an amazing breakfast, guests can meet Mickey and friends at Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary, and Sanaa at Kidani Village has a delicious bread service. The food and atmosphere of the restaurants at the resorts are worth making the trip for.

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12. Extra Magic Hours

Extra Magic Hours are for resort guests only. Each day one park will open early or stay open late for resort guests, meaning shorter waits and smaller crowds. One thing to keep in mind is that often the park that has extra hours are very busy that day, even during their regular hours. Also, if you attend the early morning Extra Magic Hour at Magic Kingdom, only Tomorrowland and Fantasyland are open. These are things worth considering when making your daily park plan.

11. Rider Switch

The Rider Switch program at the Disney is something all families should use who have children that are too short to ride the attractions, or just don’t want to. With Rider Switch, one adult can wait with the child who isn’t riding, while the rest of the group rides the attraction. When that person returns, they can wait with the child, and the waiting adult can ride the attraction without having to wait in line again. Just ask a cast member when you arrive at the attraction if Rider Switch is available.

10. Get a Spot Early for Parades and Fireworks

The parades, fireworks and night time shows are extremely popular at all the parks and people start claiming prime spots pretty early. If you want a great viewing spot, start looking about 45 minutes to an hour beforehand. This is especially true if you want a spot somewhere on Main Street.

9. Stop at the Tangled Rest Area

The Tangled rest area in Fantasyland is a great place to stop and refresh. Not only are there beautifully themed restrooms, but there’s seating, charging stations, photo ops, and there are 10 hidden Pascals to find in the rest area.

8. Shop Mid-Day

The shops at the parks get super crowded towards the end of the night, which can make shopping and browsing less enjoyable. Shop mid-day when the sun is hot and the stores are less busy.

7. Water Parks

Disney has two wonderfully fun water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. They are a great half-day or full day option, especially if your family loves swimming and you’re visiting during the summer.

6. Share Food

Sharing snacks and meals at Disney is the perfect way to try more of the delicious offerings Disney has, without filling up too quickly. If you’re still hungry, you always have the option to get more food!

5. Free Dining Isn’t Really Free

Each fall Disney has the Free Dining offer, and it’s very popular. But it’s important to know this offer isn’t really free. If you opt for the Free Dining, it means you must pay full price for at the very least, park hopper tickets, and you must pay full price for your room. You might save more money on purchasing discounted tickets and using a room discount, so it’s worth looking at all your options.

4. Book a Dining Package

Both Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom have nighttime shows, Fantasmic and Rivers of Light. The majority of the best seats are reserved for these packages, and since you have to eat lunch or dinner anyway, book a dining package reservation at one of the participating restaurants at each park and you will also receive a voucher for VIP seating to the show.

3. Pre-Order Food

Skip the line at some quick-service and counter service locations by mobile ordering through the My Disney Experience app. This can save lots of time waiting in line.

2. Magic Shots

Make sure to ask PhotoPass Photographers if they have any Magic Shots. They don’t always take Magic Shots even if they have them available, so it’s worth it to ask.

1. Bring Kids of Every Age

People often say they want to wait to visit Disney until their kids are old enough to remember it, but Disney is great for kids of all ages. The thing about bringing young ones, is that you will remember all the wonderful times your family had together, and that’s important too! Disney also caters to families with children of all ages, with the rider swap program, family and companion restrooms, and children 2 and under are free!

About Lauren Repei

Lauren lives in Hamilton Ontario, but dreams of one day moving to Orlando to be closer to the Magic Kingdom. She loves the atmosphere, the history, the magic of the parks and Dole Whips, so she’s always in the midst of planning her next vacation. In the meantime, she spends her days working for the family business as a baker, and as a travel agent specializing in Disney with ClicktheMouse. Lauren’s most memorable Disney moment by far, is when she became engaged in front of Cinderella Castle making it her best Disney vacation to date.