“Know before you go” is the name of the game at Disney parks. Walt Disney World vets know a lot of tricks to have an amazing time that first-time or casual guests don’t know. Here are five tips that every insider knows will make any Disney vacation magical!
5. Rope Drop
Arriving early to the parks is the most important tip to any Disney vacation. I know you’re thinking “Rope drop sounds like it’s early in the morning, and I don’t want to wake up early, I’m on vacation for crying out loud!” That mentality is precisely why folks like me can enjoy light crowds in the morning. So by all means, keep sleeping in at Disney World! But, if you’re serious about getting the most out of your Disney trip, make sure to get to the parks early to take advantage of cooler temperatures and lighter crowds. You can walk on to major attractions that will have huge lines later in the day!
4. Character Dining
Dining with characters is a popular choice among many guests, since it offers the opportunity to meet characters without waiting in a long line. Meals at Chef Mickey’s, Cinderella’s Royal Table, and Akershus are some of the most popular, and therefore hardest Advanced Dining Reservations to score. Never fear though, there are plenty of other character dining options. Eat breakfast and meet Minnie, Goofy, and Donald wearing beach attire at Cape May Cafe in Beach Club Resort. 1900 Park Fare at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort offers several character dining experiences. Enjoy a breakfast buffet with Mary Poppins, Alice, Tigger, and Winnie the Pooh. Wonderland friends join guests for an afternoon tea party. If you are a princess-loving family, dine with royalty at Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner buffet. Of course, there are plenty of other character dining experiences to be had! To find the perfect option for your family, simply use the “character dining” filter tool on Disney’s website. And, be sure to check out the other restaurant reviews here on Disney Dining.
3. Alternate Transportation
Many of Disney’s deluxe resorts offer transportation beyond the standard bus. For example, Epcot area resorts (Boardwalk, Beach Club, Yacht Club, and Swan and Dolphin) offer the Friendship Boats that make stops at the resorts, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios. Grand Floridian, Polynesian Village, and Wilderness Lodge have boats to Magic Kingdom. Most casual guests know that the Magic Kingdom resorts offer the Monorail to the Magic Kingdom, but the boats are a much more relaxing (not to mention less crowded) way to get to the park!
2. Secluded Spots to Rest in the Parks
Touring the parks is exhausting, but every Walt Disney World vet knows the out-of-the-way, quiet spots to take a break. Here are some of my go-to relaxing places. In Animal Kingdom, sit down in the cool caves on Discovery Island, or rest on a bench Maharajah Jungle Trek and enjoy some animals. When in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, head back to Grand Avenue near the Muppets attraction. At Epcot, the way back of the Morocco or United Kingdom pavilions are almost always empty, and are great places to rest weary feet. In Magic Kingdom, I always hop on the Walt Disney World Railroad to sit without feeling like I’m missing out on anything.
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1. Best Times to Visit
The “best” time to visit Walt Disney World depends on what your family is looking for. Generally speaking, traveling during the school year means lighter crowds, and less people means you have a better chance of scoring a promotion! Visiting during May means you’ll miss the last of the Spring Break crowds; early in the month, you can enjoy the end of Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival; and the weather won’t be quite as hot as the summer months (but don’t forget to stay hydrated!). In September and October, the kids are back in school, so less families will take vacations; guests can enjoy the International Food and Wine Festival, and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party; plus, the Free Dining promotion has historically been offered in the fall. Visiting in the first two weeks of December means you can take in the beautiful holiday decorations before the school breaks open the floodgates; Enjoy Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party; and while the weather is usually mild, be sure to pack a jacket for the chilly evenings!
So there you have it, five tips from a Disney vet on how to make your next trip even more magical!