101 Great Disney World Tips

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When visiting Walt Disney World, there are a lot of things that can save you time and money, or improve the quality of your vacation. Here are 101 random tips based upon our experiences in years of traveling to Walt Disney World. Some of the things are simple and easy to–like standing in a different spot than you normally might for the parade or fireworks. Other things require a bit more effort, but will similarly make the trip more enjoyable. There’s really no rhyme or reason to the order, it’s basically just what popped into my head as I started writing the list. If you’re looking for Disneyland tips, check out our 101 Great Disneyland Tips post.

Not all of these tips will be applicable to everyone (if you’re already married, the tip on proposing probably won’t be of much use), but there should be something for everyone here. Whether you’re a first time planner or a weathered veteran who still has nightmare-flashbacks to that Castle Cake of ’96, there are tips for you here.

With these tips in hand, you can get the most out of your Walt Disney World vacation.We’ve just updated these tips for 2015, removing a few that were no longer applicable, and updating others in light of FastPass+ strategy and a few other changes around the parks. Make sure to also read the additional reader tips in the comments, as some of you readers have some great tips of your own that are really helpful. If you have some good tips, be sure to add them there, too. The more, the merrier!

With that said, let’s get started with the list…

  1. The “Free” Disney Dining Plan is not actually free. Room-only discounts of around 30% are very common at Walt Disney World, and you are forgoing this discount in order to receive Free Dining. Do the math before assuming “free” is best; doing a room-only discount and paying for dining is often cheaper, depending upon your hotel and party size.
  2. The Electric Water Pagent is a cute little (unpublicized) light parade on Bay Lake outside the Magic Kingdom. It was originally created for the dedication of Disney’s Polynesian Resort in 1971 and was to run one night only. Due to popular demand, it still shows nightly! Approximate 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.
  3. If you are celebrating a special occasion, make sure to pick up a button reflecting the celebration at your resort hotel or in the parks from Guest Services. You may receive special treatment if wearing the buttons.
  4. The best viewing place for Illuminations: Reflections of Earth is between the two gift shops as you enter World Showcase. This spot is informally known as the “Front of the House.” Look at the map in our Best IllumiNations Viewing Spots post for other great locations.
  5. There are “Disney Parks USA Selected Ticket Sellers” that are authorized by Disney to sell Walt Disney World tickets. Most of the time, you can buy these tickets for less money than you can from Disney directly. You just have to be careful, because there are ticket scams out there, too. Read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets for tips and tricks to saving money on Walt Disney World tickets, plus advice for avoiding the pitfalls.
  6. Besides saving money, one big reason to purchase tickets in advance is so you can make FastPass+ selections. If you’re unfamiliar with FastPass+, make sure to read our Guide to FastPass+ at Walt Disney World, as this will save you multiple hours in line per day.
  7. At Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe, the 1/2 Chicken and BBQ Rib Combination with mashed potatoes and a seasonal vegetable costs over $15, but is a standard option for a counter service credit. This can feed two adults with moderate appetites, making it a great way to use 1 counter service credit for two meals!
  8. In Disneyspeak, a travel agent is called an “Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.” Using them to book and plan your trip is a great way to save time and stress, and it doesn’t cost you anything! They get their commission from Disney, so none of the authorized (key word) planners will charge you for booking their trip and helping. Here’s one such recommended Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.
  9. 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.
  10. Buying pins from Amazon or eBay to trade with Cast Members is the difference between spending ~$1 per pin and $8-10 per pin.
  11. Disney Vacation Club members staying at Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort have access to the Top of the World Lounge, which is a great, uncrowded place to watch the fireworks. 360 degree shows (“Fantasy in the Sky” on December 30 and New Year’s Eve, and “Celebrate America” on July 3 and 4) and shows with perimeter bursts look especially good from up there.
  12. 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.
  13. Disney’s Character Warehouse is an outlet carried heavily discounted and discontinued Disney merchandise. They have two locations off property, on I-Drive near Universal Orlando and on Vineland near Downtown Disney.  The Vineland location is larger and closer to Walt Disney World.
  14. The Resort Loop monorail stop order is Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the Transportation and Ticket Center, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.
  15. “Celebrate the Magic,” the Cinderella Castle projection show before the Wishes! fireworks is not to be missed. It’s more endearing than the fireworks.
  16. If you’ve never visited Walt Disney World, you should go in with at least a rough plan of attack. We have 1-Day Itineraries for every park at Walt Disney World. If you don’t read those, prioritize the following as the first attractions to do each morning when you arrive: Toy Story Mania at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Test Track & Soarin’ at Epcot, Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Fantasyland or the “mountain” attractions in the Magic Kingdom.
  17. Frogg Togg Chilly Pads are a great way to keep cool in the parks. We swear by them. They’re just one of the unorthodox things you should pack for Walt Disney World.
  18. You can enter the Animation Building in Disney’s Hollywood Studios for some of the best character meet & greets in Walt Disney World by going through the Art of Disney store (skipping the Animation Academy attraction). Likewise, you can experience Turtle Talk with Crush without doing the Nemo dark ride by entering The Seas pavilion through the gift shop at the exit.
  19. Signature Restaurants are poor uses of Disney Dining Plan credits because it is highly unlikely that your meal at a Signature would cost twice as much as a normal table service restaurant if you paid out of pocket, yet they cost 2 credits as opposed to 1.
  20. The best viewing place for Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime parade during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is, without question, Main Street USA. It snows on Main Street during the parade, and the Christmas ambiance is best on Main Street.
  21. Free Wi-Fi internet is now available in the theme parks and resort hotels at Walt Disney World.
  22. Kimonos at the Swan Hotel is a great place for karaoke, and it also has a solid drink menu.
  23. The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World is known as the “Disney Bible” among fans for a reason. Another good nickname for it would be “Disney War & Peace,” because it’s about as long as a Russian novel and will help you avoid the war zones at Walt Disney World to achieve vacation “peace.”
  24. Unless you do it in the first 30 minutes the park is open, don’t do standby for Peter Pan’s Flight–use FastPass+. Unless you like torture.
  25. Get a free caffeine fix at Epcot’s Club Cool, where there are eight flavors of Coke products from around the world. Make sure to try the Beverly. It’s a rite of passage!
  26. A great selection of CDs featuring Disney theme park music are available in the Emporium on Main Street USA, but some of the best music is available (legally) online.
  27. The Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover is a great attraction for relaxing, and it rarely has much of a line.
  28. Due to the monorail stop order, it is fastest to walk to the Magic Kingdom from Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and to take the monorail from the Magic Kingdom to the Contemporary (unless there’s a line).
  29. Walt Disney World celebrates Christmas in numerous ways, and many believe it’s the “most magical” time of year to visit. We agree.
  30. 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. The beach at Disney’s Polynesian Resort is an alternative, but the view isn’t as good.
  31. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Expedition Everest are both much better at night. Here are other Magic Kingdom Attractions that are better at night.
  32. Family photos taken from the front, dead-center of Cinderella Castle are most popular, but the back of the Castle is arguably prettier and a much more unique location for that family photo.
  33. To build excitement and help plan your trip, request a free vacation planning DVD from Disney and also free customized park maps.
  34. Walt Disney World counter service restaurants will give you a free cup of water (ask for a large cup!) or a free cup of hot water.
  35. Depending upon your skipper and the guest demographic of your boat (i.e. no kids), you might get an “edgier” Jungle Cruise experience if you ride late at night.
  36. Don’t believe what anyone says about the best “secret” Wishes! fireworks viewing spots. The best spots are all on Main Street USA. Do not watch the Wishes! fireworks in the Magic Kingdom from the hub beyond the Partners statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse. You will be too close to Cinderella Castle, and won’t be able to see much of the show. Our Best Magic Kingdom Fireworks Viewing Spots post contains a map of the best and worst locations.
  37. Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe and Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe both have similar toppings bars with items such as pickles, tomatoes, mushrooms, etc., allowing you to pile on the toppings to your food to get more bang for your buck.
  38. A great (free!) activity during the Christmas season is touring the Deluxe resorts to see their beautiful Christmas decorations and displays. Here’s a plan we’ve devised for taking the tour.
  39. Grab a snack (namely ice cream) at the FountainView in Epcot, sit outside, and enjoy the Fountain of Nations, which dances to music.
  40. Don’t visit the Magic Kingdom on a Monday. Save it for the middle of the week when crowds are lower.
  41. The Kitchen Sink at Beaches & Cream is an experience, not just a dessert. If you have a part of 4 or so, order it. Your kids will love the “show” when the Kitchen Sink is brought to your table.
  42. Bell Services at Disney hotels will store your luggage, meaning you can enjoy the parks if you arrive too early on check-in day or have a late flight out on check-out day.
  43. Adults can always order from the kid’s menu, which is a great way to save money while still getting a meal that will satiate smaller/moderate appetites.
  44. Besides minor decorations in the Magic Kingdom, the only way Walt Disney World “celebrates” Halloween is with the hard ticket Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, which costs $50+/person to attend. It’s worth doing once, but even if you don’t do it, the fall is a great time to visit for light crowds and great weather.
  45. 50s Prime Time Cafe serves arguably the best milk shake at Walt Disney World. If you want one, but don’t want a full meal, stop by the Tune In Lounge located in the same building as the restaurant, where you can order just a milk shake. (We are really excited to try the new-ish PB&J shake.)
  46. PhotoPass Cast Members will take (free!) photos of you with your camera, so don’t be afraid to ask! Make sure your settings are dialed in before handing them the camera, as they will not typically adjust settings.
  47. Chances are, it will rain/sprinkle at least once during your trip. Throw-away ponchos at Walt Disney World are almost $10/each. Purchase packs of throw-away ponchos before your trip for ~$1/each.
  48. World Showcase has some excellent restaurants, but most are table service. The best counter service restaurant in Epcot is Sunshine Seasons in Future World.
  49. 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 if that’s what you want.
  50. If there are animal lovers in your family, eat at Sanaa and ask for a window view. Not only are the views great, but it’s one of the most underrated restaurants at Walt Disney World.
  51. Attractions don’t close 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. This is a great way to experience rides with perpetually long lines, like Toy Story Mania without wasting “valuable” time.
  52. The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios that are displayed on the Streets of America during the holiday season typically stay on for an hour after the park officially closes.
  53. Both monorails from the Magic Kingdom stop at the Ticket & Transportation Center. If that or Epcot is your final destination, take whichever monorail comes first or has a shorter line. Similarly, Disney’s Polynesian Resort is a short walk from the Ticket & Transportation Center (worth keeping in mind if the Resort Loop line is really long).
  54. If you have growing kids, a great spot for an annual photo is near the Cigar Shop Indian on Main Street USA. He’s a great measuring stick for their growth.
  55. Hidden Mickey spotting is a fun game for kids. The books/apps have different point levels for the various Mickeys. Offer prizes to add to the fun. If Hidden Mickeys aren’t your thing, bringing along an Imagineering Field Guide and hunting for hidden details is a great way to increase your appreciation for the design of the parks.
  56. Mizner’s Lounge at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa serves a mean Manhattan, and has a solid selection of good drinks beyond just what’s found on the resort-wide generic drinks menu.
  57. All of the World Showcase countries have little nooks to explore, but Morocco is one of the best. Head deep into the pavilion to find an authentic shop. Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s fun to peruse.
  58. If you anticipate “needing” a princess dress or pirate costume while at Walt Disney World, buy it from your local Disney Store or DisneyStore.com in advance during a sale. Much cheaper that way.
  59. If you plan on eating at Coral Reef in Epcot, book the earliest lunch or dinner reservation possible, show up slightly early to your reservation, and request a tank view for the most spectacular view of the marine life. Your request will usually be accommodated.
  60. Don’t get duped into buying into Disney Vacation Club by the alluring promotions while at Walt Disney World. Wait until you get home, research the Pros and Cons of Disney Vacation Club, and buy via the resale market if you’re going to buy at all.
  61. Ask for ketchup at Whispering Canyon Cafe. 😉
  62. Fantasyland attractions are best experienced first thing in the morning or last thing at night to minimize waits.
  63. Most of the entertainment that makes up Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (a hard ticket event in November and December costing $50+ per person) is shown during normal park hours and included with normal theme park admission from the week before Christmas until New Year’s…however, you will still “pay” for it in the form of ridiculous crowds and higher nightly room rates.
  64. The Hollywood Brown Derby serves exceptional mixed drinks. The Cobb Salad is also makes a nice, light meal if you don’t just want a liquid lunch or dinner.
  65. The bridge connecting Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club to Disney’s BoardWalk Inn is a decent place to watch Illuminations: Reflections of Earth from outside Epcot.
  66. If you’re staying at a Disney-owned hotel, you can have merchandise you purchase in the park sent to your hotel so you don’t have to carry it around all day.
  67. Sleepy Hollow in the Magic Kingdom isn’t a “full” counter service restaurant, but their waffle sandwiches are to die for.
  68. When it’s working, Old Faithful erupts on the half hour at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. On our last visit to Wilderness Lodge in late-2014, it was working.
  69. Don’t be afraid of having some fun by decorating your room window in a Disney hotel. Lots of guests do it, and it can be a lot of fun for the kids. Christmas lights, posed stuff animals, and homemade signs are just some of the things you can use to set the “scene.” Don’t be surprised if MouseKeeping has a little “fun” with your set-up, too!
  70. Shops on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom are open up to an hour after the park closes. Do your shopping once you can’t do rides.
  71. Florida weather from November through February is unpredictable. Pack everything from shorts to a light jacket unless you’re really confident in the forecast. Here’s a full list of what you should pack for Disney during winter visits.
  72. Don’t waste Disney Dining Plan snack credits on bottled water or fruit. Get awesome cupcakes instead. This is one way to get the most bang for your buck out of the Disney Dining Plan.
  73. The most common proposal location at Walt Disney World is right in front of Cinderella Castle. For a slightly more unique twist on the same thing, go to the Wishing Well on the right side of the Castle. Here are 100 other great Disney proposal ideas.
  74. Request a free wake-up call each morning from Mickey or Stitch on the resort hotel phone. It’s better than a buzzing alarm, and it’s a cool way to wake up (it might even get your kids excited to start the day!).
  75. If you are visiting when there are two showings of Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, always see the second showing. The line will be much shorter and you’ll get better seats. Same thing goes for the Main Street Electrical Parade in the Magic Kingdom when it has two runnings.
  76. If you don’t want to wait eons at Enchanted Tales with Belle in the Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland, you should get a FastPass+ for it, or do it within the first or last hour the Magic Kingdom is open.
  77. Yehaa Bob is a great, family-friendly entertainer who performs most nights at River Roost Lounge (which is a bar). Jellyrolls is a fun dueling piano bar (for adults) located on the BoardWalk at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn.
  78. A few restaurants in Epcot’s World Showcase offer views of Illuminations. La Hacienda has the best view. Make late reservations that are at least 30 minutes before the fireworks, arrive early to them, and request a window table. Inform the server that you’re willing to wait 20 minutes for the window seat. Not only will you have a great view of the show, but your meal will end after the park closes, giving you a tranquil walk out of the park. We call this the IllumiNations Post Show Stroll.
  79. Currently, the Anna & Elsa Frozen Meet & Greet is the most difficult FastPass+ to score, with some dates ‘selling out’ of these FastPass+ 60 days in advance.
  80. 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. For other Walt Disney World “Easter Eggs” and secrets, read this.
  81. Country Bear Jamboree, Carousel of Progress, the Enchanted Tiki Room, and the Hall of Presidents are very divisive shows in the Magic Kingdom. All rarely have lines, too. Try them for yourself and form your own opinion rather than skipping them based on someone else’s opinion. At worst, they’re nice chances to relax and recharge in air conditioning.
  82. Dole Whips have a reputation that precedes them, but the lesser-known Citrus Swirl served at the Sunshine Tree Terrace in the Magic Kingdom is just as delicious.
  83. Character meet & greet lines are typically shortest in Disney’s Animal Kingdom and typically longest in the Magic Kingdom.
  84. You can now make Advance Dining Reservations for Be Our Guest Restaurant at lunch–our top pick in the Magic Kingdom Counter Service Restaurant Rankings post–in the My Disney Experience app. This is currently the only counter service restaurant for which you can make reservations.
  85. Disney hotels will hold packages mailed to guests for pickup by the guests. This is a great way to save money on Disney prices (or checked bag fees) by mailing yourself food or supplies you might need on the trip. Some hotels charge a small pickup fee.
  86. Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom is open for breakfast an hour before the park opens (so is Cinderella’s Royal Table). This is not just a great opportunity for an early breakfast, but also for empty photos of the Magic Kingdom!
  87. Select attractions have single rider lines that will save you a lot of time if you don’t mind splitting up from your group. The best of these is Test Track, where it’s not uncommon to save an hour or more on the posted standby time.
  88. Downtown Disney is currently transitioning to Disney Springs, and is a bit of a hassle right now due to the construction. Here are our Downtown Disney Tips & Tricks that might help make the experience more enjoyable.
  89. Campfire Sing-Along with Chip & Dale is a (free!) campfire show at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground every night at 7 or 8 p.m., depending upon the season.
  90. If you give a PhotoPass photographer a (discrete) heads up, they generally can help you capture photos of your proposal.
  91. Walt Disney World offers numerous tours that range in price from free to super-expensive. A great, inexpensive tour is the Behind the Seeds Tour at Epcot.
  92. H20 makes the shampoo used at Walt Disney World hotels. You can usually buy larger bottles in the hotel gift shops, although stocking up on the ones MouseKeeping provides is pretty easy if you put it in your luggage each day so they replenish it.
  93. Instead of spending $10+ on each on-ride photo, get PhotoPass+ for UNLIMITED on-ride photos plus photos from PhotoPass photographers around the parks. Pre-purchase this to save more money.
  94. Make an effort to hang around the Magic Kingdom for 30 minutes after it closes. You’ll be rewarded with The Kiss Goodnight.
  95. If you’re “Drinking Around the World” in Epcot, stop at La Cava del Tequila in Mexico instead of the stand outside. Much higher quality drinks.
  96. There is a detailed miniature train and village in the Germany pavilion. Special seasonal touches are added to the village during various times of year.
  97. If the Magic Kingdom is especially busy, take the monorail to Contempo Cafe in Disney’s Contemporary Resort or Captain Cook’s in Disney’s Polynesian Resort or take a boat to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and visit Roaring Fork for a counter service meal. These are three of the absolute best counter service restaurants in Walt Disney World.
  98. If you see a tree creepin’ down the walkways at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, stop and watch. It’s actually DiVine, an incredibly talented (and camouflaged) performer. Likewise, if you see a trash can roaming around Tomorrowland, stop and chat with it.
  99. Arrive to the Magic Kingdom at least 15 minutes before it officially opens (as you should) and you will be rewarded with the Train Station Welcome Show. Perfect way to start a day.
  100. Chewing gum is not sold anywhere on Walt Disney World property. Plan accordingly.
  101. There are literally thousands of things to do at Walt Disney World, many of which are quite known and popular, some of which are relatively unknown. Read as much as you can when planning your trip–you can never know too much about Walt Disney World, but you can definitely know too little.

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Want personalized help from someone who has a myriad of their own Walt Disney World tips? We recommend contacting a no fee “Authorized Disney Vacation Planner” (Disney’s term for a travel agent) to get a quote and to help you plan. They get their commission from Disney, so none of the authorized (key word) planners will charge you for booking their trip and helping. Here’s one such recommended Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.

If you’re more the do-it-yourself type when it comes to trip planning, you will also want to read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post to buy the cheapest tickets from legitimate sources. To figure out where to stay, our Walt Disney World Hotel Reviews page is a great resource. Want to know where to eat or if the Disney Dining Plan is right for you? Our Walt Disney World Dining Resources will help!

For lots of other Walt Disney World trip planning tips and comprehensive advice, make sure to read our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide.

For updates on Walt Disney World, the latest news, discount information, and tips, sign up for our free newsletter!

Your Thoughts…

If you have solid tips that aren’t mentioned here, please post them below! If you have any other comments or questions, please feel free to post those, too.

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186 Responses to “101 Great Disney World Tips”

  1. Mitch says:

    We are headed to WDW a week from Saturday!! These tips are all super helpful, and I thought I knew a lot already!

    Any resort specific tips? We are staying at the grand floridian and boardwalk inn.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      102. Take the monorail from the Grand Floridian to the Polynesian for breakfast one morning, and get Tonga Toast at Captain Cook’s, where it’s cheaper than it is at Kona Cafe. Also, get a self serve Dole Whip there.

      103. BoardWalk Bakery has some of the best cupcakes at WDW, which make for a great breakfast. It gets busy during the 8 a.m. hour, so go early.

      • Ellen Hillery says:

        Can you really order off the kids menu? My daughter is 14 and still would like to but they always ask her age and say that she can’t.

      • Mitch says:

        Thanks!! We actually have kona booked for breakfast our first morning and I was planning to order tonga toast! Maybe captain cook’s will do the trick instead! Sadly, the boardwalk bakery is closed for refurbishment.

    • Teri M. says:

      I am looking into Westgate Towers and All Star Vacations for our lodging. We are leaning towards Westgate Towers and we know about the time share sales pitch they will give us (we know how to say no). It seems to be the closest to the parks, and like the idea of a smaller condo. Reviews show they can be noisy and not sure I can handle the Swiss Family Robinson being in the condo above us. Yelp is useless and want to see if anyone on this blog has been there recently and can give us some insight.

      • Rachel says:

        My family actually owns a timeshare there. We are going this year and avoiding it altogether. Everytime we go the staff are more and more obnoxious and rude. They’re comfortable adding on fees to your end bill, and keeping you waiting for upwards of an hour just to check in, or out.

        Also, be careful with their shuttle-bus system. If you are not driving, it may be worth renting a car. The buses are usually late, and you have to reserve your space. Also, if you miss one (we didn’t, but spoke with a handful who did) you will be getting a taxi to go back to the timeshare. We are staying at a Disney Resort for the first time this year just to avoid the headache of it all. Hope you find something that works for your family!

        P.S. One year we stayed there I was younger and my parents let me have the lockoff to myself. I left all my jewelry on the counter (because I was like 9) and when we got back my ruby and gold ring was gone, as well as my chi.

      • Shay says:

        I also own a timeshare at Westgate Vacation Villas and I have never had a problem there. We go to WDW every year and we always stay at Westgate. I’m not sure how the Towers work, but housekeeping does not clean your room at the Villas until you actually check out so we have never had a problem with staff from the resort entering our room. We have went all times of the year, mainly during peak WDW crowd times (Spring break in March and during the summer in May, June, and July). It has always been very quiet and my daughter loves all of the extra activities they have for the kids.

    • Zilmita says:

      Grand Floridian: Just try to check out with they provide at the resort. I know that they have a spa there. Take advantage of the monorail. It’s faster then taking the busses to the parks and/or any of the resorts.

      Boardwalk: There are plenty of restaurants there. They have the ESPN Club there. They are good for hamburgers. There is an arcade next to the restaurant for the kiddos to play video games. There are other great restaurants at the Boardwalk. Or, if u want, take the boat to either the Beach or Yacht Club. They also have great restaurants there. One of them is kinda themed like the 60’s. It’s more popular for their ice cream. They have this ice cream that’s called “The Kitchen Sink.” Which is literally a kitchen sink bowl filled with ice cream, sauces, & toppings. When it comes to transportation I would take the boat or walk to Epcot. Or, you can take the boat to Hollywood Studios.

  2. Kevin says:

    Excellent list – I’m sure that took some time to write!

    I heartily agree with #13 and #42.

  3. Nat says:

    Thanks for such a great and helpful list!

  4. Megan Dyan says:

    I know it’s $$$, but I think you and Sarah should do the Animal Kingdom Wild Africa Trek so you can blog about it and share details with the rest of us!

  5. Shannon says:

    I love this blog, it’s getting me excited for my May 20th trip! It’s my first time going and it’s to celebrate my college graduation..any special tips? We’re staying at the Port Orleans Riverside!

    • Megan Dyan says:

      We will be there the 22nd! Are you leaving before Memorial Day? The crowds will be ridiculous! :(

      • Shannon says:

        No we’ll be there from the 20-27! So right through Memorial Day =/..I guess we will have to brave the crowds! lol

      • sarah says:

        we are going may 15-22. are the crowds going to be crazy?

    • Megan Dyan says:

      we’ll be braving the crowds too. so exciting for you! Disney is fabulous and I hope you have a wonderful time!

      • Shannon says:

        Thank you! I hope you have a wonderful time too! I love disney and have been to disneyland millions of times but first time to disneyworld!

      • Kristen says:

        I’m taking my 6 year old May 22-26, so excited, thanks for this blog!

    • Bruce Beekman says:


  6. Aly says:

    So many good tips!

    1. Don’t hate on the castle cake. It was a very important time in my childhood. 😉
    2. Recommending Beverly? You are sneaky.
    3. I would actually not recommend a tank view at Coral Reef — kids crawl all over you! The best is on the first raised level. Great views of the whole tank without small children climbing the wall next to you while you’re eating.
    4. Have you tried Fulton’s in Downtown Disney? Their crab legs were some of the best I’ve ever had! It’s a really fantastic restaurant, and I’d highly recommend it, even if you’re not a big fan of Downtown Disney.

    Great job! :)

    • Tom Bricker says:

      1. Don’t tell anyone, but I actually like the Castle Cake, too. Of course, I was 11 at the time. It just is something to poke fun at.

      2. What’s wrong with Beverly…? 😉

      3. Interesting. We had kids around us once, but another time it wasn’t an issue.

      4. Tried it once when I was younger (probably 14 or so) and I got sick from eating too much butter. From what I recall, the food was delicious. Still, way too long ago to be a relevant experience now.

      • Aly says:

        You should definitely give Fulton’s another shot. My parents and I tried it a few years ago just to try something different and I was blown away with the quality, service, everything. The views alone are awesome. Our waiter was excellent and the food was some of the best I’ve had at Disney (which is really saying something!) It’s on our itinerary this year for our honey(Disney)moon.

        I’ve also heard really great things about the Italian restaurant in Downtown Disney, though I’m blanking on the name. My coworker went there and raved about it.

    • Victoria says:

      I would never recommend Fulton’s, especially not their crab legs. When my family and I walked in it wreaked of smelly fish. Then we ordered the crab legs and my mom and I go seriously sick. This has been my only bag experience with Disney EVER.

      • Hilary says:

        I would recommend Raglan Road. They serve the best steak I have ever eaten and they have great Irish dancers and music while you are eating. It is a must everytime I visit.

  7. KatyBeth says:

    If you watch Illuminations from the second-story porch in Japan, you get an unobstructed view of the entire show AND you can watch Wishes at the same time if you look to your left!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Shhh…let’s keep this one quiet! 😉

      Actually, this isn’t on the list despite being one of my favorite spots because I think it’s great for photographers, but only “okay” for normal guests. I’d rather be in one of those other spots if I’m not taking photos.

  8. Emily says:

    What a great list! Thanks! Your blog is great and so helpful. I’ll be trying some of these out for our end of April trip.

    You’ll have to add Be Our Guest to your #10. During lunch you fill up at the self service drink stations.

    For tip #58 from past experience – take advantage of a DVC Open House visit. It may be hard to say no, but if you can stick to your guns you get a nice ride from the park to the site, free beverages, cookies, ice cream and a free ride back to anywhere you choose. There is a kids play area there too. Total time with transportation could take up to 2 hours though. When we did it in December 2012, each member of our group was given a $50 Disney gift card for sitting through the long speech. When we asked in January what perk was being offered it was a fastpass card for every ride for the duration of the visit.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Ahhh, totally forgot about Be Our Guest, and we just dined there!

      When we did the DVC open house, I think the perk was a $25 gift card…so it’s going up!

  9. Becky says:

    Caveat on buying pins from ebay…many of the pin lots sold on ebay are scrappers (fakes), so be very careful! I know the idea of saving a bunch of money can be tempting, but releasing fake pins into the park is not cool.

    You can still often buy pins at a discount at the Character Outlets. Not quite as cheap as what you’ll find on ebay, but guaranteed to be legit!

    • Megan Dyan says:

      I’ve bought pins off ebay several times, and know others who have done so, and no fakes. There are a LOT of sellers with only positive reviews, and you get legit merch. Checking the seller’s feedback will probably clue you in to the legitimacy of the pins.

      • Tom Bricker says:

        Yeah, pretty easy to check feedback on both Amazon and eBay sellers. Don’t buy someone with low or lots of negative feedback.

    • Bonnie says:

      Go to dizpins or pinpics websites to check for a sizable but overall small selection of identified fakes (a fraction of what is out there) and information on scrapper pins. They will also give you names of legitimate ebay and amazon sellers who have proven themselves to sell authorized pins along with sellers who sell scrappers and bootlegs. On the scrapper lists, are some of the most prolific and highly rated ebay and Amazon sellers. Disney outsources pin production to China, and they do NOT break the molds at the end of a run as they are supposed to. Scrapper pins are legit only in the sense they are being made from actual Disney molds, and most are pretty decent quality but completely unauthorized.

      You can tell the difference in quality if you have the genuine pin and its scrapper counterpart side by side. Typically the metal is thinner/lighter, the edges might be a little rougher, and the clear coat might not be as glossy. Quality control goes down substantially once Disney is out of the production equation. Overall though, it’s very hard to tell the difference unless you really do have them side by side. The pins typically arrive in small plastic individual baggies in pristine, untraded condition. They look pretty darn good.

      These pins will be 100% tradable in the park. ALL and I do mean ALL the sellers on Amazon or Ebay selling these in huge lots of 25, 50, 100, even 200 for 50cents to $1 each are selling scrappers. Some will tell you that “stock is always changing because we trade several times a week” which is a lie. Feedback is no indication that they are real, because having purchased a couple of these lots myself I purchased from sellers with 100% positive feedback with 10’s of thousands of sales and received ALL good quality scrappers. Not a single genuine park bought pin in the bunch. These are USA sellers, too. The one lot of 40 I bought came right out of Orlando! If you look closer at the feedback, you will see that there ARE some negatives in there from collectors who know the difference. The average person won’t, and are just happy with the massive lot of nice looking pins that was shipped super quickly at a great price. I ended up giving them out in trick or treat bags at Halloween and the kids were thrilled.

      The purpose of this novel isn’t to guilt you out of purchasing them or point accusatory fingers at anyone for trading them in the parks. The damage is done at this point. Please do not trade a $10 pin you bought in the park with a cast member unless you are very savvy with pin collecting or don’t mind if what you get in return is not authorized, will not appreciate in value, and for all intents and purposes is a worthless but cute trinket. Cast members lanyards are loaded with scrappers because so many people buy these huge lots on ebay and amazon and so very few people know the difference. If it seems to good to be true, it usually is.

      • barbara reyes says:

        This is absolutely true! I bought a lot of 50 pins for my children. I was so impressed with the condition of the pins that I bought a second lot for my niece and nephew. The second lot was another box of the EXACT SAME 50 pins!

  10. Matt Nabozny says:

    #44B For the cold season, rain ponchos are especially good for Kali River Rapids and Splash Mountain. No one wants to get wet when it’s cold, but if you wear your rain poncho you can usually ride these attractions with very little wait and barely get wet.

  11. Kristen B says:

    When you try the PB&J shake at 50’s primetime, ask for it with chocolate ice cream!

  12. Amy Morris says:

    A supply of plastic Ziploc bags can be a lifesaver for in the parks or packing a damp suit to take home. A small supply of plastic clothes pins to hang wet suits on the line over the tub in your room can be really handy.

  13. Don Livingston says:

    Wow! What a great list. Thank You! Only nitpicking point is the waffle sandwiches at Sleepy Hollow. We didn’t think they were that great. But Wow Thanks for taking the time to write this.

  14. Kim says:

    As a former employee of WDW, my number one piece of advice for any family with children is to leave the park for maybe two hours in the middle of the day, go back to your hotel for a dip in the pool and a quick nap, and everyone will be happier. It may not work depending on your time frame for your vacation, but if it’s possible, it makes a world of difference. Around 3:30pm, especially in the FL summer heat, how many children are screaming/crying, with parents about to do the same? If you aren’t enjoying the day, it’s not worth the money you spent to be there!

    • Bryan says:

      This! My friends do this all the time, and they have said it really cuts down on the amount of “melt downs” they experience in the park. :)

  15. Jym says:

    As the resident Disney expert where I live, I’m constantly making a list of WDW tips for people. Now, I have someplace to send people for a great list of tips. Superb Job, Tom!

  16. Chronic Gin Deficiency says:

    What follows are the ravings of a functioning alcoholic, albeit one tragically plus-zero for the nonce. Thank your personal diety this is not your world.

    Grumble grumble on number 54. Mizner’s is my favorite bar/lounge in the small-w world, and the bartenders there do make old-school drinks very well. It doesn’t have the property-standard drink menu, and their selection of whiskies and brandies isn’t easily matched on property.


    I am a Manhattan fiend, and one must use straight rye to make a proper Manhattan. Mizner’s doesn’t have rye, nor does Citricos, the only bar from which Mizner’s can swipe. Their menu has a Manhattan made with Knob Creek bourbon, a poor second. As such, I’ll stick to a martini (which has gin, dammit) or a French 75.

    In a rare reversal, the Manhattan on the standard drink menu – which has Bulleit rye, Carpano Antica vermouth, and Luxardo cherries – is a true work of art. Pro tip: Territory Lounge makes them the best, and on your first sip clouds of seraphim and cherubim descend, singing “Ode to Joy.”

    If you must have a Manhattan at Mizner’s, ask for Canadian Club, which has a good amount of rye in it. And by all means, do enjoy Mizner’s, especially when the Society Orchestra is playing. Just stay off my bar stool or I’ll beat you with a pipe.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      The first time I ordered a Manhattan at Mizner’s, the bartender recommended ordering it with Canadian Club for that very reason–I thought it was excellent, although admittedly, I am not an advanced Manhattan connoisseur like you.

      Beyond that, their drink menu seems pretty spectacular, and has something for just about everyone. They have some sort of chocolate martini (or something of that sort) that my wife absolutely loves. I tried it once, and I have to admit that–for what it was–it was pretty good.

      Thanks for the tip on Territory Lounge. We’ve actually NEVER been there, but have heard great things.

      • Chronic Gin Deficiency says:

        I like the cut of your jib, good sir.

        When you do make your way to the Territory Lounge, go between Sunday and Thursday, when the incomparable Brucie is tending bar. Tell her the Cheesecake Man (get your head out of the gutter) sent you, but I can’t guarantee she won’t chase you out with a stick. If she doesn’t, you’ll get to watch a true professional at work.

  17. Emily says:

    There is also a Disney outlet in Las Vegas! I believe it is called Character Warehouse or something like that! Not sure if they have any other ones around… But it is a great source to buy t-shirts, mugs, etc. from a couple years ago that you forgot to buy or was too expensive. Everything is very inexpensive so if any Disney fans live in or are visiting Las Vegas, I definitely suggest checking it out :)

  18. Nicholas says:

    Thanks Tom for these tips. As someone who has gone to Walt Disney world for 20 years and discovered tips of my own these narrow things down so that I can pass them on to my friends who plan on going to the parks but have never been. I actually discovered some new ones I never knew. Love the site keep up the good work :)

  19. Glenn says:

    You mentioned viewing spots for Illuminations, Magic Kingdom fireworks, etc but what about tips for Mickey’s Halloween Party best parade viewing spots? Looks like from your trip report and pics you were in the Main St Hub in front of the train station, which appears to be a wonderful spot.

  20. Sally says:

    My suggestion is to take a power strip so everyone can plug thier phones and cameras in one place.

  21. Dan says:

    The Rose & Crown in the UK at Epcot also gives incredible views for Illuminations and walk-ins are often available during quieter periods after 8pm – it is always worth trying your luck

    • Tom Bricker says:

      That’s a great tip. We’ve never done Rose & Crown for Illuminations, but I’ve been in the private area down near Rose & Crown, and it’s a GREAT view.

  22. Krystin says:

    For an efficient park/water park/park day, we like to catch the first bus to Animal Kingdom on it’s Early Open day, hit all of our favorite rides, catch the 11am Lion King show, and then head to Blizzard Beach. Any resort bus (except Animal Kingdom Lodge) will stop at BB on it’s way to the resort, so it doesn’t matter what bus you take. At the end of the Blizzard Beach day (~5pm), go back to the hotel, freshen up, and head to EPCOT for dinner.

  23. Excellent tips, and as always breathtaking photos!! I wanted to let you know that I featured this today as one of my favorite pins of the week: http://www.disneytouristblog.com/101-disney-world-best-tips/ … Many of my readers are huge Disney fans too. I’m sure they’ll click through and enjoy this post as much as I did! :) Thanks so much for sharing! :)

  24. Stephanie says:

    If your not staying at one of the resorts can you still go to them and dine there. I really want to go to Beaches and Cream after reading your blog?

  25. Brandi says:

    My daughter is playing in the softball World Series at Espn disney in July. Due to the gsme schedules, we don’t know when we will be able to go to the parks until that week. How should I plan to but tickets, passes and meal plans the week of? Are there any character meals with toy story?

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I would recommend that you do without the Disney Dining Plan, and just buy tickets when you get there. Since your schedule is fluid, chances are that you will not get your money’s worth out of the Dining Plan. Just pay as you go for food.

      • Melody says:

        We are looking in to a trip to wdw this fall. 2 adults and 4 & 6 yr old. Our 1st trip! You said do the math on the dining plan… How do I calculate what food will cost if we pay as we go? I think my kids and my pocketbook would love to stay at The art of Animation but the “free dining” is not an option on their standard rooms.

  26. Candice p says:

    Thank you for all the info. Three days after my husband and I got married, he was unexpectedly shipped off to Afghanistan. So, we are celebrating our honeymoon on his R&R July 23-30. This is both of our first times to Disney and I’m so overwhelmed planning this trip alone. Any advice from anyone would be awesome!

  27. Emily says:

    Loved this article! I printed t out. I am going to WDW in July for my 13th birthday, and this will really help me!! Trust me, I am a DIE HARD Disnerd. :-)

  28. Jennifer says:

    Love the article. I give a lot of the same tips when helping friends plan. I disagree with #86 though. My kids ask to go to Downtown Disney. They love it after dark. It’s vibrant and lively. They live looking around listening to entertainers and playing with the Legos. Again, awesome compilation of tips. Well done!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Yeah, I think the Downtown Disney tip might be a YMMV thing. Some people love it…for some odd reason! 😉

  29. helen says:

    Thank you so much for these fantastic tips. We are off to Disney in 2 weeks with our two young children (1yr & 4yrs) we are staying at the Sheraton Vistana. It will be our first time visiting with our children! Any kiddy friendly tips most welcome! :)

  30. Sheera says:

    Thank you for the the great list! I’ve spent an embarrassing amount of time reading through your site today (hey, I have a sick toddler, might as well take advantage of the down time!) and I think I’m getting a lot of good tips for our March 2014 trip!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Glad you’re enjoying the tips! Thanks for reading.

    • Erica says:

      We went in early April a few years ago. During the day it was sunny, warm, and typical Florida. But shortly after the sun went down I found myself buying hoodies for my kids and I because it was so chilly. Like Tom says, pack for everything

  31. Darci says:

    LOVE this site!! I have scoured and scoured the internet for tips/hints/suggestions on WDW. My husband and I are driving from Northwest Illinois with our 4 kids, ages 9, 8, 6, and 4, the first week of October. We have both been before, but it will be our first time with the kids. My birthday is Oct.l and our first day at the park is Oct. 6. Is it ok to say that we are celebrating my birthday, even though my birthday will have already happened?

    • Hattie says:

      Yes! It is totally ok to say you are celebrating your birthday. We did this for my grandma even though her birthday was a few days before we arrived. You get a pin to wear saying it is your birthday and your family will each get “we’re celebrating” pins. Super fun…wear them the whole week long…the cast members love to pay celebrating folks a little extra attention! :)

      Have a great trip…I’m going in a week!!!

  32. Brenda Boyd says:

    we are going to go to WDW in Aug they say the heat is awful any suggestion on this. we are staying at the Coronado springs

    • C says:

      When in Aug? My whole family is going in Aug and we are celebrating our family reunion there. I have been in Aug before and it can be very HOTT!!!!! But be prepared for the afternoon showers because it rains everyday in Aug. My suggestion would be to take advantage of the pool at your resort or the water parks. Also you can use the pools at other Disney resorts too. Disney doesn’t check to see if you are staying at that specific resort, so I would recommend checking out the pools at either the Beach Club or the Boardwalk if you have children. Hope you have a fun and safe trip!

      • Hilary says:

        I have been told that they are now giving wristbands to the people who stay at the Beach and Yacht Club so that you cannot use the pool unless you are staying at one of the resorts. We planned one night at the Beach Club for this very reason.

      • amy says:

        They sure do check when using the pool at the Boardwalk to make sure you are a guest there!! And the Beach Club pool…it’s locked down like Fort Knox!!

  33. Alea says:

    I have been going to WDW for 14 years and am always getting to share advice with others going for their first or second times. But I learned so much from your 101 tips that I took 3 pages of notes! Thanks for sharing! I really came her to see your photographs and they are amazing. I have some camera jealousy for sure!

  34. Adrienne says:

    We just had 6 magical days at Disney.

    My tips would include

    1. Always check the Standby Time before getting your fast passes. We got fast passes for a couple of rides only to find out that the stand by times was 10 minutes.

    2. Check to see if there is a single rider line. Test Track had a 10 minute single rider, 50 minute stand by and was sold out of fast passes. 1. Animal Kingdom – Sit on the left side of the safari car to get the best shot of most animals. Feeding time is in the morning.

    3. Animal Kingdom – Cool off at the fountain in Asia. There are even streams of water to cool just your feet.

    4. Animal Kingdom – Do not miss It’s Tough to be a Bug. A hilarious 10 minute show that is sure to put a smile on everyone’s face.

    5. Animal Kingdom – Kids, get a Wilderness Explorers Handbook on your way in and collect stickers while learning all kinds of cool things along the way.

    6. Epcot – Go to Soarin first as it is often a 2 hour line up.

    7. Epcot – There are two ferries from Mexico to Germany and from the Fountain to Morocco. This saves a whole lot of walking. They run until 7:30 pm

    8. Magic Kingdom – All ages can get cooled off and even soaked at Casey Jr. Splash pad. Bring a bathing suit. We had record breaking weather at 95 degrees.

    9. Hollywood Studios – You can Sing in the Rain and cool off at the light post and umbrella.

    The best tip of all is that you can ask any café for a glass of ice water. We saved easily $50 and stayed hydrated and cool.

    I took all your tips and organized them by park. It made it easy to find tips related to each park. Most of your tips are for Magic Kingdom.

    Thanks. Your tips really paid off on our visit.

    • Nikki says:

      Thanks for YOUR tips too, Adrienne, I have copied most of them into our itinerary for later this year! :) (First time from South Africa!)

  35. Winifred says:

    Thanks for these great tips. Have really enjoyed reading lots of information especially about the hotels.

    We’re looking at booking a Disney Hotel for next year & have taken note of what you said about saving money by booking the hotel separately & not taking the Free Disney Dining offer. However all the websites offering Disney holidays from the UK, including Disney, are offering the Free Disney Dining Plan and the price without it is exactly the same. Just wondering where you find out about the possible saving of 30% on the accommodation. Maybe this is only available in the US.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      You receive different offers in the UK. Typically, they’re much better than the ones we receive in the US. (Usually BOTH a room discount AND free dining, not just one or the other.) I have no clue how the discounts work there, though, sorry!

  36. Gabby says:

    To your first point about the Disney Dining Plan not being free – we looked into getting the room discount for our honeymoon but the available rooms for that special sold out (in our time frame) in a matter of HOURS. That might be good to mention (in a separate post?) because we ended up going with the free dining since that was the only deal applicable for us.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I assume there was only one specific hotel you wanted? What you’re saying is true, but it’s rare for all hotels on a room-only discount to be sold out, but to be available for free dining.

      • We wanted either Coronado Springs or one of the Port Orleans (preferably Riverside). We even looked into a value for kicks and they were sold out too. It ended up working out with the “free” dining because while we’ve both been to Disney a million times, we’ve never done the plan so it will be nice to compare.

  37. Tony Day says:

    1. If you have young children buy up cheap spinning light-up toys ahead of time and keep them in your bag – when the street vendors are selling them after dark you can pull out your purchase at a fraction of the cost.

    2. When picking a spot for IllumiNations keep wind speed and direction in mind – all the fire works kick up a lot of smoke and all things being equal sitting up wind is preferable.

  38. Tiffany says:

    Any idea if the welcome show at Magic Kingdom will run if the railroad is closed for refurb? We are heading in Oct and I was looking forward to it!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Hmm, I’m not sure. The Welcome Show uses the railroad, but something could easily be done without the actual train. Your guess is as good as mine…sorry!

  39. Mario Brewton says:

    We are heading there 6 September-20 September and have read the Birnbaum Guide from front to back. Great read before you head to WDW.

  40. Tracy says:

    My 11 yr. old daughter and I are headed to Disney World at the end of the month for a Girls Trip. I think I might be a little more excited than she is. I have been reading every blog and tip I can get my hands on. Thank you for yours! Very helpful.

  41. Michelle says:

    I really appreciate #80. Thank you for giving those underappreciated attractions the shout out they deserve! :)

  42. Scott says:

    Heading to Disney over Halloween – are the extra costs for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party worth it – already got Ultimate Tickets

  43. Amanda says:

    THank you for such great tips! I am definitely bookmarking this site to help in planning my Disney honeymoon next year :)

  44. Kate says:

    My husband and I (no children)and My Sisters family (6 adults and her 16 year old grandson are going for Christmas week this year. We have been to Disney several times but never for Christmas. We are looking forward to it even though we have heard there will be large crowds. Loved the tips and will be taking advantage of them. Especially the tour of the Hotels to see the Christmas decorations. We are all Hugh Christmas fanatics. Our favorite time of year. Thanks again for the tips.

  45. Carrie M. says:

    My family and I are heading to Disney in a few weeks with a group of family friends. We have already gone three other time, but because we have done a lot of things there we are looking for new things to discover. So thanks a bunch, your blog has helped give us some new ideas.

  46. I was recommended this website via my cousin. I am no longer sure whether this put up is written through him as nobody else recognize such unique approximately my problem. You are amazing! Thanks!

  47. Bill E says:

    When we go to the Worlds, I always pack several rolls of pennies. They are great when you need to take a break and need something for the kids to do. We sit by the fountains or water features (Which are plentiful) and the kids throw pennies. It’s the best 50 cents you can spend. It’s a lot better than throwing nickels and dimes.

  48. Onchik says:

    Hello from Mongolia!
    We 4 adults & 3 kids are driving DisneyWorld Dec 29-Jan1 from our first stop DC. there’s website http://www.orlandovacationdeals.co says 3nights hotel is $349 with $100 theme ticket credit and $100 restaurant.com gift card. Is it true? Do you have any experience with it?
    We’ll be there 4days only. I’m quite confused on so many search results of hotels and tickets. This one/blog came in and read and think myself I think I can trust :)

    Thank you very much for your time and advice

  49. Nate says:

    Tip #10 – When you say “free refills,” is this only if you bought a drink from that restaurant, or if you have any cup from any quick service location?

    Tip #87 – I bought a Frogg Togg Chilly pad before my last trip. One thing I can’t figure out is how to store it during the winter months. If you roll it up while it’s still wet and pliable, it gets mildewy and smells. If you let it dry out, it becomes rigid and likely brittle. Any suggestions for how to store it (preferably in it’s original case)?

    • Tom Bricker says:

      10 – Just cups from that restaurant, I assume. I’ve never asked, but that’s generally the case with things like this. There may even be a sign up.

      87 – We let it dry out and put it in the tube. Maybe you’re letting it over-dry, as ours isn’t brittle now, but I’d say it’s definitely dry. It feels the same as it did when it arrived.

  50. Tom,

    We will be at DW from 8/1 thru 8/5, staying at The Beach Club. My wife and I are taking our son and his two children, ages 10 and 12. The dining plan costs about $1466 plus tips for the 5 days. I’m having a hard time getting my hands around whether we should or shouldn’t purchase it. The kids are considered adults, but certainly don’t eat like adults. Any suggestions?

    • Tesa says:

      My daughter is 13 at the time of our upcoming trip & the price we were quoted for the dining plan went down when combined with our room & worked into a “package”. She was even allowed a junior price of about $17 a day. Hope this helps.

      • George says:

        Thanks for the tip. I’ve spoken to Disney several times and so far they are being firm on the package price. Each rep has insisted what a great desk the DDP is- I’m just not seeing it.

      • Erica says:

        We’ve always used the dining plan, but we are a huge family (7 people, 3 of which are children 6-11). I like the DDP because I don’t have to save money for food, I don’t have to watch how much my family members meals are (which means I don’t have to ask then not to get something). We usually have one sit down, one quick meal, one snack per day. Our sit down meals at some restaurants would have been very pricey ($300 easily)and shocking. If you don’t do the DDP I’d suggest looking for menus online so you can plan accordingly. Just my two cents.

  51. Susan says:

    Hello! Great list, thank you! I am curious to know what a “room Only” dining discount is. Could you give me a little more information? I am trying to plan our visit in a couple weeks. Thank you!

  52. Susan says:

    Hello again. Never mind I read that wrong.

  53. alexmar says:

    My dear author, you tips are really so great. I have enjoyed your 101 Disney World Tips

  54. Amanda Patton says:

    On the carousel by cinderellas cstle there is one horse that has a gold ribbon around its tell. We were told in 2009 that it is “Cinderellas horse”. The people at the desk at cinderellas royal table told us.

  55. Kylie says:

    Thank you for the great list. We are travelling from Australia with our two children. First time in WDW!

  56. Lauren V says:

    Brilliant tips!
    Heading here for the 2nd time in July 2014 with our two children (3 and 14!) from the UK . Didn’t pay anywhere near as much attention to Epcot last time so will definitely make sure we make the most of it this time round .

  57. John Bayles says:

    Have ever experience the TomorrowLand Terrace dessert/firework party?? We we booked this for our family.

    • Angie says:

      We did this in June 2013 and it was very nice :) It was a horrible rainy evening…so it was nice to have a covered area to sit and stay dry. The desserts were delicious! There’s approximately 100-120 people at the “party” so it’s a little less exclusive that I had thought…but they did a great job of replenishing the desserts. We all ate until we were stuffed…lol…and then got a great view of the fireworks and castle :)

  58. srinidhi says:

    Great list of tips, when i read this tips i remember my old days. thanks for this post..

  59. Rach says:

    Love your tip about staying 30-60 minutes beyond MK’s closing! Question though, are they still running shuttles that late in the parking lot or would we have to hoof it to our vehicle?

    • Joey says:

      Good question, I am wondering that as well.

      • Patricia says:

        The shuttles usually run for 1.5 hours after closing. At least that’s what they say on the tram on the way to the park.

        We stayed for The Kiss Goodnight on one trip (a good 45 minutes to an hour after closing that night)and had no trouble getting a tram that late so you should be fine!

  60. Amanda says:

    Great tips thank you. I’m going Christmas 2014, and we only have 5 days. We want to go Magic Kingdom twice since our daughter is 5 and loving that stage of her life. What park would you omit? Animal kingdom or epcot ?

    • Nicole says:

      I personally would omit Animal Kingdom because going around the countries at Epcot is so much fun, but it depends on the interests of your family.
      If you choose Epcot, your daughter can travel through the Kidcot Fun Stops (https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/attractions/epcot/kidcot-fun-stops/) and do lots of crafts for free. They’ll be great take-home souvenirs!
      If you choose Animal Kingdom, I would definitely recommend the Finding Nemo stage show (https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/entertainment/animal-kingdom/finding-nemo-the-musical/). Also, if she’s into meeting characters, the lines in Animal Kingdom are usually shorter.

    • Matthew says:

      People may differ on this one, but I would omit Epcot if I had to choose one. Not that there are not things to do there with little ones, but because IMO AK holds a little more charm for the little ones in general.

    • Brenda says:

      It’s hard for me to say this, cause I personally love Epcot, but for a 5 year old, skipping it would be the way to go. Animal Kingdom has a great kids area, don’t miss the Kilaminjaro Safari ride. Do it first thing, upon entering the park.


    • Angie says:

      My kids have always loved Epcot, even when the were little. It’s so open that it never feels too crowded. On the other hand, Animal Kingdom has small winding paths….when it’s crowded, kids are easily lost and strollers are more difficult to push. I would choose Epcot over Animal Kingdom any day :)

  61. Sk says:

    Would you be able to tell me when disneyworld is least busy? We have almost 3 year old twins so can go at anytime. I’m also wondering what the most luxe Disney resort is these days? (We travel often and prefer high end hotels. Thank you.

  62. Tina McNeil says:

    Don’t All DVC members have access to the Top of the World Lounge at BLT?

  63. Joey says:

    Just read your article on The Kiss Goodnight. You almost got me a little choked up reading it! My wife and I will definitely be sticking around for that when we go back this coming December!

  64. Danny says:

    Best Character dining places for breakfast,lunch and dinner. Can I book a character dining at the last minute ?

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Character dining typically needs to be booked well in advance. You might get lucky with a less-popular option at the last minute, but not Cinderella’s Royal Table or Chef Mickey’s.

    • Laura Beth says:

      Our favorite character breakfast is The Crystal Palace in MK. It features the Pooh characters, and the food is excellent!

  65. Amy says:

    Almost any place in the parks that serves fountain drinks will give you FREE glass of water. We used this often on our most recent trip. We came across a few that could only give us a cup of ice… but that also worked to quench our thirst.

    • Amanda says:

      we are bringing brita water bottles and filling ‘er up in the bathrooms!NO lINES!

    • Jessica says:

      What times are the parades at each park on average? I understand there are different times. Also, what times would you recommend to eat lunch or dinner to avoid long waits and get shorter lines (nonpopular times)

  66. Samantha says:

    Downtown Disney is not a waste of time! I think the atmosphere is so neat, there’s a Lego store, and a lot of awesome restaurants!

  67. RickGregory says:

    Just finishing 4 days at Disney World. Your blog was IMMENSELY useful in doing all the planning. I have many comments to make but I guess I should do them in the appropriate sections of the blog. On the dining plan, the rides, etc. I had a great time, but I also came away horrified.

  68. rickgregory says:

    I put the one comment under dining plan. Horrified by the levels of obesity and also of the pretty much all of the service counter food and seeing people willingly eat it (if you are conscious of what you put in your body, you wouldn’t touch this stuff) and yet you saw folks shoveling it down and then you saw how they looked. 80 percent of the population was obese. This type of food (not the sit-down fare, the counter service food) is truly damaging to your health.

  69. Elisa Figueroa says:

    Hello Tom

    I need information to buy cheap tickets to thematic Park
    We are a group of 4 adults and 3 kids (age of 6 to 8) and 1 kids of 2 years.

    How You can help me?


  70. Tammy says:

    Related to tip #3 under 101 WDW tips, we will be celebrating our wedding anniversay during our visit. What do you mean ‘pin up a button reflecting the celebration at your resort hotel or in the parks from Guest Services.’ We are staying at the Coronado Springs Resort.

    Also, do you have any tips to share related to the mini golf?

  71. Sarah says:

    This list is amazing, we are visiting for my daughter’s 8th birthday Nov. 2014! First time, 6 days for park fun, cannot wait!

  72. winslets says:

    Nice disney tour tips and i found really useful information from your post.

  73. Monica says:

    one tip not seen here is to ask to ride up front by the driver when taking the Monorail! 10 years ago they were even giving out certificates to kids about being “monorail drivers” (they didnt actually touch controls, but the cast members were awesome); also take the ferry from ticket station to MK if arriving early in morning (sometimes there were unannounced characters who ride the boat on way in)

  74. Nikki says:

    Thanks for a great list, Tom. We were so ignorant when we started planning….from South Africa, so nothing here compares even remotely. We ordered the Unofficial Guide, tip #93 and started reading it in January, thank goodness! You could have bowled me over when the first chapter reads “twice the size of Manhattan!”. Coming in Sep 2014 and have hence had the foresight to do a lot of planning, with your help included (liked the Facebook page). Our school year has a spring break in September (being southern hemisphere) and gratefully it is one of the quietest times for the park. I have been a Disney fan my whole life so for us a BIG treat. Thanks for your photos, input and fabulous blogs. *o*

  75. Mandy says:

    What are some rides to avoid at Disney World for small children (5 and pry 42-44″ at the time of visit)? We only have 5 days at Disney and would like to maximize our time.

  76. Mandy says:

    What are some rides to avoid at Disney World for small children (5 and pry 42-44″ at the time of visit)? We only have 5 days at Disney and would like to maximize our time.

  77. Mandy says:

    What are some rides to avoid at Disney World for small children (5 and pry 42-44″ at the time of visit)? We only have 5 days at Disney and would like to maximize our time.

  78. alan68 says:

    I think Weird Al Yankovic wrote a song about #31. LOL

  79. Stephani says:

    Tom, you are awesome! Thank you for your posts, this information is very useful. I love how disney has all those little “extras”. And your wife is beautiful and so are your pictures.

  80. Sydney says:

    I love disney world so much! I have been 8 times!! And like it says on tip 98, if you see Push the trash can in Tomorrowland, chat with it. He is very adorable!! And don’t book fast passes for early in the morning because that’s when the short lines are. Use them in the afternoon or when the parks are most crowded! Hope you enjoyed my review! Bye! :)

    • Cyingy says:

      Push and his AK cousin Pipa are both gone. It is a sad story. There was a petition that garnered a lot of names, but at the end of the day, Push is still gone.

  81. Sydney says:

    I love disney world so much! I have been 8 times!! And like it says on tip 98, if you see Push the trash can in Tomorrowland, chat with it. He is very adorable!! And don’t book fast passes for early in the morning because that’s when the short lines are. Use them in the afternoon or when the parks are most crowded! Hope you enjoyed my review! Bye! :)

  82. Just came back a few days ago, staying at the Beach Club. Great time. Great hotel. The tips were very helpful. Here’s a few I would add… Use thegardengrocer.com to order snack food and refreshments directly to your hotel (saved us tons). Never stay at a “deluxe” Disney hotel that does not have direct monorail access. The Disney bus service is nothing like it is advertised. It’s unreliable, slow, and can not handle the number of people going to and from the magic Kingdom.

  83. Sean says:

    Since we are walking all day with young kids, for 6 days park visit during Sept, any recommendations on the shoes? Should we put on Sneaker with Body Glide, or just Crocs Sandals to avoid the frictions?


  84. Alicia says:

    We always fill a plastic water bottle half way with water, and freeze it. Just before we leave the hotel I fill the rest of the bottle up with cold water. I keep filling the bottle up in the park (free water fountains) and this way we have ice cold water all day + also the bottle keeps our fruit/food cold in our backpack…and it is also perfect to cool yourself with just by putting the ice cold bottle on the forehead or arm wrists for a while. Couldn’t survive the heat without our frozen water bottles. :) We sometimes also buy Walmart’s own big blue freezer bags for $2, as they really hold a lot and keeps everything cool. Says Walmart with big letters all over it, but who cares..they are excellent! :)

  85. Barry says:

    We are going next year for our 10th Wedding anniversary with our 7 year old son. This site is great and going to help a lot as its our first time.

    Were staying at Saratoga Springs, any tips for while we are there?

  86. blanca says:

    They changed the waffle sandwich and it is disgusting now. It is not a fresh made waffle as before..it is a soggy rubbery gross eggo type waffle. I threw mine away after one bite and just thinking about it kinda makes me gag. I am so disappointed.

  87. Danielle says:

    Take several plastic bags from Walmart or the grocery as part of your rain gear. When it starts to rain, tie the bags over your shoes. My husband thought it was crazy until he saw all the people with soaked tennis shoes! They also work on the water rides!

  88. Can anyone give me an idea on how the current construction at the Polynesian will affect my upcoming trip in June?

  89. John Galt says:

    Although I have been to Orlando a few times, I have never visited Disney anywhere in my life. I am planning to take my family of 4 (me, wife, and son 2 years old, daughter 4 years old) this March.

    After having read this page, I have a solid headache. There is so much in heady names and jargon that I have to first get past to before I can understand what I need to do in terms of planning.

  90. Riya says:

    I cherish this blog, its getting me energized for my May twentieth trek! It’s my first time set and its to praise my school graduation..any uncommon tips? We’re staying at the Port Orleans Riverside!

  91. Rupali Shah says:

    I was recommended this website via my cousin. I am no longer sure whether this put up is written through him as nobody else recognize such unique approximately my problem. You are amazing!

  92. Gwen says:

    Just got back from Disney a few days ago. 2 adults and 2 children. I ordered kids meals for everyone and no one questioned me on ages. I would just say I need 4 kids meals with fountain drinks and cookies. We did not use the dining plan. Most of the time the kids meals were enough to satisfy the adults. And whatever the kids left over we finished. When we got there the first say, we ordered 4 Mickey pretzels and none of us could finish them. We could have gotten 2 and saved some money.

  93. Moreno says:

    We make plan for our 4th anniversary to take tour in Disney land.Because this is recommended me to my friend and he tells me its great experience.

  94. Queen Elsa says:


  95. Queen Elsa says:

    I’m going to disney world with the best cousins brooke and Jack ! And getting all of the princess dresses!

  96. Queen Elsa says:

    I’m going to disney world with the best cousins brooke and Jack ! And getting all of the princess dresses from Babied- bobite boutique

  97. Terry says:

    Fantasyland ALWAYS has the longest lines. The last time I went, I couldn’t even ride anything because everything was more than an hour wait and I had used my fastpasses for the big rides. I would love to check out the Seven Dwarfs Mine Cart ride next time, but the entire day the line was incredibly long.

  98. If you’re ever looking for an electrician in the West Palm Beach area, think of Elcon Electric! We can help you save on your electric bills.


  99. Lauren says:

    Visit my Etsy page for custom made mouse ears that will be perfect for your Disney vacation!


  100. Drew says:

    I go to Disney twice a year and there are still some tips on here that I hadn’t considered. What happens when you ask for ketchup at Whispering Canyon Café? Thanks for sharing!

  101. Scott says:

    No “what to do” list is complete without Goofy’s Candy Shop in Downtown Disney. Their custom made to order caramel apples are crazy good and worth the trip in itself

  102. Casey says:

    I just found out they discontinued the free customized park maps. Such a bummer.

  103. Wendy says:

    Thanks for all your wonderful tips! Just wanted to add that once you fill up your fast pass list… 3 per day per person, you can go to a fast pass kiosk and ask for an extra fast pass they will be more than happy to give it to you and your whole party!!!!!!!

  104. Dave says:

    Take disney character rucksacks. You get more attention and banter from characters around the parks. We as 2 adults spent about 6 minutes with Stitch due to my wife’s stitch bag.


  1. 101 Delicious Disney World Dining Tips - Disney Tourist Blog - […] of you have loved our 101 Great Walt Disney World Tips post, and since dining is such a big …

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