- You do not need to have kids or be a kid to enjoy Disney! All ages are welcome and have a magical time!
- Stay at a resort on property - you get more perks and inclusions! (Magical Express transfers to/from the Orlando airport, Magic Bands, dining plan, Extra Magic Hours, and more!)
- Stock up on Disney gift cards at Target with your Red Card - get 5% off!
- Combine your Disney gift card balances at disneygiftcard.com (up to $1000 per card) so you aren't carrying a stack of cards with you - also your travel agent or Disney agent will greatly appreciate your efforts when you call in to make a payment
- Book dining reservations 180 days prior to your travel dates (or as soon as you book the trip if it's less than 6 months out) - then sit back for 6 months and don't worry about getting into the best places! Especially if you want dinner at Ohana, breakfast at Chef Mickey's, anything at Cinderella's Royal Table and Be Our Guest, or any type of character dining. Do NOT use one of those paid services that sets up reservations - contact Disney directly (Call 407-WDW-DINE to get the reservations all set up for your visit at one time!)
- Plan which park(s) you are going to on which days, based on the number of theme park tickets you get and if they are 1 park per day or Park Hopper tickets. Check the park hours for each day to see which ones are open the most hours (based on Extra Magic Hours or possible closings for special events). This will cut down on time spent on transportation if you spend all day in one park but if you do park hop, you can have an idea of what you want to do at each park for the day and plan time for going between parks.
- You can set up FastPass+ (FP) reservations - basically a FREE and easy way to "cut to the front of the line" included with your theme park tickets - 30 days prior to your trip (60 days if you're staying at a Disney resort) You must have a theme park ticket purchased and linked in your My Disney Experience account or app to set up FP ... you can set up 3 per person per day (in 1 park). There is no charge to set them up and you are not penalized if you miss or don't use the FP. You can modify them at any point. I personally set up my FP for early in the day - morning and early afternoon - because once you use up the 3 FP for the day, you can go to the FP kiosks in the theme parks and set up another FP, one at a time, every time you use one up (based on what is available for later in the day). If you have Park Hopper tickets, you will need to use up your 3 FP in the first park before you go to the next park. Once you get to the next park, you will need to go to their FP kiosks to see what is available for the day there.
- The Disney theme parks are popular and open 365 days a year - but the tickets are cheaper when you buy them ahead of time... there are NO authorized third party dealers for Disney park tickets, no matter how fancy their websites might be and what they claim. Buy your tickets DIRECTLY from www.disneyworld.com or call 407-W-DISNEY and a friendly Disney agent will help you!
- Leave your selfie stick at home (they're just going to confiscate it).... BUY A MEMORY MAKER - especially if it's your first visit or you're taking a large group/family. TOTALLY WORTH IT!!!!!!!!!!!!! Set it up at least 3 days prior to your trip to get the discount rate.
- If you don't have park tickets for your entire stay, spend your partial days at Disney Springs - you don't need a ticket for this outdoor shopping mall with lots of shops, restaurants, and fun things to do! There are also fun things like carriage rides at some of the resorts, parasailing and other water sports at Sammy Duvall (Contemporary Resort's Boat Nook Marina), and a number of tours that you can book 3-6 months in advance!
- Universal Studios and Sea World are NOT owned by Disney and no, Disney doesn't sell the tickets for them. Disney only offers tickets for Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM), Animal Kingdom, and Epcot!
- If it's your first visit, birthday, anniversary, or any other type of celebration, stop by the Guest Relations desk and get your free button! :)
If you are planning a Walt Disney World trip and would like some tips, here is some of my "expert" advice!
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K, World Traveler