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101+ Top Disney World Tips for 2024

Walt Disney World is 25,000 acres! That is a daunting size compared to most vacation destinations. I live and breathe Disney and go quite often since I am a local. Here are 101+ Disney World tips and tricks that I want to share with you today!

My Best Disney World Tips & Tricks

General Planning Tips

1. Book your vacation early. You have the biggest selection of the least expensive room categories before they book up – when you book with an agent they will watch for future discounts and automatically roll your package over to save you money. Booking early also means you have more time to pay off your vacation and you can make payments over time. There is only a $200 deposit required to book your Disney vacation.

2. Use an Authorized Disney Travel Planner. You deserve someone who can help you through every step of your vacation, Costco or AAA won’t do that plus, travel planners handle problems for you if you encounter one. I am an agent with Favorite Grampy Travels and would love to help you plan the Disney vacation of your dreams. Click HERE for a free no-obligation consultation.

3. The longer you stay, the cheaper the park tickets. One-day tickets are expensive. Ticket packages and multi-day tickets are cheaper.

4. Set a Budget. Disney vacations can get very pricey with every experience you add. Make a budget and stick to it! Grab my Free Walt Disney World Budget Printable.

5. Make your dining reservations 60 days out. A lot of the unique and character dining experiences do get fully booked quickly. Restaurants that book the fastest are Be Our Guest, Topolino’s, Chef Mickey’s, and  Cinderella’s Royal Table.

6. Have a great packing list and buy several park essentials beforehand to save money. Check out my Ultimate Packing List and 10 Items to Buy BEFORE your Disney Trip posts.

7. Plan one non-park day. Take a day of rest. Spend part of the non-park day exploring Disney Springs or other resorts.

Disney Resorts show movies outside on certain nights of the week.

8. Rent scooters and strollers from an off-property company. Disney overcharges and other companies come highly recommended by many Pixie Dusted Journeys readers. I suggest Buena Vista Scooters and Kingdom Strollers. If you are a client of mine, I can set that up for you!

9. Pay for your trip and souvenirs with discounted Disney Gift cards. Some places to consider are Target using the RedCard, grocery stores with fuel perks, Sam’s Club, and Costco.

10. Research & Study Genie+. If you are a client of mine you get access to handouts, a class, recent updates, and how to use Genie+ specifically for what attractions are important to your family. If you are planning on your own, do your research. If you show up to the parks without a plan then it could be a very difficult day.

Disney World Safety Tips

11. Take a picture of your child(ren) at the start of each day. If by chance you get separated, then you have a recent picture and the clothes they are wearing for that day.

12. Have all bags ready for security to go through. With the new security scanners, very few people have to get their bags checked but if you have to have your bag checked, have them opened and ready. Know beforehand what is not allowed at the parks.

13. If driving, lock all doors and hide any valuables. A couple of years ago I had my pin book in my car and a laptop. The laptop was under the seat. My car was broken into and all items were stolen. I have been so diligent since then in protecting my valuables.

14. Don’t leave valuables in strollers while on rides. People do steal stuff out of strollers. I have heard way too many stories of this happening. Take your camera and anything else you deem valuable.

15. Wash Your Hands. It’s weird that I have to put this tip into a Disney World tips post but handwashing is essential at Disney. Sadly, I see so many people who don’t do this simple step to help prevent sickness. Please do your part in keeping the parks as safe as possible for everyone.

16. Keep your family safe your way. Don’t listen to other people’s opinions about what is best for your family. While Disney does not currently have a mask mandate, if you want to wear a mask to protect yourself from airborne diseases, that is up to you. If your child is a runner, use a backpack harness. Check out this cute Disney-themed Backpack harness

Disney Dining Tips

16. Drink the free ice water. Every quick-service offers free ice water. Florida can get very hot, and you need to stay hydrated. Bottled water is more than $3 a bottle. Bring a water bottle or insulated cup from home and you are all set!

17. Ship groceries to your resort via Amazon, Garden Grocer, or Target. If you want to enjoy breakfast and packed meals, this is the best way to have groceries if you are flying in. There is a small package delivery fee. You can also use Instacart for delivery.

18. Try Mousedining. Didn’t get the reservation you want? No problem, people cancel all the time. Create a free Mousedining account and you can get alerts on your coveted dining reservations.

18. Make a Snack List. Disney is a foodie’s dream. There is so much more than standard burgers, chicken tenders, and pizza. See something on a blog, vlog, or Facebook group, write it down, and then make your must-do list.

20. Mobile Order Your Lunch & Dinner Early in the Day. If you wait until the last minute there will be no availability for your desired dining time. Most quick-service locations are mobile orders only now.

21. Bring Reusable Straws. Disney has converted all of their straws to paper ones. While this is great for the environment, they tend to not be the best with your milkshake. Bring reusable straws so your drinks won’t taste like paper.

22. Order Kids Meals or Share Meals. Some of the Disney Quick-Service meals are big enough to feed 2 people unless you have a big appetite. A kid’s meal is cheaper or you can split a meal to save money.

23. Book at least one Table-Service Meal a Day. I suggest this for two reasons. One is that is it just nice to have a real break during your busy Disney day and have someone else wait on you. The second reason is that Disney World has so many vastly different dining options that it would be a shame to have a whole vacation of hamburgers, chicken tenders, pizza, and tacos.

Tacos from Maya Grill

24. Decide if the Disney Dining Plan is for you. Disney World has brought back their dining plans. Most of your meals are prepaid during your vacation with the dining plan which eliminates a lot of stress during your vacation.

25. Love a recipe you tasted? Ask for the recipe so you can make it at home. Usually, they are more than happy to give it to you!

26. Know prices before you go. You can’t make a dining budget without knowing the prices of the food you will be purchasing. The MyDisneyExprience app and the Disney World Website both have the current menus and prices.

27. Plan your meals to coincide with special events. Certain resorts offer spectacular views of the nearby parks’ fireworks or the Electrical Water Pageant. I love the California Grill for watching the Happily Ever After Fireworks!

28. Character Meals have great character interaction, but the food is mediocre. Of course, this tip does have a few exceptions but as a general rule, it is true. I love character meals, but if you are looking for an amazing foodie experience choose restaurants without characters.

Disney World Resort Tips

29. Get a resort that fits your vacation and budget. Value resorts are for travelers on a tight budget and those who will be in the parks more than the room. Moderate and deluxe resorts are for those that are going to be spending more time at the resort or that want more room.

30. Sign up for a wake-up call and let a Disney Character start your day. This is an especially good idea on those mornings that you’re getting up extra-early for Magic Hours or a marathon day at the park. Last time I stayed at a Disney resort Baymax woke me up!

31 Consider doing a Split Stay. Some guests just can’t decide where to stay or they want a couple days at a more expensive resort. You can do a split stay and Disney will transport your luggage between resorts for you.

Photo Credit: Kristin Klutz- Favorite Grampy Travels

32. Looking for the Best Resort Pool? Beach Club and Boardwalk share Stormalong Bay and that pool is amazing!  It features a sandy bottom shallow lagoon for the littles, a 9′ deep lazy river, whirlpool, waterfall, elevated sun deck, multiple slides, and Jacuzzis.

33. Tip Mousekeeping Daily. At Disney, I tip 1-2 dollars per person/per day. Sometimes, but not always Mousekeeping will make towel animals, leave extra toiletries if you ask nicely, and other nice treats for your room.

34. Decorate your resort room windows with pictures, posters, and stuffed animals. Let your kids create the decorations ahead of time and bring them with you to make your arrival more exciting.

35. Go resort hopping. A lot of the resorts have wonderful photo opps. The monorail resorts have some really special experiences, especially during the holidays.

General Park Tips

36. It is not line jumping to get in a smaller line. When you are scanning into the park a lot of guests pick the closest line from their entrance. Instead of waiting in that long line, walk a little bit further and shorter lines will be further down.

37. Carry a comfortable bag with park essentials.

38. Make your stroller stand out. Add balloons (not the ones sold in the park), a cute large sign, or something else that makes your stroller easy to spot. Cast members move strollers while you are at an attraction so they are closer to the exit.

39. Do your souvenir shopping at park closing. The rides and shows close at park closing. The gift shops do not. They stay open for another hour or so before they start trying to get you out of the park.

40. Take a picture of your parking lot name and row number. It is NOT fun after a long day at the parks looking all over the huge parking lots for your car. Trust me, I have done it once or twice.

41. Take a mid-day break. Your park ticket allows you to enter the park all day. Kids and adults alike get tired and cranky in the afternoon. If you are staying on property, go back to your resort to recharge. If you are staying off property, choose a show to enjoy in the afternoon.

42. Take a screenshot of your MDE schedule and set it as your home screen on your phone. This way you don’t waste battery pulling up the app. You also have quick access to it if it is your home screen.

43. Get Memory Maker. Photographers are everywhere and everyone in the family should be part of the memories. Don’t be shy around them, ask them if you want a specific pose or different variations of group photos, they are very happy to oblige. Getting this is even more important now since Cast Members and even regular guests don’t feel comfortable handling someone’s phone post-pandemic. Buy it in advance to save $30.

44. Take Advantage of Ride Swap (parents of little ones). Rider Swap enables a parent to ride with the older children while the other parent waits with the younger child. After the older children ride, the parents swap places and they ride again. Just let a Cast Member know that you would like to use the rider swap option.

45. Get your Free “I’m Celebrating” button. Disney has buttons at almost every gift shop. These buttons let people know if you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary, wedding, 1st visit, or anything else you want to celebrate!

46. Maximize your time at the parks. Try to do all your attractions in one area before moving on or you will spend a lot of time walking. Have a touring plan, but don’t stick to it too strictly because unexpected magic can happen anywhere. If you are a client of mine, I can make a touring plan for you!

Magic Kingdom Tips

47. Plan at least 2 days to fully explore the Magic Kingdom. Magic Kingdom has so many things to do and see that trying to conquer the park in one day is really hard.

48. Don’t miss the Castle Welcome Show. It sets the tone for the day. You can grab a Starbucks coffee on your way to the castle stage!

49. Get an early (before the park opens) breakfast reservation to take pictures on an empty Main Street.

50. Some rides are better at night. Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, and the People Mover are just some of the rides that are better at night. You get to see the Magic Kingdom all lit up and it is breathtaking!

51. Stay about a half-hour past park closing for the Kiss Goodnight. The Kiss Goodnight is a special goodbye message from Disney.

52. Rope Drop Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. This ride will have the longest wait and one you should consider buying the Individual Lightning Lane for.

53. Priority Character Meet & Greets at the Magic Kingdom. Tiana, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Elena of Avalor, Stitch, Peter Pan, Magician Mickey Mouse, Maribel, and the Fairy Godmother are characters that are only in the Magic Kingdom.

54. Best Place to Happily Ever After. The best place to see the Enchantment show is to the right of the Partners statue on the side walkways that lead to Tomorrowland. This way you will be in the perfect spot to see Tinker Bell flying overhead.

55. Purchase Genie+ for Magic Kingdom. Using Disney’s Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Selections is highly recommended especially if you are only going for one day.

56. Priority Genie+ Selections for the Magic Kingdom are Peter Pan’s Flight, Jungle Cruise, Space Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain.

57. Best Festival of Fantasy Viewing Area. Main Street in front of Casey’s Corner is the best place to view the parade but that place gets taken quickly. Another spot is at the beginning of the parade route in front of Pecos Bills, there is some seating and not much room for other guests to weasel in front of you.

58. Take the Train. If you need to get from one side of the park to the other, consider riding the rails. There are 3 train stations. One station is in Fantasyland, one at Main Street, and one in Frontierland.

59. Ride Popular Rides during the Happily Ever After Fireworks. Only follow this tip if you have already seen the fireworks before. Since most people are watching the fireworks, ride wait times drop significantly.

Epcot Tips

60. Rope Drop Remy’s or Frozen Ever After. If you are not using Genie+ for these rides, you will want to rope drop these rides. Another option is to visit near closing time.

61. Purchase the Individual Lightning Lane for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Try for the virtual queue first, but if you didn’t get one then purchase the Individual Lightning Lane for this ride.

62. Grab a Free Festival Book. If you are going during an Epcot International Festival be sure to grab a festival booklet that has all the booth menus and the festival activities. This will help you decide which dishes you want and what activities you want to do for the day.

63. Free Soda. Head to Club Cool to try free unlimited soda samples from around the World.

64. Epcot is the Best Place to Meet Characters. Priority Meet & Greets are Anna & Elsa, Aurora, Belle, Joy, Mexican Donald, Figment, Mulan, Mary Poppins, and Alice in Wonderland.

65. Most of the World Showcase doesn’t open until 11am, so try to do as much of World Discovery, World Celebration, and World Nature and The Land as you can from 9 am until 11 am.

66. Download the WDW Food & Wine App. If you are visiting during an International festival then you need this app. There are very few weeks where you are not going to a festival now. This unofficial App is amazing! It has all the menus and prices of the festivals. You can save your favorites, see other people’s reviews, and even take notes!

67. Genie+ Priorities. Genie+ Priorities include Remy, Frozen Ever After, Test Track, and Soarin’.

68. Visit the KidCot Stops. So many people think Epcot will bore kids and in fact, Disney has so many activities for kids at Epcot. One is the KidCot Stops. This is a fun experience where kids collect activity cards at each country throughout World Showcase! The cards have fun facts and activities featuring the culture and traditions of each country.

69. Play the Ducktales World Showcase Game. DuckTales World Showcase Adventure is an interactive game where you sign up online with your smartphone and Epcot’s Wi-Fi; then you’re dispatched on a mission to your choice of seven World Showcase pavilions. Once you arrive at a pavilion, your phone’s video and audio provide various clues to help you solve a set of simple puzzles. As you discover each clue, you’ll find special effects that physically animate some of the story you’re following.

Hollywood Studio’s Tips

70. Rope Drop Slinky Dog Dash. This line will get the longest and unlike other long-lined rides, the wait is almost all in the direct sun.

71. If the posted wait time on Tower of Terror is 13 Minutes, it means there is really no wait! When entering the Tower of Terror library, move to the opposite end of the room. This will allow you to be the first ones to leave after the preshow.

72. Look for the key at Muppet Vision 3D. If you go to the muppet “ticket office” while you’re waiting for the show, it says that it’s closed–  but a sign says “Key Under the Mat.” Look under the mat and you’ll find a key!

 73. Take a look at the caricatures of Hollywood celebrities on the wall of the Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant. The ones in black frames are copies of the caricatures from the Brown Derby restaurants in Hollywood, while the ones in gold frames are original creations.

74. Look for the Famous A113 on Aliens Swirling Saucers. In the standby queue for Aliens Swirling Saucers, you will find the A113 Easter Egg that is in every Pixar movie.

 75. Want to be the rebel spy in Star Tours: The Adventures Continue? Don’t put your 3D glasses on until the ride actually starts. This will increase your chance of being picked! (Thanks Guide2WDW!)

76. Go to Hollywood Studios if it is a rainy day. Most of the attractions and lines are inside compared to the other parks.

77. Be at the Fantasmic! amphitheater at least thirty minutes before show time. Don’t worry about being bored, there is a fun pre-show to keep you entertained.

78. Genie+ Priorities. Genie+ Priorities are Slinky Dog Dash, Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run, Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror, and Rockin’ Roller Coaster. Do not use Genie+ on any of the shows.

79. Explore Galaxy’s Edge with the Disney Play App. Disney Imagineers made Galaxy’s Edge so interactive. To really get into the land open the Disney Play app and complete missions to earn credits.

Animal Kingdom Tips

80.  Watch Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom on Disney+. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the most underrated park. Watching this short series on Disney+ will give you and your family a deeper appreciation for this park and the animals in it.

81. Use the secret entrance. There is a second, lesser-known entrance to the theme park at the rear of the Rainforest Cafe gift shop.

82. Become Wilderness Explorers. This cute activity will help kids and adults alike get more out of their Animal Kingdom day.

83. Rope Drop Flight of Passage. This ride is the most popular ride at Animal Kingdom.

84. Do Kilimanjaro Safari in the morning and at dusk. Animals are more active during this time.

85. Animal Kingdom is the hottest park. I don’t mean hottest as in awesome, but actual “feels like” temperature. The plants and trees give off heat and trap humidity. Stay hydrated even though you are in the shade.

86. Don’t feed the animals. Each species is on a special diet that can be seriously harmed by careless visitors.

87. Take a parent break at the Boneyard. The Boneyard and dig site is a giant play zone in DinoLand U.S.A. that’s ideal for kids to let off some steam and run around and have fun.

88. Priority Character Meet & Greets at Animal Kingdom. Moana, Russel, DiVine, Pocahontas, Rafiki are the ones you should plan on meeting. Animal Kingdom is the only place to get a picture with Mickey and Minnie together! You can find out locations and meeting times in the MyDisneyExperience App.

89. Genie+ Priorities. The first priority should always be the Kilimanjaro Safari and then Na’vi River Journey.

Disney Springs Tips

90. Most the of the “Disney” shopping is in the Marketplace area. A lot of the stores in the other areas are stores I have locally. I don’t have the world’s largest Disney Store, though. The World of Disney Store is a Disney shopper’s dream!

91. Explore in the evening. Disney Springs nightlife starts in the evening and is just magical. The whole place lights up and street performers make unexpected magic. You can have a drink and unwind without the need to hurry to the next attraction.

92. Raglan Road often has free live music in the bar, particularly on weekends – enjoy for the cost of a drink! (21 and over). There is also free music on the stage just outside of the Hanger Bar.

93. Make Dining Reservations at Disney Springs through the restaurant, not the MDE. Each restaurant only gives Disney some of its reservations. If you can’t get a reservation through the MDE app, try calling the restaurant directly or using Open Table.

94. Wanting an Everglazed Donut or Gideon’s Cookie? They sometimes have a virtual queue to get in because the lines are so long. Be sure to get your time before starting your day. They are worth waiting for.

95. Disney Springs Coupons. If you are a Disney World resort guest and did not get your Magical Extras upon check-in, go to the front desk and request them. This packet has coupons for several Disney Springs stores.

96. Have a Photo Session. Disney Springs has a photo studio where you can have a quick photo session with various backdrops and props. The photos are included in your Memory Maker package.

97. Take the ferry. If you want to cut over from the West Side to the Marketplace and you don’t want to walk, you can take the ferry from the West Side Marina to the Marketplace Marina near Cap’n Jacks.

Extra Tips

98. Don’t be afraid to show your #Disneyside. Forget being a grownup for the time you are at Disney. It was part of Walt’s vision for you to enter a world of Fantasy while at Disney. Wear Disney ears, play with the characters, watch the parades, and look for the magic no matter your age!

99. Make your trip more fun by Disneybounding. Disneybounding is dressing in the color schemes of your favorite characters. Hot Topic and Torrid (for us plus-size princesses) has a lot of great Disney items at a reasonable price!

100. Shop for souvenirs at outlet stores. If you don’t have a car on property, use Uber or Lyft.

  • Character Warehouse: 4951 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819
  • Character Warehouse: 8200 Vineland Avenue, Orlando, FL 32821 (This location is smaller, but closer to Walt Disney World)

101.  If one of your souvenirs breaks while you are on vacation, Disney will replace it for FREE! My phone case broke a couple of months after I got it and they gladly replaced it.

102. Check Your Email Once You Get Home. If you stayed at the Walt Disney World Resort you have been offered a “Bounce Back” promotion. That is a special discounted stay that you need to take advantage of as soon as possible.

I hope these tips help make your trip just a little bit more magical!

Consider planning and booking your next Walt Disney World vacation with a Concierge Vacation Planner like Favorite Grampy’s Travels. I’ll take away the stress of planning a Disney vacation and help you get the best price! Click Here to Get a no-obligation consultation now.

Thank You for Spreading the Pixie Dust!

Morgan

Friday 5th of March 2021

So helpful! Can’t wait to go!

Amber Mathewson

Friday 5th of March 2021

Totally bringing my own stroller to save even more bucks!

Erin Broadway

Monday 1st of March 2021

These are amazing tips! Some of them we already knew but many we did not!