Disney World Tips and Tricks
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Here's a cheap DIY tip to keep your clothes clean and dry while sitting down on benches and the pavement at the parks. Purchase an inexpensive, plastic, flannel-backed picnic table cloth and cut it into pieces large enough to sit on. The flannel will keep it in place, and the vinyl or plastic top will keep you dry. These seat covers are also great to keep your seat cool on hot days when the sidewalk or benches are scorching hot. Thanks to Karen for this tip!
Check out Disney World's official Disney Parks Mobile Magic App for the iPhone. It provides up to the minute wait times, character location, and even dining reservations. This free app is a must have for any Disney World expert.
New Fastpass policy means get there on time!
While you used to be able to use Fastpasses for attractions any time after the starting time, Disney World is starting to strictly enforce the ending time. Be sure to pay attention to your Fastpass time and plan accordingly.
After you park your car at one of the Disney World parks, take a photo of the designated name where your car is located. I use my cell phone to take the pic and when I leave I have a visual location of where I parked my car. Thanks to Fran for this tip!
If you go to WDW and it starts to rain, get a poncho and try to hit all of the outdoor rides fast because the indoor rides will be packed and when they see lightning they close down some of the outdoor rides. This happened to me and I was able to ride splash mountain and thunder mountain many times without any wait but when I went to stitch’s great escape everyone had a poncho by now so I walked onto it. Thanks to Jane for this tip!
If you are staying at WDW, do not use Mears Transportation to get to Universal. They were late (over an hour) and rude. And, you have to commit to a round trip; so its double aggravation. A taxi is the way to go. When you come out of Universal, there are a bunch of them waiting to transport people. Thanks to Victor for this tip!
If you are staying on WDW property and this is your first/second and maybe your 3rd time, there is so much to see/do for everyone that renting a car is more than likely not necessary. Their transportation system works very well, however I have not experienced their system during the most crowded times of the season. We have always gone during low times. Most time we had to wait was 10/15 mins. If you would like to see other resorts you will have to take a bus to the closest park and then hop on the "resort" bus that you want to go see. Thanks to Blaine for this tip!
I always take a plastic baggie with me in my waist bag or backpack. I put wallets and cell phones in the baggie before getting on a water ride to keep everything dry. Works wonderfully. The rest of the bag usually gets wet, but the important items remain dry. Thanks to Jana for this tip!
Use a plastic bag to keep your electronics dry!
I recommend bringing an empty suitcase with you to Disney World. Just check the empty suitcase in at the airport with the rest of your luggage and you don't have to worry about cramming all your souvenirs into your already overloaded luggage bag at the end of your trip. I find that no matter where I go for vacation, I always leave with more stuff than I arrived with. Thanks to Nicki for this tip!
If you're from the frigid north like me (Atlantic Canada), then you might find the heat at Walt Disney World to be quite intense, especially in the afternoon. I wet a small white towel and wrap it around the back of my neck, allowing the ends hang over my shoulders on the front. You'll feel much cooler if you do this. Even better, (although I personally only do this in the privacy of my own back yard on the hottest summer afternoons), if you put the towel on top of your head wrapped around the back of your ears with the ends hanging over your shoulders on the back, it feels like its 15 degrees cooler. You might feel silly as an adult doing the latter but it worked for the ancient Egyptians so at least encourage the kids to try it. They'll be much more comfortable and it will make for a much more pleasant day. Have a wonderful vacation!!! Disney World is awesome! Thanks to Tim for this tip!
You have up to 2 hours at Walt Disney World after the park closes to leave. The buses run that long for the guest, plus you can take your time for some great pictures without a lot of people in them. Cast members will sort of "guide" you as to which way to go out of the park, but you can stay behind the crowds and waiting time for the crowded bus stops. Thanks to Randy for this tip!
I just wanted to pass along a life saving tip that we did not discover until the second day of our trip. I have 2 young children and 1 adult son who has mental disorders (he has been diagnosed with Schizophrenia and suffers from psychotic episodes). I had seen others that had gotten a special pass for a disabled person within their party, so I inquired whether our son would qualify. Luckily he did! It worked brilliantly. When my son was obsessing about a ride, the cast members would explain EXACTLY what was going to happen (no surprises). We were all able to stick together and if at the very last minute, my oldest son decided that he didn't want to go on the ride after all, he could wait safely, while the rest of our party went on the ride. I owe a huge thanks to Disney for recognizing that not all disabilities are sitting in a wheel-chair and for the Disney World cast members for NEVER making us feel strange for utilizing our special pass for our special son! So do yourself a favor, if you have a child that is disabled, don't hesitate to get a special pass for them which will also give your entire group fast track access, so your family doesn't have to have a "separate" Disney World experience! Thanks to Tish for this tip!
There are many uses for a blanket at Walt Disney World.
Take a small fleece blanket (Wal-Mart or K Mart fleece beach blanket just the job) to use as a cushion when sitting on the curbs when waiting for the parades to begin. Or on the metal benches when watching the shows at Disney World or Seaworld. It will also be useful when the sun goes down and the wind picks up, as a shawl to keep your shoulders warm. We saw some people at WDW with them covering their heads to keep warm. Thanks to Anne for this tip!
If you have forgotten a prescription or personal health or beauty item, call Turner Drug Store, who will deliver your items for a $5 extra charge on the whole order (407-828-8125). Thanks to Chris for this tip!
Having been at Disney World during the summer, one thing is for sure - you can always count on a rain shower. Then it happens. Hundreds of people whip out rain ponchos or purchase ponchos - all clear! It can be near to impossible to locate a member of your party, especially one of your children, when everyone looks alike. Purchase rain ponchos at home in a bright color; red, blue, orange, lime green - anything other than yellow, and keep them with you for the inevitable - you'll be able to spot your party a lot easier. Thanks to Terri for this tip!
Bring a small plastic bottle of spring water per person into the parks with you. When it’s empty, simply find the nearest drinking fountain (they are many located around Walt Disney World, especially around restrooms) and refill it. A cool drink of water is far more thirst quenching than a sugary soda, and water bottles at Disney World can cost several dollars. Thanks to Jocelyn for this tip!
If you are driving around Orlando, be sure to have change for the toll roads!
When we go to Disney World, we always make sure we pack enough new and shiny pennies and alot of quarters. In most of the shopping stores you can make your own character quarters or pressed pennies. We pack our quarters in the mini M&M's tube containers. They are very easy to pack and quarters are not all loose in your backpack. Each container can hold about $14.00 worth of quarters. You can also store your pennies in a tube. Thanks to John for this tip!
One thing I did before leaving home was purchase mini hand-held fans for each one in our party. Got them for $1.14 at Wal-Mart and the batteries were already included. They were used a LOT. The ones for sale at Walt Disney World were several dollars more. Thanks to Neysa for this tip!
Buy mini hand-held fans at Wal-Mart ahead of your trip.
If you don't have a backpack, get one before you go to WDW. Ours held our sunglasses, camera, snacks, water bottles, maps, sunscreen, and other stuff. It sure beats trying to hold that stuff, cram it in pockets, etc. Thanks to Mark for this tip!
Bring along an extra pair of sunglasses. You never know if you're going to lose a pair while you're at Disney World, so it's better to be safe than sorry. Thanks to Mark for this tip!
If you purchase your park tickets through AAA (which I found to be the cheapest) and you are planning to drive to the parks you should take advantage of the Diamond Parking Spaces which are right up front. You receive a Diamond Lot permit in your ticket packet to display on your dashboard. No need to wait for and take trams out to outer parking areas. Quick entry and exit. Thanks to Chris for this tip!
Drop by any local store that sells camping gear and look for a polypro camp towel for use at the Disney parks. Their weight is less than cotton and they will dry much faster. In spite of the small size which makes them easy to stash and carry, camp towels absorb vast amounts of water so you can dry more with less. Thanks to Harlan for this tip!
Be sure to prepare for cold weather! Orlando can get chilly!
If you are from a warm climate state and are visiting Orlando in January or early February, bring jeans and a WARM jacket. When we toured last year in the last week of January the mornings were cold and damp, the days were fairly warm and the nights in the parks were freezing with the wind blowing off the lakes and lagoons. I had insisted on bringing our ski jackets on the plane (husband wanted to leave them in the car at the airport parking lot) and were we glad we had them! One night at Epcot, there were so many people that were so inadequately dressed that we felt sorry for them. At least 20 people came up to us and offered to buy our coats, and some of them weren't kidding. Keep in mind that sweatshirts in the parks will usually cost you about $35. If you are freezing you can't enjoy yourself. Plan ahead! Thanks to DisneyKid's Mom for this tip!
I highly recommend obtaining walkie-talkies for your Orlando vacation! We got Cobras at WalMart. Many attractions and even restrooms have multiple entrances and exits and it is easy to lose people. Last year our walkie talkies saved us from a potential problem at Universal. Our kids (10 and 7) were riding Pteranadon Flyers (a jungle/dinosaur ride that is suspended from an overhead track). We asked a cast member where the ride would empty out and were directed to a certain spot where we "could not miss them". I gave my son one of the walkie talkies as he walked toward the ride. We saw our kids overhead doing the ride and waited for them to exit. They never materialized. All of a sudden we got a call from our son saying that he and his sister had come out in a totally unfamiliar place. We were able to get a description from our son as to their location, reassure our daughter who was crying, and find them in about three minutes. Worth every cent! Thanks to DisneyKid's Mom for this tip!
Get wide-mouthed Rubbermaid water bottles (the ones with an attached flip straw) and carry them in a holder around your neck. I made my own holder with the bottom half of a one-liter soda bottle attached to a webbing strap that came from one of my children's lunchboxes. Fill the bottle with ice and water at your hotel every morning and replenish the water at fountains at WDW. It's great when the kids have their own water...no bugging you for drinks every five minutes! Thanks to DisneyKid's Mom for this tip!
A WDW tip is to have each member of your party carry his or her own fanny pack. I took a tip from a woman who wrote in to The Unofficial Guide to WDW and started taking a huge bag of mystery snacks to the hotel on each trip. Each day the kids fill their fanny packs from that bag and that's it for snacks... It saves a lot of money! This also lets my children carry their own sunglasses, money and hats (a must). Thanks to DisneyKid's Mom for this tip!
Please, please check Park Hours before you plan your days. We went to the Magic Kingdom on the first day of our trip and the park closed at 5 for the Halloween party! That was a precious loss of time for us. We would have chosen to go to some other Park and come to Magic Kingdom on a day it was open longer. Thanks to Revathi for this tip!
One of the best ideas we ever had was to start a pressed penny collection. The machines are all over the place at Disney World, but sometimes hard to find (they aren't out in the open) so it was like a treasure hunt for the kids. Plus, while on our treasure hunt, we ran into several characters who were not on the park guides - hidden away from the crowds. So the kids actually had a nice visit with characters and weren't hurried by lines. Thanks to a Guide2WDW user for this tip!
Getting pressed pennies can add a bit of fun to your WDW trip!
Like most people, we didn't have free space in our luggage for all the stuff we bought during the visit to Walt Disney World. So on the last day of our WDW vacation, we just went to the Mailboxes Etc (just ahead of Crossroads shopping mall next to Sheraton Hotel on 535) and bought a box, packed them and mailed it at the post office on the other side of the strip mall. Thanks to Sekar for this tip!
I recommend bringing small umbrellas and plastic ponchos into Disney World during off season - this is when school just started. The lines are not so long, but you do have that daily shower after a day of hot and humid weather. We did bring umbrellas and thin raincoats for kids, and we got to go to the other rides while others were waiting for the rain to stop. Thanks to Clarence for this tip!
You should note in advance where the shuttle from your hotel drops you off at Disney World. For instance, my hotel dropped us off at Magic Kingdom and picked us up at Epcot. Be sure to know how to get to your shuttle at the end of the day. At the entrance/exit of every park there is a "bus information" booth where they will tell you the letter and number of parking for each bus and which hotels they serve. It's a good idea to ask this at your own hotel to save you time. In low season be advised that there is only one trip per day. You won't want to miss your shuttle. A taxi will charge you around $17 dollars per car (our hotel was only 2 miles away from Disney World!) So if you take a taxi, figure out which park is the closest to your hotel so you travel the less miles as possible and from there use the FREE transportation provided by Disney World.
Some advice for when it rains at Walt Disney World. We had our own double stroller with us, & bought an adult Disney rain poncho (for $5) and it fit perfectly over the double stroller (even with kids in it!) My guess is a kid's poncho might fit better on a single stroller. I know you can get the ponchos for a lot less money at sporting goods stores, but then you can't have the Mickey on it! Like many families, we keep lots of little extra stuff in & on the stroller, so it was especially nice that everything stayed nice & dry. The best part was that once the sun came out, we folded up the poncho back into a tiny square, & now keep it with the stroller all the time. Thanks to Maureen for this tip!
Do NOT use the Mears bus transportation at the airport to get to WDW. The bus is hot, crowded and the driver will always wait until the bus fills to capacity. Plus your luggage will be buried into a big heap with the other luggage and you will struggle to pull yours out when you exit. On top of which the bus will make a dozen stops before you get to your destination. Taking the bus is a good way to get off on the wrong foot at WDW before the fun even begins. Instead, consider getting a ride for a ride service (many offered on the internet). They cost about $75 plus tip, but they are well worth it. These services will have one driver there to meet you when you get off the plane. He'll carry your luggage and take your family to your hotel in an air-conditioned town car. No hassle. They'll even let you stop for 30-minutes at a grocery store on the way to your hotel, in case you want to save money that way (the money you save in groceries could pay for the ride itself!). You will be eager to have fun on your arrival and you will be exhausted when you're ready to depart. The last thing you need is a transportation headache. Get the ride service, it's worth it. Thanks to Jerry for this tip!
If you're sick, ask your resort for the name of clinic that provides transportation.
General health care tip - if you need healthcare, your Disney World hotel can provide you with the name of a clinic that provides free shuttle transport to and from the park. This was extremely convenient and speedy. Thanks to M for this tip!
Your hotel gift or sundry shop won't tell you about Turner Drug. If you're sick, the only way to go is to call Turner (as you pointed out in the guide), pay the five bucks (how cheap!), and your meds will be billed to your Disney resort room. These guys saved my life when I came down with the flu! Their prices are a-ok, not jacked up for tourists or anything, and the staff was so helpful! Thanks to Sam for this tip!
When my friend Anna and I went to Disney World, we invested a small sum in two pairs of Tigger ears and we wore them EVERYWHERE, and we got so much extra attention- cast members came and chatted to us while we were waiting in lines and the highlight was Tigger inviting us to dance with him in the parade!! If you're not afraid of wearing Tigger ears and enjoy a good time, I thoroughly recommend it! Thanks to Jo for this tip!
Shopping took on a whole new meaning this time around: shop, shop, shop, and have everything delivered to your resort's gift shop instead of lugging it around all day. Better yet, your resort can ship things home with ease. The folks at the Boardwalk Inn helped make our trip smooth as can be by shipping our overindulgences home -- the Mouse made a lot more money off us, and everything arrived on our doorstep a few days after we got home. No packing concerns. Thanks to Sam for this tip!
When we went to Disney World with our kids we took along a couple handheld electronic games. While we were waiting in line, we would play them to pass the time. This was especially great for the kids because they can get very impatient while waiting in lines. The same can be said for apps on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Thanks to Karen for this tip!
We recommend buying your souvenirs very early in the day and putting them in a locker. After the fireworks, you can get them out of your locker and avoid the busy shops. Plus, without all the other people in the store, you can get a better view of what is being sold and you don't have to worry so much about losing your kids. Thanks to Karen for this tip!
Shop early and take advantage of the lockers!
Your belongings (purses, diaper bags, backpacks) will be searched when you enter any WDW park. They will look inside of any bag you are carrying, so be prepared for this. Our experience has been that it doesn't prolong your wait too much. Thanks to Carol for this tip!
Pin-Trading: My first advice is don't do it... it's an expensive and time consuming game! But if you must here are some tips: Before you leave home buy the smallest, least expensive Disney pins you can find. They have to be "Disney", but WDW staff members have to accept any trade offered to them. Trade your cheap pin for the biggest pin they have. Ask staff members which pins are no longer available for purchase, they will usually give you a few to hunt for which is more fun than getting pins you can buy at any souvenir shop. If the hunt for rare is what you are after, try getting a "Trainer" pin. Staff members have to earn this pin and will tell you that you will NEVER get one (that's all my husband needed to hear and it became his goal for the trip!) Perseverance and a little groveling might get you one! (Yes...my husband came home with a Trainer pin!) Thanks to a Guide2WDW user for this tip!
We saw some families at Walt Disney World who were carrying walky talkies. We laughed at first, but actually it's a great idea to help not get lost from each other, or to split up for a while to hit different rides, then reconnect. Thanks to Chris for this tip!
If you bring your own strollers from home, bring a bike lock to avoid it being stolen. Thanks to Marissa for this tip!
Use an umbrella to shade yourself from the sun.
While waiting for parades in the hot afternoon, an umbrella is a must. Waiting in the Florida sun for over an hour can be brutal.
Make sure to pick up a Guide Map at the entrance to each Walt Disney World park. They not only serve as maps to the park, but also provide a wealth of information about their restaurants, shops, rides, shows, and parades. Thanks to Andrea for this tip!
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