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Your Best Disney Tips & Tricks

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Something that worked well for us was to remember to enjoy our time there! I purchased the Unofficial Guide to WDW and loved it. I knew ahead of time which rides were likely not a good fit for our family or where we might run into characters we wanted to see, etc. Some of the advice in the book helps you to cram it all in and while I did want my family to experience all the rides/shows, etc. I had to remember to stop and let them spontaneously enjoy their surroundings! Maybe jump rope on Mainstreet or play in an African band in Animal Kingdom...


We stayed on property and would hit the parks first thing, head back to our room late afternoon and have a good rest & dinner and then head back out. Resting in the middle of the day was great, not only for our girls who were 5 & 7, but also for the adults!


Go to the City Hall in Magic Kingdom and get First Visit buttons and wear them! Ride in the front of the monorail with the operator - may have to wait for the next tram, but it's worth it. My girls so enjoyed this special ride and the operator passed out a little card after the ride.


When we went to WDW, our package included breakfast & dinner at our hotel, so we ate a good breakfast and would take apples/pb/nuts/crackers/water into the parks. We weren't on the dining plan and I was not impressed with the one counter service meal we had in Magic Kingdom so it worked better for us to bring in a good snack. Less expensive, too.


In our backpack I carried: small camera, autograph books & sharpies for the girls, snacks/water, hand sanitizer, sunscreen and hand-held fans.


Wear tennis shoes - no matter the temperature.


This is all I can recall for now - I'm sure you'll get lots of wonderful advice. Enjoy your trip!

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Take extra shoes! ;) lol... My family always packs *very* light. But the one thing we've learned *not* to scrimp on is *shoes*. Now dh and I take a minimum of three pair for any Disney trip. Three *very*different* pair, like a pair of sneakers, a pair of flip-flops, and another comfy pair (great sandals, crocs, other good walking shoes, whatever). Otherwise, all those miles and miles of walking and lots of standing had our feet in shreds. I don't know why it's so much worse than straight hiking, lol, but for us it sure seems to be. Being able to change out shoes every day, or even from morning to evening makes our trips much more comfortable. :)


My other "tip" would be to pack as light for the parks as you possibly can. We stay "on site" and have the dining plan, so we take almost nothing with us into the parks -- just our cards (serve as room key, dining cards, park admission, even for purchases in the parks) and maybe a camera. (We use most of our "snack" credits from the dining plan for large bottles of water, and also get bottles of water with all counter service meals...) It's so much more pleasant than lugging things around!


Arrive early. 20-30 minutes before opening. That first two hours in any park is so quiet and uncrowded compared to the rest of the day. :)


Also, we've found success in having meals at "off" times of day. Having brunch and an early dinner mean we're eating when other people are standing in line for rides and vice versa. Cuts down on some of the craziness.


My kids loooove character meals. More than I would have guessed. ;) Otherwise, if they want to meet characters, Epcot is a great place to look for them. Many of the princesses can be found in World Showcase in the afternoons... Trying to meet characters as you enter the Magic Kingdom is a nightmare!


Ask for a ride in the front of the monorail! If you get up to the station at a time of day when no one is around, ask the conductor if your family could wait and ride in the front. If there's no one in the front of the monorail when it gets to you, they'll let you sit right up in the very front of the nose. The views are incredible, and it's lots of fun!


Oh, and my very best tip of all: get The Unofficial Guide to WDW. It's worth the price several times over in terms of usefulness and making your trip so much more pleasant.


Have a *wonderful* time! :)

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Get The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland/Disneyworld (depending on which you are visiting). It's a wonderful guide that will help you get the very most of your trip.


It includes information on where to eat in the park. What is served, cost, and when the best time to eat at that location is.


It includes information on all of the rides and attractions, including scare factor for young kids.


It includes agendas that you can follow that will you to see the most attractions. It will tell you what ride to go on, which way to turn from the exit to get to the next place, when to utilize fastpass, etc. All of the information is designed to save you the most time by avoiding the longest lines. It will have you riding rides when the lines are usually the shortest. Or you might ride something, grab a fastpass for something, ride a few other rides, and then come back to use that fastpass...all the while skipping the worse lines. It even includes parades and shows in the agendas. They have agendas for adults only groups, families with young children, one day agendas, two day agendas, etc.


I grew up 1 mile from Disneyland, going all the time. I now live two states away and hadn't gone in 14 years. By far my best trip ever was the most recent one when I used the guide. I didn't know you could fit so much into one day. And an even better comparison....we used the guide the first day (an awesome day) but dh didn't like being tied to a schedule so we didn't use it the second day. The second day we probably only hit about a 1/3 of the attractions we would have...most of our day was spent walking and standing in lines. I was so disappointed at all we ended up missing.

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Study the map either on-line or in a guide book so you know what you really can live with and without attraction wise. That way you won't try to do it all (as it is just about impossible without 10-14 days and really enjoy it). Also then in your mind you can have a sort of game plan without being tied to anything. Upon arriving get a time schedule for shows so you can plan around those you really want to see (again seeing them all is near impossible without making everyone miserable). Others use Touring plans, like Mike's Touring plans for Disney, but you can enjoy without such rigor. I second going back to a hotel room if you are on property for a few hours in the afternoon or at least sit down for a very late lunch to relax.


Best tip, on the day you go to Hollywood Studios, immediately go to Toy Story Mania and get your fast pass(you will be in line with hundreds of other people trying to get them also) and then go tour the other areas while waiting for your time. Once your time is up (and the fastpass says you can) get another pass for Toy Story and get on the ride. You will definitely want to ride this ride more than once, particularly with children of the ages yours are-even the adults want to ride it again and again. The fastpass for this ride goes quickly and by the middle of the day there are no more and we went during the down season. I could not justify waiting in line for 70-120 minutes for the ride, so we only went when we could get a fastpass.


Secondly, on rides which are slow-loading (ie Dumbo, Carousel, etc-meaning a few people get on, the ride runs and you have to wait for the ride to stop to load again) go to these rides early in the day, ie opening if they are really important to you. By midday they are packed and you waste a lot of time standing in line vs a continuous moving ride which keeps moving and loading people on.


This past visit was the first for my children and I don't know how many for my husband and I (he worked for the mouse in college), so we decided the Magic Kingdom was the first stop for them, as this is where it all began. I had read all the info about not going there first and the reasoning behind it, and although I wouldn't have changed my children's experience, I understand the reasoning now. MK is full of rides and mostly rides, while the other parks are not, which is fine because each was made with different strengths and themes. However, after MK, kids think all parks have that many rides and can be a little disappointed when they realize they don't. Just something to keep in mind.


Finally, after being so long-winded, enjoy the atmosphere of Disney. The rides were not created like other theme parks, get on, go as fast as you can, get off and go again. There is a story to be told with each ride/attraction from the time you get to the entrance until the time you exit, enjoy that and you will really experience Disney as Walt intended. There are also some WDW blogs which have good information and one or 2 forums, if you search and can't find them let me know and I will look them up-they are a wealth of information. FWIW-Expedition Everest is not for the faint of heart or the age of myself anymore-be wary if you really are not a fan of high speed, action packed roller coasters-loved it but once was enough for me.

HTH and enjoy your trip!

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We stay on site, and the last time we had the dining plan, though it was almost too much food (probably wouldn't be this time, the teenager is bigger!).


The next time we go, I will make all of my dinner reservations MONTHS in advance. I will also bring more shoes (your feet really do die). I will also make sure I have clothing for the opposite season. We were there when it was warm, and then they got a freezing cold front. We had to go buy sweatpants to put under our pants!


The single best thing I've brought is a water bottle with integral filter. I was able to get water at the water fountains that tasted great (although the water fountains aren't too bad, it is just better tasting with a filter).


Fast passes are the way to go. And so is the Unofficial Guide. We buy the new one for every trip (we've gone 3 times - kid wants to work there as an adult).




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First of all - enjoy yourself!!! I second the shoe recommendation. No matter how well your shoes are broken in, with all the walking you'll do, you'll get blisters. You'll want a different pair of shoes to wear the next day.


I just asked my family for hints -


ds11 says not to miss Lights, Motors, Action or the Indiana Jones show at Hollywood Studios. Splash Mountain was a favorite.


ds12 says ride all the big roller coasters!


ds8 says to eat at Whispering Canyon. Oh- and ask for ketchup. Don't ask - just do it. He also says Goofy's Barnstormer is great for kids. (He's very leery of big rides and loved this one. His big brothers convinced him Space Mountain wouldn't be scary - he was VERY scared!)


Dh says go to the hall of Presidents (this elicited quite a groan from all the kids - they didn't like it!!). But, it's air conditioned if you need a break from the heat.


Me - Soarin' was my favorite ride (Epcot). Seriously - get a fast pass and DO it! Get a fast pass for Toy Story Mania at Hollywood studios when you FIRST get there. They would run out of FP within a couple hours of opening and the wait was over 300 minutes without a fast pass. If you have a child who likes the Dumbo ride - ride it once. The line is forever long. Then, go over and ride Aladin's Magic Carpet Ride. Same idea - NO line. (At least when we were there!) Boma - Eat there - seriously. Awesome food.


dd3 says to eat in the Princess Castle. She still talks about our dinner there and it was six months ago!!!

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Fast Pass, Fast Pass and more Fast Pass...I can't say enough about the benefit of this. And heading to the most popular ride in each park when it first opens. We rode Tower of Terror about ten times in a row with no wait by heading there when the park opened. Same for Expedition Everest and other popular rides.


I'll also share my very dorky, but feet-saving, shoe tip. I learned this on a WDW message board from veterans. I had never owned Crocs before and certainly don't care for the look of them. But, I wrapped my feet in duct tape from the base of my toes, around the foot, and back to the heel. Then I wore white sport socks and my Crocs. It was May when we went so there was some heat and humidity. But, once I began walking, I could not feel the tape at all. We were in the parks from opening to close with no break, and my feet were as comfy and soft as baby's skin by the end of the day. No redness, no blisters, no rubbing, no anything and I normally have trouble finding any comfortable shoes, including tennis shoes! Even sandals normally hurt my flat, wide feet. Yes, I probably looked like a dork with my pink Crocs and white socks, but no one seemed to notice and my 7yod didn't mind. She was just thrilled that I could keep up with her as we were there alone! At the end of the day, you just peel it off carefully and it comes right off.

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We arrive for our 3rd visit, staying a week. Ideas:


- Ditto what others have said - go to parks first thing, back to hotel mid-afternoon, back to parks late afternoon and eve. Eat off hours. Use FastPass a lot.

- We take lots of snacks in a backpack - that way we aren't forced to take a break when the boys are suddenly hungry (as boys are wont to be).

- Snag a parade spot early. The parades are fun, but not if you are standing at the back. We usually grab a primo spot on the curb an hour early, then DH goes and gets ice cream cones or even burgers and brings them back so we eat while waiting.

- Get character autographs. Seems kind of silly to me, but I got my boys the kind of autograph books that have a slot on each page for a picture plus the autograph. They still look at the ones from prior visits. It helps to have a DH whose personal mission is to find characters when the lines are first forming.

- Think about interspersing shows (where you can sit and relax) and rides. It really helps our day go at a better pace.


Have fun!





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Ditto what others have said...


1) A good pair of shoes will be your best friend!


2) Fast pass will be your next best friend!


3) If you like rides, ride during parades when the lines are shortest.


4) Pecos Bill has great burgers.


5) Eat in the off hours like after 2 or before 11:30, same idea for dinner.


6) Bring a refillable water and stay very well-hydrated.


7) You may not be able to see it all, so let everyone pick a favorite ride or show that's a "not to miss".


8) Most importantly...relax, it's supposed to be fun. I always feel bad for the families you see where the parents are mad and screaming and the kids are bummed out and crying.

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Thanks to everyone who responded so far. These are fabulous tips!! Love the one with the duct tape; can't believe that it works. I'm very tempted to try it.


I see many of you advised about bringing snacks, which we did plan on doing. Hoping to eat breakfast at our hotel every morning (we're very very close, but offsite, and have our own kitchen) and dinner will be out, so I'm looking for ideas for food to bring. I know we can do pb&j sandwiches, granola bars, fruit. What else? I'm thinking this could get old after a few days!


We won't be going to Disney Studios, although I'm very curious about the Toy Story ride that everyone went on about. Guess we'll need to schedule another trip through the years!


Thanks again and feel free to post more ideas!

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and go through it with your kids. Have everyone in the family list 2 rides/attractions from each park and only promise to do on those things. That may give you 8 rides per park which is plenty to promise. This worked well for us the first couple times we went.


This one is new and only if you or the kids want to ride the new Toy Story Mania ride at Hollywood Studios. Get to the park before it opens (15 minutes is enough). Watch the semi-cheesy opening show. "Run" with everyone else to the ride - most of the crowd will be going there as well, just follow them. You or dh takes the kids and gets in line for the ride. The other has all the passes to the park and gets fast passes. Whoever gets fast passes won't ride the first time through. We did this exact thing twice and were able to ride it 4 times on our week long trip. Otherwise the line is over an hour long and the fast passes are well into the afternoon an hour after the park opens. For my family this park is a 1/2 day park. And yes, IMO this ride is worth doing this. It is a blast!

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I'm not sure how many days you will be there...but, get a double stroller!!! We have 3 children and could pile all three in there and put our stuff in the pockets or on top. They push VERY easily and saved a lot of time walking around the park. Little ones just can't walk as quickly and tired. Our children did want to walk at times...but, it was nice to have the stroller option. You will save money if you buy a "stroller pass" on the first day for all the days you will be there. Just ask an attendent where the stroller rental is located. It's right near the entrance to the park. Lastly, bring along a red bandana or other colorful piece of cloth to tie on the handle of the stroller. You will be able to identify your stroller very quickly among the sea of parker strollers.


Have a great time!



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"That's just what it costs."

Try not to get too stressed about the costs of things in the parks. Don't spend what you don't have, of course, but while food and drinks in the parks are pricey, counter service meals are no worse than food and drinks in any other amusement park or sports stadium in the country. Eating out of your backpack will get old, so do plan to spend some money on food in the parks. (You are technically not allowed to bring food other than baby food into the parks, but the security guards who check bags don't actually enforce this.) One bargain snack we found was a big bag of pretzels that are for sale in all of the gift shops. Fresh fruit is also not badly priced. Also, you can sometimes split a counter-service meal, as some of the portions are pretty big.


We've been 7 or 8 times in the last 6 years, and I don't find the walking to be too bad on my feet--none of us have ever gotten blisters, and we just wear regular shoes. If you do get blisters, head to the first aid center in each park. They're a great resource and will be thrilled to help. I got Tylenol from them once for a headache, and they just couldn't have been friendlier.


Have a souvenir plan for the kids before you go, as they'll want to buy everything. So will you, by the way! There's something in the water there that makes you want to buy their stuff. We usually give our kids a budget to buy ONE thing (so they don't buy lots of little, junky stuff) and stipulate that they can't buy it until X day. That way, they spend a couple of days browsing, which is fun, as the shops are all a little different, and then they make their purchases towards the end of the trip. Then we usually buy them one additional item of our choosing.


Last suggestion--if you're going to do a sit-down breakfast or dinner, look at some of the ones at the hotels that you can reach by ferry or monorail. Whispering Canyon Cafe at Wilderness Lodge is fun; Chef Mickey's in the Contemporary is fun. If you have girls, Park Fare at the Grand Floridian is lovely. Even if they say that no advanced reservations are available, pick one and plan to show up right as they open. They can frequently get you in anyway.

Last tip: be there before the park opens. You'd be surprised how much more ride time this will give you. If you're not staying onsite, don't go to the park that has early entry guests staying onsite, as it will be much more crowded than the others.

Your kids are great ages for Disney, and you'll have a great time.


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We are planning a trip, too. I've been reading info at:




Somethings that come to mind:


Bring crystal light singles to add to water bottles for some variety. Most counters will give you a free cup of ice water. Bring a self-filtering water bottle and use the water fountains.


Many counter meals are big enough to share. There is a place in MK that has a chicken & ribs meal that people say is big enough for 2. (Cosmic Ray's?) If you have burger eaters, buy a double burger and an extra bun. Check the bun cost first b/c the price varies.


For me, snacky food sometimes back fires b/c snacky stuff has so many carbs. It is better for me to eat something higher in protein for a snack. So I keep that in mind.

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