Be mindful of the events they have throughout the year. Disney’s Epcot has festivals that go on through the different seasons, they include the Flower and Garden Festival, The Food and Wine Festival, and the International Festival of the Holidays. These are all really fun to attend and cost you no extra to get in, the Food and Wine Festival is my favorite! On the other hand, Magic Kingdom has a Halloween party and a Christmas party that they close the parks down early for and only the people who pay to get in are allowed in. I have been to the Christmas party and I would say it is definitely worth the money, the lines are shorter, there are free snacks at certain spots in the park, and an exclusive parade/shows. Whether you want to work around these events or attend, it’s good to know when they go on.
Download the app. The Disney World app is a handy tool for making fast passes, reserving seats at restaurants, and seeing wait times. Planning out your day at Disney is huge if you are trying to see a whole park in a day. There are always certain rides, like Avatar Flight of Passage in Animal Kingdom or Peter Pan’s Flight in Magic Kingdom, that you’ll have to build your day around. This app comes in clutch when dealing with those situations.
Bring some water bottles in the park with you. It is so important to stay hydrated when in Disney because it’s nothing but heat and walking! Water bottles in the park cost like 3.50$ a pop, which adds up when you are tired and dehydrated.
If you want a nice meal, reserve your seats! Restaurants like the Beauty and the Beast’s castle in the Magic Kingdom are sometimes difficult to get seats for. Personally, I think if you have your dates you should go ahead and book your sit down restaurants and fast passes.
Dress appropriately for the weather! I can’t stress this enough, Orlando (especially in the summer) is HOT! I recommend light tank tops, shorts, and a very comfortable pair of shoes. My favorite pair of shoes to wear to Disney are my Nike flip flops because they are comfortable but also allow for air flow to the feet. I’ve been miserable in a long line and wishing I had worn something else, it’s the first thing to ruin a day at Disney.
Research, research, research! I recommend looking into all of the rides, shows, and eateries ahead of time. Then make a list of the sights you really want to see and rank them on what you want to do most. This, of course, all depends on your preferences. I don’t like thrill rides so my itinerary looks different than someone who’s top rides are Splash Mountain or Space Mountain. It’s easy to get caught up in lines and not get to see some of the top things on your list by the end of the day.
Disney is expensive! If you have looked into Disney World for any amount of time you’ll know it is expensive. There are endless ways to spend money, and you should be prepared to spend some. However, you can often cut corners by buying your Disney shirts outside of the park, bringing in your own water bottles, and having a meal outside of the park (I always like to do a good breakfast before the park).
Have a cast member take your picture with your phone. The first time I went to Disney I remember feeling pretty awkward when asking the photographer to take our picture with my phone, but they are super nice about it. Whenever I see a cast photographer who is taking pictures in a certain spot I have them take some on their camera and some on my phone. The pictures you can buy from Disney are very overpriced, so having them on your phone too is such a relief.
Celebrate with Disney! I’m sure if you have ever been to Disney you have seen people walking around with buttons on their shirts that say “1st visit” or “It’s my birthday” but it extends further than that. I have a friend that when she finished nursing school came to celebrate at Disney and mentioned it to a cast worker. They gave her a button and free parking for that day. When wearing a button the cast members will congratulate you and sometimes do things like that too.
If you enjoy Disney and plan to go often, get a pass! The pass has a lot of perks if you plan on going multiple times throughout the year. I have the weekday pass, which really works for my work schedule. It paid for itself in no time at all. As a passholder you get 20% off things in any of the shops, select restaurants, and most places at Disney Springs. On top of that you get a discount when staying at Disney’s resorts and a free magicband.