Disney World Tips – These 10 tips and tricks are so helpful for those who have never been to Disney or who are looking to make their next trip even better!
With tons of world-class dining options, many fabulous resort choices, and countless entertainment possibilities, it can be overwhelming trying to plan your Disney vacation.
I’ve invited Amy with The Travel Bug Company, who I call the “Disney Guru“, to share her favorite top 10 tips for those who have never been to Disney, and who are thinking about making it a family vacation soon!
Disney World Tips
1. Use a stroller for young children
A stroller can be brought from home or rented and delivered to your resort to be picked up once you arrive.
On our last trip, we walked 10 miles on our first park day and I hadn’t taken my own advice for my 5-year-old.
That afternoon I rented a stroller from a company that I trust and picked it up the next morning on the way to the bus stop.
It was such a GAME CHANGER. Less whining, extra storage space, and you know exactly where your young one is when navigating through security and crowded walking areas.
2. Get a dining plan
The dining plan is one of my favorite components of the Disney World experience, because, well… food.
I think Disney has really upped its food game, and the meals and snacks we eat while there are pretty fabulous.
The dining plan is offered as a perk of staying at a Disney resort and can offer a lot of value to your vacation, making it easy to enjoy many of their most popular dining options.
There are several dining plans to pick from, and you can choose the plan that best fits your budget and vacation style.
Most Popular Dining Plan?
The most popular is the Disney Dining Plan, and it includes:
- 1-table service meal
- 1-quick service meal
- and two snacks per person, per night of your stay.
You also get a souvenir drink cup that has pixie dust and can be used at your resort for unlimited tea, coffee, and soda.
The Disney Dining Plan may not sound like enough food, but trust me, I have two growing teenage boys and it was more food than they could eat in a day!
3. Disposable ponchos
I buy mine from Amazon in packs of 10 and keep one per person in my bag with me when we leave the resort.
I recommend wearing one if you ride Splash Mountain in Magic Kingdom or Kali River Rapids in Animal Kingdom.
They are also useful for afternoon showers when you want to get to the bus or hop to another ride.
4. Memory Maker
This is another of my favorites, and is a really fun way to make sure everybody gets in those photos, including Mom or Dad!
There are Disney photographers sprinkled throughout the parks, especially near the iconic landmarks like Cinderella’s Castle and the Epcot sphere.
The photographer will be wearing a vest labeled “Photopass Photographer” and will be carrying a large camera, so you can’t miss them.
They will take your family’s picture in your matching Mickey Mouse shirts and connect it to your reservation so you can save them when you get home. How cool is that!?
There are videos from some of the rides that make for really fun viewing… like with your hair in the wind when you come around a bend on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
Magic Shots are also offered in different locations, where an animation or overlay is added to your pic after it’s taken. So so fun to have.
5. Stay on site
Staying on Disney property, in the “Disney Bubble,” can add a lot of perks to your vacation. (For instance like I mentioned above, the dining plan is only available for resort guests.)
Transportation to the parks and Disney Springs is complimentary, as well as Magical Express shuttle to and from the airport for Disney World guests.
Fun story: On one of our bus rides from Hollywood Studios back to “Art of Animation” we had the most entertaining bus driver who quizzed us all with Disney trivia, making the bus ride feel quick and fun.
You don’t have to worry about parking or driving while you are there, and the resorts are known for theming, convenience and adding the benefit of being able to return to your room for a break on park day if your little ones need it. It ADDS to the whole vacation experience!
6. No backpack in the parks
A backpack in a theme park is very common, but we don’t do it.
I recommend a cross body bag or a fanny pack, or a small diaper bag that can be easily removed from the stroller basket when going through security and when parking the stroller.
Backpacks can be tricky when getting into and out of rides, and I do not like having sweaty backs in the heat.
In my cross body bag, I carry:
- travel-size sunscreen
- ID and credit cards
- rechargeable phone battery
- a couple of blister bandages
- and a few other make-up/toiletry items.
Every night I empty my bag and repack it for the next day.
But here is an AMAZING resource for what to carry in your bag at Disney!
7. Pin trading with cast members
Almost every “Cast Member” (what Disney employees are called) will have character pins that they can trade with you for.
We order a mixed bag from Amazon before our trip, divide them up at home, and trade in the parks.
It’s really fun to see what my kids keep and which ones they trade.
We’ve used pin lanyards and wallet-type holders, with my favorite being a wallet that hangs on a lanyard.
It’s a good idea to discuss with your child that he or she needs to let you know if they would like to go trade pins with a Cast Member, as you could continue walking and not realize they are not there! (EEEk! Not that it’s happened to us or anything.) Ha!
Buy the character pins we get HERE!
8. Pick up a Disney park times guide
Disney’s park entertainment options are subject to change, and this is a great way to keep track of what time they start and what is being offered that day.
A few that come to mind are Animal Encounters in Animal Kingdom, Great Moments in History in Magic Kingdom or March of the First Order in Hollywood Studios.
A times guide is available next to the maps as you enter the park.
9. Wear ears or a Goofy hat
Wearing something on your head is a really fun way to get into the Disney experience.
Whether you order it ahead of time and coordinate all your outfits or get one headband and wear it the first day only, it’s a lot of fun and makes for great photos. I usually wear mine to the airport on arrival and departure days, getting into the Disney spirit and relaxing into my vacation, and have a few I rotate during the week (yes, they match my outfits).
The ears and hats are available online and throughout the parks, resorts and Disney Springs. Of course, Disney themed Christmas lights also go well with your favorite headgear…
10. Use a professional Disney travel planner
Trying to plan your trip on your own, can be stressful. Using a Disney planner who knows ins and outs to get great deals, the best times for activities and so much more… can be so helpful with alleviating stress ahead of time and while you’re there, so you too can have fun too!
Where do you find this Disney planner???
I can’t WAIT to help you!
I (Amy here) am a professional Disney travel planner with a goal to maximize your Disney experience with detailed daily plans, dining arrangements, ride reservations, and more!
Together, we figure out the best fit for your family and I take care of all the details.
Your vacation begins with me! You will get the benefit of a Disney expert and you won’t have to do countless hours of research, discovery, and planning to have the best Disney vacation ever. (Ack!)
YES! I offer free consultations. So to learn more about my customized Disney travel services and how I can best meet your vacation needs, I’m just an email away.
To schedule a time to chat, email me at
Have you ever visited Boca Grande Florida? See Jessica’s Boca Grande Florida vacation review to see if that’s somewhere you want to visit.
Or, I’m also on Facebook at Travel Bug Company if you’d like to visit me there!
Want to See More Disney Photos?
Head over to my Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/travel_bug_company
I can’t wait to help plan your Disney vacation!
Thank you SO much Amy! As someone who’s never been to Disney, I have to say…you’ve already taught me so many helpful things!
More Disney Tips?
Friends, I’m dying to know what your favorite Disney tips are. Do you have any favorites? Let me know in the comments below! Thank you for sharing them with us!