My wife and I just came home from yet another Walt Disney World vacation. This one was the first without the kids, but like the rest of our magical trips I wanted to share my thoughts on how YOU can get the most from your next WDW trip.
1. Lower your expectations – Walt Disney World is huge. You can’t do everything, be selective in what you want to accomplish, and if it doesn’t get done…put it on the list for the next trip. My wife and I have been to WDW a dozen times and still haven’t done everything.
2. Smile – When you smile you become welcoming to others and the more you smile the more others will smile…and when you’re smiling cast members are more acceptive to your ask.
3. Talk to the cast members – Cast members have name tags that also display their hometown, address them by name and if you live nearby their town share that detail with them. Cast members love to be recognized and will go out of their way to help those who they feel connected with.
4. Grab a map – Yes, you might have a phone with the Disney app, but a printed map feels nostalgic and something that you can touch and feel, plus it’s a lot handier to look at versus a small phone screen.
5. Wear comfortable shoes – Most people average 20 plus miles of walking at Walt Disney World during their stay…that’s a lot of walking. So make sure the shoes you wear are comfortable. Tip: do not take brand new shoes for your trip. Buy those shoes months before and break them in.
6. Be aware of the time – Everything runs on a schedule at Walt Disney World, especially parades. And those parades can cause a bit of havoc when you can’t cross a walkway because it’s been roped off. Also be aware that monorails, buses, boats and other modes of transportation all take time and can impact any reservations you made in other parts of the resort.
7. Drink fluids – Staying hydrated is key. It’s Florida and it’s most likely hotter than where you are fun, so carry water with you at all times.
8. Remember BBLL (bathroom before long lines – trust me you’ll appreciative this one) – Most rides don’t have bathrooms, so make sure you empty your bladder before entering the line. Nothing is worse than getting half way through a line only to realize you need to leave the line to go find the nearest restroom.
9. If you find a product you like buy it right away – Waiting later or thinking it’ll be available at a different store could be setting you up for disappointment. Not all products are available everywhere, and some are limited to the store you first saw them.
10. Cast members are human – They do make mistakes, treat them kindly. They work long hours to provide you the guest with a great experience. And like you they are exhausted too, so be nice.
11. PvSS (people versus strollers and scooters) – When the parks are crowded it seems that strollers and scooters are nothing more than a giant nuisance…especially when you’re in a hurry and those things are in your way slowing you down. But to the mothers and fathers pushing their kids in the strollers and those that need mechanical mobility all the people in the way probably frustrate them also…be kind, be helpful, make room for them.
12. Use mobile ordering – (OMG, this is a huge time saver) Why wait in more lines especially for a quick bite to eat? Use the Disney App and order your snacks, hamburgers, hotdogs, churros, pretzels, drinks and more ahead of time…when you arrive, your order is ready for pick up. So convenient.
13. Make reservations – Now if you prefer a sit down meal, make sure you plan your reservations far in advance. While my wife were waiting for our time to be called at Jungle Skipper Canteen I witnessed at least a dozen families being turned away because they didn’t have a reservation. And if it’s a busy park day, every sit down restaurant could be booked solid…and that creates a very unhappy experience for exhausted families who want a sit down meal. Plan ahead, make those reservations.
14. Explore the other resorts – When not enjoying time at the parks, take the opportunity to resort hop and experience what the other resorts have to offer. The Contemporary, Polynesian and Grand Floridian are all on the monorail route. The Swan, Dolphin, Yacht, Beach and Boardwalk Villas are right near Disney’s Boardwalk. And Port Orleans is just a boat ride from Disney Springs. Speaking of Disney Springs, almost all resorts can be connected through the bus hub there. My favorite is still Fort Wilderness…very quiet, rugged and simplistic. My second choice would be Animal Kingdom Lodge…you can see real animals roaming around…and the lodge has two of the best restaurants Sanaa and Boma…just amazing.
15. Talk to other guests – Over the years my wife and I have befriended other couples while having dinner, resting in some place or traveling to and from the parks. We share stories of our Disney adventures and discover new opportunities to try or schedule the next time we are back at Walt Disney World. In all the years of going to WDW I don’t think we came across anyone not willing to share their story.
16. You be the judge – Don’t miss something just because reviews are bad, you might actually enjoy it. We made a reservation for a restaurant only to discover the reviews were bad. We kept the reservation and actually enjoyed not only the food, but the service too. To us it was perfect.
17. Be prepared for rain – Oh yes, the rain! It happens, on an almost daily occurrence. Carrying ponchos and umbrellas is up to you. We opted not to, and we got drenched. But we dried off in a very short time. Just remember umbrellas are bulky and will drip water on other people, or poke them if you get too close. Be courteous.
18. Take breaks – Parks can be overwhelming and exhausting, make time to sit down and just catch your breath, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. Your feet will thank you. And seriously you won’t feel so overwhelmed when you feel refreshed.
19. If you need help, ask – Cast members are there to help. Need directions? Ask them. Need help with Genie+? Yup, they can assist you. Experiencing problems with Magic Bands or need medical care…you just need to ask.
20. Don’t overspend – I saved this one for last for a reason…Walt Disney World doesn’t have to be expensive. Yet, so many families believe they need to spend their life’s fortune on a magical vacation. Believe it or not, you don’t have to. My wife and I have done Disney on the cheap many times. Staying off resort can save you tons. Taking your own snacks and sandwiches into the park is another option. Driving instead of flying. Limiting what parks you go to on your trip. Having meals delivered to your resort using Uber Eats, Door Dash or the other meal delivery services is convenient and a bit cheaper. I personally use a Chase Disney Visa card which rewards me every month based on my spending with Disney dollars that I can use to buy park tickets, dining and souvenirs.
I hope you found these twenty suggestions helpful and if you have questions about Walt Disney World feel free to reach out. I still don’t know everything about WDW even after visiting a dozen times, but I’m sure I can point you in the right direction.
Rob is affectionately known as “Mr. Sarcasm” to his friends - to everyone else he’s a Certified Digital Marketing Strategist, a Foremost Expert On Specialized SEO, a Best Selling Author, Podcaster, Speaker and Authority Broadcaster who can help amplify YOU to your audience.
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