Have I mentioned that I freaking love Disney World? (Seriously, I have a whole post about why here!) Not to mention, Disney World PLANNING? The planning part is just as fun, ha! But let me tell, there are definitely a few things that I wish someone had mentioned about Disney World! There are even a few things that I had heard people say, but they definitely should have elaborated so I was better prepared, ha!
So instead of letting you find out for yourself, I decided to compile a list of all the things you should know before you go! I hope you have the most magical trip ever and that some of these tips help you to be prepared!
**A note: This post contains affiliate links which if used, I may earn a small commission or kickback at no cost to you. This is a way to help support my business and I’m grateful to you! Of course, you can always look the item up separately if you’d prefer not to use my links!**
1- Let’s start with the weather
Because Florida weather is not what it looks like in every tv show ever! For real, you see the Florida sunshine, but it doesn’t show just how freaking HOT and HUMID everything is. It’s uncomfortable hot, and expect a lot of sweat! Definitely bring a ton of water to prep yourself and make sure you plan to stop into shops and stuff for a quick AC break.
Also. Pack sunscreen. You’re welcome.
And with the sun…. comes equal parts RAIN.
As in… biblical, torrential downpours that ruin your “water resistant” phone. (RIP old friend.) The sky will be totally blue and cloudless, and out of nowhere there are clouds of hell raining actual rivers onto you! It’s typically warm rain, but it’s so much that you’ll be drenched within minutes.
These little showers usually only last for maybe 20 or 30 minutes tops, but it’s enough to totally soak you. Bring some ponchos in your pack so you’re prepped, otherwise plan to stand inside a building until it passes (which to me just wastes those precious hours you have at Disney!)
2- Mobile Order IS A THING!
I knew to expect long lines for rides, but no one told me that the lines could be equally as long just to get food! Even the snack stations have long lines sometimes!
With that said…. Last year I discovered that on the Disney Experience app, they have an option to order right through the app for the majority of their quick service and snack places! It saves so much time, you just order and pay from the app, then you walk up to the window and pick it up! It’s seriously so fast and such an amazing little tool to have up your sleeve.
3-The dining plan doesn’t actually save you money
…. But it IS really nice to have all of your food pre-payed for so you don’t have to think about it while you’re there. It’s kind of a good way to budget, although like the title said- it doesn’t actually save you money unless you literally get THE MOST EXPENSIVE option at every single meal and snack that you possibly can.
Just keep that in mind if you’re considering a dining plan! Again, it IS really nice to have things prepaid for, even if it does end up costing you a little more. I’m the kind of gal that is willing to pay for convenience, ha!
4-Bring pennies and quarters!
The first time we were there, I only brought in my magic band. I thought I was brilliant because I didn’t have to carry anything with me! (I mean it is still pretty brilliant!) but everywhere they have these really cool penny stretcher stations and seriously it’s such a fun, unique, CHEAP souvenir to have! It costs like 50 cents to do and bam, unique little souvenir right there!
I realize that tip may not be for everyone, but for my other nostalgic nerd babes out there… just bring yourself a few pennies and quarters and have fun! I totally wish I had known about them so I could have done that our first trip!
5-Never use the bathroom by the ride exit
Because there are seriously a million bathrooms, all over the place! The ones close to the rides tend to have long lines, but you can usually find another really close bathroom that is empty!
6-You’re allowed to bring in your own food and drink!
Food and drinks at the parks are expensive! I think there’s a common misconception that they don’t allow you to bring those things in yourself, but you totally can! Load up on bottles of water (their water is awful at Disney!) and snacks and save a little bit of money.
7-Speaking of water, don’t drink from the water fountains!
Instead, ask any quick service location for a free water! The water in the water fountains is *technically* safe to drink but it’s so nasty, you won’t want to. Save yourself the toilet swill and just get the free water they offer at any little eatery around. They all offer free water.
8-Thicker thighs need protection!
If you’ve got juicy thighs (I’m in that club too!) then wearing longer shorts or pants, or using an anti-chafing stick to help prevent rashes from your thighs rubbing together is going to save you.
I freaking LOVE my Mega-babe stick, it was perfect to stop that friction and saved my legs after they started chafing. You’re doing so much walking around that it really is necessary to plan for it. Here is another one I’ve heard great things about.
9-Staying onsite gets you free transportation and into the parks early
This might be one a lot of people know, but I was someone that DID NOT know this my first time there! If you stay onsite at a Disney resort, they have free transportation you can use from your hotel, and most parks offer early magic hours so you can get in earlier than anyone else and beat the crowds to your favorite rides.
10-The second show is less crowded
Especially during peak season when crowds are high, a lot of times Disney will have two showings for their popular shows, like the parades and fireworks. The bulk of the crowds will attend the first show, so the second show is usually less crowded. You’ll get a better view and you might be able to catch a few shorter lines if you ride rides during the first show.
11-Disney has everything.
I mean it. If there is something that you need- like your shoe breaks, your kid decides to undress and lose their clothes, you get pooped on by a bird and need a replacement shirt, you cut open your finger…. Pretty much any scenario you can think of, Disney will have it covered- and a lot of times they will help you without charge.
They literally have the best cast members and they are so solutions-oriented when it comes to their guests! Don’t ber afraid to ask when you might need a little help.
12-If your ears give you a headache, you can return them!
If you get a pair of ears that give you a splitting headache and you’re bummed you spent your precious souvenir money on something that you won’t want or use for that reason, you can totally return them and explain. They’ll take care of you! Then you can use your money on something that you really love and/or will use!
Fun note: There are a ton of little businesses and talented people that make the most unique Minnie ears if you want something truly special! Check out this list for all of my favorite places to buy unique Minnie ears and support small business!
13-Being nice to the cast members pays off!
They have all sorts of Disney Magic running through their veins and have the power to make little miracle magic moments happen, so BE NICE! No, you can’t just ask for a magic moment, and no, you can’t just expect one either. But it’s always a good idea to be extra nice to the people that are working hard to serve you and make your experience magical, and eventually it does pay off!
We’ve had so many special magic moments created by cast members that we will remember forever, like getting a free treats and free desert, an extra fast pass, a t shirt, prime viewing at shows, and even a free little bracelet that my daughter wanted and cried when we wouldn’t let her get it. The cast members made all these things happen for us!
14- It’s worth it to go to the paid “after hours” events!
The hard ticket events are so cool! You have way less crowds and can hit so many rides, not to mention that you get to see exclusive shows. And my very favorite thing about these events is that you always get to meet special characters that aren’t regularly in the parks, this is a really great chance to meet some rare favorites! Totally worth splurging on when you’re planning your trip!
The Aladdin Magic Carpets ride (also in MK) and the Triceratops Spin ride (in AK) both are basically the exact same as Dumbo, but half the wait times. So if your little one just wants a fun ride that takes you up in the air and spins, do one of those instead.
Don’t get me wrong, Dumbo is one of our favorite (see my blog post here for why!), and the magical thing about Dumbo is that they have the cutest little play area while you wait for your turn (using a pager-style system) so that’s super fun, but if you want to avoid long waits, opt for one of the others!
I hope these tips help you prep! What are you most excited for when you go to Disney World?? Are there any other tips you have that I should add to the list? Let me know in the comments! If you’re planning a trip, be sure to check out this list of things you need to have on your Animal Kingdom bucket list!