What is it about Disney that so firmly holds the heart of millions (dare I say billions, even?) of people around the world? The nostalgia? The attention to detail? The captivating stories and emotional music? It’s probably a little different for everybody, but I know I felt more than just a little sad when our plane touched down in our home city after our amazing, magical time in Disney World.

Because I was in Orlando for business, we had very limited time in Disney World and for that reason I wanted to find every opportunity to make it as magical as possible. After a lot of research and planning, I can definitely say I was successful! Obviously Disney is very magical on it’s own, but if you really want an experience you’ll remember forever, make sure to create a little bit of extra magic for yourself!

Here are some of my tried-and-true best ways to make your Disney World trip extra magical:

Do the underrated attractions!

Everyone knows the lines at Pirates of the Caribbean is likely to be long, but there are a handful of really unique, fun attractions at Disney that don’t get the spotlight much! My personal favorite is Mickey’s PhillarMagic, a really cute, immersive 3D show. With the shorter wait times and smaller crowds, the underrated attractions are a great way to squeeze a little extra Disney Magic into your day.

Be extra nice to the cast members- they have magic powers

There is such a thing as a “magic moment” in Disney World, and the cast members can provide them whenever they want to whomever they want. Before you get too carried away, you can’t just ASK for a magic moment, because they are magical for a reason, but being nice to the cast members is likely to win you some points.

Magic Moments can be anything from a free treat or a fast pass to a special experience with a character or some unique merchandise. Even without the incentive of a Magic Moment, being nice to the cast members is great because they are all so wonderfully trained and will be extra nice right back. Is there anything more magical than good customer service? I think not.

Get a good spot for the fireworks

There are SO many opinions on the internet about what to do during fireworks, everything from standing at the back so you’re closer to the exit to skipping them all together to get in short lines. I’m just going to let you in on a little secret. The fireworks show is 100% a WOW moment, it is cemented in brain and will be forever. If you’re looking for some extra magic, forget all the tactics and techniques for avoiding crowds and save yourself a good spot right in the front. You might have to get a snack or two and sit there for an hour, but it is so worth it for that magical WOW moment.

Seriously, being close enough so that you have to kind of look up and the castle and fireworks show fills your entire field of vision is guaranteeing yourself for a sensory overload. Sensory overload = extra memorable.

Find Unique Photo Opportunities (or Instagrammable ones at least!)

I’m a big fan of living in the moment and not always having the camera out, but truth be told photos and video are the way we capture moments in time that we get to re-live over and over. Everyone has the standard picture standing in front of the castle, so make your photos just a little more unique and memorable for yourself! The back of the castle is just as stunning. Rapunzel’s tower is much less crowded, and the purple wall in tomorrow land is very instagrammable.

Don’t Overplan!

When you’ve got limited time you should make some plans just so you can get everything done that you want, but part of the magic is experiences things you don’t quite expect! My suggestion would be to plan your top-ten must-do items, and then play the rest by ear. Allow yourself to just wander and take in the magic without running from one attraction to the next.

Pack a poncho, just in case!

If you saw my insta-stories you know that Florida has biblical rains and they can be pretty unpredictable. Just pack the poncho so you don’t have to spend $4,764 on one.

Buy your souvenir IN the moment.

Lots of tips around the internet will tell you to wait and buy it later or at the end of your trip, or even online on sale. That is a great strategy for saving money and so you don’t have to carry stuff around. But there is nothing quite like seeing something that gets you so excited you know you need to buy it, and then purchasing it right then and there. The excitement about your purchases are part of what makes the souvenir memorable! To me, things that are memorable add to the magic so just buy the souvenir when you see it and are excited about it.

You can always have them send it to the front of the park for you to pick up when you leave, or to your room if you are staying on Disney property. Both services are free, and then you don’t have to carry it around with you.

Remember to ride the outdoor rides at night.

Disney is ultra magical at night, make some of your rides when it’s dark outside so you can experience the views of the park at night.

Wear your Disney Gear

Now is not the time to act your age or be too cool to wear your Mickey ears. Just put ’em on and have a good time being a kid again!

Think about who is going on your trip.

As a mom of little girls, I can’t imagine anything more magical than to watch them experience Disney. Whoever you are bringing, whether it’s friends, family or a partner, kids, or just yourself, think about what they love about Disney and try to plan an experience around that. Little girls loving princesses? The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique might be fun. Animal lovers? Kiliminjaro Safaris in Animal Kingdom is a winner. An artist? Have lunch with an imagineer or spend time visiting the art around the parks. Try to plan at least one or two special experiences per person based on their interests.

Watch your favorite movies in prep.

Nothing gets me more excited about Disney than watching Disney movies so it’s all fresh in my mind and I’m a cloud nine high with my Disney love. Watch some favorites before you go!

Pay attention to the details, like the secret mickeys.

Disney World is incredibly immersive, and that couldn’t be done without the immense attention to detail put into everything. A fun, memorable activity is to find ways to notice those little bits of magic in the details, like taking a photo of all the secret Mickey’s you can find, or have a contest to see who can find the most. It’s important to find a way to slow down and force yourself to really immerse yourself in the details around you and this is a great way to do it!

Get a Dole Whip Float. Thank me later.

I’m sure there are other great treats (the internet peeps all rave about them) but I just can’t tear myself away from a Dole Whip Float. It’s my go-to for every single treat time, ha!

Waterproof Mascara.

If you wear mascara, make it waterproof. Rain, tears of happiness, whatever- the magic is ruined if you have mascara running in your eyes. Even if the photos do look glamorous with running raccoon eyes!

Hopefully you found a few tips that you can incoporate into your Disney World trip to make it feel just a little bit more magical, and if you have tips to add let me know! I’d love to update this list as I have more tips!

Sigh… missing Disney already!

XXOO Sunny