Heading to Orlando for the first time and not sure what to expect? We’ve teamed up with some of the world’s best-known Disney fanatics to get some expert advice.
Read on to find out more about the best ways to save time and money at Disney World, and get hints and tips on how to make the most of a family vacation in Orlando.
Disney in Detail
Victoria Moore and her husband Ian are both self-confessed Disney fanatics. They post Disney-inspired vlogs and videos every Wednesday and Saturday on their popular Youtube channel Disney in Detail. We asked Victoria for her top tip to share with Disney World newbies and here’s what she said:
“I’m always looking for things to make trips to Disney World easier and one of the best things to use is the My Disney Experience mobile app – you can do just about everything you need from this one app!
“You can pull up interactive park maps, find out what attractions are close to you and check wait times. You can even get step-by-step directions if you’re a bit lost! The app is also great for managing FastPass+ reservations for those most popular attractions which can have longer wait times, like Toy Story Mania in Hollywood Studios or the new Avatar Flight of Passage attraction in Animal Kingdom.
“Remember, once you’ve used your 3 pre-allocated FastPass+ reservations each day, you can book another right away through the app. If you love dining at Walt Disney World, the app also allows you to check menus and availability for all Disney’s restaurants and make reservations at the touch of a button.
“Any PhotoPass photos or videos which are captured during your trip are also available to preview almost immediately on your mobile device using the app. I’d recommend the My Disney Experience app to anyone visiting Walt Disney World, whether you’re a first-timer or a veteran of dozens of trips like me!’
Fit Disney Mom
The inspiration behind the popular Fit Disney Mom blog is runner, traveler and Disney fanatic Kimberly. She blogs about everything from her family trips to running, recipes, motherhood and her home city, Atlanta. Here are her tips for avoiding the crowds at Disney World:
“Standing in line is never fun, particularly if you have young kids. But with some pre-planning and discipline you can reclaim vacation time and beat the park crowds.
“It pays to wake up early and get your day started – you can always rest in the afternoons. Secondly, skip any attraction that draws a big crowd. Parades, fireworks and new rides will always attract people. By skipping those you can use the time elsewhere.”
The Williams World
Whether it’s camping in a field or staying in a luxury villa, adventure-lover Tracey Williams loves to visit new destinations with her husband and 2 children. She journals about family life, traveling and Disney World over on her blog, The Williams World.
“Do you dream of snapping a family photo in front of Cinderella’s Castle without 100 strangers in the background? If so, then I suggest securing a breakfast reservation at The Crystal Palace restaurant in Magic Kingdom park BEFORE the park opens.
“That way you can wander down Main Street with very few people around and get that perfect shot in front of the castle! Plus, you get to enjoy breakfast with some of Disney’s best -oved characters which saves time meeting them in the park later in the day.
“Also as you’ll be at the park before it opens you’ll get a head start on some of the most popular rides at The Magic Kingdom.”
The Crystal Palace restaurant is open for breakfast from 8am.
The Rambles of Nuggetstump
Author of travel and lifestyle blog, the Rambles of Nuggetstump, Disney-fan Zoe shares her top tips on how to save money at Disney World:
“I would say that one of my tips to save on money is definitely to eat a big breakfast or lunch before heading into the parks. You will save a lot of money (especially if you use coupons too) and you’ll save lots of valuable time for riding your favorite attractions!
“You could also take a packed lunch into the park so you won’t need to spend money in the pricey restaurants or waste time in the long food queues.
“Another thing that my family and I love to use is Disney’s Fastpass system. You might look at it on your app and see there are no booking times until later in the day but keep refreshing it over and over and you’ll get a much sooner time due to people canceling!
“You just need a little patience as that 5 minutes could make a huge difference!’
Disney fan and blogger Tania Michele has traveled to Disney World countless times. As a big fan of all the parks she has given us the inside scoop on her favorite rides.
“Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot – they’re all such amazing parks that just seem to feel so magical. The rides are incredible!
“Magic Kingdom’s Carousel of Progress ride holds a special place in my heart as it’s the one I loved the most when I first went to the park. This year was the first time I’ve gone on the Haunted Mansion or seen Monsters Inc Laugh Floor and I loved both of them!
“Animal Kingdom’s Na’vi River Journey was nice and relaxing and thankfully we had a Fastpass as it was usually a 2-3 hour wait at all times! Kilimanjaro Safari and Expedition Everest were my two fave attractions at Animal Kingdom.”
Disney-obsessed photographer Stephanie runs the popular travel blog Stepherella. She talks about everything from the latest Disney news to how to plan your trip. Here’s her advice on how to book the best attractions in advance:
“Be sure to book your fast passes 60 days in advance using the My Disney Experience App. This way you are pretty much guaranteed to meet your favorite princesses and experience the thrill of your favorite ride.
“Perhaps the biggest dream of all is to dine in the famous Cinderella’s Castle with Cinderella herself. This restaurant is at the top of everyone’s list when visiting Magic Kingdom park so make sure you book it first with your dining reservations 180 days in advance as it gets filled up quite quickly!
“Disney’s newest land, Pandora, is out of this world and not one to be missed on your visit to Orlando. The Flight of Passage attraction was a brand new attraction last year and it can have a wait times of over 180 minutes. A Fastpass is a must-have for this new ride. Also, don’t miss the beautiful Na’vi River Journey!”
Disney, beauty and fashion enthusiast Lizzie Gines shares her Disney World videos on her popular YouTube channel. Here are her best time-saving tips for visiting the Disney parks:
“Looking to save some time in Disney World? That first hour can be golden; get to the parks for opening and head straight for your favorite attractions to take advantage of almost non-existent lines.
“Your only exceptions may be the brand new Flight of Passage ride in Pandora and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train which accumulates massive lines from [the moment it opens] – try to get a Fastpass at your earliest opportunity for these if you can!”
Motherhood and Beyond
Travel enthusiast and stay-at-home mom Lauren Holt talks about motherhood, road-tips and family travels over on her blog. Together with her husband and 3 kids she regularly visits Disney World in Orlando. We asked her for her top tips for visiting Disney World and here’s what she said:
“My family and I are always looking forward to our next Walt Disney World vacation. Over the years I’ve learned a great deal and I’m happy to share what has helped us to enjoy the magic the most.
“Don’t over-plan. Sure, it’s easy to do but some of my favorite vacation memories come from the most unscripted, unplanned moments.
“Stay hydrated! Free cups of ice water can be requested at most quick-service restaurant locations and really help in the hot, Florida sun. Florida weather can be a bit unpredictable [so] wear layers and comfortable shoes and always check the weather on the way out the door.
Other useful resources What's new at Disney World in 2018 10 unusual things to do at Disney World
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