You may have seen Disney vloggers or bloggers getting to do some very cool things at Walt Disney World, and it’s easy to assume that they’ve been singled out, picked for a special experience, or even paid more to do something. That may be the case sometimes, but often they know the insider secrets that will make their experience that bit more magical.
No longer will you feel left out of this club of Disney fanatics, because I’m going to share my top tips and tricks for getting more out of Disney than just the rides. After all, you’ve paid for your park tickets, flights and hotel so you deserve to get the most out of your holiday.
Here are ten things that I think you should know before flying off to Florida. Hopefully they’ll help you to get a bit of extra magic out of your trip.
- Watch the fireworks from outside the park. Disney offer a Wishes dessert cruise, which is rather pricey but does involve unlimited drinks and desserts. If you don’t want to pay extra, try watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the beach at the Polynesian resort or from the roof at the Contemporary Resort. They play the music through speakers and it’s a completely different experience to being in the park.
- Faith, trust, and a little bit of pixie dust. Get a sprinkling of Tinkerbell’s magic with some sparkly pixie dust sprinkled on your head for a dusting of extra Disney magic. Ask any Cast Member in the Castle Couture shop and they’ll give guests of any age some sparkles in their hair.
- Make the most of all the freebies that come with your ticket. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean it’s worthless; Disney often give away a free Memory Maker, which means you can save unlimited professional photos around the park, or even free dining. Everyone with a park ticket gets three Fastpasses per day, so make sure you book up to 30 days in advance (60 days for resort guests) to make sure you get your pick of the passes.
- Get to the park at opening times. There are so many reasons to do this, the main one being that you can rush to the most popular rides and go on them without having to wait. But nearly all of the theme parks have some degree of welcoming show, from characters coming out to say hello to the tear-inducing welcome show at Magic Kingdom. Here, all the characters and dancers arrive on a steam train to welcome you to the park. It’s insanely cheesey, but it gets me every time!
- Get to the parks super super early, and you might get a surprise. Everyday a family is chosen to be the Grand Marshals of Magic Kingdom, so they get to ride on the train and help open the park, and then be part of the parade in the afternoon. It’s literally a money-can’t-buy experience and one that I’d absolutely love to have one day.
- Talk to the Cast Members. If you see a Cast Member blowing bubbles, waving with a Mickey mitt or welcoming guests into a shop, they will be more than happy to chat to you. Don’t expect to get some amazing magical moment from this (though it could sometimes happen), but you will get to find out more about the people who make the magic happen and share your holiday stories. A great way to open an conversation with Cast Members is through pin trading. It’s not for everyone, but I love checking out everyone’s lanyards and trading for pins I love.
- Plan. Just like with the fastpasses I mentioned earlier, you can get a lot more out of your holiday if you book ahead. Ever turn up at a restaurant in Disney, but been turned away because there are no reservations left? Well, the people getting in probably booked their dining slot six months ago. You can book dining, fastpasses, airport transfers and so much more in advance, so make the most of it. Plus, planning is all part of the fun.
- Show people you’re celebrating! Did you plan your trip around a birthday, graduation or another celebration? Maybe you just got married or engaged? Make sure the rest of Disney World knows about it by picking up a button at the front of the park at Guest Services. Guests and Cast Members will see your badge and wish you well throughout the day. If you have a dining reservation, always remember to mention a celebration as you might get a sweet surprise…
- Download the MyDisneyExperience app on you smart phone. This is how savvy guests find out where the short queues are. It gives all the wait times for attractions and also gives the times that characters will be out. Turn off your data roaming and use Disney’s free wifi to make sure you don’t have a scary bill to return home to.
- You will not be able to do everything in one holiday. There is so much to do in Disney that it can’t possibly be packed into a two-week holiday. When I was a Cast Member, I lived and worked there for over two months and I still missed things! Rather than rushing around, take the time to soak up the atmosphere and the amazing attention to detail. Plus, all the attractions you missed will still be there on your next trip, so it’s the perfect excuse to book another holiday.
Do you have any top tips to feel like a Disney World VIP? Be sure to share them in the comments!