Given that there are 4 main parks (plus 2 water parks) within the Walt Disney World complex, I thought that it would be a good idea to give some useful hints & tips which can be used in all of the parks – think of it as a One-Stop-Shop guide. Over time, I’ll write more detailed guides for each of the parks to help anyone going in the future.
Book your park tickets in advance – For some reason, they are cheaper in the UK and bought in advance. While you need to be careful who you buy them from, there tends to be some deals on so be a little patient.
Parking – Parking costs $20 a day (in February 2017) unless you stay at a Disney hotel, and then it is free. You can use the receipt all day so if you want to park-hop or go back to the hotel for a bit, that is fine. Also, remember where you park – the car parks are huge and the last thing you want is to forget where you have parked when you’re hot and tired!
Get there early – The queues for the first couple of hours of the day are pretty small and you can do a good part of the park before the crowds get in. Generally it is the cooler part of the day also, so when it gets too hot and the crowds are too big, you don’t feel bad for going back to the hotel for a couple of hours.
Plan – Have a plan for what you want to get out of the day. Do you want to see the characters, or do the fast rides etc? The parks are too big and it is too hot to be wandering aimlessly around the park and it will only lead to arguments.
Security – Disney is an amazingly safe place, but generally because of the airport style security. It does lead to queues when entering the park, but it is for a reason. Plan accordingly, and make sure you leave your selfie-stick at the hotel.
Fastpasses are your best friend – Once you book your park tickets, link up the tickets to an account and the app and book your queue-jumping fastpasses. You can generally save half an hour on each fastpass, so use them on the busy rides. Also, use them early in the day and when you run out (you get 3 a day) you can get another one.
Food & Drink – $3 for a bottle of water?! Pack your own drinks and snacks and you’ll save a fortune! If you have a decent breakfast, you’ll be good for most of the day, but remember it does get hot so freeze a couple of the bottles you take so you have ice cold water in the afternoon.
Character meals – If you were to splash out on one thing at Disney and you have a child, do a character meal. It is wonderful to see the child interact with a character and just makes the holiday a bit more special. The best value meals are the buffets, especially the breakfast ones as they tend to be a bit cheaper.
Photopass – There are a host of Disney photographers willing and able to take photos for you free of charge at certain scenic points/character attractions. These link through to your Disney app and so you generally don’t have to take that many photos during the day. Even if you aren’t linked up the the Disney app, they are happy to take a photo using your phone.
Wifi – The parks have really good Wifi throughout and so you can remain connected throughout the day. This means that you can access the Disney app and update Fastpasses and look at the photos throughout the day. Just be careful of your battery!
Footwear and Clothing – Make sure you plan accordingly. It will be hot and you will be on your feet most of the day, so light clothing and decent shoes are a must.
Suncream – I think that this is obvious…don’t ruin the holiday by having sunburn! Top up as the day goes on.
There are loads more and it would be good to hear some other hints/tips in the comments section!
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