Planning Tips for Disney World
These Walt Disney Disney World hacks will help you plan, budget and make the most of all the magic secrets of Disney World with kids. There is also a handy printable for you to download so you can take this information with you.
I’ve included several categories:
- Planning – this is pre- park planning immediately before you visit the Disney parks. If you need pre booking and tips before you get to your hotel, I go into a LOT more detail with easy Disney planning tips here
- Budget Tips
- Essential items to bring
- Food and Drink tips
- Useful tips to know and general Disney World vacation tips
- Magic tips for Disney World
Planning Tips for Disney World
This brief section covers some planning tips before you get to the parks and before you leave your hotel room.
- Look at the Disney park map before you enter & decide starting point. This can save you several minutes of decision making and debating!
- Download the Uber/Lyft app – even if you have plans to use the Disney transport, plans may change and it is good to have as a back up.
- Keep swimwear in the car….just in case you want to go to a water park
- Keep left – queues are generally shorter – we found this the case every time!
- Have all bags ready for security to go through – Know beforehand what is not allowed at the parks e.g selfie sticks.
Budget Tips for Disney World
- Budget for tips for sit down, waiter service meals (18-20%) Even if you are not used to tipping this much or at all, it is part of the USA culture. With 6 or more people, the gratuity is added automatically.
- Buy one refillable drink cup and share it.
- Take your own Disney costumes and ears. We had half a suitcase packed with all the outfits which really helped with meets and greets!
- Bring your own light up toys & glow sticks for the night-time shows.
- Skip the Character lunch and dinner- do breakfast instead, it’s cheaper!
- Bring your own stroller or hire from Kingdom Strollers. It is cheaper than hiring a Disney stroller on site.
For more money saving tips for Disney see here.
Essential items to bring to Disney World with Kids
- Poncho – it will likely rain and stop a couple of times a day, but don’t let this spoil the fun. Its warm rain, and if you have wet weather gear, you can enjoy the park still. We got on the Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run ride in 20 minutes, due to it tipping down. Ponchos, wet weather shoes and a warm jumper for waiting in the chilly A/C helped save the day!
- Cooling towels – these were amazing during a very hot visit in October. Use the tap water at all the restaurants to replenish with cold water to help cool you down. We got this 4 pack of cooling towels from Amazon, with a different color for all the family.
- Comfy shoes and band aids/ plasters.
- A small jumper for A/C or if it rains and they need to warm up.
- Some flip flops or other waterproof shoes for wet rides or rainy days.
- Sun lotion
- A towel to line your stroller and a buggy clip.
- Ziploc bags – good to put phones in if you’re going on a ride like Splash Mountain, wet clothes etc
- Small misting fan (they cost a lot more at the parks, so pre buy a misting fan from Amazon!)
- Charging power pack
- Reusable water bottle. We used a metal insulated one, and after 4 hours in the sun, mine still had ice cubes in it! I bought mine from a a supermarket but they are also available on Amazon.
Food and Drinks Tips for WDW
- Ask for iced water anywhere that sells fountain drinks – it’s free
- Take squeezy mini squash eg Robinsons. Large bottles can also be bought in certain aisles of Publix with international food selections. (UK Readers: the USA doesn’t really have squash and Kool Aid is not the same!
- Freeze water bottles which will melt throughout the day
- Bring snacks in resealable bags
- Try Dole Whip in MK – It’s pineapple and ice-cream. Use mobile ordering on the My Genie App
- MNSSHP (Mickey’s not so scary Halloween party) Book the tickets for the beginning of your holiday then you won’t have to buy any snacks the rest of the holiday or use up your suitcase space.
- Grab a ‘Be Our Guest’ BOG breakfast reservation for 8am. Gets you in the park nice & early, plus you get on a lot of rides before it gets too busy.
- The cashier kiosks at the quick service restaurants have a line on each side. Look for the one with the shortest line.
- Get a FREE Festival Passport at Epcot during the Food and Drink Festival in autumn/Fall They include a detailed menu for each booth and stickers that you can use to keep track of which booths you’ve visited. Not only is it a great guide, but it makes a nice free souvenir.
Useful Tips for WDW
- Take a picture of your car park space
- Take a photo of your kids each day in case they get lost.
- Use the babycare centres – they are amazing if you need a break with a baby: Comfy, small shop to buy things you may need (nappies/ wipes/ calpol/ Tylenol) & a place that your older ones can draw/ watch Disney while you feed or change the baby.
- Ship your purchases to your resort if onsite or to front of park – saves you carrying them around
- Stock up on stroller accessories before you go: a large sign, or something else that makes your stroller easy to spot.
- Don’t stress if you can’t find your stroller. Cast members move strollers while you are at an attraction so they are closer to the exit.
- Hollywood Studios – go if it is a rainy day. Most of the attractions and lines are inside compared to the other parks.
- Animal Kingdom – Use the secret entrance if is busy. There is a second, lesser-known entrance to the theme park at the rear of the Rainforest Cafe gift shop.
- Lines are shorter on the left side.
- Security check area: Each security guard has one table, but guests can pass through using both sides of the table.
- All Disney resorts offer a movie outdoors (weather permitting) each night.
Magic Tips For Disney World
- Engage with cast members and you never know what might happen.
- Use Disney Memory Maker photo pass and ask for ‘magic’ shots
- Only one of the flags in Magic Kingdom is real, all the others are missing something. A vet or member of the armed services is invited to take it down every day.
- On Main Street USA at the Magic Kingdom, look up right at the end of the parades and you will see all the windows closing.
- If you want to see Mickey and Minnie at Magic Kingdom, go towards the end of the fireworks when it less busy.
- Pirates of the Caribbean Scavenger Hunt Quest – Head over to The Crow’s Nest & pick up a talisman that magically allows you to read a secret treasure map. Then it’s all hands on deck as you fend off enemies, evade capture & hunt for treasure. When you complete each mission, you’ll receive a very special treasure finder card. After you collect all 5, you’ll get your hands on the sixth and final card—signed by Captain Jack Sparrow himself.
- Pixie dust – stop at the Barbershop at the Magic Kingdom or ask the Fairy Godmother at Sir Mickey’s (opposite Bibbiddi Bobbity Boutique to sprinkle some pixie dust (aka glitter) on your kid’s hair.
- Transportation Cards – There are a few different ways to get around Walt Disney World. Monorail, bus, or boat, cable car and all of them can provide you with “trading cards”. Currently these have been stopped since Covid – but we will update if they restart!
- Enchanted Tales with Belle – you’ll be given Belle’s bookmark.
- Visit Guest Relations when you enter the park, you can pick up a FREE celebration badge/button. Disney has badges/buttons for birthdays, first visits, and customizable “I’m celebrating…” buttons.
- Hollywood Studios -Look for the key at Muppet Vision 3D. If you go to the muppet “ticket office” while you’re waiting for the show, it says that it’s closed– but a sign says “Key Under the Mat.” Look under the mat and you’ll find a key!
- Campfires at Resorts – While the one at Fort Wilderness is unique because of the setting and the characters, a lot of the Disney resorts offer campfire activities! Animal Kingdom Lodge, Beach Club, the Boardwalk, Caribbean Beach, the Contemporary, Coronado Springs, Grand Floridian, Old Key West, Polynesian, Port Orleans Riverside, Port Orleans French Quarter, Saratoga Springs, Wilderness Lodge, and the Yacht Club all offer a campfire!
- Hidden Mickey spotting is a fun game for kids
- Sleepy Hollow in the Magic Kingdom isn’t a “full” counter service restaurant, but their ice cream sandwiches and other snacks, plus views of Cinderella Castle, are to die for.
- There are “party line” phones on Main Street and in Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom. Pick them up to listen in on some hilarious conversations.
Download all these Disney tips by clicking on the link here or by clicking on the image below!