Never… wait to buy tickets at the park
This one has to be at the top of our list, because it’s SO important! Booking your Disney tickets in advance will save you time and money and who doesn’t want that? The gate prices at Walt Disney World are often much higher, which is why pre-booking is such a good idea. You’ll also get a real, gate-ready ticket when you book in advance with Attraction Tickets Direct, so you can walk straight in and save yourself time queuing up to buy tickets. That's not all though, you'll also get some amazing free gifts when you make your booking!
Never… dismiss staying on-site
Lots of people travelling in groups consider staying off-site in a villa, but we really would suggest staying in a Disney Resort hotel. Not only will you be right in the middle of the magic, but you’ll also be able to make the most of a whole range of benefits that are only available to Disney Resort hotel guests. You’ll get airport pick up and drop off on Disney’s Magical Express, Extra Magic Hours (which means early and late access to the parks), a colourful MagicBand, access to Disney’s amazing FastPass+ service 60 days in advance and unlimited use of Disney’s free transportation service. Plus, there are a whole range of different rooms and suites that can accommodate families and groups.
There's also themed rooms, swimming pools, arcades and night-time movie screenings at the Disney hotels. We think these fantastic benefits really do make staying on site the best option, because it’s just so convenient, plus you’ll be immersed in the magical world of Disney from start to finish.
Never… arrive at the parks late
While it can be tempting to lie in on holiday, this is the type of trip that really does require you setting an early morning alarm. Arriving at the parks late is definitely not a good idea! The best thing to do, is get up early and arrive at the park just before opening time so that you can be one of the first through the gates. This way, you’ll also be one of the first to get on the rides and won’t have to wait in long lines.
Another great reason to arrive early is that it’s a unique experience to watch the official “rope drop” at the parks and the Magic Kingdom even has an opening show that takes place in front of the iconic Cinderella Castle, featuring all of your favourite characters.
Never… book your fast passes for first thing in the morning
When making your FastPass+ reservations you might think it makes sense to book them as early as possible so that you can spend the rest of the day exploring the park. But, we say you should NEVER do this! Instead, we’d suggest making your first FastPass+ reservation for mid-morning around 10:30 or 11am. If you arrive at the park for opening time, you should be able to get on a few of the rides with relatively no queue, but if you’ve got a FastPass+ booking to get to, you won’t be able to make the most of this opportunity. That’s why we say, save your bookings for a bit later and enjoy as many rides as you can while the park is quiet.
Never… forget to take a break
We’re sure that you’ll want to fit in as much as possible during your Walt Disney World holiday, but it’s so important to take a break, especially if you’re visiting with little ones. A short break will give you time to regain the energy you need for exploring the rest of the park later on. The parks tend to be at their busiest (and hottest!) around midday to early afternoon, so we’d recommend having a break at this time. Keep yourself entertained by watching one of the fantastic shows. These are often inside and air conditioned, so you can rest your feet and cool down from the heat at the same time.
Never… leave your water bottle behind
When spending a day in the sunshine at the Disney theme parks, it’s important to stay hydrated. There are lots of water fountains throughout the parks, so make sure you don’t leave your water bottle behind. You can fill it up during the day and won’t have to pay for drinks while you’re out.
Never… save your seat for the parade
This is one that often divides opinion and if watching the parade is at the top of your list then you probably will want to arrive early to get a good viewing spot, but we don’t think you have to. The parade route at the Magic Kingdom is so long and the floats are so large, that you can generally get a pretty good view even if you arrive at the last minute. It’s not uncommon to see guests reserving their spot up to an hour before the parade, and we think this is valuable time that could be spent experiencing the incredible attractions.
As most people tend to gather on Main Street USA this is the busiest place for watching the parade, but there are lots of other great viewing locations that shouldn’t be overlooked. Head over to Frontierland or stand just underneath the train station at the front of the park if you want to get a great view without the wait.
Never… leave souvenirs until the last minute
This is another point that divides guests, with lots of people suggesting the opposite. Should you wait until the end of your holiday to buy your souvenirs, or buy them when you see them? We suggest the latter, because if there’s something you really love (and there’s plenty of things you’re going to love at Walt Disney World!), it’s not worth the risk. You might not find the item again or it might be sold out, so if you want something, make sure you get it when you see it!
It’s true that lots of the merchandise is available at all of the parks, but there is also limited edition and park specific merchandise available and you don’t want to miss out. You won’t have to worry about carrying your souvenirs around all day either. Disney offer a complimentary service to all Disney Resort hotel guests, where you can get your merchandise delivered straight to your hotel! Sounds good, right?
Never… arrive without a plan
A holiday to Walt Disney World requires a lot of planning and if you think you can just turn up without a plan, think again! If you want to get the most out of your experience (who doesn’t?) you need a plan, even if it’s just a rough one. We’d recommend putting together a plan of which parks you’d like to visit on which day, so that you can make all your FastPass+ reservations in advance. Don’t worry if things don’t go exactly to plan, you can use the free Wi-Fi in the parks to make changes whenever you like on the My Disney Experience App. Make sure you download this app to find out park opening hours, show times, live queue times for the rides and much more.
Never… expect to get a dining reservation on the day
While this can sometimes be possible if there are cancellations, this is highly unlikely for Disney’s most popular restaurants, like Be our Guest and Cinderella’s Royal Table. If you want to get a guaranteed reservation at your favourite restaurant, never leave it until the day.
Did you know, you can make dining reservations at the Walt Disney World Resort restaurants up to 180 days in advance? You might think that 6 months in advance is a bit early to be making dining reservations, but these restaurants get booked up really quickly, so if you don’t want to miss out, don’t leave it until the day and make sure you book early. If you want to make your visit even more magical and experience character dining this is even more important, as these restaurants often sell out months in advance. Don't worry though, if you book early enough you should get the reservations you want.
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