We have taken 2 trips (soon to be 3 trips) to Disney World in Florida. We have stayed offsite and onsite. So many things I wish people would have told me before we went. If you have never been, or maybe you have, here are my top ‘why didn’t anyone tell me that’ Disney travel tips.
Disney Travel Tips
- Where to start -Go to Disney.com and create a profile. You’ll need to give this to your travel agent, so you can print things out and search the Disney site. Disney may also send you suggestions on things to see based on what you view on their site.
- Who to call – Contact a Disney Travel agent. They are free and know all the ins and outs. They can totally make your experience one you will remember forever.
- Plan Early – We book our trips about a year out when we go. This allowed Beth to get us ALL the character dining we wanted, the rooms we wanted, instead of being disappointed.
- Celebrations – if you are celebrating a birthday, wedding, anniversary, etc. Make sure your travel agent and hotel know so you can get some perks from that as well. You sometimes get a free dessert at sit down restaurants. The cast members recognize you and you may get priority service, moved up in lines.
- Where to stay – staying on property is a great Disney experience. Working with a Disney Travel agent again is a great way to help you determine where to stay.
- if you are staying offsite, find a rental through a place like VRBO. We found a great condo 5 minutes away from Disney, at an awesome price that allowed us to relax.
- I don’t believe you can get the dining package if you don’t stay on property, this may have changed, so check with your Disney Travel Agent
basic tips you should know before going to Disney
- Where to get great pictures – You can get a free photo pass from any of the cast members who takes pictures of you in front of the different attractions at the parks. You then can print any pictures you want (use the same card throughout all your trip.
Places to eat
- Where to eat – we did the Disney dining plan this last time and the food was awesome. We did several character dining experiences. The food with the princesses at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall was awesome. Liberty Tree Tavern had awesome American food that everyone in our family (including my picky daughter) loved. O’Hana breakfast at the Polynesian Resort was awesome.
- If you make reservations for breakfast for character dining, you get to get into the park ahead of everyone else (look for the special very short line). You have to go where you are supposed to for dining, but it is awesome to see the park empty like that and really get to take it all in and get some great pictures. You will not be allowed to wander wherever and only go to your restaurant.
Things To See
- What to see – Work again (can’t say this enough) with you travel agent on their suggestions on what you might want to check out.
- Make sure you hit up your must haves first, that way if you get tired, you won’t be disappointed.
- If you stay for the fireworks at Walt Disney World, be on the look out for Tinkerbell flying from the top of Cinderella’s castle. It’s a real person flying!
- Characters – Be on the look out for characters to get autographs and photos for…and be prepared to wait in a line. Know that not everyone will have manners and be polite and it’s hot and they are tired.
- Bringing a Stroller – You can bring your own stroller, but you can also rent one. One less thing to lug on the plane, in the car, and into the bus. You can buy a pass for the entire time you are there at the parks and use it from park to park. Costs $$, but might be worth the hassle.
- When to leave the park – before you kids get tired and crabby. There is nothing worse that riding on the last bus at night with screaming kids (that aren’t yours) because parents had to be there till it closed. The last buses are full and like sardines.
- Riding the bus – if you are riding the bus from the Disney resorts, go earlier than you need to get in the park. (especially for dining reservations). You might have to wait for several buses before you can get on. (a reason why I would prefer to rent a car and not wait for a bus or hear screaming kids on the bus at night).
- Ask the bellhop of your Disney hotel, which stop you need to get off on, to get to your hotel room. They have North, South, East and West drop off stations. Getting off on the wrong depot drop off in the middle of the night, having to carry your kid for 1/2 mile (or more) is not something you want to experience (trust me, did that).
thanks for sharing – I’ve considered going and if we ever do, I have a friend that goes every year – she has offered all her tips and tricks too should I need them!
great advice –
Getting an account from someone who’s been there several times is a great idea!
Nicole Copeland says
We are planing a big trip in the next few year..Im pinning this for when we go
Rebel Sweetheart says
We’re planning to go to Disneyland this November to celebrate my son’s fifth birthday. Thanks for the tips! 🙂
Amy @mommetime says
Oh my goodness…. you are so right; it is incredibly important to ‘plan’ ahead when visiting disney. I love it there, though…. we’ve been able to visit several times. The last two times we stayed at the Nickelodeon Suites, which, had some issues, but overall I enjoyed it there because it is so kid friendly.
Courtney~Mommy LaDy Club says
All of ours are grown now for Disney, but we used to go every year with the Tucson Rodeo. The kids got out of school then, and they were the only ones in the country, so Disneyland was nice and quiet for all of us Tucsonans. Funny, huh. These are great tips. What is the price now? I bet it’s outrageous;)
Columba Lisa Smith says
My kids and I have never been to Disney World or Disneyland, and we live in California. I know – sad! I wish I’d taken them when they were younger; but we did visit Six Flags and Legoland. These are the sort of tips that are so helpful to know!
Christy Garrett @ Uplifting Families says
I had a hard time reading this post, it seems as if your text all ran together. We went to Disney a few years ago and we always ate breakfast at the Mcdonalds close to the park before going. This saved us a small amount of money because it was one less meal that we had to eat in the park.
Many people also don’t know but you can get to most of the parks from Downtown Disney. And prepare for a small rain shower each day, so if you can bring a pancho or umbrella. Most of the parks have plenty of attractions that are indoors that you can do until the rain passes. Most of the time the rain doesn’t last long, so don’t leave the park.
Hmmm. I agree eating maybe at the hotel you are at might be a good alternative if you are not staying onsite, or if you are at a condo, eating there too.
You are correct you can get to most places from Downtown Disney. Downtown Disney is a place in itself to go and visit. Thanks for sharing.
Jennifer H says
We visit Disney a few times a year since we’re closeby. I agree with some of these suggestions. 🙂
That is great that you get to visit so often Jennifer!