From my previous post regarding my Disney World Vacation for Adults (view the post here) I wanted to share with you all some tricks and tips that I learned. Lets get started...
FastPass – All Disney tickets include what is known as a FastPass. Essentially FastPass is a reservation for 3 rides per day. You can schedule FastPass via the Disney Experience website or app that can be downloaded to your phone. You book any ride that is available during an allotted timeframe which is an hour window. It cuts down on the wait time and there is no charge! If you are staying at a Disney resort you can make your reservations 60 days in advance and if you are staying off the resort you can make your reservations 30 days in advance. The FastPass is automatically linked to your card or magic band. This is SUCH a time saver and you will end up saving hours and hours of wait time.
Magic Band Versus Magic Card – This is something I did debate before our Disney trip but I ended up not buying the Magic Bands especially since we were staying off the resort. If we were staying at a Disney resort I would have gotten the Magic Bands. The Magic Bands are essentially your ticket for rides, room key, park ticket, payment method, photo pass, etc.
Be Prepared for the Heat - We went during a hot time during mid May when it was more than 90 degrees every day. I wanted to make sure my parents were comfortable so we brought hats, personal fans that had squirted water (I bought a 3 pack from Amazon here: Misting Fan) and also the Frogg Toggs Cooling Neck Towel which worked like magic and stays cool for hours at a time. Additionally, you can bring in empty waterbottles and re-fill them inside the parks. We also found if you ask any cafe or stand you can get a cup of water for free so don’t be scared to ask!
Disney Experience App – I used this app religiously on my phone during our time at Disney. You link your park tickets to the app and you can see all your groups FastPass reservations, dining reservations, photo pass, etc. You can also use the app to make modifications to your FastPass. There is also a map in the app for each park which shows the wait times for the rides if you do not have a FastPass. For the PhotoPass, Disney has professional photographers throughout the park to take your picture. They will either give you card with the information on it or scan your Magic Band or Magic Card. The photo will automatically link to your Disney Experience account! We were able to get a few amazing professional family photos this way.
Backup Phone Charger – Towards the end of each day my phone battery would essentially be drained between checking the Disney app and taking photos. I would definitely bring a backup battery or USB charger as you don’t want to be without a working phone!
Occasion Pins – At Magic Kingdom or at the TCC (Ticket and Transportation Center) if you are celebrating an occasion let them know and they will get you a pin. I was able to snag a “Birthday” pin for my brother’s birthday and four “We’re Celebrating” pins for us to wear along with him for his birthday. It was a nice touch and made our group feel extra special.
Purchase Items Beforehand – There were a number of items I bought beforehand and had them shipped to the resort that we stayed at. My favorite purchase were my Sparkly Minnie Ears from Amazon - view the post here. If you buy them at the parks they are around $30 and there is not much variety. I also bought sunscreen and a few other items and had them all shipped to the hotel that way it cut down the space in my carry on bag and I saved money. I also had my mom pick up Ponchos from the dollar store for the water rides which came in handy at Splash Mountain.
Snacks – Buying food at the parks can get costly so bring your own snacks. I packed granola bars in my bag each day and my parents also brought with them a few snacks they liked.
Shuttle Service - If you're staying at a Disney resort there is a free shuttle called the Magical Express which takes you to and from the Orlando Airport to your Disney hotel. As we were staying off the resort we did rent a car though VroomVroomVroom.com which was awesome and pretty cheap.
Have a Strategy – Last but not least, do have a strategy for the parks ahead of time. I came up with a game plan for our family as to which parks we would be doing on which days and had picked out our FastPass reservations ahead of time. I also bought our tickets ahead of time as well as the lines to get into the park can be really long. Additionally, you will also end up wasting an hour of transportation time just getting between the parks so make sure to factor that in.