I am so excited to be collaborating with @clarissa.iraci this week to share our best tips & tricks for navigating your Walt Disney World vacation! I will be spilling all the tea on my best Pro-Tips for Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida & Clarissa will be giving you her vacation tips for Disneyland Resort in California! As a former Disney cast member, I know the parks like the back of my hand; I am so pumped to share with you the best ways you can get the most of our your Disney vacation like a pro! Lets do it!
Pro-Tip #1: As soon as you book your trip to Walt Disney World, hop on the App Store & download the Disney Parks App! This will be your one-stop-shop for all things vacation planning before, during and even after your trip! The Disney Parks App will have a have section called “My Plans” where you can find your resort reservation, all your fast passes (more on that in a bit!) dining reservations, and full maps of all 4 parks! Here are a few super important things you can use the app for that will make your Disney vacation planning a piece of cake!
- Reserve or Alter your Disney Dining Reservations & see more on what each restaurant has to offer to make sure you’re selecting the best option!
- Check attractions wait times throughout the day, and view the park map to make sure you don’t miss a thing or get lost!
- Check-In for your resort reservation on the app & use the app to *magically* unlock your resort room for the first time with the help of your Magic Band! Skip the line in the lobby!
- Check Park Hours, view Extra Magic Hour times if you’re staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, and see show & Fireworks times!
- View your Photopass photos right on the app! They magically appear as long as you’re wearing/ or scan you’re Magic Band! (These will be available after your trip via the app as well!)
Pro-Tip #2: Plan out your Fast Pass+ selections wisely! Break out that app we just downloaded and pull up the park maps! In order to maximize your time, plan out your Fast Pass+ experiences by time & location! For example: When visiting Epcot, try to snag your Future World attractions (i.e. Test Track, Mission Space, Soarin’, The Seas with Nemo, etc.) first thing in the morning! Future World always opens before the World Showcase, so knock out the attractions at the front of the park (Future World) first thing! That way once you cross the bridge into the World Showcase, you don;t have to back track far to the front of the park in the middle of the day! Epcot is a HUGE walking park; the World Showcase is a circle so once you start making your way around it can be quite a hike back to attractions in Future World! Also do some research on the best rides to Fast Pass+! For example: When visiting the Magic Kingdom, I always Fast Pass+ Peter Pan’s Flight, because I know it ALWAYS has a long wait time! I also recommend reserving Fast Pass+ experiences for rides like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, & Pirates of the Caribbean. (All of these examples are located in the Magic Kingdom!)
Pro-Tip #3: Okay let’s talk shopping! Go ahead and download the Shops Parks app as well; it’s an excellent resource to help you locate where specific merchandise is sold on property across all 4 parks! For example: If you’re looking for the Haunted Mansion Spirit Jersey, simply search for it on the Shop Parks app, and then click to see where its sold on property! You will get a search result of Momento Mori (the shop right outside the Haunted Mansion in Magic Kingdom!) & Disney Style which is located at Disney Springs! My personal tip is to buy it when you see it! Some items are only sold in 1 or 2 locations on property and once you leave the park, you wont be able to buy it! If you’re a big parks shopper like myself, go with a plan! Know what you want & buy it when you find it! Which brings us to….
Pro-Tip #4: Starbucks Merchandise is always a hot ticket item at Disney! If you take away anything from this tip remember this: *Only the Starbucks locations INSIDE the 4 Disney parks carry the Disney merchandise! The location at Disney Springs does NOT carry any!* There is a Starbucks location inside all 4 parks, that carry the Disney hot travel mugs, tall cold cup tumblers, and mugs specific to the park you are in! So, if you want the Animal Kingdom mug, you can only buy it at the Starbucks inside Animal Kingdom! Check the Disney Parks app maps to see where Starbucks is located in each park; the locations are not obviously labeled and could easily be missed if you don’t know where they are! When in doubt, ask a cast member!
Pro-Tip #5: Pin trading is huge at Walt Disney World! Not familiar? No worries, its super simple & lots of fun! Pins are sold all over property in countless locations! You can simply buy the pins you wish to collect, however, they are LOTS (probably millions!) of pins that are collectors items or limited edition, etc that you can scout for around the parks! Most Disney cast members (with the exception of a few roles) will be wearing lanyards or pocket square with a bunch of pins on them! You can ask to see their pins & TRADE them for any one they have! This means, you have to have pins to trade! Pins can get expensive when you’re buying several at a time! Here’s my personal tip for you: Before your Disney vacation, search online (ebay, Mercari, etc.) for people selling a lot of 20 pins for $20 for example! Take those 20 random pins and use them for trading to get the pins you really want for less!
I hope you found these tips & tricks helpful and put them to good use the next time you visit the mouse! Be sure to drop me a DM or email with any other questions you may have! Don’t forget to check out Clarissa’s Protips for navigating Disneyland Resort in California! Be sure to check out her Instagram as well @clarissa.iraci
Have the most magical Disney vacation!