For those of us who are locals — or travel to WDW so much that we should be locals — we all have a certain way that we like to “do Disney”. We have those little tips and tricks that make all of our non-Disney friends and family say, “you should really work for the mouse!” So now, I invite you, my Clubhouse family, to share your best Disney secrets. I will start by unlocking my vault, but only for you all, so shhhhhh!
My top 10 Disney secrets to a great WDW trip!
10. Disney gift cards. For so many reasons I love Disney gift cards! You can get them for less at certain warehouse stores or with your Target Red card (a bit of a discount is rare with anything Disney). I also like to have one for myself and one for my kiddo. Once the money is gone, it’s gone, and there is no whining about not getting that super cute Loungefly bag or pin (from me, she’s way better about it than I am).
9. Walk-up lists. Couldn’t score that all coveted reservation at Chef Mickey’s? Find out what time they open for your meal of choice and join the walk up list. You need to get there as they open for your best chance.
8. Bathrooms. It seems odd, but everyone has a fave. There are many blogs and blog posts dedicated to the best (and worst) Disney bathrooms. My secret tucked away bathrooms are near Pirates in Magic Kingdom; they are never crowded and always clean.
7. The bars at Disney Springs. Couldn’t get into the Boathouse?? Never fear! The bar (and dock) at the Boathouse are first-come, first-serve. You can have a lovely dinner (they serve a full menu), drinks, and a great view of the water. Other restaurants have great lounges with extensive menus, too.
6. Plan your food and your snacks! The food situation at Disney can be overwhelming. Whether you are bringing in your own food or are planning on eating totally on property, planning is the way to go! It helps knowing things like you can only get the cheeseburger spring rolls at the cart in AdventureLand in Magic Kingdom in the morning. When you plan, you can make sure you get the snacks and food you have read about and what you can bring home for later. This is an especially good tip with the festivals at Epcot!
5. Buy now. Try to get your shopping done at Disney Springs, but if you see something you want in the parks, make sure and get it then because you might not see it somewhere else. I know it seems like you see the same things everywhere, but if there is a specific thing you want, it might only be sold at that one store or cart. I recommend getting most of your shopping done at Disney Springs, mainly because I am not a fan of lugging stuff through the parking lot or on Disney transportation at the end of a long Disney day.
4. Take breaks!!! Whether you are an adult traveling with other adults, or an adult traveling with kids, breaks are key! I know not all people are keen on stopping their day and heading back to the hotel, especially if you are not staying on property, but finding a shady spot out of the heat is a game changer. If you are staying on property, heading back to the hotel to nap, swim, or even just change clothes and shoes during the hottest part of the day can refresh you and make for a much better evening. If you are staying several days at Disney, taking a full day away from the parks to enjoy everything else WDW offers will make your other park days that much more enjoyable.
3. Do a Disney Countdown. Okay, so this isn’t so much a secret, but it will make the build up to your trip that much better. Adults and kids alike will love watching the days tick away. I try and do little gifts, trinkets, or cards on certain milestone days to build up excitement. We also listen to Disney music from when we hit I-4 until we pull into the hotel. By the time we get there, we are Disney ready and excited to be there. You can also go back through and listen to the WDW Radio Podcast episodes. Some of my favorites are the resort reviews (especially for the resort we are staying), top 10s, festival reviews, year-end reflections and new year predictions, and of course the food reviews!
2. Be flexible and have fun! I know this doesn’t seem like a secret, but the people who have had the most fun on their vacation have been flexible and able to go with the flow. Choose the Good my friends and you will have a magical time!
1. Create magic for cast members and those around you. This is the real key to the kingdom. There are tons of ways to create magic for the hard working cast members! A few ideas: pre-print little thank you notes, give candy, do a cast member shoutout, say thank you, and let them know that they are doing a wonderful job! You can create magic for those around you as well. I have heard some wonderful ideas, including giving another child your balloon on the last day of your trip, offering any unopened food and drinks to a family checking in, and letting a tired mom or dad know that they are doing a great job.
So now it’s your turn! Remember, sharing is caring, tell me your best Disney secrets to a great trip!!!
My name is Sarah Niswender and I have WDW in my veins, going to the parks several times per year as early as age 2. Growing up in SoFla I was fortunate enough to have a lifelong Disney education, thanks to my mother (and hardworking father)! I am now passing the love for everything Disney along to my daughter and somewhat reluctant husband. I have participated in several runDisney events and am looking forward to participating as a part of the WDWRadio running team. See you on Main Street USA!