Although most restaurants are open late at Disney, some places operate under seasonal hours or worse, completely random hours. For example Tortuga Tavern at Magic Kingdom is only open from 11 am to 3 pm. Also some menu items are only served at certain times, like the Sweet and Spicy Chicken and Waffle Sandwich from Sleepy Hollows which is only served until 5 pm.
The last thing you’d want to do is book a character meal with Lilo and Stitch, when really you (or someone in your party) wanted to see Tigger and Winnie the Pooh. So make sure you do some research so that you can find the best character meal possible.
You basically have 2 ticket options when going to any Disney park: admission to one park per day or a Park Hopper ticket. The difference being you are either confined to one park per day or you can bounce between the different parks with your ticket. When going to a Disney theme park I highly recommend getting a Park Hopper ticket. This is especially true if you are spending multiple days at the parks. The benefit being, if one park is super crowded, you can just hop over to a different park with shorter wait times. These tickets are more expensive, however, in my opinion they are totally worth it. After visiting several sites, the one I found with the best prices was Undercover Tourist. For a 3-day Park Hopper ticket purchased through Disney was going to be $408. Whereas through Undercover Tourist it only cost $386. That’s a savings of $22 – a total win in my book!
If you are visiting Disney World on multiple days, I highly recommend purchasing Park Hopper tickets. Park Hopper tickets allow guests to go to multiple parks in one day. The regular entrance ticket only allows you to enter 1 park per day. The Park Hopper tickets allow you greater flexibility during your visit. If one park is really packed and the lines are long, you can open up the My Disney Experience app to see if the other parks have shorter lines. I used this hack often, especially with the Magic Kingdom. Magic Kingdom is the busiest park, and thus has the longest lines. If you run out of FastPasses and can’t stand to wait in long lines, check out the other parks to find better options.
I highly recommend downloading the My Disney Experience mobile app for your phone. Through the My Disney Experience app you can get a FastPass+ reservation, see the park showtimes, park hours, wait times for each ride and your GPS location inside the park. It’s very helpful in navigating the parks to get the most out of your visit. The only way to get a FastPass is to use the My Disney Experience app. You will use this app more than you imagined during your stay at Disney World. READ MORE: The 21 Best Travel Apps You’re Not Using (But Should)
Disney World has some really awesome rides, however, the lines can get pretty daunting. I highly recommend using FastPass+ to save time and get on more rides during your trip to Walt Disney World. For an in-depth review of the best rides at each park, please read my list of the best rides at Disney World!
Want to have some 1 on 1 time with Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, Lilo and Stitch, Goofy, and Tigger? Book a character breakfast! This is the best way to meet all the characters that you want and get your pictures take and autograph books signed without booking a fast pass at the parks. This is by far the easiest most stress-free way to meet characters. And best of all, they come to you, so just sit back, relax, and enjoy the company.
Coming between Christmas and New Years will be the worst decision of your life. You’ll rarely find any good restaurant openings and wait times will be insane. That’s why I recommend you come to Disney during the offseason or if that isn’t possible, at least the weekdays so that you can avoid some of the local crowds too. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been to the parks on the weekend. It get’s a little too crazy for me sometimes.
People bail on their dinner reservations without canceling. By walking up to a restaurant, you might luck out and get seated very quickly. However, this all depends on the time and season. Beaches and Cream, for example is perfect for late night walk-ins despite the fact that there’s like 3 tables and a barstool inside (jk they just did a remodel and it’s so much bigger). So when in doubt take a leap of faith and see if a restaurant can accommodate you in a timely fashion.
Okay let’s be honest. It’s impossible to get a Be Our Guest reservation for dinner within 175 days (I say 175 because you can actually find times 176-180 days out, usually). You can check your app everyday to see if there’s any openings but it’s SO HARD. That’s why I recommend you just walk up and ask to put your name on the list. You may luck out and get a table within 20 minutes. It happens. So don’t get discouraged and have faith!