Now, this isn’t a total necessity, but it is nice to have a portable charger with you. Between texting, social media, the Disney app and taking pictures your phone will use up a lot of juice. I’ve definitely seen people really stressed out because their phone was dying or dead. The easy solution for this is to bring a small portable charger with you. I bring one with me whenever I travel, and it has saved me more than once. I recommend this 10,000 mAh charger by Anker. It is smaller than a cell phone and can charge an iPhone or Galaxy fully twice before needing to be recharged.
The parades and fireworks shows gather large crowds. Certain pathways are roped off and no one is allowed to cross during parades. This is a great time to head over to some of the more popular rides to get in line. The lines are typically much shorter during parades and fireworks shows, allowing you to sneak more attractions in during your visit.
The Disney Parks do not hold back with their fireworks and light shows. They are simply amazing, and you need to see at least one. Most people try to mash up as close to the launching point as possible for the shows. In the Magic Kingdom, everyone tries to get as close to the castle as they can. In Hollywood Studios, they are right up to the front of the Chinese Theatre. This is not the best course of action. The best way to see the fireworks shows is to be a little further back and toward the center. You want to try and be middle back and to the center. This gives you a great view of everything going on without having to turn your head side-to-side to see everything in the periphery. Being a little further back is also ideal for filming because all the lights and fireworks will be in frame without panning. Epcot is a little different. The spectacular fountain, light and fireworks show, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, takes place on the World Showcase Lagoon. I believe the best locations to view the show would be dead center in either Japan, The American Adventure or Italy. If you can’t find a good spot there, don’t worry because there really isn’t a bad viewing area since the lagoon is so big. READ MORE: Come see my top Disneyland tips and tricks!
When it rains at a Disney Park, things clear out fast. Most people don’t like being out in the elements like that. Hit the park hard if you’re prepared for the rain. The popular rides might have lines early in the day, but later on they clear out when people are just over walking around in the rain. Rainy days are perfect for getting in a lot more rides than you’d normally be able to.
Before entering the parks, the first thing you want to do is check the weather report. Is it going to be hot and sunny? Throw on some sunblock, bring a hat and some shades and wear lighter clothes. Is it going to be cold? Bring a jacket and maybe a scarf or beanie. It is incredibly important to be prepared for the weather. I always recommend bringing at least a sweatshirt because the nights do cool down and more often than naught you need one. Orlando gets plenty of rain and you need to be prepared. If you see rain in the forecast for the day, bring a raincoat or a rain poncho and/or an umbrella. Disney World does not close for rain (they have closed for hurricanes, though). Some of the outdoor attractions will close, however, the majority of the park is open. Have your rain gear ready for those times. The most important attire I can recommend is having comfortable footwear. You will be walking and standing a lot. Your feet and legs will get tired. I love my sandals, but a Disney park is not the best for them. I always bring a comfortable pair of shoes that I know won’t wear me out after a long day.
You’re at Magic Kingdom and your child is asleep when you get to the front of the line at Space Mountain. Instead of just leaving or waking your child up, just let the cast member know you will be doing a rider swap. Rider swaps allow as many people in your group to go, while someone (or a couple) stay back with children that are not riding. The cast member will have the one(s) watching the kid(s) wait in a designated area while the rest of the group rides. Once the ride is over, you just swap places. Whoever was doing the watching lets the cast members know they are doing a rider swap and now they get to ride. It’s really easy and an awesome feature to utilize.
Have a loose idea of your plan of attack for the day. Wandering around aimlessly just wastes time. Pick out which ride you want to go on first, then select your next rides from attractions nearby. This is the most efficient way of going on rides. You waste a lot of time crossing back and forth around the park. Select a land and do what you would like in that area before moving on to the next land. That being said, sometimes things change. There are meltdowns, a sudden rush of people or an attraction closes/breaks down. When that occurs, have a plan B in mind. Pirates of the Caribbean broken down? No problem, Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain are not too far away. Make your way over to one of those rides instead. Another time saving hack, book it to rides during parades and fireworks shows. The lines tend to go down while people are watching those events. As an added bonus, you can see the fireworks from the line or on the ride if it’s outside. I did that for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and got to see the fireworks display from the ride. It was a unique experience and totally awesome.
Hey, you’re out there walking around all day, lugging kids around and standing in line. There’s nothing quite like having a beer or cocktail to get you through the day. Every park has alcohol for sale, but those drinks are hella expensive. At the Magic Kingdom you can only get drinks from their sit-down restaurants. There is a way to have easier access to alcohol and save money while at Disney World. A simple little hack I do is, well, I just bring my own alcohol on the DL! Take a Gatorade bottle, dump it out (or some of it out) and fill it with the cocktail or liquor you want that is a similar color. I usually take a lemon-lime Gatorade, pour it out, then fill it with a margarita. Then, you just need to get a cup of ice from anywhere and you’re good to go! I have brought ice packs and stuffed them in my backpack to keep the bottles cold, however, they don’t really work as well, especially on hot days. If you have a stroller, fill a flask and mix it in with all the stuff you’re bringing on the bottom. I recommend using a plastic flask – it’s what I use. You can also fill a plastic water bottle up with tequila, rum, gin or tequila. Cast members search your bags before you enter. They do not, however, take the lids off bottles to give a sniff test. That being said, if you spill on the outside of the bottle, wash it off so your bottle doesn’t smell like booze. Let’s be smart about this. Also, don’t get too wasted, they will kick you out. Be sure to drink plenty of water, too, especially on hot days. Heat stroke and alcohol poisoning are real folks!
Disney World is super expensive, especially if you are with a family. Paying for snacks, meals, drinks, sweets and souvenirs really adds up. Good news is that Disney theme parks allow you to bring in bags, food and drinks. You cannot bring a cooler, however, everything else is pretty much fair game. I always bring drinks (like Gatorade and water) and snacks. Protein bars are great because they give you energy throughout the day without having to splurge on a meal. Also, stopping for meals cuts into your time spent on rides! For kids, bring juice boxes, waters and whatever snacks they like. You can bring your refillable water bottles and fill them up anywhere they sell meals. Disney World offers free cups of water everywhere they sell food. Just be really nice and ask. If one place shoots you down, go to the next one. I never had any difficulty having my water bottles refilled. Often times the cast members would ask if I wanted ice, too. Be polite and you’ll get hooked up.
If you are thinking, “Should I bring a stroller or not,” bring one. Even if your child walks around all the time, going to theme parks is exhausting and a ton of walking. Younger children will wear down and pushing them in a stroller is much easier on everyone than carrying your worn-out kiddo. There are stroller parking areas near most of the attractions with tons of strollers there. I believe it is totally safe to leave your stroller parked amongst them. I’ve never heard from anyone I know or anyone I talked to at the parks about any theft issues. Even though it is very safe, as always, use your best judgement. As an added bonus, you can pack up your stroller with sweatshirts, sunblock, hats and other extras you won’t have to carry. Which brings me to the next of my Disney World tips and tricks.