So you did it. You bought your tickets to Disney! Maybe you told the family already. Maybe it's a surprise? Either way, you don't want to disappoint with long lines, missed rides, and a less than magical experience. Don't worry. We've compiled some of the best tricks in the biz!
Before you go
- The best time to visit Disney World is either mid-late January or September. Crowds are thin as people are returning home from holiday vacations in January and heading back to school in September. The busiest, but most festive time is December when Mickey's Very Merry Christmas is celebrated.
- Be sure to download the official Disney World app for real time wait times, step by step walking directions, an interactive park map, and more.
- If you're a serious Disney-er, I'd suggest staying in a Disney World Resort Hotel. While the rooms might be a bit more expensive (although they do have value options and even a camp site), you get extra hours at the parks, free transportation and parking, dining plans, and, the coolest feature, magic bands!
- Magic bands are accessible to all park goers, but only those who stay at Disney World Resort Hotel can link the bracelet to their credit card. Magic bands are plastic bracelets that house your room key, credit card, park admission tickets, fast passes, and PhotoPass.
- Disney Resorts even have a magical express luggage tag option so you don't have to wait at baggage claim. Instead, Your luggage will magically show up in your hotel room!
- If you purchase any souvenirs inside the park, have them sent to the front of the park, your Disney Resort hotel, or even your house! Then you don't have to carry your purchases all day and, if you're tight on space, you can have your purchases waiting for you when you get home.
- Be sure to use FastPass+. All park goers get three FastPasses a day (one park a day), which you can choose early or use a kiosk in the park to choose the day of. You can choose your FastPass rides 30 days in advance (60 if you stay at a resort) and can change at any time. If you book your FastPasses in advance and use them in the morning, you can find a kiosk and book three more for that afternoon!
- Another great add on is PhotoPass. It's definitely worth the money to avoid lugging around a camera and it's cheaper than purchasing individual ride photos. A PhotoPass allows you to view and download all photos taken of you in the parks, from ride photos (like the iconic Splash Mountain) to family photos in front of Cinderella Castle.
- If you want to preserve all those photos, you could splurge for the MemoryMaker, which compiles all of your specific photos from the day to your My Disney account. MemoryMaker is cheaper to purchase prior to arriving at Disney, but if you choose to do so, purchase it more than three days before because it takes three days to begin working.