Need-to-Know Tips From Disney Experts
This isn’t a beginner’s how-to—these are the tips and tidbits to set your vacation a bar above the rest.
This article originally appeared on TravelandLeisure.com.
If you’ve ever visited Walt Disney World, you know it takes some time before you can navigate it easily. There are so many nuances and details to know, and when you arrive, it’s easy to be swept up in the meet-and-greets and parades before realizing you don’t have dinner reservations, are sunburnt to a crisp, and sat down for more than 10 minutes all day.
That’s why we polled the best Disney experts out there, whose websites, YouTube series, and businesses regularly make park-going a breeze, for their all-time favorite nuggets of Disney wisdom. If you’re looking for a way to add a little extra magic into your next trip to Walt Disney, park pros have got your back.
Here’s how these major mouse insiders make the most out of their day in the Magic Kingdom and beyond:
“To help minimize the stress of remembering your FastPass reservation times, take a screenshot of your reservation times each morning in the My Disney Experience mobile app. Then, set that day’s reservation photo as your cell phone’s lock screen. It will now be easily accessible throughout the day with just a quick glance at your phone.” — Joe and Ashley, SeeYaReelSoon
“Save your haircut for the Magic Kingdom’s Harmony Barber Shop. This is my go-to spot when I need a cut or trim. Ask for the Pixie Dust! And the “My First Haircut” package is the perfect way to introduce your little one to their first time at the barber shop.” — Denise Preskitt, Mouse Steps
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“With all of the rides and theatrical shows, Walt Disney World can get pretty overwhelming. We always make sure to set aside some time each day to relax and enjoy the ‘streetmosphere’ that sets Walt Disney World apart from your standard amusement park. These are more informal shows and performances that take place all over the parks and often provide wonderful interactions between performers and guests. We make sure to never miss our favorites which include the Dapper Dans, The Notorious Banjo Brothers, and the Citizens of Hollywood!” — Joe and Ashley, SeeYaReelSoon
“I know everyone says this, but do your research on food. There are so many wonderful restaurants at Walt Disney World. These range from typical fast food to AAA Five Diamond award-winning restaurants...and everything in between. Don’t count the quick-service restaurants out as basic though. Disney has made huge leaps toward including unique cuisine from all over the world, and their inclusion of special food needs is top notch. Luckily all of this information is available online, both through Disney and fan blogs like ours.” — Andrew Tipton, Disney Hipster Blog
“My favorite snack in all of Walt Disney World is a baguette from Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie in Epcot’s France pavilion. While everything is excellent here, a baguette will only set you back a few dollars and is perfect every time. Baguettes are made fresh here daily, as is everything else!” — Denise Preskitt, Mouse Steps
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“We strongly believe that the best way to beat the crowds at Walt Disney World is to be an early riser. The lines are significantly shorter during the first or second hour after park opening. In fact, you can typically accomplish more in those first two hours than in the four or five hours that follow. If you find you’re tired, head back to your resort for a midday break when it is the hottest and the lines are the busiest.” — Joe and Ashley, SeeYaReelSoon
“If you plan on being in the parks all day, make sure you know which attractions are lengthy and air-conditioned! On both Ellen’s Energy Adventure and The American Adventure you’re spending 30-plus minutes sitting down in dark, air-conditioned environments...and they’re tons of fun!” — Andrew Tipton, Disney Hipster Blog
“When it comes to viewing the Wishes fireworks in Magic Kingdom, most guests flock to Main Street for the dead-on view of Cinderella Castle with the fireworks in the background. This is definitely the most iconic perspective, but if you want to avoid the crowds, head behind Cinderella Castle to the area between the castle walls at the edge of New Fantasyland. There, you’ll have plenty of breathing room, a castle view and are fully immersed in the show with fireworks in front of and behind you!” — Tom Bricker, Disney Tourist Blog
“One of my favorite things to do at Hollywood Studios is to trade with jawas inside the Star Wars Launch Bay. Jawas hang out in the cantina inside Launch Bay and love to trade for shiny objects, glow sticks, buttons or other dollar store toys. They love to wheel and deal and will also pose for photos.” — Casey Maute, Parkbound Buttons
“Never assume that a short line means a bad attraction. Often times people are hypnotized by long lines, assuming that a 300 minute wait at Soarin’ Around The World equates to an awesome time yet ignoring a “walk on” attraction. Living With The Land, just steps away from Soarin’ rarely has a wait more than a few minutes, and is one of our favorite attractions!” — Andrew Tipton, Disney Hipster Blog
“My favorite character meal at Disney World is Minnie’s Seasonal Dine at Hollywood & Vine inside Hollywood Studios. There’s a great variety on the buffet and love the variety of cute desserts! Book the latest reservation possible for the evening and you could have an opportunity to take a group photo with all of the characters at the end of your meal.” — Casey Maute, Parkbound Buttons
“It is absolutely imperative to take a break in the middle of your day. Would you run around in the scorching sun for twelve hours in your day-to-day life? Of course not! Take a few hours, ideally in the early afternoon, to relax by your resort’s pool. Rehydrate and recharge for your evening in the park. By then, the temperature will be much cooler, crowds will be somewhat dissipated, and you will have a much better time.” — Andrew Tipton, Disney Hipster Blog
“If you are looking for unique souvenirs to bring home, Epcot’s World Showcase offers merchandise from around the globe and some specifically themed items for individual countries. Even if I’m not buying, I always take a swing through some of the shops, especially the large Mitsukoshi Department Store in Japan, where the merchandise changes regularly.” — Denise Preskitt, Mouse Steps
“Dole Whips are largely known as one of the must-have snacks while visiting Disney. If you don’t make it to the stand in Adventureland, head over to the Polynesian Village Resort! Pineapple Lanai is located right outside the lobby and serves Dole Whips as soft-serve or in a float. I enjoy this stand better because you can get the Dole Whip swirl — half pineapple, half vanilla soft-serve. Plus, the Polynesian is a beautiful resort to explore.” — Casey Maute, Parkbound Buttons