I had started this on the chat site, but realized it might be helpful here so people can search. What would you recommend to people who are planning a trip to Disney? What to bring, eat, do when you are there, strategies, etc? For me, I have heard to ask for Neil’s section at TH, bring dried soapy sponges for cleaning resort mugs, bring frogg toggs and O2 Cool misting water bottles.
The best tip I have is don’t try to do it all. Relax and take time to just enjoy being there. Look around you and really see the parks and resorts. The more flexible you can be when something unplanned happens, the more likely you are to have a good vacation experience.
I like this topic because sometimes veterans even forget certain tips and tricks that can make a difference!
My favorite tip is to make sure you get into the story of each park, and furthermore, each land and each attraction. Remember that we as guests are invited to be part of the story that each area is telling. Don’t expect to approach AK the same way you approach MK…they have different purposes, different stories. When you’re walking down Main Street, don’t make a mad rush to your first attraction. Put yourself into that turn of the century, idealized all American town. When you go to AK, put yourself in the role of adventurer, explorer. Don’t just rush to beat the crowds at EE. Your experience will be deeper and more meaningful when you allow yourself to go beyond face value!
Oh! And that works for resorts, too!!! And restaurants…everywhere on property has its own story!
My best tip is to get your ADR’s done at 180 days, and stay up til midnight at your 60 day mark to get your fastpasses done. Other than that, I learned everything on LINES.
I wish I could take my own advice, but I say “slow down”. There is so much to take in that you don’t even realize it until you get home. For example, I didn’t notice the background music at the parks until I got home and heard the innoventions music loop, and now it accompanies my most vivid memories from that first trip
My weird advice is to make an ADR for lunch. DH thought I was a genius on the day we had lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern. No combat table searching with the kids while your spouse attempts to get everyone’s order. Free refills. It was delightful! DH mandates TS lunch on park days now.
Don’t forget to take a paper towel tube to HS to store your Art of Animation drawing! Also, a clean trash bag to store wet swimsuits for ride home.
Many things can be said. as @Armadillo_Alert said, don’t try to do it all. There is no way you can see everything on your first trip. Treat it as a sampler to see what you want more of or to see instead the next time. Pick a couple of special rides for each person. Slow down, it is a long day. If rides are important to you be there before rope drop on any park day. You often get to ride the most in that time period. When the park gets more crowded at lunch, leave the park and take a break. Go and nap, have lunch outside of the parks, less crowded, take a swim. Return to the park for evening activities.
Get advance reservations for food. It is very hard to just walk up for a table service meal.
Don’t be shy asking us for advice, no question is “stupid” They are all valid and we try to answer everything.
Rope Drop each park at least once and go straight to the headliners (know what these are ahead of time). Choose the parks you visit ahead of time while considering crowd levels and Extra Magic Hours. Consider letting crowd levels influence the dates of your trip. Rest midday. 180 + 10 on certain ADR’s (know what they are and be ready to pull the trigger at 6am). 60 days on certain FPP (know what these are and be ready to go at 6am). Don’t forget about the dining at resorts: some of the best restaurants on property are outside the parks. Skip DTD and the Poly for now. Use Lines, get to know it beforehand and have touring plans ready to go and Lines downloaded on your smart phone. Set up MDE and link family/friends before you make ADRs and FPP. Stay on property. Rent a car. Carry a cell phone charger, poncho, sunblock, Advil, instant coffee (Starbucks Via) and any other essentials in cargo shorts/pants (I don’t fuss with a bag). Know where/what you’re going to eat most meals so you fuss with that in park and end up waiting time/money. Make your FPP selections for the day your smart phone wallpaper. Use the TP Room Selector to find a great room and call in your request. Consider special events or anything unique happening while you’re there. Don’t get the DDP and don’t waste FPPs on nighttime shows. Etc. etc.
chiming in on the -don’t try to do it all- theme. I intentionally built in rest midday every day, 2 actual days just as 1/2 days only- since traveling with 2 and 4 yr olds’ first trip 1 week ago.
planned for extra pool time included that way.
well, beware. my wonderful adult son and daughter in law got swept up and a few times delayed leaving the parks as planned. haha. disney can put a spell on us, a wonderful one though. guess that’s just one more reason why we love it.
My tip is for the rides that have single rider, Use it! If your group is comprised of people all above the age of 15 or so, do single rider whenever possible. You almost never get separated more than 3-4 cars between each person and are often only separated by minutes or less. Depending on the size of the group you may even be in the same car. The lines are often half the length or less and can really cut down on wait time.
I have a few, since my first trip as an adult just happened a few weeks ago:
- First, know your family and plan your trip accordingly. I know most people say to take mid-day breaks, but I knew that wouldn’t work well for us. My kids need to be in bed by 7:30-8pm otherwise they’re worthless the next day. And 2 out of 3 of them hate fireworks. So, for us it was better to stay in the park all day (taking breaks in the shade and a/c when we needed) and leave before dinner. Yes, we missed out on night-time attractions, but I knew for us, it was what we had to do. Hopefully there will be another trip in a few years when they are able to handle being out late at night.
- If you have little ones, take advantage of the rider swap (AKA “switch rider” or “baby swap”) passes. They allow both mom and dad to ride any ride with a height minimum without having to wait in a long line twice. If you combine this with FPP, you can probably avoid most stand-by lines for headliners. And if you have older kids, they will be able to ride with the second parent (up to 3 people can typically ride on the rider swap pass).
- Don’t leave food in your stroller at AK or Epcot. An animal ate its way through our lunch box at AK while we were on Safaris and destroyed the lunch box. I also saw squirrels running in and out of strollers at Epcot. It’s a pain to carry with you all day, but you’ll be much less hungry!
Can you do rider swap if one child is tall enough but still too scared to ride?? DD will ride anything, but DS isnt adventurous at all.