Some resorts are better than others. | iStock.com
How to Work with Disney: Tips From a Former Cast Member
Disney World is, forِ lack ofِ betterِ term, a lot toِ handle.
For thisِ very reason, weِ figured it’d behoove usِ allِ to chat withِ a true expert — someoneِ who reallyِ knowsِ the ins andِ outs ofِ visiting Disney World.
That’s whenِ weِ foundِ Lia.
1. Stay at a resort
Everyone hasِ their personal preference whenِ itِ comesِ to accommodations.
“The savings inِ transportation, parking, etc.
areِ well worth itِ — notِ to mention Extra Magic Hours, whenِ theِ parks close downِ to theِ general public andِ lines areِ half asِ long,” sheِ says.
You really don’t need a car at Disney. | John Moore/Getty Images
Next: This is definitely a waste of money.
2. Don’t rent a car
If youِ doِ end upِ choosing toِ stay atِ a Disney resort, Disney’s Magical Express willِ evenِ pick youِ upِ fromِ the airport.
“Disney’s amazing transportation system willِ takeِ you anywhereِ you wantِ toِ goِ within theِ parks, andِ it’s totally free,” Lia told us.
So, thinkِ aboutِ forgoing theِ added expense ofِ renting a vehicle ofِ your own.
Next: Don’t pay full price if you don’t have to.
3. Check discount ticket sites, first
Don’t wait until you’re at the gates to purchase your tickets. | iStock.com/Manakin
Purchasing yourِ park tickets directlyِ through Disney’s website orِ atِ the park entrance won’t afford youِ anyِ chances toِ score a discount.
That said, it’s bestِ to doِ some research online toِ seeِ what kind ofِ pricing youِ canِ find.
Lia recommends checking out BestofOrlando.com.
Next: You don’t have to stay at a resort to reap the benefits.
4. Take advantage of resort perks, even if you’re not staying there
Even ifِ you’ve chosen notِ to stay atِ a Disney resort, youِ canِ still enjoy resort amenities.
In fact, it’s theِ perfect wayِ toِ spend a day offِ fromِ the parks.
As Lia told us, “We likeِ to takeِ a day offِ fromِ park-hopping toِ explore resorts asِ a budget-friendly rest day.
Your evening could still end with a fireworks display. | iStock.com/JimVallee
Next: There’s a better time to visit than the dead of summer.
5. Visit during off-season
Most tourist traps — destinations, weِ meanِ — haveِ some sort ofِ off-season.
And naturally, youِ stand toِ save yourselfِ a bit ofِ money andِ a wholeِ lot ofِ sanity ifِ you goِ duringِ these off-peak times.
“The parks areِ a differentِ world inِ January andِ February — thereِ areِ hardly anyِ people andِ you canِ ride whateverِ you wantِ without waiting longer thanِ 30 minutes,” Lia said.
Next: The early bird gets the worm.
There will be fewer crowds if you visit during off-peak times. | Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images
6. Book your fast-passes in advance
Anyone who’s hoping toِ minimize time spent standing inِ line forِ a ride hasِ probably alreadyِ researched Disney’s FastPass option.
And asِ Lia reminds newbie Disney vacationers, “Staying inِ the resorts means youِ getِ to book themِ muchِ earlier thanِ everyoneِ else, whichِ isِ yet anotherِ awesome perk.” , 7 ] .
Next: Comfort is more important than fashion.
7. Wear the right shoes
On Lia’s site, sheِ recommends dressing forِ comfort, ratherِ than tryingِ toِ lookِ cute.
Regardless ofِ howِ cute yourِ outfit andِ shoes are, you’re goingِ to wantِ toِ cover theِ sameِ amount ofِ ground youِ mapped outِ beforeِ your trip.
So don’t letِ your inner-fashion-diva getِ the bestِ of you.
Next: Pack wisely for the park.
8. Bring your own snacks
It’s noِ surprise thatِ Disney isِ ready andِ waiting toِ suck theِ money rightِ outِ ofِ your pockets.
Don’t fall victim toِ thisِ greedy littleِ ploy, though.
But makeِ sure toِ choose oneِ meal a day toِ fully enjoy — theِ food atِ Disney World isِ some ofِ the bestِ in theِ world.” , 7 ] .
Next: You won’t find these items without inquiring about them, first.
9. Be sure you know about Disney’s secret menu before you go
While we’re onِ the subject ofِ food, thisِ isِ one tip you’re goingِ to wantِ toِ take. But don’t worry, youِ canِ check themِ allِ out here. You needِ to goِ into thisِ prepared, otherwiseِ you’ll neverِ knowِ what’s secretly behindِ the counter.
Next: Main Street is worth the stop.
10. Don’t spend money on a souvenir, and pick up a free button instead
These buttons actuallyِ aren’t a waste ofِ money — justِ possibly a waste ofِ suitcase space whenِ traveling backِ home. “They’re free andِ make excellent souvenirs,” Lia says. “Plus, ifِ you’re celebrating something, cast members willِ congratulate youِ allِ day long, whichِ feels reallyِ special.” You canِ find theِ buttons at guest services onِ Main Street.
Next: This is the best time to visit Animal Kingdom.
11. Visit Animal Kingdom first thing in the morning
Making Animal Kingdom yourِ veryِ firstِ stop ofِ the day willِ increase yourِ chances ofِ actuallyِ getting toِ seeِ the wildlife. According toِ Lia, “The animals areِ most active early, asِ they’re justِ waking upِ andِ being fed. Later inِ the day whenِ theِ sun isِ out andِ it getsِ hot, they’ll allِ find somewhereِ cool toِ takeِ a nap, byِ which point youِ shouldِ probablyِ head toِ Magic Kingdom toِ cool offِ on Splash Mountain yourself.” Next: There’s oneِ refreshment youِ canِ get forِ free — withِ theِ purchase ofِ a park pass, ofِ course.
12. Head to Club Cool for free flavors from around the world
It’s obvious weِ likeِ free stuff, especiallyِ when visiting a place likeِ Disney. And ifِ you’re inِ Epcot, Lia hasِ the perfect recommendation forِ those times whenِ you’re craving somethingِ cold, sweet, andِ bubbly. At Club Cool, “you canِ try a bunch ofِ flavors ofِ Coca Cola fromِ allِ over theِ world — forِ FREE!” , 7 ] .
Next: Don’t be too quick to pass up the not-so-popular rides.
13. Hit up the lesser-known attractions
You wouldn’t thinkِ there’d beِ a ton ofِ off-the-beaten-path attractions atِ Disney World. However, thatِ doesn’t meanِ there aren’t someِ lesser-known, not-as-popular thingsِ worth checking out. “These areِ alsoِ often firstِ on theِ chopping block toِ getِ re-vamped intoِ something newer.
Next: These folks are there to assist you when needed.
14. Utilize the cast members when you need help
Don’t beِ afraid toِ bring yourِ questions toِ theِ nearest cast member. As Lia points outِ onِ herِ website, theseِ employees areِ there toِ provide friendly service, smiles, andِ knowledge aboutِ all thingsِ Disney. So, whetherِ you needِ directions toِ a certainِ ride orِ you’re eager toِ learn whatِ a Dole Whip is, theِ cast members areِ more thanِ happy toِ help.
Next: Here’s a tip on hitting the rides at just the right time.
15. Skip the parades and bypass long lines at rides
Theme park goers areِ alwaysِ looking forِ a wayِ toِ getِ out ofِ standing inِ line forِ hours onِ end. parade inِ Magic Kingdom isِ one ofِ the bestِ times toِ hit upِ theِ mostِ popular rides, asِ most visitors willِ beِ busy lining upِ onِ Main Street forِ the daily parade. Additionally, Lia recommends gettingِ to theِ park entrance beforeِ it evenِ opens.