Going on your first Walt Disney World trip and not really sure where to start? Or maybe you’ve been to Walt Disney World before but were confused the whole time. With so many sources of information out there a vacation to Disney can be overwhelming. Especially when you’re faced with articles giving you hundreds of tips. We get it. We’ve been there! So instead of the best 101 tips list, here’s the TOP 5 Disney Pro tips to help you feel like you’ve gone from zero to hero, just like that!We visit Walt Disney World a lot. Probably way more than we should. And we see people making a lot of frustrating mistakes that could have been avoided! We want to help you avoid making these same mistakes and help you feel like you’ve won the day at Disney.
Know How to Get Through Disney Security Like a Pro!
Probably the most common mistake we see is during the security check process at Walt Disney World. We promise it’s not as painful as it looks! Get these basics down and you’ll whiz through the security line with no problem.
- Use both sides of the table. Unless there is only one side of the table, both sides get used. Yes there is only one security cast member checking bags at each table. But yes, both sides are still open. They go back and forth between the left and right side checking bags, so if you don’t fill both sides, other people will and you’ll be stuck waiting. The only real exception we’ve generally seen for this is at the resorts. But at all of the Parks, use both sides.
- Take your bag off and unzip all of the zippers. If you have bags inside your bag, unzip those zippers too. If you’re traveling with a stroller, this has to be checked. Whizzing by security thinking you’re in the clear because you have a stroller will only get you sent back to bag checkers. Everything gets checked, so be ready and the process will be smoother.
- Know what you can and cannot bring in. Disney security will take things from you that are not allowed inside the Parks, so know the rules before you go. Check out the prohibited items list to be sure you’re not breaking rules. Shoe skates, larger strollers, and selfie sticks are some of the basics not allowed.
- And lastly, unless they tell you, you do not have to go through the metal detectors. The security guards randomly select guests to go through these detectors so if you’re not chosen, keep moving.
Understand Disney’s Transportation Options
One of the many benefits of staying on property at Walt Disney World is that you can remain in what’s often referred to as, the Disney Bubble. You don’t need a car, and you don’t need to go off property. You can stay in the Disney bubble and forget about real life for as long as you want. Disney transportation is what makes it possible. But it’s important to understand how the transportation works.
Disney Bus Transportation
- Firstly, get familiar with the buses. The buses are the main mode of transport at Disney. They go from resorts to the Parks and back again. They generally do not go from resort to resort. And only occasionally go from Park to Park. There is a bus directory at each Park that will tell you what bus stop to go to in order to get to your final destination.
- If you’re traveling with a stroller, know that strollers must be folded up before getting on the bus. Sometimes being prepared for little things like this can make a big difference!
There there is the monorail. If driving, will park in one of the main parking lots at the TTC (Transportation and Ticket Center). There are three monorail loops.
- One that goes from the TTC (Transportation and Ticket Center) to Epcot,
- One traveling from the TTC to Magic Kingdom
- The Resort Monorail loop. The Resort monorail loop will take you to Magic Kingdom, The Contemporary Resort, the TTC, the Polynesian Resort and the Grand Floridian, in that order specifically. And then it continues to loop. It will not take you to any other resorts or any other Parks.
There are also several boats.
- The Friendship Ferry is an Epcot resort area boat and it stops at Epcot, Hollywood Studios, The Swan and Dolphin, The Boardwalk and the Yacht and Beach Club.
- There is also a Magic Kingdom area boat that stops at Magic Kingdom, The Grand Floridian and The Polynesian.
- Fort Wilderness and Wilderness Lodge each have their own boat to and from Magic Kingdom as well.
- Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter have boat transportation to and from Disney Springs which is a nice perk if you are staying in that area or want to resort hop during your trip.
- From the TTC you can also choose to take the ferry, rather than the monorail to get to Magic Kingdom. Magic Kingdom has the most complicated parking system and you will need to take the monorail or the bus to get there from the Parking lot if you decide to drive.
Minnie Van and Taxi Service
Minnie Vans, Uber and Lyft are all available at Walt Disney World too, if you need something a little quicker. Check out our post on Minnie Vans, if you’re looking for something tailored to your specific needs.
Whenever using any of the Disney transportation, give yourself plenty of time. We generally recommend giving yourself an hour to get from one place to the next, and sometimes this will be less, sometimes it will be more.
Disney’s Skyliner is its newest form of transportation. You can read a quick guide here to understand how it works, but mostly what you need to know is that it is a gondola system that is available at Disney’s Art of Animation, Disney’s Pop Century, Disney’s Caribbean Beach and Disney’s newest resort, the Riviera. It can transport you between any of these resorts and can also take you to Hollywood Studios and Epcot.
Get the Refillable Disney Resort Mug
If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan this refillable Disney Resort Mug is included with the plan. If you’re not on the dining plan we still recommend it. Get The Disney Resort Mug. And make sure you understand how to use it. The refillable resort mug can save you a ton of money if you’re staying on property. You can fill them with coffee, tea, soft drinks and water from the Resorts.
Note: It a RESORT mug. This means you can only fill them at the resorts, not in the Parks. We see tons of people lugging these mugs into the parks as if there are free drinks waiting. P.S there aren’t. Unless you’re Resort hopping, or planning to use it for water, you can leave them in your room for the day. As they’ll just be an extra hassle to lug around. Quick service restaurants will not refill them for you and if you’re caught trying to fill it at a self serve station inside of a quick serve restaurant, you will get yelled at.
Now if you’re planning to spend some time at another Disney resort during your day, by all means, bring it along. You can spend a nice day at any amazing resort and you can refill your mug while there.
Plan Around the Parades
This may sound crazy. But walkways get blocked several times a day as a result of parades. So parades can cause quite the inconvenience. Whether you’re watching it or skipping it, you’ll need to know how it can impact your day.
For example, if you’re watching the Festival of Fantasy parade in Magic Kingdom, you’ll want to grab a spot at least a half hour before the parade starts. And even by then most of the really good spots will be taken.
If you’re not watching the parade, make sure you are where you want to be when it starts. Walkways will be blocked off and near the end of the parade, even the exit from Magic Kingdom will be blocked off at one point until the parade has finished. So if you’re trying to get to a dining reservation somewhere else, leave before that happens or you’ll be standing there just waiting.
Have a Plan
This one is kind of no brainer, but we have to mention it because we know so many people who have miserable vacations because they simply didn’t have a plan. With Walt Disney World, you can have as much of a plan or as little of a plan as you’d like. But just have a plan!
- Dining reservations can be made 180 days from your trip and for on property guests,
- Fast Passes can be made 60 days ahead of time, and 30 days for off property guests.
We recommend doing both. Even if you’re planning to just “wing it” a day or two, have Fast Passes made so you can avoid wasting a ton of time standing in line. Plans can always be cancelled but unfortunately if you wait too long, you might not be able to get what you want and can leave you wasting a lot of precious time.
There’s so much to do at Walt Disney World, that not having a plan can leave you even more overwhelmed and confused. We recommend making a plan and then you can decide if you want to stick with it.
5 Beginner Tips to Help You Feel Like a Pro at Walt Disney World
So there you have it, 5 simple ways you can feel a little more like a pro at Walt Disney World.
- Know How to Get Through Disney Security Lines
- Know the Disney Transportation Options
- Get the Refillable Disney Resort Mug
- Plan Around the Parades
- Have a Plan: Make your Dining and Fast Pass Reservations
Sometimes it’s the little things that will make or break your trip. These 5 things may seem minor but you will be amazed at how smoothly your vacation goes when you know these things! so being prepared with a few little pieces of knowledge can really make all the difference!