The Tips and Tricks of Visiting Disney World You Probably Haven’t Thought of Yet

My family and I just returned from the Happiest Place on Earth.

2022 Disney

That’s right, folks. We just went to Disney World!

Although Disney is considered to be located in Orlando, Florida, it’s also called a couple of other things, too, such as Buena Vista and Reedy Creek.

There are tons to read about the history of how Mr. Walt found the area that is now Disney, but if you have Disney Plus and haven’t checked it out yet, I highly recommend the series, Behind the Attraction. Our whole family watched the series and loved it! (Although, I have to admit, we are huge Disney fans.)

I first went to Disney as a choir student in the ninth grade. Back in the 80s and 90s, Disney had a competition called Magic Music Days. Junior high and high school choirs and bands from all over the country would come and perform. I still remember our set, Les Mis, and how much fun I had with all of my friends.

In that day, there were only three parks: Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, and what was known then as MGM Studios (which is now Hollywood). MGM was brand new, and with it, came The Tower of Terror! I must have ridden that ride 100 times that trip!

Our first trip to Disney World as a family was back in 2009, which feels like ages ago.

I was pregnant with Nims, my youngest, and my third child, Bear, was just a baby. We chose October so that we wouldn’t miss Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Bash, and it lived up to the hype for sure.

Photos courtesy of Walt Disney World

Disney World was new to our family, so we learned a lot about the dos and don’ts of visiting.

2009 Disney

The trip we recently took to Disney World was our fifth trip as a family. Along with 2009, we returned in 2014, 2018, 2020 and this year.

Each trip to Disney has been incredibly special, even 2020, when we were in the midst of Covid and took very few pictures because of the masks.

By the time we took the recent trip, I really felt like we knew what we were doing, and I can say that even though we didn’t take the older two kids (they’re at the stage of life where they aren’t particularly keen on traveling as a family), this was one of my favorite trips to Disney World to date.

2020 Disney

Let me share with you a bit of advice about traveling to Disney World. Go with a plan and a purpose. Here are some tips and tricks you’ve maybe never thought about:

1.Before you even go, decide your why.

Does your family want to check Disney off the list or are they huge fanatics? Are they big ride-riders? Just like the shows? Want to eat good food? All of the above? Gather the family for a meeting and gauge each person’s response as to what they’re excited about (granted, they’re old enough to tell you). This seems like a weird first step, but I promise it will help you in the long run.

2. After you know your why, ballpark your budget, then add half of that budget to it.

You have to know how much you have to spend at Disney. Otherwise, you are going to get there and either spend way too much or penny pinch yourself to misery. Going to Disney World is a lot like renovating a house. You start out with a good idea of how much you’ll spend, but along the way there will be additions that will end up raising your price. So while I don’t think you need to double your budget, it’s definitely a good idea to add an additional half.

2014 Disney

3. Become incredibly familiar with both the Disney World website and the My Disney Experience App.

These two technological tidbits will help you navigate both the planning of your trip and the execution. Use the website to book resorts and character meals, and the app to find wait times and book whatever new gadget Disney has to help you get into rides faster. (At the time of my writing, it’s called the Lightening Lane, and I wish I was more familiar with it, but planning our trip is my hubby’s deal. Plus, I feel sure that in a short time, they’ll have something totally new.)

4. Speaking of rides, pay whatever it takes to be able to wait the shortest amount of time.

I really cannot stress this enough: you can save money in lots of different areas at Disney. But if you love to ride rides, you MUST purchase whatever Disney has available–fast pass, lightening lane, whatever it’s called in the future–to wait a little less than usual. Wait times for rides can be up to THREE HOURS LONG! That’s 1/4 of your day! It is worth it to spend a little extra on shorter wait times.

5. My personal opinion about resorts: they are worth spending money on.

We have only stayed at a true Disney resort once, but there are so many to choose from, each with their own cool vibe! We stayed at Pop Century, and we booked it during the recession of the early 2000s when Disney was enticing people by offering free dining plans. It was so worth it!!! Should they ever offer those again, we will book in a heartbeat. Now, because of my husband’s traveling points, we stay at the DoubleTree or Hilton in Disney Springs (formally Downtown Disney, or, if you’re as old as me, Pleasure Island). The DoubleTree IS considered a Disney resort; however, Hilton is not. (We learned that the hard way this trip.) You still get the benefits of the buses at the Hilton, but you don’t get to stay extra hours in the park or receive special lightening lane passes.

6. Another personal opinion: splurge on eating in the parks.

Because Disney is an experience, the food comes with it. And although in most parks’ stops and kiosks it’s just your standard fare like hot dogs and hamburgers, popcorn and cotton candy, the ability to visit the restaurants and eat character meals and see the joy on your child’s face is totally worth the extra money. And here’s the thing: you can split everything. Foot long hot dogs are HUGE, drinks are COLOSSAL, and you get a ton of fries! So split your walk-up meals, and splurge on at least one character dinner per visit. And I would also encourage you to visit at least one or two countries in EPCOT’s World Showcase! Each country has specific dining that fits their ambiance.

2018 Disney

These are just a few tips I have for Disney that you might never have thought about. I’ll write a part two in the future about things you might need for the trip! There is so much to share when it comes to traveling to Disney World in Florida, but if you’re a Disney lover like my family is, GO!

See you soon with love (and Mickey Ears),


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