11 Things to Know Before Visiting Disney World


Disney World

Are you thinking about taking a family trip to Disney World this year? If you haven’t been to the magical place in Orlando, you may not know how intricate a Disney vacation can be. There are a few things that are helpful to know before you go:

Be patient for Disney transportation.

Whether you’re traveling by bus, ferry, or monorail, be sure to plan ample time for travel via Disney’s own transportation system. While it’s very convenient to get from place to place at the resort, it’ll most likely take longer than you expect.

There is a pet hotel on premises.

If you plan on bringing your furry friend with the family, note that you won’t be allowed to bring him or her into the park or at the resort hotels. However, there is a place called Best Friends Total Pet Care (across from Port Orleans Riverside Resort) where you can drop them off. They’ll be treated to their own suite, enjoy grooming, participate in activities, and more.

Disney World has an app.

The app, called My Disney Experience, can come in very handy if you’re planning a Disney vacation. Download the app for attraction wait times, character greeting locations and times, restaurant menus and reservations, FastPass+ modifications, and more.

Go in the off-season.

Disney World is one of the most popular family vacation spots in the world, so to avoid long lines and anxious children, plan a visit in the off-season. The best times to go are late September, early October, and early March. If you go during spring break or during the summer when kids aren’t in school, be prepared to wait.

The help line can answer all of your questions.

When you call the Disney help line (which can be reached at 407-939-5277), you’ll talk to real people who are very knowledgeable about everything Disney. Find out where the best restaurants are, how to score great deals, where to board for transportation, and more.

Research and plan.

Disney World is more than just a quick trip to a theme park. There is a lot to see, everywhere, at all times, so spend some time researching and planning your trip. You’ll avoid being overwhelmed with the many choices of where to stay, where to eat, what to see, what to ride, and more.

Take advantage of Extra Magic Hours.

Every month, Disney World opens its gates an hour early and three hours later to those staying at the resort. This can be the perfect time to see some extra shows, attractions or rides. Extra Magic Hours are only on certain days, though, so pay attention to the schedule.

Consider staying on-site.

While it may be cheaper to stay in a hotel off-site, nothing compare to the experience you get when you stay on-site. The “Disney bubble,” as travelers call it, gives you Disney magic no matter what you do, from your hotel to your meals and more. It’ll be an unforgettable experience for your kids.

Allow recovery time.

If you’re planning a week-long or 10-day trip to Disney World, you’ll have a lot to do and see, which can be pretty exhausting. Plan a few days in between park days (say, one relax day to every two park days) to relax at the hotel or visit Downtown Disney. You’ll be able to regain your strength for your next adventure. If you’re only doing Disney World for a couple days, plan a day afterwards to recover.

Disney’s PhotoPass will take pictures for you.

If you want to capture all of the special memories that take place at Disney World, but don’t want to lug around a camera or remember to take pictures, Disney offers a PhotoPass that lets their photographers do it for you. If you have a PhotoPass, you can go up to any PhotoPass photographer and have them take a picture for you. Then, just go online and view your photos at the end of the trip.

Adults can ride rides that kids can’t.

Disney offers a system called Rider Switch that lets parents ride the rides that their kids can’t (whether they’re too small or just don’t want to). All you have to do is let the ride’s Cast Member know that you want to ride instead of your child and they’ll give you a Rider Switch pass. Once you’re done, you can hand it to your spouse and they can ride right away.