Disney World is one of those trips that some wait a lifetime for. They’re expensive and, for most, a really long way to travel. We all (especially me!) put so much pressure on a Disney holiday, expecting it’s going to be just as magical as the advertisements or the vlogs you see on YouTube. THIS IS NOT THE CASE! In Disney, things go wrong, plans get cancelled and you usually out-do yourself in the first 3 days. Sometimes it’s important to take a step back and consider what the best plan of action is for you, whether that’a staying up late till the parks close, waking up super early for extra magic hours then spending the rest of the day lazing around at the pool, or if you’ve got the energy to stay out all day with no breaks. Whatever your strategy is, it’s so important to listen to what your body wants. The heat in Florida is uncomfortable for most so don’t expect to spend all day outside at the parks. I know this sounds scary! But usually if you’ve got a 2 week holiday, you can afford to pace yourself and you’ll still most likely see everything you want to on your vacation. There are a few special extras and sneaky tips I want to leave here for you to make your holiday that bit more magical and make sure you see some of the best bits that most people don’t think of.
1. Toystory Land at Night
Toystoryland is beautiful at any time of the day, but if you catch it at night? The whole land looks alive and magical! The vibrant colours and lights also make riding SlinkyDog Dash so much more magical and fun. Plus: after 8pm when everyone leaves to watch Fantasmic, the wait time for ToyStory Mania can be as little as 15 minutes when throughout the day is always at least an hour!
2. Fastpass Flight of Passage
If you’re a thrill seeker or like riding rides in general, this is the one ride I suggest you get as many fast passes for as you can! The ride is magical and unlike any other ride at the park - truly thrilling! If I could describe it I would say if you mixed Soarin’ with the Tron ride at Shanghai Disney, this is what you’d get!
3. Give the Water Parks a go!
I was definitely one of those skeptics about Water Parks as I’m not the greatest swimmer, nor am I tall enough to brave the depths of the wave pool! BUT: Water Parks are great for those days where you don’t fancy doing too much and you need a break from walking! We must have spent about 4 hours in and out of the Lazy River and it really gave us the time to relax and just chat!
4. Pace yourself with food!
We definitely had to learn this one the hard way! I am a huge fan of DFB (Disney Food Blog) on YouTube so I had a huge list of treats I wanted to try and places I wanted to eat! However- Disney food is not your everyday diet and it can leave you feeling very sick very quickly. I think the Disney Dining Plan has a lot to blame for this as it makes you feel like you need to eat big portions every day! So I would question how big of an eater you are before getting the Dining plan and, if you got the plan for free, REMEMBER IT WAS FREE! I know we all like to get our moneys worth but if you’re feeling sick from eating too many Mickey Premium bars then you won’t enjoy all the amazing rides or shows. One meal I swear by when I feel like I’ve over done it is breakfast at Animal Kingdom. Check out the Harambee Fruit Market and get the fresh Pineapple with a warm Mickey Pretzel and its sure to give you the healthy savoury kick you desperately need!
5. Know when you’re going to watch the Fireworks
One of the most important things to do is to pre-plan what nights you’ll be seeing the night-time shows and fireworks displays. Take the time to look at the schedules online and jot down which days work best for you. It’s also important to consider the strategy you’ll take when watching the night time spectaculars. I would suggest:
Magic Kingdom - Either use one of your fast passes to reserve a viewing point near the front of the castle, or take a spot at the end of MainStreet USA at the top of the railway station.
Animal Kingdom - The show is good from all angles but try to get a seat further to the back of the ampitheatre. This show is quite long and not for everyone so you might want to sneak out early!
Epcot - It’s easy to find a good spot for these fireworks which take place over the lagoon central to the world showcase. Do make sure to select a spot about 30 minutes before the show starts (I think the bridge between France and the UK is best).
Hollywood Studios - For Fantasmic, it might be worth reserving a spot with fast passes, especially if there is a big group of you or you’ve children who don't do well with long wait times. If not, make sure to head to the stadium 1 hour before the show starts to get a good spot near the centre of the seating.
6. ClubCool is the place to be!
Epcot is one of those parks with very little shelter and most months, Florida is crazy hot and humid! We found ourselves going into Club Cool multiple times during the day to not only take full advantage of the free drink samples, but also for the really strong air-conditioning. You’ll just keep going back!
7. Pandora at Night
The bio-luminescent paint used on the flooring and plants and blue lights placed around the land makes the whole place look otherworldly and is an amazing place for photo opportunities. Also, there is a beautiful waterfall outside of the rides which at night has a photo pass photographer ready to take your photo in-front of!
8. Choose a character meal that is a little more obscure
When we think of Character meals, it’s easy to think of Cinderella’s Royal Table, Chef Mickeys, or Crystal Palace. These character meals get booked up really quickly at the 180 day booking day. Character meals I would suggest that are a little more relaxed and quiet are Tusker House at Animal Kingdom, or Garden Grill at The Land Pavilion in Epcot. Character dining is definitely worth the money if you HAVE to meet your favourite characters (especially the fab 5). There are usually very long lines for character meets so doing a meal can mean you meet 4-5 characters within 1 hour - plus eat some amazing food at the same time!