DisneyWorld Florida has been named ‘happiest place to visit’ and truthfully, I think it deserves its name. Being a big fan of all things Disney, my happy place is most definitely the Disney parks. I’ve been lucky enough to visit both Disneyland Paris and Disney World Florida on multiple occasions, though these trips have been years apart I feel I know most of the parks like the back of my hand! Finding your way around big parks that are the same size as small towns can be hard and it can be difficult to know what to do first. That’s why I’m here with my top ten tips for Disney!
1: Visit the smaller park first
If you’re planning to visit all of the worldwide Disney Parks, or even just Paris and Orlando based, I recommend visiting the latter first. Disneyland Paris is an amazing experience, but due to it being approx 24,000 acres smaller than Orlando, it’s easy to be disheartened. The Paris park has many attractions and is the perfect, cheaper Disney holiday. It has attractions, shops, and experiences unique to this individual park. It’s the perfect place to start your Disney park tour but if you visit after seeing the bigger American parks first you may feel a little underwhelmed.
2: Know your timings
At all Disney Parks, there are parades, shows, and events. These are themed to the season you visit or an anniversary of the park (if you visit in that time period). I thoroughly recommend you try to see the parade, castle daytime shows, and the firework display up close at least once on your trip. It adds to the Disney magic. You need to know your timings so you can get an appropriate viewing point. However, you also should be aware of timings even if you’re not viewing these. For particular parts of the parades, certain areas of the parks will be cordoned off, and due to the roads being used for the parade; the pathways can get rather cramped. Make sure you know when these will happen, especially if you’re on your way to a fast pass ride!
3: Fast pass, Fast pass, Fast pass!
Depending on when you visit Disney and your package, your tickets should include a few free fast pass tickets a day. Plan these out before your trip as certain rides can have queue times up to 3 hours! All rides are worth riding, particularly the big ones. Look on the Disney Park app (for whichever park you visit) and get a feel for what areas are busiest at different times. You can then plan your fast pass tickets appropriately and then you’ll know for definite that you’ve ridden the rides you want to most!
4: Embrace everything!
Seeing Disney characters, getting an autograph and a photograph is one of my favourite parts about visiting Disney. The queues to visit can be a bit lengthy but stick it out because it’s so worth it. Each character is there to make each individual person feel special, you can create some incredible memories, even with a character that you weren’t too keen on before! Buying an autograph book and taking a sharpie or two will allow you to take home a special keepsake that you can look back on 10 years later and still smile, knowing that each particular character did something completely unique. But make sure you know which characters you most want to visit and prioritise visiting them, you most definitely won’t get to see every Disney character during your trip!
5: Snack time!
If you book your Disney holiday with a food package then you will be allocated a number of snacks a day. However, if not you will find that Disney snacks are costly! Don’t be discouraged from buying these snacks though. Just add a little extra snack money to your holiday budget as these are 100% worth splashing on! My personal favourite is the Mickey ice creams, but my family loves the sweet shops as the bakery items are included too! Try what you can afford and take many photographs. The desserts are more than Insta-worthy! My main piece of advice for munching on snacks is to be prepared with a packet of wipes and don’t eat too much before a ride. They can be rather sickly and sweet so don’t eat too much before you hop on Space Mountain!
6: Photographs and photographers
Dotted around the Disney Parks and at particular attractions there are photographers. These are in the photo hotspots of the parks. Definitely try to get your photograph taken at as many points as possible and these professional park photographers can capture the best shots of your group altogether. Even if you later decide you don’t like those particular photographs it’s great to get them taken as it is such a magical memory to have in a photograph. The most popular, and best photographs by far are in front of the castle and wow, it is a beautiful photograph to have.
Even without the photographers, you can capture some amazing shots. Try to take candid photographs as well as your posed shots. That way you can capture the happiness and laughter of your group as well as the Insta-worthy photographs!
7: Finding the perfect beginning.
Just like many sightseeing or adventure holidays, Disney holidays do need a bit of planning. If you want to experience the most then it’s best to have a bit of a plan in place. The first way to start your plan is to find where to start your days! Look at what attractions you want to see and ride each day and which part of Disney you want to go to. Disney World Florida has four worlds and two water parks! Each of these is jam-packed with attractions and experiences that you won’t want to miss, so you want to carefully look at the best place to start. I always recommend going to the furthest attractions first and then working your way around the park, back to the beginning, particularly with the Magic Kingdom parks as these are always busy. An alternative beginning is to head straight for the attraction that you most want to experience and get that done first, that way you can’t miss out on it!
8: A good nights sleep
You will find when booking your Disney holiday that there is a number of options for where to stay. You may even be considering not staying in a Disney hotel. Be warned that if you stay in a villa or hotel outside of Disney your trip will cost more for your park tickets, food, travel and you won’t get the added Disney extras. I recommend staying in a Disney hotel, especially when visiting Disney World Florida. Another reason for this being that if you buy items in any Disney shop at the Parks they can have them sent directly to your room so you don’t have to carry them all around!
Perfect for big shoppers like myself! With there being many options of hotels it’s good to know which ones are best. The most budget hotels aren’t really what I would recommend, so I’d try to aim for Disney’s Coronado Springs as your lowest budget hotel, with Disney’s Polynesian Bay hotel being the most luxurious (and expensive) choice!
9: Getting your meals in!
If you book a package holiday at Disney, you most likely will have your food included. You should receive a list of which restaurants are included in each of the dining options. I will warn you that the basic ‘Quick Service’ Dining is not the best option! At Orlando, the quick service restaurants mainly serve hot dogs, fries, and burgers. There isn’t much in the way of healthy eating or options! It can get quite sickening rather quickly and you may find yourself splashing your cash to pay to eat at a different restaurant! However, the restaurants at your hotel can be quite enjoyable, again the options are limited but there is a bit more choice. Whatever you choose, make sure you’ve done your research first and found a good option to suit everyone on your trip!
10: My Favourite place in any Disney!
Okay so this is partially a lie, my favourite place is the Castle at any Disney, however, Disney Springs is a definite second! Disney Springs (previously known as Downtown Disney) is the hub of life at Disney after the parks have closed and even when they’re open! It has restaurants, Disney shops, high street stores, a theatre and more! It’s amazing to walk around and experience the different vibe it has to the rest of Disney parks. My favourite restaurant in any of the Disney Springs is Planet Hollywood! Most particularly Planet Hollywood at Disneyland Paris. It is a relaxed and positive vibe and the food is incredible! Disney Springs has some of the largest Disney Shops in the parks and it also has an incredible feeling in the evening. It’s a must-see and a must-do!
I hope you find my ten tips for Disney helpful or you’ve at least enjoyed reading them! I’ll be off checking the prices to book my next trip to Disney!