PlanningTrip Planning 101

8 Little Hacks to Make Your Disney World Vacation Easier

To put it simply, “life hacks” are the tools, advice, and wisdom that make efficiency possible and manage one’s time all the better. Add “Disney” in front of life hacks, and it becomes the pixie dust that makes a magical place all the more magical! Check out what we feel are the best eight life hacks for your Disney World vacation and be prepared to strut your stuff through Disney World like you own the place… or well, at least feel like a VIP!

1 – Download and Use the My Disney Experience App

We repeat, download the My Disney Experience App. No, really… if you haven’t already, we’ll wait right here so you can do it now. Almost everything we mention below somehow links back to the My Disney Experience App, which is why we HIGHLY recommend it! With the My Disney Experience App on your phone, you’ll have the ability to make and change dining or FastPass reservations, see wait times for and locate attractions, check time guides for entertainment, order food, see your PhotoPass pictures, review your account and ticket information, and even view your Disney resort room number when it is ready. My Disney Experience App is like having your very own personal Disney Guest Services right in the palm of your hand.

2 – Know How to Use The FastPass+ System 

Editor’s Note: During the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, FastPass+ is temporarily suspended.

You may know by now that the FastPass+ system is the way to go! You get to skip the standby line and enter through a special FastPass line. You can book your initial 3 FastPasses in advance (60-days resort guests, 30-days in advance for non-resort guests). Be aware however, that after you use your initial 3 FastPass selections, you can use your My Disney Experience App to schedule a 4th FastPass. Finished with the 4th FastPass? Schedule a 5th. You can repeat this process until the park closes. You should also know that if you have a park hopper ticket or annual pass, you can use your 4thFastPass (and so on) at the park you hop to once your 3 initial FastPass selections are used. This is great because you could be leaving Magic Kingdom and heading to Epcot and making your 4th FastPass on the way there! Lastly, understand the Tier System and have a handle on how to use it. For example, Animal Kingdom has Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey together on Tier 1, with the other attractions on Tier 2. Since you can only select one attraction from Tier 1, you’ll want to make plans to either visit Animal Kingdom two days or arrive early enough to make your way over to Pandora before the lines get too long. FastPass is an outstanding life hack to help you tackle your day!

3 – Book Those Advanced Dining Reservations

Editor’s Note: During the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, the booking window is 60 days. 

Oh yes, the coveted ADRs (Advanced Dining Reservations). Look, we agree that sometimes it’s a pain to plan so far in advance, but it’s truly one of the best Disney life hacks we can recommend! ADRs can be made through your My Disney Experience account 180-days in advance for both Disney resort and non-Disney resort guests. If you are a Disney resort guest, you do, however, get the added benefit of booking dining reservations for the entire length of your stay – up to 10 days. This means you could technically have a 10-day jump on non-resort guests to snag those hard-to-get reservations. Reservations open at 6:00 am online, and 7:00 am by phone. If you want to dine at the popular table service restaurants like Be Our Guest or Cinderella’s Royal Table, you’ll need that ADR to make it happen.

4 – Take Advantage of Mobile Ordering

Our favorite life hack would have to be Disney’s Mobile Ordering option. At multiple quick-service restaurants (and the list is growing) throughout Disney World property, guests can order their food right from their phones on the My Disney Experience App. If Mobile Ordering is available at a select quick-service restaurant, you can simply press the mobile order button, add food items to your cart, and check out with payment right from your phone. Arrive at the restaurant, press a button saying you are there, and your food will be ready for you within minutes at a special mobile ordering window. It’s almost ridiculous how easy this is and how wonderful it is to bypass the long quick service lines. The best part is you can order the food from anywhere – on the bus, in line for an attraction – whatever works. Then just let them know when you’ve arrived!

5 – MagicBands Make Life Easier

It’s hard to remember Disney World before MagicBands! While you don’t need one of these colorful wristbands to visit Disney World, it does make life much easier with one. Not only do they serve as a key to your room with a simple tap if staying on Disney property, but they can also be set up as a form of payment for resort guests, which makes purchasing souvenirs a breeze. They can also hold your park ticket information, FastPass selections, and PhotoPass photos. MagicBands might not be a requirement, but we have a hard time doing Disney without one.

6 – Be A Disney Resort Guest

There have been times we’ve stayed off property at a hotel close to Disney World. While this has saved us money from time to time, overall, we’ve learned that staying on Disney property and being a Disney Resort Guest can make all the difference in our trip experience. Simply put, Disney resort guests have the upper hand on non-resort guests with the ability to snag dining reservations and FastPass selections first. Complimentary transportation ultimately puts them in the park longer than non-resort guests. Even if we were to give up all the resort guest perks, we’d still miss Disney’s unmatchable service and impeccable theming!

Dig Site Pool at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

7 – Study and Plan in Advance

Studying and vacations don’t usually go hand in hand, but this is one Disney life hack you’ll be thankful you took advantage of! From reading blogs, articles, and guidebooks, you can have a better grasp of what to expect from your Disney World vacation. Get the most out of your experience by learning from other peoples’ mistakes and checking out their opinions and reviews. Chart out your trip with your My Disney Experience App – all while being aware that flexibility is required because let’s face it, vacations never go as planned! A simple way to begin the planning is my making a realistic “must-do” list of the attractions and restaurants you just must experience. Make those must-dos possible and count the rest as a bonus! Don’t forget to walk through your plan with your traveling party so they can be involved and get the most out of the day.

8 – Pack Properly for Park

Florida’s weather is interesting, and the best thing to remember is to expect the unexpected. Even if the forecast isn’t calling for rain, don’t be surprised to catch a brief afternoon spring/summer shower. Packing properly for the park is a life hack that will help you to keep moving through the day without additional headaches along the way. Pack necessities like rain gear, sunscreen, Tylenol, hand sanitizer, snacks, bottled water, and of course, your wallet. Most everything is available in the park if you forget it, but having the right gear will ensure less stopping time and a happier traveling party.

These are our top 8 life hacks for Disney World. What are yours? We’d love to hear from you!

For a no obligation, FREE Quote on a Disney vacation package, please contact our travel partner Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-0227 (407-442-0215 for Spanish). You can also request a FREE quote online by Clicking HERE.

Mike & Jamie Sylvester

We are Disney nerds. Two kids at heart who love the magic and the memories of Walt Disney World! We follow all things Disney and have great experiences with being Annual Passholders, Disney Vacation Club Members, and RunDisney participants. We enjoy the vacations, day trips, weekend getaways and geek out over the planning of such events. From lodging to dining to Fastpasses we have a spreadsheet for every occasion. Mike’s frivolous Disney goal is to acquire as many MagicBands as possible while Jamie’s goal is to experience as many Disney desserts as possible. Usually there isn’t a day that passes without some discussion of the master plan of our next trip to the happiest place on earth. Most people think we’re normal – until they travel to Disney with us. We have been married for 13 years and are blessed with two children - our 8-year-old daughter and soon to be 2-year-old son. As a family we thoroughly enjoy the magic and the memories at Walt Disney World and are here to help others experience the magic as well.
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