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12 Tips & Tricks to Having the Best Summer Vacation at Disney World

Whether your workload has lightened, you’ve saved up enough vacation days, the kids are out of school, or you simply need a little Vitamin D – a Disney World summer vacation is calling! Chances are you’ve heard that summer is the most popular time to visit Disney World (besides Christmas break). Plus, Florida summers are HOT… an easy 100 degrees in the shade! So, let’s get to planning. Check out our top tips and tricks to having the best summer vacation EVER at Disney World!


1 – Book A Summer Deal

Time to save some money! Disney World always offers summer discounts and savings. Typically, these summer packages include at least a four-night stay along with theme park tickets. In the long run, you’ll save hundreds by booking a package deal if one is available during the vacation dates you are seeking.

2 – Make Dining Reservations

If you’ve heard this and thought, nah – we’ll just wing it, well, be prepared to fight the crowds big time! Having table service reservations can make a huge difference in your summer vacation at Disney. Not only will you have a place to sit to enjoy a meal, but you will also have an air-conditioned space. If you don’t have reservations, chances are you won’t be able to get a table at a table service restaurant. If you plan to go to quick-service spots, a great tip we like to use is to eat at off-times. For example, eat lunch at 11 am instead of the noon rush hour. This will give you a better chance of beating the crowds to lunch and finding a table to sit at.

 3 – Use Disney Genie (Complimentary) and Consider Disney Genie+ and A la Carte Lighting Lane (Paid)

Disney Genie is a program designed to improve a Walt Disney World vacation that has a few different components to know about. During a summer visit when it’s particularly busy, you’ll want to know about the options. We’ve got an article with all the details, click here, but here is a quick overview:

Disney Genie (Complimentary)

When visiting Walt Disney World, you may be overwhelmed by the number of choices and options in front of you, and you might be interested in some help. That is where Disney Genie can be a fantastic option for guests. Tools include giving guests customized itineraries and suggestions based on interests and top picks. Other features include forecasted wait times, an experience tip board, dining tip board, and guests can ask the app questions to get information. In your MyDisney Experience app, you’ll be asked a number of questions about your interests, and the service will give you an itinerary based on those. You can always mix things up and make substitutions, but it’s a great place to start. Also, these tools are totally free! So there’s no reason not to try them out!

Lightning Lane Access (Paid)

There is a new system in place in order to “skip the line.” FastPass is retired and gone. The new Lightning Lane allows guests to skip the regular queue by paying for access. There are two ways to do this. First, you can purchase Disney Genie+ for the day of your visit. This costs anywhere from $15-$35 per day, per person. With Genie+, you can access the Lightning Lane at select attractions at each park, one at a time. It requires you to book return times throughout the day. Options may be limited, and you cannot choose a specific time–you’re given one. A second option for purchasing Lightning Lane is the a la carte method. There are attractions at each park that are NOT included with your Genie+ purchase and must be purchased separately. Prices range from $7-$25 per attraction, per person. Keep in mind that you do not have to purchase either of these options to enjoy these attractions. Reactions to this paid service have been mostly negative. A few have enjoyed great success, but most guests express frustration at the lack of return time, lack of flexibility, and the simple fact that they now have to pay for something that was free. However, if you want to skip the line and get more done, this may be an option for you and your family. 

4 – Dress Cool

We don’t mean the kind of “cool,” such as awesome… but COOL, as in light clothing. Although, if you can combine both cool (awesome) and cool (light wear) – then more power to you! Seriously though, we suggest a wardrobe that consists of the Dri-FIT type clothing such as breathable shorts, shirts, socks, and hats. Think light colors as well, as dark colors absorb the sun’s rays rather than reflect it. When it’s so hot, you can’t tell the difference between body sweat and Kali River Rapids water, and you’ll be thankful you are wearing light clothing to cool down and dry off faster.

 5 – Know Where to Go

If at all possible, avoid zig-zagging from one side of the park to the other. Having a plan in place before you arrive can alleviate the “theme park dance,” as we like to call it. We’ve learned the hard way that going from one side of the park to the other repeatedly over the summer is an easy way to ruin a vacation at Disney. Trying to move through the crowd is exhausting, and the heat factor just triggers meltdowns!

6 – Take Advantage of Early Morning & Late Night Hours

Arriving at park opening is an absolute must, in our opinion, over the summer. This is especially true if you are a Disney resort guest since you get to enter the park thirty minutes earlier than non-resort guests. You get a fresh start to the day, crowds are less than they will be later, and the sun is just waking! The same goes for late-night hours. We suggest an early arrival, a midday break if possible at the resort, then a late night, which is especially great once the sun goes down.


7 – Schedule Resort Time

Yes, it’s tempting to hit a theme park every day/all day, but remember, this is a vacation, after all! Cool off in the resort pool, hang out in your room with your family while watching a Disney movie, or take a cool middle-of-the-day shower. Whether you schedule a full resort day or just some resort time, you’ll appreciate this much-needed break from the summer crowds and heat.

8 – Enjoy Indoor Attractions

Seek out attractions that may be a little less popular and indoors with blasting AC! Some of our favorite “hideaway” attractions from crowds and heat are Muppet Vision 3D at Hollywood Studios, Carousel of Progress at Magic Kingdom, Journey Into Imagination With Figment at Epcot, and It’s Tough To Be A Bug at Animal Kingdom.

 9 – Visit A Water Park

Summer crowds do flock to Disney’s two incredible water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. With this being said, don’t expect to avoid crowds at the water parks, but rather plan for a day of cooling off in the water with fun attractions to go along with it!

The Lazy River at Typhoon Lagoon

10 – Pack (and USE) Sunscreen

It seems simple enough, right?! Well, we’ve made the mistakes many times, thinking that it’s not too bad, only to end up with sunburn on our first day of vacation. Once you have that sunburn, it really puts a damper on the rest of the vacation. Don’t forget to reapply when needed!

11 – Drink Water

Soda and alcohol can be special treats while on your Disney vacation, but be aware of how much water intake you’ve had. This is especially important if you have great plans to drink around the World Showcase at Epcot, for example. Remember that you should constantly be chugging water to keep yourself hydrated in the Florida heat.

12 – Chill Out

Take notes from Baloo the Bear in Jungle Book when vacationing at Disney over the summer! He’s one, no stress… chilled out, bear! With massive crowds and 100+ degrees all around, there will come a time when you need to step back and chill out both in temper and temperature. Find opportunities to chill, even if it’s for a simple 10 minutes away from the crowds and heat. Magic Kingdom has a fun water play area in Fantasyland known as Casey Jr. Splash’ N’ Soak. This is a great spot for kids to run free and cool down in the water while you take a breather. We also suggest looking for hidden areas that might not offer a bench or table but a shady floor to sit on! Whatever it takes – just find time to chill out. Trust us, and you’ll avoid both child and adult meltdowns this way!

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.


Matt & Kim

We have had a long time love affair with Disney. We love the magic and the memories we've made at Walt Disney World! We follow all things Disney and have great experiences with being Annual Passholders, Disney Vacation Club Members, and RunDisney participants. From lodging to dining to Genie+ we have a spreadsheet for every occasion. 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.
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