February 26, 2016

25 essential Disney World hacks that are actually useful

Sure most everyone knows the usual Walt Disney World hacks, like vodka in the water bottle and loading up on the free toppings bar. But here are a few tips that everyone can use to get the most out of our friendly overlords. - Ken Storey 

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Visit DAK on cloudy/cool days for more active animals
Every Disney blog seems to recommend visiting the trails and safari first thing in the morning. Word on that secret has gotten out and now there’s a mad rush for the safari when the park first opens, so skip that and instead wait for a cloudy, cooler day to visit. The issue most of the time is that the Florida heat makes the animals lethargic come mid-morning until just before they go in near closing time, but on cloudy days the animals remain active. The cloudy days also mean that this lushly landscaped park with no breezes is actually cool enough to enjoy casually. 
Photo via earsbyaprincess/Instagram
Visit DAK on cloudy/cool days for more active animals
Every Disney blog seems to recommend visiting the trails and safari first thing in the morning. Word on that secret has gotten out and now there’s a mad rush for the safari when the park first opens, so skip that and instead wait for a cloudy, cooler day to visit. The issue most of the time is that the Florida heat makes the animals lethargic come mid-morning until just before they go in near closing time, but on cloudy days the animals remain active. The cloudy days also mean that this lushly landscaped park with no breezes is actually cool enough to enjoy casually.
Photo via earsbyaprincess/Instagram
Character breakfast dining is less crowded the closer you get to lunch, which means more time with the characters
Most guests wake up early, eat at their resort then head out to the parks. A late breakfast will usually be less crowded meaning that you’ll get more one on one time with the characters and a much quieter dining experience. 
Photo via getawaytoday/Instagram
Character breakfast dining is less crowded the closer you get to lunch, which means more time with the characters
Most guests wake up early, eat at their resort then head out to the parks. A late breakfast will usually be less crowded meaning that you’ll get more one on one time with the characters and a much quieter dining experience.
Photo via getawaytoday/Instagram
Use Uber to get around property
Waiting on a Disney bus could be used as a torture technique in Gitmo. With screaming kids, smelly tourists and no guarantee there will even be room on the bus when it arrives why put yourself through that just to move around property? Skip all that by using Uber. Moving around property won’t cost much but it will be well worth it to skip the freezing buses. Keep in mind that Uber can only go in areas regular guests are able to drive and on the busiest days (like New Year’s Eve) demand pricing may be in effect. 
Photo via suchislife77/Instagram
Use Uber to get around property
Waiting on a Disney bus could be used as a torture technique in Gitmo. With screaming kids, smelly tourists and no guarantee there will even be room on the bus when it arrives why put yourself through that just to move around property? Skip all that by using Uber. Moving around property won’t cost much but it will be well worth it to skip the freezing buses. Keep in mind that Uber can only go in areas regular guests are able to drive and on the busiest days (like New Year’s Eve) demand pricing may be in effect.
Photo via suchislife77/Instagram
Ice water is available for free at all quick service food locations
Disney World isn’t known as a place with a lot of free things, but one thing is free almost anywhere you go on property. All quick service restaurants (the ones where you order at a counter) offer free ice water upon request. Next time you’re at the parks and hot skip the soda and ask for some ice water.
Photo via water _disneymagic365_/Instagram
Ice water is available for free at all quick service food locations
Disney World isn’t known as a place with a lot of free things, but one thing is free almost anywhere you go on property. All quick service restaurants (the ones where you order at a counter) offer free ice water upon request. Next time you’re at the parks and hot skip the soda and ask for some ice water.
Photo via water _disneymagic365_/Instagram
Get a fastpass for when thunderstorms are supposed to hit
Because you’ll either have a fun ride in the rain, or you’ll get a cool Fastpass to use on other rides. Reserving the right Fastpass at the right time is an art, but there are a few moves that will help you make the most of your time, no matter what the weather. One move that might seem counterintuitive, but will result in positive results no matter what, is reserving outdoor rides during the typical summertime rainstorms. Make that Splash Mountain Fastpass for 3:30 PM in the middle of July. Either you’ll be able to cool off on the ride during one of the hottest parts of the day, or if those afternoon thunderstorms hit and the ride closes, Disney emails those with Fastpasses new ones you can use on other rides or on the original ride at a later time. So a rainy afternoon is now the perfect time for some Splash Mountain reservations. 
Photo via hannahcollazo/Instagram
Get a fastpass for when thunderstorms are supposed to hit
Because you’ll either have a fun ride in the rain, or you’ll get a cool Fastpass to use on other rides. Reserving the right Fastpass at the right time is an art, but there are a few moves that will help you make the most of your time, no matter what the weather. One move that might seem counterintuitive, but will result in positive results no matter what, is reserving outdoor rides during the typical summertime rainstorms. Make that Splash Mountain Fastpass for 3:30 PM in the middle of July. Either you’ll be able to cool off on the ride during one of the hottest parts of the day, or if those afternoon thunderstorms hit and the ride closes, Disney emails those with Fastpasses new ones you can use on other rides or on the original ride at a later time. So a rainy afternoon is now the perfect time for some Splash Mountain reservations.
Photo via hannahcollazo/Instagram
Skip the sit-down meal at Wolfgang Puck and check out the Express instead
Wolfgang Puck is a popular choice for many, but skip the higher priced (and lower rated) sit down version and instead go to the Wolfgang Puck Express. Some of the best reviewed pizza on property with none of the pretentiousness of the sit-down version. The counter service version still features large portions, unique plating and a fun atmosphere. The lines can be long but it’s still faster than a full sit down meal would take. The Express also is one of the few places in Disney Springs to be open for breakfast every morning. 
Photo via wolfgangpuckcafeorlando/Instagram
Skip the sit-down meal at Wolfgang Puck and check out the Express instead
Wolfgang Puck is a popular choice for many, but skip the higher priced (and lower rated) sit down version and instead go to the Wolfgang Puck Express. Some of the best reviewed pizza on property with none of the pretentiousness of the sit-down version. The counter service version still features large portions, unique plating and a fun atmosphere. The lines can be long but it’s still faster than a full sit down meal would take. The Express also is one of the few places in Disney Springs to be open for breakfast every morning.
Photo via wolfgangpuckcafeorlando/Instagram
Buy gas on property
Disney World is known for through the roof pricing but some things can actually be surprisingly cheap,  and one of those things is gas. The three on-property gas stations transitioned from HESS to Speedway last year. The stations seem to have prices that are an average of area prices. Just off property, you’ll found some of the most expensive gas in the nation, often topping $5 a gallon. So don’t wait to leave property to fill up, or you could be paying upwards of three times the on-site price. 
Photo via lennyb310/Instagram
Buy gas on property
Disney World is known for through the roof pricing but some things can actually be surprisingly cheap, and one of those things is gas. The three on-property gas stations transitioned from HESS to Speedway last year. The stations seem to have prices that are an average of area prices. Just off property, you’ll found some of the most expensive gas in the nation, often topping $5 a gallon. So don’t wait to leave property to fill up, or you could be paying upwards of three times the on-site price.
Photo via lennyb310/Instagram
Eat lunch/dinner at a resort and then take the transportation to the park
Disney is expensive so there’s nothing wrong with trying to save a few dollars. If the off-property Cici’s, with its locals discount, isn’t your cup of tea then try the resorts on property. The menus can be surprisingly diverse (Pop-Tart sandwich, anyone?) and the prices are usually a bit more reasonable than in the parks themselves. Plus lunch at the resorts is usually much less crowded than in the parks. 
Photo via jasonfresta/Instagram
Eat lunch/dinner at a resort and then take the transportation to the park
Disney is expensive so there’s nothing wrong with trying to save a few dollars. If the off-property Cici’s, with its locals discount, isn’t your cup of tea then try the resorts on property. The menus can be surprisingly diverse (Pop-Tart sandwich, anyone?) and the prices are usually a bit more reasonable than in the parks themselves. Plus lunch at the resorts is usually much less crowded than in the parks.
Photo via jasonfresta/Instagram
Reserve the earliest dining available for breakfast at MK to get some great shots of the park with fewer crowds 
Magic Kingdom is busy even on the ‘slowest’ days but arriving before the park opens is one way to grab that perfect shot of the castle. Most of the park will still be closed but you’ll be able to grab a few shots near the restaurant you pick. Crystal Palace is your safest bet and make sure to get the reservations early, as the park usually opens well before the posted opening time, which means that any reservation near the posted opening times will have a crowded park. Also, double check that it’s not an Extra Magic Hours morning. 
Photo via lauramayrichmond/Instagram
Reserve the earliest dining available for breakfast at MK to get some great shots of the park with fewer crowds
Magic Kingdom is busy even on the ‘slowest’ days but arriving before the park opens is one way to grab that perfect shot of the castle. Most of the park will still be closed but you’ll be able to grab a few shots near the restaurant you pick. Crystal Palace is your safest bet and make sure to get the reservations early, as the park usually opens well before the posted opening time, which means that any reservation near the posted opening times will have a crowded park. Also, double check that it’s not an Extra Magic Hours morning.
Photo via lauramayrichmond/Instagram
Bring Grandma in her wheelchair to score the best views during most shows and parades
Using a wheelchair when you don’t need one isn’t cool but that being said adding someone in one to your party isn’t nearly as bad. Go check grandma out of the nursing home for the day and take her with you. Wheelchair access isn’t available everywhere but it is for most shows, parades and some rides. Typically only the wheelchair user and 4-5 guests can use the wheelchair access but that could mean one less fastpass you’ll have to waste just to see the 3 o’clock parade. 
Photo via _dtrain_123
Bring Grandma in her wheelchair to score the best views during most shows and parades
Using a wheelchair when you don’t need one isn’t cool but that being said adding someone in one to your party isn’t nearly as bad. Go check grandma out of the nursing home for the day and take her with you. Wheelchair access isn’t available everywhere but it is for most shows, parades and some rides. Typically only the wheelchair user and 4-5 guests can use the wheelchair access but that could mean one less fastpass you’ll have to waste just to see the 3 o’clock parade.
Photo via _dtrain_123