Podcast Episode 116: Things To Know Before You Go

Whether it’s your first visit or your 50th visit to Walt Disney World, we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks we think you should know before you go.  We talk about tickets, dining, park touring tips, FastPass, and more!

Happy listening!

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7 Things to Know Before Your Walt Disney World Vacation

  1. You will walk and be on your feet a lot. Walt Disney World is big and even getting from the transportation to the turnstiles will be a walk. Of course while in line you will also be on your feet.  The best help for this is to wear comfortable broken in shoes and socks and make sure to take breaks!  Check out Shannon’s article on prepping to walk.
  2. You cannot avoid the lines. You can use FastPass, but you will still be standing in lines for your FastPasses. You’ll definitely spend time waiting in the standby lines and if you need food, chances are good you will wait in line for a little bit there as well.  Just go in knowing that you will stand in some lines just about everywhere at Walt Disney World.
  3. FastPass is free and easy to use. FastPass is included with your park ticket, so use them! And they are indeed easy to use.  You get to choose an initial 3 but after that you can make more, one at a time.  FastPass gives you a lot of flexibility to change plans on the go using the My Disney Experience app.


  1. There are a few ticket options. Choosing the best ticket option for your party can require some planning, but knowing what options are available are important. There is the base ticket which is 1 park per day, or the Park Hopper which allows you into multiple parks per day.  Then there is the Water Parks, Fun, and More ticket which allows you entrance into the two Disney water parks as well as mini golf, Disney Quest and other extras.  Knowing what you will use on a vacation can save you a lot of money.


  1. Check the park hours and know about special events. You will want to do some research on these events as they can have an effect on hours and closures. For instance starting in September and October Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and in November and December, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will cause the Magic Kingdom to close at 7pm.  This can really change your plans if the park closes much earlier than expected and you will be unable to see fireworks during your visit.  Other special event such as Food and Wine, and Flower and Garden can have an effect on crowds as well.



  1. Don’t overlook attractions. It is easy to judge an attraction but a spin on the People Mover can be relaxing and fun. These smaller attractions can end up becoming favorites if you give them a chance.


  1. You can and should enjoy your resort. The resorts are so well themed, they have amazing pools and some cool amenities. Many resorts have multiple restaurants and bars so there are great places to get bite to eat or drink.    It is very tempting to spend all your time in the parks, but the resorts have great activities such as movies under the stars, campfires with s’mores, and fun games around the pool that you should make the time to check out.




Infographic: The ABC’s of a Disney Vacation


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Podcast Episode 57: The Character Queen

Have you guys seen that guy on Facebook that does those awesome Dubsmash videos with characters at Disney World?  We have and that’s why we asked him to be a special guest on our podcast this week! He is so funny and he has some great insider tips on how to make the most of your character meet and greets at Disney!  Don’t miss it!

Happy listening!

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Magic Kingdom Tips

Here are some of my favorite tips for the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

Get there early to see the Welcome Show! It really sets you up for the magic of the day and you may even leave with a tear in your eye.

When you are entering the park walk up the sidewalk. Of course it is really fun to walk right down the middle of Main Street USA, but it tends to be packed with strollers and people taking pictures or posing for pictures so it is really stop and go. Taking the sidewalk next to the shops will be quicker.

Go for Fantasyland first. You don’t have to go right through the castle though. If you go to the right or left paths closest to the castle you can cut right behind it for a pretty view and you might miss some of the crowds. Also something to note is that the path through the castle is closed at times. I wouldn’t dream of missing walking through it castle on any trip but you can do it later in the day for less crowds.

The flag pole near the train station on Main Street USA hosts a flag ceremony each day at 5pm and it features current or former members of the US Armed Forces. And you can even be a part of it if you are a member of the armed forces.

If you want a good spot to see a parade or Wishes be sure to get there at least 30 minutes early. If you plan to leave right after the parade or fireworks then get a spot close to the Main Street USA Train Station for a quick and easy getaway.

Or alternatively this is a great time to check out the shops on Main Street USA or get a Dole Whip while people are either watching the parade or fireworks or getting onto attractions. Stay late, this one is easier said than done if you have kids. You can accomplish a lot in a couple hours when the crowds are dwindling. The shops are also open one hour after the parks close so that is a great time to do some shopping or just relax on a bench while the park clears out.

Bring change! If you have a child they will very much want to throw a coin in the fountain or in It’s a Small World. There are also lots of pressed penny machines in the park.

Book an early breakfast- you can get into the parks early and beat the crowds to attractions.

Epcot Park Tips

Here are some of my favorite tips for visiting Epcot at Walt Disney World!  I hope you can find them helpful!

Arrive at least 30 minutes before opening. There is no rope drop but you may get lucky and the park will be open early. On my most recent trip the park opened unofficially at 8:30am. So it never hurts to arrive a bit early.

If you have a FastPass+ for Soarin’ make sure to get in line for Test Track first, or vice versa. These two will have the longest lines of any ride in Epcot this assures that you get to ride both attractions.

Don’t miss Turtle Talk with Crush if you have children. They will love the interactive show and maybe even get a chance to ask Crush a question.

Check out MouseGears. This is a huge store with tons of merchandise but it always feels a lot less crowded than in the Emporium or World of Disney.

If you are a Disney Visa Cardholder there is a private meet and greet where you get a complementary 8×10 picture. Check the Disney Visa website for more details.

Check out Innoventions! There are plenty of interesting things to do here for kids and adults and you may even learn something too!

When you are ready to check out World Showcase stop by Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure outpost. It will give you plenty of interesting things to do and see while you explore. Plus it will keep kids and parents happy!

If you are going during Flower and Garden or Food and Wine Festivals do not make dining reservation for Epcot, just snack (and drink) your way around World Showcase and before you know it you will be stuffed!

Ride Spaceship Earth in the evening. It is very tempting to ride it first but the wait times will go down in the evenings. So you can easily make this the last attraction you go on.


Check out the lighted sidewalks at night. Sure to delight children and adults as you are exiting the park in the evening you can’t miss it.

Do you have a favorite tip for visiting Epcot?  Share it here!

Pre-Park Arrival Tips

We all love to get some insider tips when we visit places and Disney is no different. Here are a few that I myself follow and hand out to my friends and family.

  • Plan your park days, this is especially important with FastPass+. If you want to get on some of the more popular attractions you have to plan what park you will be in which day and then make your plans accordingly. Your travel agent should be able to help you choose the right park. Sometimes this is dependent on what meal reservations are available if you really need to get into Be Our Guest or Cinderella’s Royal Table you might have to make your plans around your dining. If you are looking for the park with the least crowds then you can easily search for a crowd calendar (I like Touringplans.com) to get suggestions.
  • Pack comfortable, broken in shoes. Now is not the time to try out those cute new shoes. Even when I wore my shoes I walked all over Germany wearing, I still got blisters at Walt Disney World. So pack that moleskin, runner socks (usually padded and breathable), and if you want to go really crazy spray your feet with spray deodorant and wear those shoes you wear all the time. I do like tennis shoes or walking shoes and then change them out halfway through the day if you want.
  • Sunscreen, do not forget this. Not only is it going to cost a lot more to purchase at Disney, you will have to search it out in the gift shops at the resort. Make sure you put it on in the morning and then reapply throughout the day. It is not fun to be sunburned at the end of the day. Of course you can and should also take your hats and sunglasses for the whole family.
  • Once you arrive at the parks you should pick up a park map and times guide. Sure you can get a map on your phone but I like to make sure I grab a map for each adult in the group. This helps if you split up then you can avoid getting that phone call from someone asking how they get to where you are meeting. I like to also give one to my child and she can check it out while we are waiting and she loves to help decide what attractions we will do next. This also lists the restrooms, first aid and baby care centers. The times guide will tell you when you can see performers, shows and parades that are inside the parks. A lot of times I like to stumble upon these but if you have your heart set on seeing a certain character or Dapper Dans this will help you plan your day. And a bonus tip, if you know you are coming back grab an extra just to take home. Trust me when I say your park map will be mangled by the end of the day so grab another on your way out and you can use it to plan your next trip.
  • If you are traveling with kids there is always a worry you might get separated. There are a few tips I like to give. You can write your phone number on our child with a sharpie, somewhere hidden by their clothing. You could also use a bracelet with your number or a temporary tattoo. One thing we have done personally is have a dog tag made up with my phone number on it. I take the tag and pin it to her clothing or shoe, somewhere she won’t mess with it and hopefully not even notice it. It is also really important to point out cast members to your child. I like to point out custodial employees particularly since their costumes are the same throughout the parks. You can also tell them to look for the cast member name tags as well and that these are the person to go to if you get separated from your group.

These are just a some of my pre-park and planning tips.  If you have a really great one let me know in the comments!