35 Most Underrated Disney World Tips and Tricks for First Timers (2024)

Are you feel overwhelmed when it comes to planning a trip to the Most Magical Place on Earth? Don’t worry! Today I will give you the BEST Walt Disney World tips and tricks for having a spectacular vacation!

When compiling this list, I thought…

How can I narrow down my own hacks I use personally for Disney into 35 digestible actions just for you?

After much thought, I came up with the top travel hacks!

So here we go.

Theme Park Travel Guide to The BEST Disney World Tips You Should Know

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What to Expect in the Disney Guide Today: show

1. Pick up a Special Gift

Stop at Guest Services to let them know if you have a special occasion. You may receive a little surprise.

Disney Magic Kingdom Main Street USA with Christmas Tree. Keep reading for the best Disney World Tips and Tricks for First Timers.

Disney Cast Members are always to trying to give you the most magical experience, so it doesn’t hurt to try to let them know of your special day.

2. Free Transportation

Take advantage of free transportation around the Walt Disney World Resort.

Test Track Epcot Entrance area with monorail and Spaceship Earth. Keep reading for the best Disney World Tips and Tricks for First Timers.
Monorail passing in front of Test Track at Epcot

You can enjoy free transportation options such as the monorail, the boats, the buses and the Disney Skyliner that all get you to various locations at Walt Disney World Resort.

Basically, once you reach the Disney bubble, you won’t have to worry about transportation as it will be handled for you.

Cinderella Castle for 50th Anniversary Celebration with the Gold Statues of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. Keep reading for the best Disney World Tips and Tricks for First Timers.

I would recommend that you get familiar with ways to use the free options at Disney and the routes to take that are the easiest for your stay.

3. See Animals for Free

Visit Animal Kingdom Lodge where you can view animals for free without being a resort guest. Making it one of my favorite Disney World tips and tricks!

Animal Kingdom Lodge Lobby. Keep reading for the best Disney World Tips and Tricks for First Timers.

This is a fun Disney freebie that you can do on a non-park day. Just know that after the pandemic, Disney has become a bit stricter on people parking at the resorts who are not Guests.

You can make your Disney animal viewing a reality by booking a reservation to one of the restaurants at the Animal Kingdom Lodge or by letting the gate attendant know that you’d like to visit one of the lounges at the resort (which doesn’t require a reservation).

4. Do a FREE Resort Tour at Walt Disney World

Resorts such as, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney Wilderness Lodge, the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and Yacht Club offer tours for any Disney resort guest.

Yacht Club Resort Walt DIsney World. Keep reading for the best Disney World Tips and Tricks for First Timers.
Yacht Club Resort at Walt Disney World

You can do some of the tours for free regardless of if you’re staying at that particular hotel. Just double check with concierge before you get there.

Boardwalk Inn Disney Gingerbread House Display with Majestic Christmas Tree. One of the best Disney World tips is to enjoy the resort tours for free.
Do your own free Ginger Bread tour at Christmas (Location: Boardwalk Inn)

These tours give historical notes on how the resort was created in addition to some really cool facts secrets along the way.

Please note: Some tours require a reservation.

Ready to plan your theme park trip? Watch the best vacation planning tips on YouTube. Get started here!

5. Hop on the Disney Resort Monorail

Use the resort monorail instead of the Magic Kingdom one in the Transportation Ticket Center. The line is usually shorter and it will also take you to the Magic Kingdom.

Disney Magic Kingdom Monorail passing by. Keep reading for the best Disney World Tips and Tricks for First Timers.

In the peak of the morning rush, you may not have this option. However, if you see it available, then use it.

The only downside to this is that you will have a few resort stops on the way to the Magic Kingdom instead of a straight shot.

6. Book Your Disney Dining Reservations ASAP!

Remember that the window for Disney reservations open 60 days (previously 180 days) in advance if you plan on staying on Disney property.

Tokyo Dining Restaurant in Epcot Japan Pavilion Tuna Nigiri with Crunchy Shrimp Sushi roll. Keep reading for the best Disney World Tips and Tricks for First Timers.
Restaurant in Epcot Japan Pavilion Tuna Nigiri with Crunchy Shrimp Sushi Roll

This is one of my MOST important Disney World tips and tricks as the restaurants do book up quickly!

So, if there’s somewhere you want to eat at in Walt Disney World, then get that dining reservation TODAY!

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7. DVC Equals V.I.P.

Disney Vacation Club Members have privileges to a secret lounge in the Imagination Pavilion at Epcot.

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Figment Topiary. Keep reading for the best Disney World Tips and Tricks for First Timers.

DVC members also have many other perks such as:

  • Annual Pass Discounts
  • Free Laundry
  • Resort Pool Hopping
  • Restaurant and Shopping Discounts
  • Resort Room Discounts
  • Special Afterhours Events for DVC Members only
  • Ticket Discounts
  • Tours and Special Event Discounts

ORDER NOW to secure your Walt Disney World theme park ticket! GET MY TICKETS.

8. Download the My Disney Experience App

Here you can make Genie+ and Lightning Lane reservations to attractions on this app. You can also check out wait times, show times, use mobile ordering, view park maps, make dining and park reservations.

My Disney Experience App Home Page
App Screenshot

You MUST get familiar with this app BEFORE you get to Walt Disney World.

It will make you trip go a lot smoother as you’re not trying to figure out how to work the app in the middle of a stressful moment on your Disney vacation.

Genie Walt Disney World App Planning Itinerary
Disney Genie Service

Just go ahead and download the app TODAY! It’s one of my top Disney World tips an tricks.

9. Don’t Give Up on Booking Your Reservation

If you can’t book that Disney Genie+ or RSVP to a special event, then check the my Disney experience app on the site around 7 a.m. the day of and see if you have any luck.

The Disney World Genie+ (also sometimes referred to as simply “Disney Genie”) is a travel must have if you’re looking to enjoy the most of Disney by spending less time waiting in line. 

I can attest to this because I’ve done it before during the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

African Wine at Epcot Food and Wine Festival holding up wine with Disney gift card wristlet. Keep reading for the best Disney World Tips and Tricks for First Timers.
African Wine at Epcot Food and Wine Festival

For example, I wanted to go to a beverage seminar that was booked up the whole month, then I tried the day of and I was able to get in.

I was sooooooo happy! So, don’t give up on getting your top ride or dining reservation.

10. Use the Single Rider Line if Your Family is Okay with Splitting Up

Single Rider Lines give you an opportunity to reduce the amount of time waiting in line for an attraction in exchange for not necessarily being able to experience the ride with your own party.

Test Track Epcot Lightning Lane and Single Rider Entrance

What is a Single Rider Line at Disney World?

A Single Rider Line is used to fill in empty seats on ride vehicles in order to maximize all occupancy if possible. It’s a great way to get on the Disney attractions faster, just keep in mind that you will most likely be split from your party.

Mostly likely you will be enjoying a solo Disney World trip, so this little issue won’t matter to you.

11. Dine on a Budget at Disney World

If you have a small appetite and you’re on a small budget, then order from the kid’s menu. It’s usually significantly cheaper and it fills you up.

You will also want to plan out your meals ahead of time to help you make a good food budget.

Walt Disney World has a full list of dining locations on their website that’s well organized with prices listed. This will help with your planning tremendously.

12. Take Advantage of the Free Photo Opportunities

Chase Cardmembers who have a Disney logo or Disney inspired debit or credit card can have special free photo opportunities with our favorite characters throughout parks like Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

NikkyJ of ThemeParkHipster smiling with Pluto Dog. Free photos at a chase card member is one of the little Disney World tips to remember.
FREE Photo with me and Pluto using my Chase Debit Card.

13. Take Advantage of Free Package Delivery

Stay at a Walt Disney World resort hotel and receive free package delivery of your park purchases to your room.

Disney Riviera Resort Fountains near entrance Best Disney Resorts for Adults. Keep reading for the best Disney World Tips and Tricks for First Timers.
Disney’s Riviera Resort

This is one of my favorite Walt Disney World tips and tricks for your vacation.

Hipster Power Tip: Book an Orlando vacation home near Walt Disney World with an experienced company to save money on lodging.

14. Treat Yourself to a Dole Whip at Disney

Walt Disney World magic can be found all over the resort, but one must have treat that encompasses all that enchantment is the pineapple Dole Whip.

Trader Sams Grog Grotto Dole Whip with Alcohol. Keep reading for the best Disney World Tips and Tricks for First Timers.

There was a time when obtaining this legendary snack was hard to come by, but since the demand has skyrocketed over the past few years.

You can now find it in multiple locations if you know where to look.

Read: Where to Find Dole Whip at Walt Disney World?

15. Use an Official Disney Travel Agent

Book your vacation through an authorized Disney vacation planner to make sure you’re saving the most on your Disney trip.

Disney vacation planners usually have the latest and newest deals that Disney offers.

Ready to make your trip out to Walt Disney World Resort, then get your no obligation, FREE Quote by filling out the form with The Park Prodigy by Clicking HERE!

16. Book an Early Character Breakfast at Magic Kingdom.

This will allow you to enter the park before everyone else and give you quite the head start into conquering each ride and attraction. You can do this at Cinderella’s Royal Table.

17. Experience Disney Springs

Disney Springs is a wonderful shopping and dining attraction that you must experience for yourself. 

Disney Springs Entrance with Planet Hollywood and Coke Cola stores

I looooove hanging out in the evening at Disney Springs. It houses some of the best dining, shopping and entertainment in all of Walt Disney World!

18. Take Advantage of the Genie+ (Lightning Lane) Grace Period

It’s my favorite secret regarding Genie+. You can arrive 5 minutes early or 15 minutes late to your fast pass.

Epcot Spaceship Earth Lightning Lane Entrance. Keep reading for the best Disney World Tips and Tricks for First Timers.
Lightning Lane entrance at Spaceship Earth

19. Grabbed the Perfect Fireworks Spot

When watching Epcot fireworks show, pick a spot where the wind will not blow smoke directly on you. This may vary based on the wind direction of the evening.

2023 Epcot Food and Wine Festival at Disney Fireworks (3)

In the Magic Kingdom, I like to sit at the top of the train station. It has a great view and it’s easy to get out of the park quickly because you’re already near the gate.

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Disney's Magic Kingdom Theme Park Fireworks Show over Cinderella Castle. Keep reading to get the best solo travel quotes for Disney.

The only problem is that everyone wants this spot, so get there early!

If you can’t make it into the Magic Kingdom park, you can watch the fireworks show from the lagoon area of the resorts like Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.

20. Arrive at the Parks Early for Rope Drop

At Disney World, the rope is slowly pulled aside a few minutes before people are allowed to pass. You can get many of the popular rides done before 11 a.m.

Disney World Tips for enjoying the Magic Kingdom with photo in front of Cinderella Castle.
Cinderella Castle

This leaves you time to watch some shows or circle back around to your favorite attractions.

This tip is especially important on the hot summer days in Florida. You can ride all the best attractions, have lunch and watch a show all by 12 p.m.

Once the sun gets crazy, you can go back to your hotel room to relax and then come back in the evening times.

21. Listen to Underwater Sounds

Go underwater at the pool in the Art of Animation to hear a special sound. Disney is so good at adding fun hidden gems to the simplest aspects of your vacation.

22. Ride Kilimanjaro Safari at Sunset

This is when the animals are the most active. This is something that you don’t see during the daytime experience.

Get up to 76% off of the Orlando attractions with Groupon TODAY!

23. Don’t Forget to Take Breaks

Take breaks from the heat and do more indoor attractions. Not only will you need to beat the Florida theme park heat, you’ll want to rest your feet from all the walking you will be doing.

This is one of the top Disney World tips and tricks for your trip that will keep you safe from the Florida sun.

24. Stay Cool at Disney World

Buy frosty towels, pack lots of water, buy a portable fan to stay cool in the parks.

Kali River Rapids Water Ride Animal Kingdom. Keep reading for the best Disney World Tips and Tricks for First Timers.
Kali River Rapids Water Ride Animal Kingdom

Are you planning a Disney vacation soon? Read the Disney World Vacation Planning Guide for your next dream trip!

25. Stay Hydrated

Remember that a cup of water is free at most quick service locations.

Free Water at Walt Disney World Epcot
Remember that you can get a free cup of tap water at Walt Disney World.

26. See a FREE Disney Parade

Watch the Electric Water Pageant on the Seven Seas Lagoon at night. AND it’s free!

Read over 69+ things you can do at Walt Disney World for FREE here!

Recommended Electric Water Pageant Viewing Locations:

  • Polynesian Village Resort– Beginning at 8:25 P.M.
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (including Narcoossee’s) – Beginning at 8:40 PM
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge– Beginning at 8:55 P.M.
  • Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground– Beginning at 9:10 P.M.
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort– Beginning at 9:25 P.M.
  • Right outside the entrance of Magic Kingdom park – Beginning at 9:40 P.M., during Extended Theme Park Hours only

Hipster Power Tip: The times for the Magic Kingdom show do vary based on the season. Always check the official Walt Disney World website for up-to-date times.

27. Search for Hidden Mickey’s

Hidden Mickey’s can be found all over the Walt Disney World Resort area. Even in the most uncommon places, so keep your eyes open.

Guardians of the Galaxy at Epcot Walt Disney World Resort
NEW: Guardians of the Galaxy Roller Coaster at Epcot Walt Disney World Resort

28. Chat with an Imagineer (Currently Unavailable)

Have lunch with an Imagineer and ask all the questions you’ve been wanting to know about your favorite attraction.

The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge in Hollywood Studios Entrance

This is an absolute Disney bucket list item.

29. Explore the World of Avatar

Pandora – The World of Avatar will engulf you in magic and wonder as soon as you walk through the entryway.

Shaman on Avatar Ride at Disney Animal Kingdom. Keep reading for the best Disney World Tips and Tricks for First Timers.

The majesty, the beauty, and the harmonious sounds of nature will transport you into another place.

Animal Kingdom World of Avatar Floating Trees in Pandora
Animal Kingdom World of Avatar Floating Trees in Pandora

You’ll want to visit Pandora in the early morning or late in the evening to take advantage of the lower crowd level.

30. Get Your Tickets Online

Don’t forget to purchase cheap theme park tickets online from authorize discount ticket providers such as Tripadvisor or The Park Prodigy.

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure final scene Walt Disney World Epcot Theme Park. Keep reading for the best Disney World Tips and Tricks for First Timers.

You will definitely save money if you buy tickets in advance instead of at the gates. This is one of the top Disney World tips and tricks for your trip.

Recommended: Top 5 Ways to Find Cheap Disney World Tickets for Your Vacation!

31. Spend a Day at a Disney Water Park.

It’s the perfect way for you to cool off from the unforgiving sun and enjoy the Sunshine State.

Tall Water Slide Summit Plummet at Blizzard Beach Water Park. Keep reading for the best Disney World Tips and Tricks for First Timers.
Blizzard Beach

If you’re familiar with the Disney water parks, then you know they’re open for most of the year. However, the party kicks into high gear during the summer months.

32. Experience an Epcot Festival

Go to an Epcot Festival such as the Food and Wine Festival, Flower and Garden Festival, Festival of the Holidays, or the new Festival of the Arts!

Epcot Festival of the Arts POP Eats Cake. Keep reading for the best Disney World Tips and Tricks for First Timers.

The Disney festivals are some of the best foodie events in the country, so don’t miss out on it when you visit Walt Disney World!

33. Have a World Drinking Tour at Epcot

Drink your way around the world at Epcot…but remember the Do’s and Don’ts of Drinking at Epcot.

34. Visit Walt Disney World on the Perfect Days

Remember that the best time to visit Disney is early November or mid to late January.

While you’re planning that perfect day to go, don’t forget to download the Disney Crowd Calendar to view the crowd level of each day!

35. Experience Disney’s Kiss Goodnight

Disney’s Kiss Goodnight is where you stay at the Magic Kingdom 30-minutes after closing to see some very special things.

Shimmering Cinderella Castle with Christmas Lights at the Magic Kingdom Lake Buena Vista Florida. Keep reading for the best Disney World Tips and Tricks for First Timers.

The Kiss Goodnight is a little over 2-minutes long, and it is the Magic Kingdom’s way of saying “goodbye” to guests at the end of a long day…

After the park closes, Cinderella Castle starts “twinkling” as the music from When You Wish Upon a Star slowly builds.

My Final Thoughts On The Best Disney World Tips and Tricks for Your Trip

These are just a few Walt Disney World tips you should know when planning your vacation to the parks.

Harambe Village Nala and Simba Gate Animal Kingdom

The little hacks are also things I love to remember when it comes to doing Disney the right way.

Discover the best Walt Disney World tips. Blizzard Beach snowing water slides. Keep reading for the best Disney World Tips and Tricks for First Timers.
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Please let me know what Walt Disney World tips and tricks you think are the best in the comments section below.

If you enjoyed this article, then you’ll love these:

Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!

Hoop Dee Doo Revue NikkyJ Dinner Show Disney World. Author bio of theme park expert Nikida Metellus.

About the Author

My name is Nikky. I’m a wife, a mother, a pharmacist turned theme park blogger, USA Today 10Best Contributor, and a writer who loves ALL things amusement park related!

Traveling alone to the parks has changed my life and I want to show how you can create your own solo theme park memories.

Connect with me on Instagram!

Planning a trip soon? If so, read the Disney Vacation Planning Guide for your next dream trip!

(Original Article Date: November 21, 2018/Updated May 29, 2024)

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2 thoughts on “35 Most Underrated Disney World Tips and Tricks for First Timers (2024)”

  1. Hello my friend. We will be staying on Disney property this Sunday and we have a reservation for Epcot on Monday morning. Our plan is to ride Ratatouille and would like your advice to go directly to that ride and have a short wait. What should our strategy be? Thank you for your help. Dan and Lora ps we also just purchased an annual pass holder ticket that is only valid on weekdays – I am not sure if that helps.


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