Disney Destinations Planning 101 Vacation Planner Walt Disney World

Tips From Disney “Pros”

September 2, 2018

You know the type of people I’m talking about. They go to the Parks and tell you about their yummy meals, all the rides and attractions, and all the magical experiences they were a part of. They didn’t have to stand in line for hours on end, get caught up in the crowd of people, or fight to get a table at Quick Service Restaurants.

What are they doing that the typical Disney Guest isn’t doing?


They’re not paying Full Price

First of all, Pros never pay full price for their Disney Trip. If they go enough, they may have an Annual Pass. Annual Passholders receive discounts for things like Hotel Rooms and food.

But, not all Pros are Annual Passholders. And just because they haven’t bough an Annual Pass, it doesn’t mean that they don’t know how to save money. If you’re paying full price for your Reservation, that’s the first thing that needs to be changed. Trust me…there’s ALWAYS something out there to save you money on your trip. There is no reason to ever go to Disney without a discount.

You just need to know who to talk to or what to ask for.

Let’s face it…as great as Disney is, they’re a giant company. So, if you contact Disney directly to book your vacation, they’re going to give you the full price value of what you’re asking for. Unless you know of any promotions that are going on or you ask about them, they’re not going to automatically give you the discounted price.

Not to sound like an advertisement, but this is why working with a Travel Agent is beneficial to your planning. Disney knows that even if you don’t book on the phone with them that day, there’s a line of people behind you in line that will.

With Travel Agents, they have a personal relationship with you. Making you happy means you’re more likely to tell your friends about us or contact us again for your next trip. And since we know you, we really do want to get you the best deal that’s out there.

Related Post: Ways To Save For Any Vacation


They’re not sleeping in

I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying, “You snooze, you lose.” Well, I think it’s safe to say that this also applies to Disney Vacations.

The Pros know that on certain days, sleeping in means losing out on popular fastpasses, dining reservations, or shorter waits in lines.

Days you should not sleep in 

  • 180 Days before check-in – This is the day you can start Reserving your Dining Reservations. Some Restaurants fill up extremely fast, so if there’s a specific Restaurant or time that you want, then you’ll want to make those Reservations ASAP.
  • 60 Days before check-in – This is the day when you can start booking those fastpasses, if you are staying at one of the Walt Disney World Resorts. Just like Dining Reservations, some of these go very fast. If you sleep in, you may miss out on certain attractions. Remember that Guests are booking those fastpasses for their entire trip (up to 14 days), so even if your window opened that morning (7am EST), other Guests have already grabbed fastpasses for your time frame.
  • 30 Days before check-in – If you don’t have a Walt Disney World Resort Reservations, you have to wait until 30 days prior to your check-in to start grabbing fastpasses.
  • Park Days – Pros know that they key to staying out of long lines is getting to the Parks early. If there is a popular ride they weren’t able to grab a fastpass for, they know that the only way they’re going to have a shorter wait is by going to the Parks early.  Morning Extra Magic Hours is great for this, too. Guests either don’t know which park is opening early that day (for Disney Resort Guests) or they’re too sleepy to get up and take advantage of it, so it’s a great time to get on popular attractions with little to no wait.

Of course, you don’t have to wake up early every single day of your trip. But, if you have your heart set on a popular attraction for that day, plan on getting to the Parks early.

Related Post: Tips For Walt Disney World First-Timers

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They’re not following the crowds

Whether they’re going through “Secret” entrances, walking to the “other” side of a line, or just walking down a different path, they know how to keep their wait times and crowd levels to a minimum.

2 Lines – If you ever see a Security Guard table or Quick Service Register with one line, hop on up to the other side of the table. Many Guests don’t realize that there is supposed to be 2 lines at each location. Guards and Cashiers alternate sides, so as long as you don’t mind getting some dirty looks from other Guests, it’s a great way to get through the crowds in record speed.

“Secret” Entrances – At Animal KIngdom, a quick walk through Rainforest Cafe led us to a completely empty Entrance. It leads you very close to the Main Entrance, as well. We just walked in, went through the Gift Shop, and into the Park. We were inside before many who had showed up before us.

Some Parks are easier to spot than others, but we love “Secret” entrances.

The Road Less Traveled – With as many people as Disney has walking through its gates every day, it makes sense that they would have some extra paths to help get from Point A to Point B. Even if someone notices these paths, since everyone is going in one direction, that’s where they go, too.

The only issue with some of these paths is parts of them tend to be designated Smoking Areas. If you have sensitivities to smoke or just don’t like the smell of it, you may want to stick to the popular paths.

Related Post: Spoiler Alert: Minnie Vans Are Everywhere!

Park Hopping: Finding Your Way Around Walt Disney World Without Getting Lost


They’re not eating at Popular Times

I can’t think of many things that make people crankier than waiting in a line with a bunch of hot, sweaty, hungry people! If you don’t mind eating at less popular times, you’re going to have a more enjoyable experience.

Times you may want to eat if you enjoy lower Crowds

  • Breakfast – Before 7AM or after 10AM
  • Lunch – Around 11AM or after 2PM
  • Dinner – After 7PM

You can eat at the Resorts, too! If you do decide you want to eat at one of the more popular times. Resorts are a lot slower during the day since many people are in the Parks. You don’t need to be staying at that Resort to eat there. Sure, you may have to do a little bit of traveling. But, it’s a lot better than standing in the middle of the Restaurant with a tray of food and no empty tables in sight.

All of the Resorts are just a bus, boat, or Monorail ride away. There are many amazing Restaurants located in the Resorts. Pick a few you want to try and enjoy a nice, quieter meal away from the Parks.

TIP: Are you less than 24 Hours before your Table Reservation? There is a fee ($10 per person!) that will be charged to your credit card on file if you do not show up. Shhh…Disney doesn’t want you to know this, but there is a way around this! Change your Reservation to another day and then cancel it. Since the new Reservation is beyond that 24 Hour Period, you should not be charged. You save the headache of seeing that charge on your next bill. And you’re allowing other Guests to pick up your Reservation you no longer need.

Related Post: Mobile Ordering Now Available For Guests With Dining Plans

My Disney Experience App

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Do you have a “Pro” Tip that the typical Guest doesn’t think of? We’d love to hear it!


ExploreWithCatherine.com is not authorized or endorsed by, or officially connected with The Walt Disney Company, or any of their affiliates. For official Disney information, visit http://www.disney.com.

Hawaii Destination Specialist

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