11 Insider Disney World Tricks Every Mom Should Know

disney worldIt's the vacation every parent will experience at least once: the infamous Disney World trip. You see all the movies, plan for months, and talk about all the characters you meet. But between navigating the crowds and getting all of the stars' autographs, it's all about efficiency and planning.

mom's guide to disney worldYou'll schedule meals, breaks, rides, and everything in between. But there's always a secret trick to getting the most out of your Disney World vacation. Here are 11 hacks to making this Disney World trip your best yet!

What Disney secrets do you have to share?

 

Image via David Roark/Disney

  • Start Early

    1

    Instead of leaving everything for the day-of, you can actually get some major work done before you arrive at the park. FastPass+ reservations can be made 60 days in advance and dining reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance. And if you're serious about getting through multiple rides and enjoying the meals, both reservations are necessary.

  • Plan the Trip Wisely

    2

    Take a look at your calendar. When are you free? Chances are your options are winter break or summer break. But those are the two most popular times to visit. If you don't mind taking a three-day-weekend at an off-season time, you'll be able to beat the crowds and spend some more time at the resort. Not to mention: The lines to see the popular Anna and Elsa won't be exorbitantly long!

    More from The Stir: Disney's Extra Magic Hours: Get Your Money's Worth

  • Get a Head Start in the Morning

    3

    Want to beat the lines even more? Insiders always suggest dining at Cinderella's Castle an hour before the official open time. That'll put you right at the front of the line as soon as all crowds begin to gather.

  • Do the Rope Drop

    4

    If you don't want to dine at Cinderella's Castle, get there for the Rope Drop. Hit the park 45 minutes before opening time and start the marathon of waiting. Once the ropes officially drop, you'll be able to do about 10 rides within that initial hour. Efficiency at its finest.

  • Chatting With the Characters

    5

    Did you want to strike up conversations with Mickey? No can do. Any good Disney visitor will know that only the princesses talk. The characters have no voices, except for the parades, so prep your kids. And don't forget to bring some pen and paper for autographs. You can buy a book at a souvenir shop or make your own -- they'll sign either one.

  • Do the Rider Switch

    6

    Here's a little-known fact about riding the rides! If you're traveling with multiple kids and just two adults, Rider Switch is the amenity for you. When you get to the front of the line, one parent can ride with the older child while the other parent stays behind with the ones who are not tall enough to ride. Then, once the ride is over, adults switch and the child can ride again. No need to get back in line or coordinate times.

  • Get the PhotoPass Early

    7

    The PhotoPass CD can document your entire family trip. With photographers stationed at all of the major hot spots around the park, they can take your professional pic and add to the virtual CD. But, here's a fun fact: it costs $119.95 when you buy early. If you buy when you leave, the price goes up to $170.

    More from The Stir: The Pros & Cons of Surprising Your Kids With a Disney Trip

  • Souvenir Replacement

    8

    Accidentally break a souvenir or trinket? Disney will replace it for free! Just go to the nearest store that carries the item and you'll get a brand new one.

  • Birthday Perks

    9

    If you're celebrating your birthday at Disney World (like Ariana Grande, who rang in number 21 at the resort), let the crew members know. They'll give you a special pin, and other characters and crew will greet you with surprises throughout the day.

  • Club Cool

    10

    Thirsty in Epcot? Visit Club Cool, which has unlimited free samples of soda flavors inspired by different countries around the world. Better yet: air conditioning!

    Another hack: kiosks and shops will give you cups of ice for free. Yet another great way to cool down.

    More from The Stir: 45 Crazy Things Your Kid Will Say on Your Disney Vacation

  • Get in Line!

    11

    Don't be deterred by the closing time, any storied Disney World traveler will tell you. If the park closes at 8 and you get in line for a ride at 7:59, you'll still get to ride.

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