Staying at a Disney resort is an incredible experience. Everything from the resort grounds to the restaurants to the hotel rooms, there is magic sprinkled everywhere. But with so much ground to cover, staying there for the first time can be a bit daunting. So today I thought I'd give a few tips I've learned from staying on-property over the years!
Use Disney Transport
One of the perks of staying on-property at Walt Disney World is that you have access to all Disney Transport. Believe it or not, there are a ton of different ways that you can get around the parks, be it by buses, ferry boats, monorails, or even Minnie Vans operated by Lyft. Using the buses to get from resort-to-park, or vice versa, is so simple. On our latest stay, we drove to the resort with our own car but opted against driving our car to and from the parks because the bus system was so much easier. The buses are quite efficient as they know the quickest routes around property and might even take lesser known or backstage routes to get you to the parks in good time. An added bonus of taking buses is that you get to bypass the Transportation and Ticket Centre which, if you’ve ever driven to the Magic Kingdom before, you’ll know is a nightmare.
The other options of Disney Transport are just as efficient! If you’re staying at the Port Orleans Resort, then you’ll be able to use one of my favourite transportation methods: the boat to Disney Springs! It’s a relaxing ride down the Sassagoula River that takes you right to the middle of the Disney Springs fun.
Also, keep an eye out for a new way to travel the World - the Disney Skyliner gondola system opens on September 29, 2019!
Download the My Disney Experience App
You may already have the My Disney Experience app downloaded to your phone if you’ve been to the parks recently but if you haven’t been in awhile, or ever, here’s the gist. The My Disney Experience app is your guide to the Walt Disney World Resort in your very own pocket. It allows you to look at maps, check wait times, book FastPasses, make dinner reservations, and more. It’s extremely useful. The fact that you can pull it up on your phone whenever you need to with the in-park WiFi is incredible. Sometimes I can’t even imagine how we used to do it in the “old days” with the paper FastPass system lol! Remember when you could only get a FastPass for some of the rides in Disney? Crazy stuff. Also, if you purchase Memory Maker, which allows you to own the pictures that you take with PhotoPass photographers in the parks, you can view all the pictures directly on the app. They’ll even notify you as soon as your picture is ready to download after you’ve taken the picture or gotten off a ride with an in-ride photo. Cool, right? Essentially, it’s a god send and you will thank me for it when you’ve got this handy tool on your next Disney trip.
Purchase a Refillable Mug
This is actually something that myself and my family have been doing since we first started visiting the Disney parks way back in the early 2000s. In fact, this might be a crucial tip, especially if you’re planning on spending a good amount of time at the resorts. The refillable mug currently costs $18.99 (without Disney Dining Plan) for the initial purchase and then you can use it however many times your little heart desires during your resort stay without an extra cost. If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, the mug will be included in your plan. It’s perfect for grabbing a cup of coffee at breakfast or some Gatorade or pop when you’re going poolside. I filled mine up at least a dozen times during our six-day stay and it was well worth the cost. Definitely saves you from waiting in lines to purchase numerous drinks throughout the day!
Keep in mind though that the refillable mugs are part of the Rapid Fill program. What’s the Rapid Fill program you may ask? Well, that was my question too, to be honest! Back in my early trips, it didn’t exist. But starting a few years back, Disney created a program where they sold these refillable mugs which had RFID bar codes inside. This means that your mug becomes deactivated after your resort stay is complete. And you can’t reuse this mug on your next stay - you’ll have to purchase a brand new mug. Also: you can only refill the mug after about 2 minutes since your last refill. Not sure why, but thems the rules!
Take Advantage of AP, Tables in Wonderland, or Disney Dining Plan
Staying in the parks, it’s easy to rack up a pretty hefty bill from all the food and merchandise purchasing. Especially if you’re just charging everything blindly to your room via your MagicBand (those things are SO dangerous!). Using methods to get discounts on your meals and souvenirs makes a huge difference. As an Annual Passholder, I bring my AP cad with me wherever I go in case I plan on buying something. That card will get me a 10-20% discount!! Additionally, if you have a Tables in Wonderland card or a Disney Dining Plan, you’ll easily be able to save a buck or two throughout your trip on every meal, and as we all know, those extra bucks do matter!! If you’re worried about the additional costs of a Walt Disney World Resort stay, you should definitely look into these methods and see which ones, if any, suit your family the best. One thing I will say that I’ve heard people have done on their vacations is have one person in their travelling party purchase an Annual Pass - only one person needs to be an AP to get a discount on the entire meal/purchase. Just make sure that individual is paying for things and you’re good to go!
Bring Bug Spray
I literally cannot stress this one enough. And I tell you this because I have learned from my mistakes!! This one took me TOTALLY by surprise, I was dumb enough to think that this wouldn’t be a problem and paid for it lol. BRING BUG SPRAY!!! Take this from someone who did not bring bug spray and got eaten alive. Especially in heavily vegetated areas (which is 99% of Disney, it is Florida after all), evil hungry bugs like mosquitos are rampant. In just one late night walk around Port Orleans French Quarter with my mum by the river, I got at least six mosquitos bites. UGH. SO painful. Make sure to pack some bug spray in your luggage and also, pack some After Bite while you’re at it. Juuuuuust in case. Better safe than sorry, am I right?
What are your top Disney resort tips?