When we ventured to the magical world of Disney, I heard very few negative reviews. Somehow everything sounded, well, magical. Given that I’m not a Disney fanatic, I was skeptical, but heeded advice of others – stay on resort, it’s close, easy, kids can nap in the afternoon and there are magic hours {extended hours}. Well, here’s what I wish I knew about Disney before we went:

What no one tells you about visiting Disney World

That staying on resort doesn’t mean you’re close. I had envisioned hopping between resorts to eat, between parks each day and just a 5-10 minute ride on the bus to get to just about anything Disney. I was wrong! The parks and resorts are far more spread out than they appear on a map.

What no one tells you about visiting Disney World

We went from the Grand Floridian to our resort in 10 minutes via Uber, but had we taken resort transportation, we would have had to wait at that hotel for a bus or boat to take us to Magic Kingdom, then wait at Magic Kingdom another 20 minutes to get on a bus to our resort, stop at 4 additional stops and then finally retire. I had NO idea that we would spend an hour each way every day to and from our resort when staying on site. It all looks so much closer online!

That the dining plan restricts where, what and how you eat and requires a lot of thought {coming soon}.

The mugs that you purchase with your dining plan can only be used at the hotels, not the parks. Who wants to lug those around all day without benefit? Often we ate on our way in or out of the resort, so it also never made sense to bring them with us.

Most rides are intended for children and are the same format. It’s nice that your family can ride the majority of rides together, but it’s okay to miss a few rides, it’s the same ride, different setting. {eh, um, how many boats float through to tell a story at Disney World, does anyone know?}

The movies run every 10 or 20 minutes and in the off season, there’s no reason to fast pass them, rush to get to them, etc. Just come at your leisure and enjoy. The attendant outside can tell you how often they run so you can coordinate your schedule without a wait.

What to know before you visit Disney World

That character and princess meals are not that enticing or magical. {coming soon}

What I wish I knew before we went to Disney

Tips for visiting Disney World

Tips for visiting Disney World

Okay, this one I knew because of our travel agent, but I feel you should know, too. Be Our Guest offers a great experience for little ones, even without characters. You can make reservations {our best breakfast of the week with the exception of what they consider crepes} and it’s a Quick Service meal inside the ballroom of Beast and Belle’s castle. Rather than buffet your food {order online in advance} is brought to you by cart and you can take photos with the rose in the West Wing. I recommend you make reservations just after 9 am so that you can see the opening of Magic Kingdom. We bi-passed and rushed to make our reservation.

On every morning except Wednesday, board the first train at 10am at Animal Kingdom to watch procedures at the vet clinic. Adalyn would have loved that opportunity! Shortly after the vets are done with procedures for the day.

tips for going to Disney World when you don't like Disney

The bubble maker would make any kids’ day! Isla’s happiest moments this week were running around with her bubble wand watching the kids surround her with joy. It was the best $20 spent on the trip!

That multiple cell phones or a battery pack to charge is almost necessary. At Disney World, you rely heavily on their app to find nearby restrooms, dining establishments, wait times for rides and book fast passes. Despite being on Disney’s free wifi, this uses a considerable amount of battery. Bring a charger or battery pack!

Don’t rely on Disney’s app and magic bands. They went down several times while we were there and we would have been without food and drink had we not carried a credit card as well. We actually left Magic Kingdom at 2 one day because all of Disney’s system went down paralyzing rides, fast passes, the app, etc. It was more chaotic than we could bear.

What do you wish you knew before you went to Disney?

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  1. The transportation time between resorts and parks is definitely something that is inconvenient, especially when traveling with children. It also depends what time of year you go. Be Our Guest is a great experience with/without characters since the decor is beautiful and the food is delicious!

  2. These are such fantastic tips. I’ve heard so many great things about the app and fast passes, bands, etc. But to know that they often go down is important information!

  3. I am so glad I stumbled upon your blog and read this! We are actually taking our first trip to Disney in two weeks with our 6yr and 2 yr old, and this post was so insightful. I’ve been told to prepare for how expensive this trip will be, but I was not expecting the parks to be so far from each other. Great tips and post! Consider myself subcribed!