After visting Florida twice in the last two years I decided todays blog post would be my top tips for Disney World as I know quite a few people who are going there this year and thought it might be useful! I went in August/September of 2013 and 2014 and this post is mostly tailored to people who are going their without children as I went with my Dad and boyfriend.
Figure out the best time to visit
The last two times I went it was August/September time and I'm pretty sure this is one of the quietest times to visit during the year as all of the American and UK children have gone back to school. During my recent visit to Disney World last year the longest we queued was around 20/30 minutes which was absolutely fine as it was only a one off for the bigger roller coasters. Most rides were 5/10 minute queues which was amazing! So I'd highly recommend researching the time of year you want to go in!
Think about the weather! Another thing that goes hand in hand with what time of year you go! The summer months in Florida are extremely hot and humid so be prepared, especially if you are thinking of taking small children with you. In late August/September the weather is still extremely hot and humid however around 4pm it rains for around an hour most days. Although this is never really a problem for us as when it starts to rain we usually head back to the villa to get ready to go out again in the evening.
Disney World Tickets
After a lot of research online I discovered its much cheaper to buy your Disney tickets here in the UK. We have always bought ours through Virgin Holidays when we book the holiday as a package. We usually go for a 14 day ultimate ticket which allows you unlimited access to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and the two water parks; Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. This ticket is fantastic as you can swap between the parks and water parks whenever you like. We typically do a theme park in the morning and when it got too hot in the afternoon (which trust me it does - we hit 40 degrees on day) we would head to the water parks. Typhoon Lagoon is one of my favourite places in Orlando and is definitely my favourite out of the two! As you can see from the photos above we spent most of our time there.
Food & Drink
Disney World can become very expensive if you are buying all your food and drink while you are at the parks. (Although I know if you stay on site in the Disney hotels they usually offer a dinning plan where food is included. However we always stay in a villa so this isn't an option for us) Every day we would freeze bottles of water and take them into the park in a ruck sack. We'd also buy some snacks from the local super market (Walmart or Publix) and take them too! It definitely saves A LOT of money! Also in the water parks they offer a service where you buy a Disney mug for $10 and you can have unlimited refills all day. You can also bring this mug back every day and they'll re-activate for you. Although I'm pretty sure this is the reason for my sprite addiction - thanks Typhoon Lagoon haha!
Buy your Disney merchandise in the local super markets or in the gift shops on International drive. It is pretty much exactly the same merchandise as in the parks but so, so much cheaper! Although some things at the parks are exclusive and special such as the Christmas shop in Downtown Disney (yes its open all year round and they'll tell you exactly how many days it is until Christmas - madness) I always buy a bauble for the tree from there.
Throughout the parks professional photographers will be walking around asking if you'd like to have your photo taken! Definitely say yes and take advantage of this. Its lovely to log online when you get back home and have a look through all the photographs. Also if you hand the photographer your own camera they are always more than happy to take one for you, which I think is lovely! (This only applies to Disney World though, as we found Universal didn't do this)
Shows at Disney World
Disney World has so many amazing shows throughout the day at all of the parks. If you are there without children go to the later night shows as there is far less people! Usually they do two showings, one around 7pm and the other around 9pm but be sure to check out all of the times. My favourite show in Disney World has to be the 'Wishes' firework display at Magic Kingdom. It is just the epitome of Disney!
Disney World App
Disney World has an app that you can download on the app store and its so helpful. The app allows you to see que times which means you can plan out your day and go to the rides that have shorter que times. The app also allows you to book fast passes and also restaurant reservations. I'd really recommend booking restaurant reservations before you go as you can book 180 days in advance now. We never did this and regretted it as some restaurants such as 'Be Our Guest' and 'Cinderellas Royal Table' (In the castle) are always fully booked! You can use the App if you have your phone on you in Disney World. I always turn my phone onto aeroplane mode and turn my Wifi on. All of the parks have free wifi which is brilliant.
I hope this blog post helped those of you who are off to Orlando this Summer or maybe you just found this interesting. Please let me know if you would like any more Disney World related posts!