Jill Wragg’s Official Disney Cheat Sheet
Basic Tried and True Suggestions:
Download the Disney app. Always shut it down when you aren't using it.
Find a blogger with recommended days to go to Disney!!! People study crowd charts. Use them!!!!!!!!!!! Red days are NOT WORTH IT. I believe early December, late January, February, May and September are the best times to go. (You can also look online for their single day tickets. The cheaper the daily ticket price, the better the crowd!)
Always turn your phone battery to low power mode or being an external battery attachment.
Fast passes. You can choose these a month ahead as a pass holder. You can use fast passes 5 minutes before time and 10 minutes after generally.
Get fast passes as soon as you know what day you are going. They cannot overlap and are 1-hour windows. I usually did the first one around 10:30 so we had arrived, were in, and not overly rushed. As soon as all three are done you can select one more at a time. You can only choose passes for one park at a time. If you’re going to 2 parks choose afternoon/evening times for the second park.
Every park has a baby care center for nursing, explosion changes, etc. They have vending machines of baby supplies and other amenities.
Souvenirs: collect smashed pennies. 51c per each and in every land. Also, Mickey twisty straws are under a dollar at most restaurants.
Do pin trading if you don't mind kids constantly slowing you down. Most workers are wearing pins to trade. Idea: buy random pin lots on eBay for cheap for your kids to split. Take and trade for what they want. Pins will fall off on occasion. Let kids each pick a cute lanyard as first gift. $10ish. (Merchandise is 20% off with passholder card this year)
We enjoyed the YouTube videos about weird Disney facts by Randomland. Watch with kids sometime. You can also see dark rides recorded with the lights on at YouTube.
Starbucks. You can earn gold stars there and pay by app, but you can't reload through them or redeem free rewards.
You can buy a 5 pack of lollipops at many of the stores and everyone gets a Mickey treat for under $6
Always eat breakfast ahead.
If you have a stroller, a person who doesn’t mind wearing a backpack, etc. Then pack a meal. Uncrustables or frozen sandwiches, protein bars, string cheese, juice boxes, nuts, etc. If you don’t have one of those things then you may just want to plan to buy 2 meals there. You may save a couple bucks leaving early at getting fast food, but you give up time....so you have to choose.
ALWAYS WATCH THE WEATHER. We've gotten stuck or soaked getting to the car several times. If it's going to rain bring the ponchos!!! Buy cheap at Walmart and shove into a string bag if there is 30% or more chance of rain. If you have to buy them at the park use your passholder discount to get 20% off so about $7-8 each.
Build an All-Weather bag: this comes in handy every time! Put in ponchos from Amazon (cheapest), stroller rain cover (important to keep the baby’s main travel means dry!), necklace fans, cooling towels, sunscreen, sunglasses (and in ‘winter’ we toss in a sweater and swap out the fans and cooling towels). This way no matter what crazy FL weather we encounter - we just keep it moving without extra costs incurred! Often adverse weather thins out the crowd so it’s great to be prepared so we can take advantage of shorter lines etc.
Starbucks is at the end of Main Street, USA, on the right.
Cheapest meal: Casey’s Corner (end of Main Street on left). Buy trays of corn dog nuggets and fries for everyone to split. Have kids split chocolate milk for a protein/dessert combo
Second cheapest I think: forgot to check but behind Pecos Bill (between Pirates and Splash Mtn) is a Chicken and Waffle fries place. Looked sturdy enough to have kids split trays too.
Starlight Café in Tomorrowland has chicken and fries that you can share between people.
They currently are doing a $2 refill bucket on $12 popcorn container. This is likely your best snack option and filling. Buy early and refill all day.
Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn food is our favorite (Mexican-ish) and filling! Bigger kids could easily split fajitas platter or nachoes. All you can eat condiments/toppings.
Pinocchio House has flatbread pizza and Caesar salads that can be split ok-adults would want both. It is fun to sit by windows and wave at people starting their Small World cruise!!!!
Gaston’s Tavern behind Be Our Guest restaurant is just yummy. For a treat we like to split La Feu’s brew drink and giant cinnamon rolls.
Be Our Guest Restaurant. Get reservations now 6 months out. We wish we had because we never got in without reservations.
Pineapple Dole whip. Worth. Every. Penny. Just do it.
Dwarves passes are very rare. Look for those first.
Peter Pan also ALWAYS has a ridiculous line. If you love it always get fast passes.
Don't wait in Jungle Cruise line if it's hot out. It's miserable with tired kids.
Don't get fast passes for rides like Pirates and Haunted House early in the day. Those are almost always available later when you are ready to choose a new one.
Save the show Philharmagic in Fantasyland for when it is nap/exhaustion/blazing hot outside time. Parents and littles get a nap, A/C saves your life and bigger kids are entertained.
Also in Tomorrowland is the Carousel of Progress. Great adult and littles nap location!!! (After your first enjoyment of it!!)
Ride the train if you have time and want to sit if you want to go to Fantasyland or Tomorrowland and you are in Adventureland.
People Mover rarely has a long line (if it does MK is too full and why are you there that day anyhow?). A great ride to jump on and chill for a few. My kids enjoy it. A lot!
During a parade is the best time to get in line for the most popular rides.
It takes a LONG TIME to leave if you stay for the fireworks. 1 million people leaving on monorail and ferry is slow. Plan to stay a little longer or leave before it's done. Night video show on castle is exceptional.
You MUST SEE Elsa freeze the castle if you’re in MK during the holidays!
Starbucks is past the big ball near the large fountain. West side if you're directional.
Club Cool just past Starbucks has FREE SODA. ALWAYS. If kids are thirtsy, two little samples and they are refreshed and re-sugared(energized)
Sunshine Seasons restaurant at The Land is our favorite. Huge variety, refillable soda, healthy, relaxing, a/c.
France bakery in the back is the best. Just sayin’! The baguettes split well for a crowd but we went for big dessert treats because we loved them so!
Mexico food on the wharf side has giant nachos you could split.
Waffle cone soft serve in front of France towards Morocco is the best ice cream in all the parks!!!!
I suggest a mom and older girls’ trip to go through every store in every country. Would not be fun for littles but it is awesome eye candy for older girls. We had fun trying on hats.
Epcot souvenirs: KidCot is in every land. They get a bear on a stick to color, then in every land find the booth and they will get a country stamp and something special-like their name in Chinese or Mickey drawn with the flag colors. FREE and fun--though not for every trip.
Visit Epcot during the Food and Wine festival with a foodie
Visit Epcot during the Art Festival with one who wants to talk to artists.
You will probably never get a fast pass for Frozen. Sign said 120 min, we got in in 60. Hotel guests get to pick fast passes 2 months ahead, so that is why. Very cute and cool inside but a long line.
Living with the Land is a nice relaxing educational ride next to the awesome SOARIN!!!!! I love the horticulture and hidden mickeys.
Don't get Nemo fast passes. It's rarely a line.
Character Meet fast passes do not include Baymax or Inside Out. Just Mickey, Minnie, Goofy
For fast ride lovers, single rider line at Test Track is the way to go!!! We call it “single Pringle ready to mingle”. Small children don’t like to single Pringle! You stay together until you get on the ride then you are filled into a car.
Mission Space. Mom’s with little kids should ride green level. Dad and fast-ride-lovers ride orange level. Green is usually empty.
Spaceship Earth. Aka “The Big Ball.” A good last ride on your way out. Line is longer earlier in the day because people see it first. I love the history in this ride and FYI, the ride is 17 minutes long!
Perry Mission. My adventures loved this. They used to do it with dad now they go alone (older kid with middle kid). Takes about an hour and there are 5 different countries to go to. Do 1-2 missions per trip.
Save movies in lands for if it's hot or your feet are dead. We loved America (nap) France is good but 30 years old, you have to stand in “O, Canada,” but it’s a fun movie.
Chinese acrobats are amazing.
Fife and drum in America is great, and singers inside the America building.
I haven’t seen the fireworks at Epcot in a long time. However, it is easy to leave after the show here.
Starbucks is between the front gate and the Chinese Theater, then right at the end of the Main Street of shops.
Backlot Express has refillable drink cups and splittable chicken and fries.
We love the Star Wars of this park, the fast rides and the shows, but it is currently still under construction. It is a smaller park and will be very busy 2019-2021 with the 2 new lands: Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land.
Toy Story Midway Mania and all the rides at the new land usually have ridiculous lines. Wait for fast passes. It is fun but not 110 min wait fun.
I usually split the family fast passes at this park. Mom and little's go to Little Mermaid and/or Playhouse Disney while Dad and fast ride lovers go to Rockin’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror.
When kids were 13-2 we would get them ice cream to split by the Tower of Terror, have the little one locked in stroller, hand out warnings to obey the oldest child, and leave them on the curb. This was my one turn on the ride before our kids would ride it with us.
Star Tours often has a 10 min line so I didn't always get a fast pass.
Fast pass for Indiana isn't really worth it.
After lunch sometime go to Muppets. Nap time!! I've only seen the whole show once. I always sleep. Haha.
We only did Fantasmic once. It is half about evil characters so pretty dark. Fast pass it for better seats.
Night show has pretty amazing fireworks!!! (Regular. Christmas is just ok). Stand at end of Main Street near gates or near Starbucks to watch, and you can race to tram easily to leave. Not a bad wait.
Starbucks is to the left (west) of the Tree of Life before the bridge to Africa, just past Pizzafari.
Pizzafari is yummy pizza like Pinocchio Haus
Anandapura ice cream truck is the good kind like France soft serve.
I loved the food at Yak and Yeti walk up restaurant. Asian.
In Pandora area they have giant pretzels with cheese dip that splits up well.
I have spent the least amount of time at this park. Don't know all the cheap food deals. Split burgers by Dino ride?
Night Safari near summertime!!!! So fun!
Remember animals sleep mid-day. Don't fast pass this ride then. Early morning or dinner time
Pandora is similar to Soarin’ with the IMAX screen and scents.
Kali river rapids when it is hot is amazing. In September we rode it 8 times in a row because it's the quietest month at Disney. You will get soaked. I've been known to wear my poncho.
Dinoland is fun for Littles. The rides and the park are nice. Primeval Whirl is our favorite cause it's a mini roller coaster.
Rafiki is a fun train ride and petting zoo. We went when it was blazing hot. Don't do that. LOL. No one wanted to ever return.
Nemo show bored Sarah and I to tears when she was 13 and the littles fell asleep. Nap time!!!
The Lion King show is AMAZING. No need to fastpass. They just put you in a certain section is all.
It's Tough to be a Bug is scary!!!! My 7 year old screamed and said he would rather die than go in there again Only one of my kids really likes it. It is only for the brave. Giant spiders, “bugs under your seat bottom”, stinger feel in your back.
The show on the tree at night is neat. We have not seen the new night show on the water.
AK was pretty magical at night just me and the big kids. I recommend it.
Sea World and Legoland: will be added here soon