Tips. We give them out freely on this blog. We’ve got tips on maximizing time, saving money, and staying safe and hydrated. But there are some things that just need to be said, and as the resident coach here on the ZADD Crew blog, I’m going to throw out five tips that you may or may not know about, along with the very blunt reasons for why you’ll want to consider employing them on your next magical vacation. Here are five important tips I’ve learned over the years — some, the hard way — such as…
Wear Comfy Underwear
Yeah, I’m leading off with underwear. I’m going there. If you want to maximize your enjoyment at Disney, you need to be ruthlessly practical, and that most certainly includes your undergarments. I highly recommend some type of athletic underwear for its ability to dissipate moisture because you might get wet on some rides and you will most certainly be
sweaty. No one wants to chafe in his or her nether regions and spend the rest of the day walking around like an unintentional cowboy. Your level of physical fitness is irrelevant here, so whether you are an every day gym rat or a this-time-I’m-serious type of gym-goer, you will appreciate the all-day comfort that some quality athletic wear will provide. If you plan on bounding as a certain character, consider how you can work some airflow into your bound (or otherwise make it as comfortable as possible). Unless you are participating in Dapper Day, there is simply no reason — let me repeat, no reason — to wear anything that is the least bit uncomfortable. Especially when it comes to your feet.
Wear Comfortable Shoes. Like, Really Comfortable Shoes. Like, You Regularly Run Marathons Comfortable Shoes (even if the only marathons you run are Netflix marathons)
You might want to buy new shoes for Disney, especially if your children are no longer in strollers and you go all day, every day like we do. We don’t play around when it comes to our Disney trips, so we assume that we’ll be walking many miles over the course of a few days. On our last trip, I wore a relatively new pair of New Balance cross trainers, and it helped my feet and my back to feel better than they would have otherwise. I have rotten knees as well as scoliosis, so having
supportive sneakers made a huge difference when we were crisscrossing parks and rope dropping rides each day. Don’t get me wrong: you will be sore regardless of what you wear on your feet. But knowing that, wouldn’t you rather be less sore? There’s no need to torture yourself in the name of fashion. Save that for the office Christmas party where you’re too drunk to care. (I said that out loud, didn’t I?)
Use Mobile Dining Order
This one is new and kind of a no-brainer. Now that you can mobile order your food at all of the Quick Service restaurants around the parks, walking in and staring at the giant menus while fighting through an enormous crowd makes zero sense. Some might argue that you get a much-needed rest during food consumption times, a rest that’s shady and air-conditioned as well. But I laugh at those people, much in the same way that I laughed at people who bought the Microsoft Zune (Google it). Not because desiring shade and air conditioning is foolish but rather because they’re going about getting them in entirely the wrong way. Instead of recharging your batteries (and resetting your personal thermostat) in the hustle and
bustle of a Quick Service dining hall, why not enjoy a classic attraction like Carousel of Progress or the Hall of Presidents? By ordering your food via your phone, you’re freeing up the same amount of time needed to enjoy either of those attractions. In all of our time at Disney, we’ve never explored Tom Sawyer Island, which is a shame, but grabbing a few extra minutes at lunch and dinner might be just the time we need to check it off the next time we visit the Magic Kingdom.
Don’t Be a Rain Wimp
Remember the underwear tip? Well, it’s about to pay off big time. Bring a poncho and embrace the unpredictable Florida weather. And I mean fully and completely embrace it. Don’t be one of those people who gets caught in a Florida sun shower and then later brags that it rained at Disney and you just kept going. Stitch, please. I mean when it pours like wildebeests about to trample Mufasa. Throw on that poncho, rally the troops, and head to your favorite long-wait ride. People will be seeking shelter left and right, and if any bit of that ride’s line is exposed you can bet that people will hop out and head for safety. (Ironically, this happens on Splash Mountain. Go figure.) Make sure that your ponchos are extra large, too, that way they’ll fit over the top of any backpacks you might be carrying and keep both you and your gear dry. But don’t ever let
anyone talk you into wearing sandals to the parks because “it might rain.” Sure, it might rain, but then again it might not. However, you will be walking the entire time no matter what the weather does, so don’t roll the dice on your footwear.
And Finally, When Planning Your Trip Don’t Get Stupid FastPasses
Nothing screams “Disney rookie” like excitedly reading off your list of FastPasses to friends and family only to find that they’re all for rides with little to no wait times.
“Can you believe we got a FastPass for Haunted Mansion?!”
“Yes. Can you believe that a deposed African prince wants to send you money? All he needs is your bank account and social security number and he’ll transfer the funds.”
FastPass strategy is important, but it’s also ruthlessly simple. Some rides, such as Peter Pan’s Flight, are always busy (presumably because British people), and it would be an enormous waste of time to wait in line for them — hence FastPass. Other rides, such as the aforementioned Haunted Mansion, have typically low wait times, especially for the first hour or two after the park opens. It would be foolish to waste a FastPass on such a ride. Also, there are certain rides that people love to run to — such as Space Mountain — but there are other E-ticket rides that take longer to fill up, such as Big Thunder Mountain. If you get a FastPass for Space Mountain, you can ride Big Thunder (and probably Splash Mountain as well while you’re over there) then circle back and hit Haunted Mansion, Winnie the Pooh, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, and Space
Ranger Spin while the lines are still relatively short. You can schedule your first batch of FastPasses for Space Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and have most of the best rides completed before noonish. Afterwards, you can schedule one FastPass at a time for the rest of the day. Use this to grab whatever is first available because you can’t reload your next FastPass until you’ve used the one you have. (So don’t schedule a FastPass for 9pm when it’s only noon; just grab whatever appeals to you that’s the closest to the current time. No need to be picky when you’re reloading. No wait is better than any wait.) If you’d like to learn more about FastPass strategy (and Park Hopping), check out Beth’s post about both here!
Hopefully, by using some of these (admittedly blunt) tips, you can make your next visit to Disney more efficient and more enjoyable. Remember, all kidding aside, the more you squeeze into your Disney vacation the more memorable it will be for you and your family. If you’re comfortable on top of all of that, well, that’s just an added bonus. Maybe I’ll even see you around the parks someday. Just look for the tall guy wearing athletic shorts, New Balance shoes, who is shamelessly running with three lovely ladies in tow.
And you just know that I’m wearing comfortable underwear.
Special thanks to @thezipadeedoocrew, @apopkapete, @magicalshannonmarie, and @mickeys_photographer for the use of their images in this post. For kinder, gentler tips on making your trip to Disney World great, check out articles like this one by Jen or this one by Nicole. Make sure to follow them all on Instagram as well. Let me know what blunt advice you’d like to give people about Disney down in the comments!