Post Preview: A breakdown of some hidden Disney World secrets and some not so obvious Disney adventures for the 2019 Disney Visitor. Published January 2019, update in Feb 2020
First Time going to Disney? Or Maybe you haven’t been in awhile? One thing you do know, is that it will be absolutely magical. What might surprise you is all the stuff you might not know about your trip to Disney World!
Between the planning, the excitement and the packing- you might not have had time to check out all the in’s and out’s of a Disney World Vacation. If you need the full breakdown, look at my Disney World Beginner’s Guide. Especially if you don’t know that there are 4 parks 😉
What I can help you with in this post, is information that is important to know, but can often get overlooked!
Sure you can learn this the hard way- but let’s make it easy.
Just be aware, Disney won’t reveal all her secrets- even cast members learn new things every day! It’s magic!
This post contains affiliate links at no extra cost to you, check out my affiliate disclosure for more information and all the legal mumbo jumbo.
20 things you might not know about your upcoming Disney World Trip
1.ARG MATEY 🏴☠️
Did somebody say, PIRATES! and we’re not talking about the elusive jack sparrow in Magic Kingdom that will leave you rollingggggg on the ground laughing with tears.
We’re talking about pirates and ships and alone time.
Yes, Disney has a pirate cruise, and yes, you can send your kid on it for TWO HOURS. This two hour cruise is for kids 4-12 who are potty trained and ready to find some hidden treasure!
There are two pirate cruise departure points and they leave at 9:30 A.m.
Interested in learning more? Check out the Disney Webpage or call them to get info and schedule your adventure!
My kids aren’t quite old enough for the cruise, but I’ve heard from family that it is full of fun play, music and snacks! (they do accommodate for some allergies too, so call ahead and ask!)
2. Transportation can take forever
This is just an inevitable part of being at Disney. The grounds are SO HUGE that it does take some time to get from the resort to the parks.
During the slow season it can take 30-45 minutes to park hop from Epcot to Magic kingdom via the monorail, during the busy season it can take up to 1.5 hours and longer.
Forget trying to do it when it’s closing time- the lines then are going to be longggg. Even worse, is if it’s raining.
Take Epcot for example. If your on the boardwalk you can walk, but everyone else needs to take a boat, monorail, gondola or bus to get to their resort. Except the boats, gondolas and monorails don’t run when there’s bad weather. So you’ll be waiting forever in line for a bus packed full of wet grumpy people.
3. Trading Disney Pins is still really popular
Like, a really serious thing that you should be aware of because you will see it pretty frequently! Pin trading is literally, the trading of these Disney Themed pins.
It’s really fun! There’s so many cool things you can do with pin trading, from themed lanyards to hard to find items. Plus it’s just really fun for the kids (and pretty cheap if you grab it before you get to the park!) I love getting a bag of them online for our vacations so we have ‘starter’ pins that we can trade for the things we like. (though those bags DO have a fair amount of fake pins- check the reviews!)
Cast members can’t really say ‘No’ when it comes to pin trading and there’s so many of them that have them all around the park.
4. Disney World has an Abandoned Airport!
Disney World had it own airport for a few years. It was part of Walt’s original vision to have a large airport on Disney Property to accomafate the guests. This was before the Orlando International Airport was even built (Orlando was actually a lot smaller 50 years ago!)
This airport, built in the 60’s, was a small throughway for guests while Disney planned to build a larger airport INSIDE Epcot.
Could you even imagine the security risk that would be today? The Mouselets cover it in more detail, but the most memorable part of the airport was the singing groves!
Fun Fact: When the plane landed and hit the grooves on the runway, it would play “when you wish upon a star”. Disney Imagineers were sure ahead of their time 60 years ago.
5. Disney World and $$$
Did we expect it any different? They have pricing based on the season for tickets and hotels- so changing prices for items seems like a smart business decision.
People always want me to give them a number and I literally can’t- most of Disneys items are on a color coded system. So the tag is purple or green. Then they have a card close by that tells you the price. Which means they can change the price at any time (and they do).
And food… good lord. it changes DAILY. the pricing for dinner on a monday will not be the same as saturday.
Be our Guest in the magic Kingdom charges for kids under 3 but other character dining meals don’t.
Plus they’ve been raising the prices on one thing or another like clockworth every few months.
If you plan to go in 12-18 months from now, calculate the cost of everything NOW and then add 20%.Seely
I’m happy to report that as of **** NOVEMBER 2019 those onesies in the Seas Pavilion at Epcot are still 29.99, but the sunglasses and ears have increased in price.
6. There are First Aid Centers and Baby Care Centers at Every Park
We LOVE this! Need a bandaid? Forgot something for baby? Or you are pregnant and need somewhere with A/C? don’t get it from amazon same day delivery- just swing by a store in the parks!
We’ve never had any complaints with the care we’ve gotten at either of these places and we are so thankful they exist! (Disney also has their own Fire/EMS department, Reedy Creek.)
They are super fast if you have a medical emergency and with lots of hospital options close by, you will be in good hands!
7. You have to pay to park – everywhere
You will pay to park, pretty much… everywhere. From the resorts to the parks. Some tickets include free parking and can be worth it (even if only one member of your party get the upgraded pass with free parking) and handicap stickers give you free parking at the resorts.
you might think you can park at Disney Springs (because it’s still free) and go to the parks, BUT they no longer have buses that go straight to the parks. The Parks DO have buses that go to Disney Springs after 4 though.
But there are still some free things at Disney World Resorts, so at least we have that going for us!
8. Automatic Penny Machines
Our Childhood is fading right before our eyes!
Yep, you read that right. Those childhood penny pressing machines with the cranks are getting a much needed update with an electric press. And you can use a DEBIT CARD.
Say what! No more carrying around pennies and quarters to get pressed. BUT you get a penny in return! How cool is that. I still have so many of mine from when I was a kid and it’s still VERY popular at disney and other central florida theme parks. This is one of those cheap and fun things that my kids love doing.
Disney hasn’t replaced all their machines yet, but you can bet it will be happening soon!
and speaking of pressing pennies- have you ever considered making this a game on your vacation? You just need one of those notebooks and a keen eye (and some coins for the ones that are debit card capable) Fun for all and you get some nifty souvenirs!
Get the full inside scoop on the Pressed Pennies, updated for 2020 and all the changes, like where they’re located and if they plan to keep this fan favorite.
9. Fast Pass is free AND you can HACK it
Fast Pass is this magical item that lets you skip the line. You absolutely want it. And its free! There are kiosks in the park if you don’t make your fast passes in advance, but I do recommend doing them (at least some of them) ahead of time.
You can only plan for one park at a time, so compare them to your food reservations to make sure you are at the right park at the right time!
One of the ways we hack our fast passes is to only schedule one ride, super early. Complete the fast pass, then pick a new fast pass option as soon as you get done with your first.
You can easily use 6-10 fast passes a day BUT only if they are available.
10. You get way more perks if you stay on property
I could seriously write a whole post on all the perks you get if you stay on Disney World Property. And while I’m not a fan of the costs, I do like to stay at the resorts because they come with so many cool features.
My kids love the themed rooms and the character wake up calls in the morning.
I love that my Magic Band is connected to my credit card so I dont have to bring a wallet (though I still do with my Id and the kids gift cards!) and my Husband is a huge fan of the Extra Magic Hours.
These are times that only resort guests can go to Disney Parks, they have a list ahead of time- like 2 hours early at animal kingdom on Wednesday and 2 hours late at magic kingdom on Thursday. It’s a great way to stretch your day!
10.2 The Pools!
The pools are some of the coolest attractions at the resorts.
Did you know that several pools, like at beach and yacht club, have actual sand areas?
And that the Big Blue Pool at Art of Animation is the largest Disney Pool AND it’s a salt water pool!
11. Booze it up
For those that like alcholic drinks, you’ll want to know that they can be found at every park now.
For those that don’t support drinking at children’s amusement parks… well. It’s there, so be prepared.
It’s not flaunted in some obsure way, but it is somewhat less than obvious and you just have to know where to look. It’s primarily at the table service restaurants and most of those you need a reservation for.
At Epcot, you can drink your way around the world showcase. It’s… fun to an extent. There are a lot of UCF students that come at night that tend to ruin the experience.
12. It’s free
The Disney PhotoPass is really worth it (but not free)
– but if you decide not to get it OR you just want some pics taken on your camera or phone, the Disney Photographers will do that for you for free!
Just ask nicely. I have a full list of things you can do for Free too!
13. There is a list of banned items and activities
Suprise? There are certain items you can’t take into the park. Like children older than 12 aren’t supposed to wear costumes.
You also aren’t allowed to have selfie sticks or glass items. And Disney Security is amazinnggggg. They will keep you safe, from selfie sticks and everything else!
14. and you and you and you!
Did you grab some of these shoes that people go crazy for?
and some souvenirs?
maybe some gifts for the family back home?
Great! Now you get to lug it for the next 15 miles….. KIDDING!
Disney has you taken care of. Which is so cool! If you purchase something at the parks they can take care of sending it out for you. Either to the front of the park, your resort or to your house!
This is super useful so you don’t end up lugging it around the park and risk it getting lost or broken. This also means you can shop whenever and wherever- since you have the means to have it sent to the resort for you!
15. There are designated outdoor smoking areas – UPDATE they removed these in May 2019
If you smoke (or vape) you are expected to do it in the designated smoking areas throughout the park. They aren’t dingy back lots, but they are tucked discreetly in semi hidden areas.
I don’t even smoke and I’ve been known to visit these spots for some peace and quiet! SO NOW YOU HAVE TO DO IT OUTSIDE THE PARK. this includes vaping. Yes I’ve seen security get involved.
15 times 2. The drink machines are futuristic
Disney has found a way to include RFID chips into their cups. This means no free refills! Ok, normally you get some refills in the hour after your purchase. You can talk to the cast member when you purchase your food.
This is also where those refillable resort mugs come in handy. You can get as much to drink as you want at a RESORT during your stay, just not the parks.
I did do an experiment (this is what happens when you go weekly to disney world, you get bored and do weird shit) to see what happens if you buy a disposable RFID cup and not activate it. I kept it for a week and went to a new resort and activated it there and it worked and I got my three drinks in my 3 hours window. Good to know if you end up buying too many cups.
16. Watch it burn…
Nothing beats going to Disney World, enjoying the sites, and having a … campfire??
It’s true! Many of the resorts will have campfires, and if your resort doesn’t, they can point you in the direction of one that does! We went to this one with Chip and Dale and did marshmallows and it was magical!
17. They also have Fun Runs!
Running? at disney?
You may not believe it, but there are some hardcore diehard Disney running fanatics. Which is great, because they can do the runDisney events and run through the parks. I’ve heard it’s magical.
For the rest of us regular running folks, you can hit the free trails everyday at the majority of the parks (I want to say all of them have a running trail, but don’t quote me!)
You can also participate in Disney Fun Runs! They are held at the resorts throughout the week and average about 15 dollars for registration.
(Some Disney Resorts have gyms if you need to get your gainz on while on vacation!!)
18. Take advantage of all the cool stuff outside of the ticketed events
Wanna know what’s fun? seeing all the cool themed areas OUTSIDE of the parks!
This is an actual thing! Cool right. There are so many resorts at Disney World and they each have their own take (and their own restaurants!) on their theme.
When I was younger I thought you had to pay to go to each of the resort, but that’s simply not the case. You can go just to peak around or enjoy some of the activities at each resort.
You can also take a bite at their food court or some of the signature restaurants at many of the resorts. These are often easier reservations to get too!
It’s super fun to get on the monorail and ride around to all the resorts on the line, hop off and explore before catching the monorail to the next resort. It’s even more amazing at Christmas time! I can’t wait to be able to do it with the new skyliner gondola system coming in 2019!
19. Baby can go too!
Some people are very wary about bringing their young kids to Disney World. I get it! It’s why we have an entire section dedicated to bringing baby to Disney.
The cool thing about bringing babies, is that they can go on a good number of the rides! yep, toddlers and pregnant women can all go on these rides as well. It makes it much more of a family vacation.
In this picture below, I’m baby wearing my 5 week old. You can learn all about baby wearing at Disney Here!
20. If you want the most from your Disney Characters you need to…
As far as I’m concerned, there are 4 ways to meet the characters.
Standing in line for their permanent attractions.
Standing in line for pop up character meets.
Going to a character meal
Going to a special ticketed event (I include the holiday parties and the water parks in this section.)
In order to get the most from your Disney Character Visit, I would recommend character dining (which you can do without a ticket at some locations!).
Character dining offers the most interaction BESIDES the pop up character meets. In those cases, your character is only greeting friends for 20-30 minutes at a time, and since the lines are shorter, you tend to get more interaction.
Going to a special ticketed event can be fun too- but not a guarantee depending on the crowd levels and if you are even able to go.
Not only can the cast members snap a picture of you on your cell phone.
You can grab a selfie with the characters! Cool right?
Did you know all these interesting things about Disney? I feel like I only learned about a few of them in the last few years. I’ve been going to Disney all my life and didn’t know you weren’t supposed to bring glass in!
Have any other cool tips to share with the readers? Leave a comment below!
Don’t forget to check out some of my other helpful guides.
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