Tips for Disney World - 2023 Insider's Guide to the Park

January 12, 2023

Unlimited selfies in front of the iconic Cinderella Castle, meet and greets with your favorite Frozen cast members, and adrenaline-pumping rides with the Guardians of the Galaxy.

From not-so-spooky scares in the Haunted Mansion to more unique Disney World experiences, there’s a reason this Mouseketeer-filled heaven is the happiest place on earth. Follow along to learn all the juicy tips for Disney World with our Insiders Guide to Disney World. 

From how to handle mobile food ordering to what Galaxy Edge attractions you just can’t miss, our Insiders Guide is loaded with the top Disney World tips and tricks for 2023.

Stop wondering how to plan a perfect trip to Disney World! Let Tripster be your guide and prepare you with the know-how to make the most of your Disney World vacation!

View of Cinderella's Castle and bridge at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: • Another World • via Facebook

What Are the Different Disney World Parks?

The best thing about a Disney World vacation, besides getting to meet your favorite character for breakfast, is that it is entirely customizable. Disney World is huge, located just outside of Orlando, FL. This sprawling theme park metropolis consists of four separate theme parks:

  • Magic Kingdom
  • Hollywood Studios
  • Epcot
  • Animal Kingdom

Plus: 

  • two water parks
  • a downtown shopping district
  • over 30 resort hotels

Related Post: Orlando on a Budget: How to Save BIG With a Go City Pass

This means there are a lot of park grounds to cover. Depending on the length and type of your Disney getaway, you may prefer to see certain attractions over others. 

For example, if you are traveling with young children who are excited to have the classic Disney experience, complete with Cinderella’s castle and ‘It’s a Small World,’ you may forgo Epcot in favor of the Magic Kingdom. 

Remember, though, it’s nearly impossible to see everything Disney has to offer within your allocated vacation days or even weeks - after all, it’s roughly twice the size of Manhattan! So make sure to do your park research and prioritize your favorites.

Check out How to Conquer Disney World in 3 Days to get an even better idea on how to prioritize and schedule your time!

Trees and Plants at Pandora The World of Avatar at Disney World's Animal Kingdom - Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Avatar via Facebook

How Should I Best Plan Ahead For My Day?

Wandering into Disney World without a plan is a surefire recipe to waste your precious time and vacation dollars. However, before you can plan and purchase your appropriate Walt Disney World tickets, know when you wish to travel.

Disney World tends to be more crowded around the holiday season, and as a result, you may have to suffer through a long wait time at some of the more popular attractions and rides. However, the holiday season offers some unique events like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

The slower, less crowded months are January, February, September, and October. 

Psst..working within a very specific Disney budget? To figure out how to save at Disney World, and the best cheap ways to go to Disney World yearround check out our Ultimate Guide to Walt Disney World: Coupons, Discounts, and Deals.

palm tree and spring flowers with Epcot and Walt Disney World Monorail System tram in the background in Orlando, Florida, USA

What's the Cheapest Way to Get Disney World Tickets?

Once you have decided when you will be taking your Disney vacation, the next step is to purchase your Disney tickets. A great way to see more of the parks (and save some hard-earned cash) is to purchase Disney ticket packages

Be sure to check out the variety of Disney ticket packages and savings offered; the more days you buy, the more you save! Want to visit multiple Disney parks? Consider the ticket packages that include Park Hopper options to bundle with your hotel.

Already dreaming about your next Magic Kingdom visit? Experience the enchantment of Disney World year-round when you upgrade any level of park ticket to an annual pass. Annual pass holders are privy to a plethora of perks, including discounts on dining, free parking, access to special events, and more.

Where to Stay Near Walt Disney World?

For generations, Disney World travelers have wondered where to stay. It’s a debate as old as time, to stay or not stay within the Disney park. This decision is based entirely on your budget, interests, and timeframe.

Related Post: Disney World Thanksgiving: Where to Eat & What Do

Disney World contains 26 Disney-operated hotels and ten hotels not operated by Disney but within the premises. Many people swear by Disney Resort Hotels as they certainly add to the whole Disney experience and allow you many perks, including:

  • proximity to the parks
  • extended park hours
  • the ability to ship items directly to your room

In addition, staying on the property also allows you the option to come back to your hotel room midday to rest up and recharge (which can be particularly helpful if you are wrangling kiddos).

Related Post: 10 Totally Free Things to Do in Orlando for Adults

Luxurious Disney Springs resorts let you stay close to the theme park action and include benefits such as complimentary shuttle transportation, fresh breakfast buffets, and 24-hour fitness centers. 

On the other hand, if Disney is just part of your Orlando adventure, you can certainly save money, and check out nearby attractions such as SeaWorld or Cocoa Beach by staying in any of the best offsite Disney World Hotels

Lobby of the Animal Kingdom Lodge at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom - Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Walt Disney World via Facebook

Disney World Parking Tips

Ready to be reunited with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and the whole gang? An important part of planning any Disney World strategy includes parking. While we always recommend utilizing complimentary shuttle services, if you do opt to rent or bring your own car to Disney, here are our top takeaways:

  • Disney Resort guests should take advantage of the discounted rates for Standard overnight self-parking
  • Not staying onsite? Guests can pay a flat fee for an all-day standard parking pass that can be used at all four theme park
  • Guests will have the option of choosing between standard parking, or preferred parking lots (conveniently located closer to the park entrances)
  • Please note that standard theme park parking is included for all annual pass holders and registered Guests of Disney Resort hotels.
  • Parking is free at all Disney Water Parks, Disney Springs, and the ESPN Wide World of Sports.
  • Be sure to take a photo of your parking spot and/or use the complimentary car locator feature in the My Disney Experience mobile app.

close up view of Spaceship Earth at Walt Disney World's Epcot in Orlando, Florida, USAAre There Campgrounds and RV Parks Near Disney World?

Looking for a unique way to experience staying near Disney? Have you ever thought of camping near Disney World?

Enjoying a little nature with your Mickey Mouse could make for some endearing memories. Tropical Palms Resort is only about 4 miles from Disney World Resort. They provide RV sites, private cottages as well as community events such as movie nights, and smores by the fire.

Related Post: How to Conquer the Magic Kingdom in One Day

Sherwood Forest Resort offers an even more peaceful setting while still being 4 miles from Disney World. Offering private cottages and a variety of sites to choose from for RVs. Community amenities and activities include concerts, dance lessons, BINGO, crafting, hot tub, and pool.

In addition to saving on lodging, you'll be able to save on meals. Having the freedom to prepare most from your campsite.

Is There a Walmart Near Disney World?

Need to stock up on some groceries for your Disney kitchenette, or just have your eye on some adorable Disney apparel? If you are serious about saving money, skip the gift shop and stock up on souvenirs, snacks, and more at the nearby Walmart. Conveniently located just 8 miles from Disney Springs, the Walmart Supercenter at Kissimme combines both supermarket and department store offerings. Head to 2855 N. Old Lake Wilson Road, Kissimmee, FL, and start saving!

space shuttle with Alien character from Toy Story attached to seat of the Alien Swirling Saucers ride in Disneyworld, Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Disney

How To Avoid the Crowds at Disney World

In the case of Disney World, the early bird does get the worm, or in this case, the ride! One of the best (and easiest) Disney ways to start your Disney day strong is to arrive at least 30-45 minutes before the official park opening. 

Related Post: 12 of the Best Things to Do in Orlando with Teenagers

Disney experts even have a little nickname for this practice called ‘rope dropping,’ which refers to Disney employees holding the ropes across the theme parks’ entrances. Then, once the park officially opens, they lower the rope allowing the guests to enter. 

So is early arrival to Disney World that big of a deal? Yes! In fact, on a day of moderate crowds, the wait times at Space Mountain go from a mere 16 minutes at 9 AM to 41 minutes by 10 AM. 

Pro tip: position yourself at the rope closest to the attraction you wish to experience first.

Single Rider Lines

Another nifty way to cut down on crowded lines at Disney World is to make use of Single Rider Lines. If you are tackling Disney solo, or don’t mind being separated from your group you can opt to ride in this typically faster line. Single riders are used to fill empty seats on such popular rides as the:

  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster 
  • Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run 
  • Test Track 
  • And Expedition Everest
Wide shot of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Renato Mitra via Unsplash

Apps and Passes Needed for Your Day at Disney

Thankfully technology has made planning and getting around the Disney parks easier than ever. A simple and free way to keep abreast of all the Disney fun to be had is through the My Disney Experience App. This handy app is about to become your best friend at Disney, as it not only serves as a park map but also allows you to: 

  • reserve dining
  • buy tickets
  • observe ride wait times
  • show you when and where you can meet your favorite characters
  • gain access to your Disney resort room. 

Genie+ is a must for skipping the lines on the most popular Disney attractions and rides. Considering some of the more popular rides can have wait times of up to 3 hours during the busy season, we consider these passes money well spent. 

Related Post: 50 Years of Magic at Walt Disney World®

Another pass option is the Park Hopper, which allows you to jump from one park to another during the same day. If you want to add a little variety to your Disney vacation, these passes are a great option, and hit up more than one theme park!

girl hugging Pluto character at dinner with food on table at Disneyland in Los Angeles, California, USA

Share a meal with your favorite Disney friends at the Garden Grill in Epcot.

What's the Food Scene Like?

Disney newbies may be shocked to learn that the culinary scene at Disney World is second to none. Foodies will feel entirely at home here as you can consume everything from delicious roadside burgers to international gastronomical delights at Epcot. 

Like many things in Disney World, dining reservations (especially lunch) fill up fast. Therefore, if you have your heart set on a memorable dining experience, such as eating at Cinderella’s table, be sure to book in advance. 

Related Post: The Complete Guide to Food at Walt Disney World

Disneyphiles on the go may prefer to frequent one of the park’s many quick-service restaurants. From delicious egg rolls in EPCOT to the iconic frozen Dole Whip, these time-sensitive eateries are perfect for a sweet treat or full meal. Secure even more time for roller coasters and character-filled parades when you order, pay for, and pick up your food via mobile order

Did you go HAM stocking up on Disney gift cards? Don’t forget these nifty plastic delights can be used to pay for all food items at Disney World. 

Pro tip: Disney World even has a special abbreviation for these Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs), which can be made up to 180 days in advance!

photo credit: Britani Stratton by Ears of Experience via Facebook

What Should I Bring to Walt Disney World?

Like anything in life, it pays to prepare when it comes to the wild world of Disney. Days at Disney will be exhilarating and exhausting, so be sure to pack your day pack accordingly. Our non-negotiable items always include:

  • Portable phone charger
  • Water bottle & snacks
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Poncho or raincoat (weather dependent)
  • A change of clothes in case you want to refresh post water ride/park

Related Post: What to Bring to Orlando: The Ultimate Packing List

Also, for those with small children, Disney World does allow you to bring your own stroller as long as it fits their official Disney stroller regulations.

group of excited kids running in front of cinderella castle at walt disney world orlando, florida

What Are the Can't-Miss Attractions?

Every Disney theme park offers something unique, and if you have the time, by all means, explore all four. Whether you are catching a safari in Animal Kingdom or enjoying the view from the Mexican Pavilion at Epcot, there are so many unique Walt Disney World experiences to be had. However, if you are tight for time, here are our favorite ‘Can’t Miss’ activities in all of the parks:

Magic Kingdom

  • Iconic Cinderella’s Castle & Happily Ever After Show at Cinderella’s Castle
  • Mainstreet U.S.A
  • Fantasy Land
  • Space Mountain (ride)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean (ride)
  • Disney Character Meet & Greets 

Hollywood Studios

  • Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge
  • Toy Story Land
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Disney Junior Characters

aerial view of Millennium Falcon at night in Star Wars Galaxy's Edge in Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, USAEpcot

  • World Showcase (try food from around the world)!
  • Soarin’ ride
  • Finding Nemo
  • Mission: Space and Test Track

Related Post: Current Festivals and Events at Disney World

Animal Kingdom

  •  Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Everest (ride)
  • Na’vi River Journey
  • Pandora: The World of Avatar
  • Flights of Wonder

Disney World Galaxy Edge Tips

One of the newest additions to the Disney universe, Galaxy’s Edge is a must-visit for any die-hard Star Wars fan. Try out your Batuu language skills, build a droid, or commandeer the Millenium Flacon. Prepare to join the Resistance and set your sights on hyperspace with the following tips and suggestions:

  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is Disney’s biggest and most immersive attraction yet. Due to its high popularity, we strongly recommend utilizing Genie+ or Lightening Lane to secure your ride reservation ahead of time
  • Similarly, take advantage of the single rider line, Genie+, and standby lines for the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers ride
  • Adults looking to indulge in some intergalactic alcoholic beverages should make reservations at Olga’s Cantina
  • Kids will love sipping the Skywalker famous ‘blue milk’ from farm-fresh blue from the Bubo Wamba Family Farm
  • For the ultimate souvenir, design your very own droid at the depot, or customize a lightsaber at Savi's Workshop*

*We recommend making advanced reservations for your lightsaber appointment online, as this activity is in high demand!

family riding theme park ride at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, USA

A Disney World vacation is a marathon, not a sprint. The magic of Disney World is in the entire immersive experience. From hidden Mickeys around every corner to the heartwarming nightly fireworks displays, a Disney World stay is so much more than rides. 

However, with so much to see and do, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Our Disney World Vacation Guide is here to help you discover the best way to do Disney your way.

Whether you’re wondering about advanced dining reservations or which rides you can’t skip at Animal Kingdom, Tripster provides top-tier Walt Disney World insider info.

Can’t wait to begin creating your own Disney memories? Start planning your Dream Walt Disney World getaway today!

Tell us, What Are Your Favorite Disney World Insider Tips?

Did we miss any of your favorite Disney World tricks?

Leave us a comment below!


isis with mural in background

Written By Isis Maya

A New York native, Isis-Maya spent most of her professional life working in TV production until a vacation whisked her away to Central America and her love o ...

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