Survival Tips: Disney World

Disney World is the most magical place in the world, right? Well, IT CAN BE if you follow our survival tips on how to survive – and ENJOY – Disney World and all its magicalness!

#001 Come Prepared

I’m talking EVERYTHING. The last thing you want is to need to buy something while at Disney (other than souvenirs, of course) because it is expensive and you don’t want to waste time in the line-ups. The essentials you should bring are:

  • Reusable water bottles (they have fountains at the park)
  • Sunscreen & a hat (protect yo self! Florida sun is HOT)
  • A lunch/snacks
  • Camera or smartphone w/ camera (NOTE: No selfie sticks allowed!)
  • Magic band (I recommend getting these, makes everything way easier, I’ll explain later)
  • A change of clothes (if going on Splash Mountain or wet rides)

#002 Bring Your Own Food

You can either bring a cooler and keep it in a locker to go back to at lunchtime or just bring some snacks and sandwiches in your backpack along with you. You are allowed to bring outside food into the park so long as you don’t have any knives, glass or alcohol. You can save a huge amount of money and also save time by not needing to wait in lines. Also, bring your own reusable water bottle to save money, time and save the planet! We only splurged on two days, one in Magic Kingdom when Marco got a huge Turkey Leg (pictured) and in Epcot when we got some German Beer!

#003 Take Your Own Pictures

Honestly, most people do this anyways nowadays but seriously, take your own! The photo-pass at Disney is $99 USD per DAY! Guys, that’s an extra $100 per day on top of your already $100-something admission ticket. The pictures are pretty nice, but save yourself some cash and buy yourself something nice. Unless you’re a die-hard Disney fan, can’t take nice pictures or just REALLY like the pictures they take of you, it’s not worth it in our opinion.

#004 Get The Magic Band

A magic band is essentially the entrance card you get where you can tap to get into the park, get your photo-pass pictures and get into your fast-pass selections. It’s incredibly more efficient to have the magic band (I think they cost about $13 USD) for a number of reasons. One, it’s hard to lose something attached to your wrist (Marco lost his card on the second day of Disney so we decided to get the magic bands, LOL live and learn!). Two, all you do is tap your wrist and you’re in! No need to search your bag or pockets for the pass. Quick and easy!

#005 Get Your Fast-Passes WAY Ahead of Time

So, a little fun fact that we didn’t before going – Fast-Passes are now done entirely on Disney’s Mobile App and ticket-holders can select their Fast-Passes up to 3 months in advance – crazy, right? We did not know this, so learn from our mistakes! It was tricky to get fast-passes for rides that we wanted because we literally waited until the day-of to get them. If you know which park you are going to on which day of your trip than try to plan your fast-passes out as soon as you can. This way, you can enjoy all your favorite rides without the crazy wait times (Rockin’ Rollercoaster was a 120-minute wait when we went, and it was raining that day!).

#006 Take Breaks If You Need To

There is a LOT to see in one Disney park – and there are several! Your passes include in-and-out privileges meaning that you can leave the park and come back within the same day with no issues. I recommend arriving for opening, staying until lunchtime or whenever you can, leaving and taking a break and then returning several hours before close to get more rides and meet-ups in and to watch their fireworks/light shows (they have one every night at every park except Animal Kingdom). This helps prevent people from getting cranky, moody, tired, etc. and can improve your Disney World experience.

 

Day Trip: Clearwater Beach

The water really is crystal clear in Clearwater – it’s so beautiful! Clearwater is located about 2 hours west of Orlando, FL so it is certainly doable to do it as a day trip, although there is a strip along the beach of amazing hotels and motels you can stay the night in if you wanted to stay a little longer. For us, we thought one day in Clearwater was enough but I am sure there is much more to see!

Getting There

Again, the trip is about two hours west of Orlando. The traffic gets really congested between Tampa and Clearwater and you need to take a fairly long bridge to get into Clearwater. Also, FUN FACT: Hooters Restaurant was founded right in Clearwater, FL in 1983. There is also limited parking close to the beach, so you’ll want to arrive early to ensure you can get a spot. Otherwise, you’ll need to park far or pay for parking at one of the hotels in the area (if there are some free spots available).

The Beach

The beach is very long and there are lots of good spots, but ideally, you’ll want to be relatively close to the pier (Pier 60) or at least be up for the trek to get there. It is super cool and definitely a highlight of a trip to Clearwater Beach. You can pay a fee to get access to sun huts/umbrellas, or you can just lay in the sand and soak up the sun! The sand is also super white, fine and soft. The photos don’t do it justice, but in person, it is absolutely beautiful. The water is also super clear! (They don’t call it Clearwater for no reason!) Clearwater is also situated on the Gulf of Mexico (day trip to Cancun, anyone?).

The Pier

Pier 60 is probably the main attraction to this beach, other than the beautiful sand and lovely waters. You can walk along the pier and even fish from it! There were these boards along the railings where people could cut their fish (yuck!) and there are a BUNCH of pelicans!!! By the way, pelicans are way larger in person than I had ever thought, they also look pretty mean. We didn’t have any bad luck with the pelicans, luckily. Aside from walking ON the pier, walking UNDER the pier is even cooler. You can get some pretty sweet shots under the bridge, some people even set up their picnic spots here for some shade!

The Wildlife

Honestly, there is MUCH wildlife at the beach aside from birds and fish. We’ve never seen pelicans before and the fish in the Gulf of Mexico are very different from those in Lake Ontario – so we found them pretty interesting. Along the pier, you can also use binoculars to check out sights in the distance like boats and such. We also saw two dolphins swimming around the end of the pier for a brief moment! Seeing a wild dolphin, even for a moment, was a really cool experience.

 

 

 

Day Trip: Disney Springs

OK – So first of all, I am so used to calling this place “Downtown Disney”. Does anyone remember that or was I hallucinating this whole time? Disney Springs sounds way more boujee than Downtown Disney – but rightfully so, it is pretty fantastic.

The “Springs” 

Disney Springs is essentially a shopping and eating district. It is not an amusement park and you do not need to pay admission, you can park and walk right up and enjoy! What you do need to pay for is everything else. There are really cool themed restaurants, Disney shops and other shops (not Disney related), and there is even a huge hot air balloon ride that you can get on Groupon for like $11 USD! The balloon takes you up 400 ft. in the air. We really wanted to do this but it was closed when we arrive sadly.

The Shops

There SO many shops, but my FAVE was the lego shop. There are wicked cool lego creations you can take pics beside and there’s even a sea monster lego IN THE LAKE! You can purchase cool lego sets or buy your lego pieces individually along the big lego-piece wall (idk if that’s what they really call it lol). They also have a shop where you can design your very own t-shirt, but they were all out of Marco’s size when we went (boo!).

The Restaurants

SO – we didn’t actually eat here – BUT they do have lots of really cool restaurants and some are themed to the nines (Rainforest Cafe!). There is a lot to choose from and the scenery and atmosphere is so nice here – just like any Disney Park, or really anywhere in Florida for that matter (anywhere with Palms is good for us!). The food smelled so good, but we had dinner waiting for us at the house so we decided to pass up some noms on this day trip.