Don’t Miss This In Walt Disney World

When planning a vacation to Walt Disney World most everyone knows the big must-do experiences.  Watch the fireworks, eat the castle, ride Rise of the Resistance etc, but what are those hidden gems you should be doing while visiting but you often skip right over?  We have a few don’t skip tips and tricks for your next Walt Disney World vacation that you might not be aware of.

Credit: Matthew Cooper –

Do the Trails

In Disney’s Animal Kingdom, everyone focuses on Flight of Passage, Expedition Everest and Kilimanjaro Safaris, and we don’t blame them as these experiences are outstanding.  But while you are visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom, don’t miss out on the trails throughout the park as well.  One of the hidden gems in Animal Kingdom are the trails around the Tree of Life.  These trails (called Discovery Island Trails) allow guests to get closer to the tree and truly see the beauty and detail up close.  Most guests walk right past these trails as they head to the different rides, but slow down and make sure you experience them and the details they offer.

The two other trails we highly recommend are the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail and Maharajah Jungle Trek.  These two trails are an amazing way to see both the gorillas and the tigers that live in Animal Kingdom.  Both of these trails are tucked back and away making it easy to skip past, but seek them out and enjoy your time exploring and learning about these magnificent animals.

Credit: Disney

Enjoy Free Activities

That’s right FREE activities are available in both Epcot’s World Showcase as well as Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Unless you are a truly Disney die hard you might not even know these activities exist.  In Epcot around the World Showcase, kids can visit the Kid Cot stations.   Here kids are given fun activities that represent that country.  It is a great way for kids to learn, be creative and it also gives grown ups time to relax and even enjoy a snack or beverage of choice.

In Disney’s Animal Kingdom, kids can work to become a Wilderness Explorer just like Russel in Pixar’s UP!.  Stop at headquarters located on the bridge between the Oasis and Discovery Island to get your packet and take the Wilderness pledge.  Once you have done this, you can then visit different stations throughout Animal Kingdom to learn about the animals and receive your badges.  It is a self-paced exploration that keeps kids engaged and provides them with a nice souvenir as well.  Earn all the badges and receive a price!


Fun at the Resort

We realize that when most people travel to Walt Disney World it is to experience the four theme parks; however, we highly recommend taking some time at the resorts.  Disney’s magic surpasses the parks and finds its way to the resorts as well.  Enjoy the fun afternoon activities at the pool.  Kids can compete in trivia, races and so much more.  Often this is a highlight for many kids!  Make sure to pick up an entertainment guide for your resort as well.  You will be surprised at all the activities that happen throughout the day.  From crafts and movies under the stars many of these fun events happen daily.  We are often so busy rushing to and from the parks that we aren’t aware of the fun and excitement happening right at our resort.

Play Disney Parks App

Many of us remember standing in line when we were little and being bored or if we were really lucky we had an old school game boy to play with to pass the time.  Now Disney has its very own entertainment for kids called the Play Disney Parks App.  This app is an interactive app that has trivia and games themed to the area of the park you are in.  The app offers so much including becoming a data pad and extremely interactive in Galaxy’s Edge.  Make sure you have it downloaded before heading down on your vacation.  It is an excellent way to have fun while waiting in line together.

Use My Disney Experience

If you are heading to Walt Disney World on vacation, you have probably heard of My Disney Experience.  This is Disney’s interactive, planning app that allows you to do so much before and during your vacation.  The app can hold your ticket, open your door, help you order food, see wait times and so much more.  Because it can do all of this, make sure you are using it while on vacation.  So often we use the app to get into the park and then forget to utilize all the helpful tools it has to offer.  Need a bathroom, the app can show you the nearest one.  Want to find ice cream?  Pull up the app.  Wondering what the wait time is for Haunted Mansion?  The app has that for you.  There is so much useful information on the My Disney Experience app that you will want to make sure you use it throughout your vacation.

Walt Disney World has so much to offer that sometimes it can be easy to miss some of the smaller but just as magical experiences.  We hope that these tips and tricks will help you find some joy in the lesser known options throughout the parks.


About Jennifer Retzlaff

My name is Jennifer Retzlaff and I became a lifelong Disney fan during my first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of my life. I live in Iowa with my husband and two kids who are growing up too quickly for my liking. I started introducing my love for Disney early to my family with a Disney honeymoon and then trips when our youngest of 18 months. Since then, our family has been to Walt Disney World over five times and we continue to plan and dream for the next trip. I love the magic that Disney brings to people through the theme parks, cruises, adventures and movies they create. As a teacher, I try to bring that magic into my classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” I recently reached a dream of mine as I joined Magic Vacation Planner as a personal travel advisor. With this team, I can now help others plan magical vacations. As a passionate writer, I also have my own blog at magicalvacationsbyjen which is also where you can follow me on instagram for trip reviews along with tips and tricks for your next magical vacation.