1. Exploring your resort
So many guests are so focused on the parks alone that they miss what is (literally) all around them—their resort. Even Disney’s value resorts are full of interesting details that are all too often missed. Rather than completely missing out on your resort’s décor, pool, dining, or recreational activities, explore the area early on in your trip. Then when you take a break from the parks, you’ll know exactly what to do with the rest of your time.
2. Getting up early
One of the worst things you can do on a Walt Disney World vacation is oversleep. It is definitely tempting to sleep in a little bit (especially because you will probably be tired) but you really do miss out on a lot that happens early in the morning. In the Magic Kingdom for instance, you’d miss out on the welcome show and much of the entertainment on Main Street U.S.A., and in all of the theme parks you’d miss out on some of the shortest wait times of the day.
3. Table service meals
Some guests skip table service meals altogether during visits to Walt Disney World. Doing so will save you a lot of money, but you may really savor the moments you could spend relaxing in a restaurant where you do not need to get your food yourself. Even if it is just one meal for the entire trip, plan to make a reservation and spend some time relaxing over a family dinner.
4. Character meet and greets
Many adults visiting the parks without children avoid character meet and greets. Even if it is not a top priority during your visit, character meet and greets are a fun part of what makes a Disney vacation so special. Surely there must be some character you’d like to meet. Don’t worry about what other guests think, and hop in line!
5. Buying souvenirs
Buyer’s remorse is terrible enough in the real world, and definitely not something you want to experience at Walt Disney World. If you see an item you think you may want to purchase, check to see if it is available on the Shop Disney Parks app. If it is, don’t worry about buying it in the parks—you can think about it and purchase it later from home. If it isn’t however you may want to buy it while it’s in front of you.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to eat healthy, however unless you have a specific dietary need there is no reason to avoid things you’ll enjoy during your vacation. A Disney trip is a time to splurge (not just with money, but with calories too!) And if it makes you feel any better, there is a good chance you’ll be walking off whatever you eat anyway.
7. Seeing the shows
Too many guests skip shows in favor of ride attractions. Rides may seem more thrilling, but shows are equally as entertaining (some even more-so than rides). Shows are also good ways to spend time in the middle of the day when the lines for rides can become quite long.
8. Or entertainment
Street performers like the Dapper Dans or the Citizens of Hollywood, and even the dance parties and musicians in Animal Kingdom are also often passed up in favor of rides. All of these performers add so much to each of their respective areas, and they are sure to entertain you if you give them a chance.
9. Special events
If you happen to be visiting Walt Disney World during a special event, do not pass it up! Events like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, or the Epcot International Food and Wine or Flower and Garden Festivals are not to be missed. Even if the event costs you an extra ticket (like the Magic Kingdom events) it is still worth doing if you happen to be there during it.
10. Resort hopping
In addition to taking in all of the details at your own resort, hop on the monorail (or bus or boat) to explore some of the other resorts. Strolling through different lobbies and shops can be a fun way to explore a new place and help you take a little break and relax from the parks.
Especially when visiting the parks with kids, resting is important. You may be tempted to keep going all day, but kids get worn out easily on this kind of vacation and meltdowns ensue. Avoid this by spending a couple of hours at the pool, or resting with an ice cream back at the resort (or another non-park area like the Boardwalk or Disney Springs).
12. Seeing the animals at Animal Kingdom
You may be surprised at how many guests feel they’ve done everything there is to do at Animal Kingdom without seeing any (or at least most) of the animals. You may be excited to line up for attractions at Pandora, or feel that the safari is enough, but consider walking along one of the animal trails—you won’t regret it.