The One Thing You Need to Master for a Successful Walt Disney World Trip

This may seem basic to those who visit Walt Disney World regularly but we have seen too often lately guests who are planning to visit the resort and have not even utilized the one thing that can make or break your Disney trip:  the My Disney Experience app.

Gone are the days of just showing up to the park and winging it.  Fastpasses in general have prolonged regular queue lines (that’s a whole separate discussion) and now these Fastpasses can be planned ahead of time.  Off-seasons are also pretty much a thing of the past, so to enjoy the popular attractions, eat at the highly-desirable restaurants, and make your park time more efficient, you NEED to understand how to use this app to your benefit.

Here are our basic tips to using My Disney Experience to plan your trip:


You need to make Fastpasses well before your trip if you are set on riding certain popular attractions.  These attractions include:  Flight of Passage, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Slinky Dog Dash, Peter Pan’s Flight, Soarin’, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and Tower of Terror.  Now some of these attractions can still have Fastpasses closer to your park day and even on your park day, but if you want to know for sure that you’ll be able to get on one of these rides without a long wait – make the Fastpasses as soon as you’re able.

If you are staying at a Disney resort, you are able to make Fastpasses 60 days from your check-in date and you’re able to make them for up to 10 days past your check-in date.  This gives you a great advantage over guests staying at off-site resorts.  Make sure you are ready to grab your Fastpasses at 7 A.M. Eastern on that 60th day from your check-in date.

If you are staying at a non-Disney resort, you are able to make Fastpasses at 30 days from your planned park day.  Don’t fret, while you may not be able to get the most popular attraction Fastpasses, you will still be able to grab some highly desirable ones, so make sure you are up at 7 A.M. on that day to make your selections.

Important – You can make three Fastpasses in advance.  When making your Fastpass selections, try to make your time selections as early as possible in the day and as close together as possible.  This will allow you to use your three Fastpasses and then make additional selections one at a time.  As soon as you scan your Magicband for your third attraction, get on the app in the line and start looking for your next Fastpass.  Continue to do this throughout the day to maximize your time in the park. 

PLUS, if you plan on park-hopping, once you’ve used your third Fastpass, you can make a selection at any of the other parks.

Dining Reservations

Dining reservations require a bit more advance planning since you can make these reservations at 180 days from your desired date.  You can begin making your dining reservations at 6 A.M. on the 180-day mark, so if you have a specific restaurant in mind, be sure to be on the app at that time to lock in that reservation.  Some restaurants that are harder to get are Cinderella’s Royal Table, Be Our Guest Restaurant, California Grill, Victoria & Albert’s, ‘Ohana, Chef Mickey’s, and Beaches & Cream.

Mobile Ordering

This feature is one that you need to be taking advantage of if you will be dining at any quick service restaurants at Walt Disney World.  We are amazed whenever we see how many people are waiting in long lines at Cosmic Ray’s rather than ordering on the app beforehand and then skipping the line to pick up their meals.  Mobile ordering is super easy to use.  You pick everything you want, pay for the food on the app, then when you are close to the restaurant, tap that you are there and ready for them to prepare your food.  Go to the designated counter to pick up and you are eating in no time! 

This is a huge time-saver when you are trying to maximize your park time!  Also, they have now added allergy-friendly menus to order from as well!  This feature is such a life-saver on a busy park day!

These are the basic features you absolutely should be using when visiting Walt Disney World.  There are additional features in the app that are also helpful including:  parade, fireworks, and show times; character meet and greet locations; park hours; restroom locations.

We love helping making Disney days easier for those who are not totally familiar with how to maximize their trip.  If you ever have a trip-planning question, please feel free to DM us on Instagram or Facebook!

Make sure you check out our Walt Disney World park-specific pages here to see the highlighted tips for each park!


Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights Highlights | Osborne Family

Osborne Family Lights

Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights are back at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and if you haven’t heard, it’s the 20th and final year (you can read about that announcement here).  We recently spent the evening soaking in all the lights, music, and fake snow on the Streets of America and we captured some of it to share with you!  What an amazing display by the Osborne Family and we are so sad to see them go!

Check out our highlights video here:

Osborne Family Lights Tips

We also wanted to give you some tips if you plan to head to see the lights dance one more time this year:

  1. Get there early:  We recommend getting there about 30 minutes before the sun sets.  You’ll be able to get a good spot for the initial lighting and it’s also a neat experience to see the Streets of America change from dark to very light!  Another perk of being there early is that you will be in before most of the crowd starts flowing in and you’ll feel less like herded cattle.
  2. Take your time:  There are a lot of little details, especially this year, and you don’t want to miss them.  Don’t feel pressured by the natural flow of the crowd to move through the area quickly.  Step off to the side and really enjoy the lights and the atmosphere.  After all, this will be your last chance!
  3. Bathroom break:  Don’t worry, if you need to use the restroom while in the area there’s actually a large restroom area back near the Lights, Motors, Action! attraction.  So don’t leave the area just to use the potty.
  4. Wait for Photopass:  This is one instance where we’ll suggest waiting in line for PhotoPass rather than trying to snap a selfie or have another guest take your picture.  Definitely take some of those as well, but we suggest getting one or two PhotoPass pictures because these cast members are able to really capture the beauty of the lights and you won’t have as many people crowded on top of you while you’re trying to take the picture.
  5. Merry and Bright Dessert Party:  Look into booking the dessert party if you’d like a VIP experience.  If you choose to book this, you’ll enter a blocked off area that looks down the main strip.  There are tables and chairs for you to sit and take in the sights and sounds.  For more information or to book, check out the official Disney website.

Osborne Family Lights Photos

We will probably be heading back to see the Osborne Family Lights a few more times before they are shut down for good!  We hope you’ll be able to experience them at least one more time as well!

Check out some of the pictures we snapped while there:

  • Osborne Family Lights
  • Osborne Family Lights
  • Osborne Family Lights
  • Osborne Family Lights
  • Osborne Family Lights
  • Osborne Family Lights
  • Osborne Family Lights
  • Osborne Family Lights
  • Osborne Family Lights
  • Osborne Family Lights





Walt Disney World – 7 Quick Tips for Magic Kingdom | Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World

The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World has become an iconic park.  Kids and adults alike dream of visiting this magical place.  While there is a great amount of magic to be had, the park can sometimes seem overwhelming.  Here are 7 quick tips to help you make the most of your visit to the most magical park in Orlando:

7 Quick Tips for Visiting Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World

  1. Prepare Before you Go:  Download the My Disney Experience and link your park tickets before you go.  You can select your FastPasses before you go to the park but sometimes it’s hard to predict your park-day schedule.  If you have the app set up, you can easily change your FastPass selections on the go rather than having to find a kiosk in the park.  Visit the official My Disney Experience page to learn more.
  2. Tour Clockwise:  After walking down Main Street, U.S.A., turn left to start your day in Adventureland.  The majority of the crowd will turn right and head for Tomorrowland (Space Mountain, etc.).  Touring the park clockwise will help avoid some of the crowd and will allow Tomorrowland to thin out by the time you get there.
  3. Save Money:  The Walt Disney World parks offer free cups of water!  You can walk up to any quick service restaurant with fountain drinks and ask for free water.  So don’t spend money on bottled water, save it for a delicious Mickey Ice Cream!
  4. More Character, Less Wait Time:  Want to meet Mickey without having to wait in a long line?  What about Anna and Elsa with less of a line?  Time your character meet-and-greets to line up with the parades and fireworks.  A majority of the crowd will be packed on Main Street and you’ll be able to take advantage of shorter lines!  *This also works for the popular rides as well!

    Walt Disney World
    Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Sign at Walt Disney World
  5. Hard Ticket Events:  Attending Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party?  These events are advertised to start at 7 p.m. but you can arrive as early as 4 p.m. and receive your wristband for the event!  So arrive early and take advantage of the extra time!
  6. Don’t Rush:  Usually once Wishes or the Main Street Electrical Parade are done, guests will rush out of the park.  This jams the monorails, ferry boat, and trams.  Take your time leaving the park, maybe stroll through the shops, and let the crowd die out a bit.  There will be much less of a hassle getting to your destination if you take your time.  *Bonus!  If you stick around after the park closes, you’ll get to experience the Kiss Goodnight and you may even be able to score some cool pics of an empty Main Street U.S.A!
  7. Take A Walk:  If you must leave during a busy park exodus and you need the monorail, there is a short walkway from the Magic Kingdom to the Contemporary Resort.  You can pick up the resort monorail there and take it to your destination rather than waiting in the long line for the express monorail.  This also gives you one last bathroom and refreshment break before heading home.

    Walt Disney World
    Walt Disney World Monorail from the Contemporary


More Walt Disney World Tips

Want even more tips for visiting Walt Disney World?  Check out our Magic Kingdom page or explore the other Walt Disney World parks!

Want to learn about the best places to rest in the park?  Check out our blog post here:  BEST PLACES TO REST AT WALT DISNEY WORLD


Have a tip not listed here?  Share your best tip below!

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Universal Studios Resources | Universal Studios

Universal Studios Islands of Adventure Florida

Universal Studios

Online Resources – Universal Studios

Here is a list of helpful Universal Studios Orlando links and resources:

Theme Park Guru Resources – Universal Studios

For more information on visiting Universal Studios, visit our dedicated Universal page.


General Info:

Universal Studios, located in Orlando, Florida, is a multi-faceted resort including theme parks, resorts, restaurants, movie theater and night scene. The two theme parks are Universal Studios Orlando and Islands of Adventure. Connected to these theme parks is CityWalk, an enormous plaza including restaurants, movie theater, bars, bowling alley, mini-golf course, clubs and water taxis that connect to three different resorts. The three resorts it connects to are the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, and Loews Royal Pacific Resort. The Cabana Bay Beach Resort is nearby as well, and this resort is connected to CityWalk and the theme parks by bus shuttle. CityWalk offers all types of dining options from expensive to affordable. Some of the popular restaurants include Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Emeril’s Orlando and the brand new NBC Sports Grill & Brew. The water taxis are a popular and unbelievably beneficial element to the experience of staying at one of the three resorts and attending the theme parks. The water taxis are small boats that fit about 40 to 50 people that arrive at your hotel’s dock and takes you right to the dock at CityWalk. From there, you are only a short walk to your next destination, whether it be a restaurant, theme park or movie theater. This resort exemplifies the idea of making fun as easy as possible.