Walt Disney World hosts almost 50 million guests every year on its 43 square mile property. With 27 themed resort hotels, 9 non–Disney hotels, four theme parks, two water parks, four golf courses, two themed miniature golf courses, one camping resort, and one downtown shopping area, it holds a lot of responsibility to keep guests happy and operations flowing smoothly.
How do they do it? Rules.
How do they enforce them? Cast members.
All cast members are trained in safety procedures that include the rules all guests need to follow in order for everything to run efficiently. I always thought if everyone had rules to follow on being a good guest while visiting Walt Disney World, their vacation would run more efficient as well.
Here is a list of my “7 Simple Rules” to follow while you are enjoying your time there:
1. Have a Plan
A plan is essential to your Walt Disney World Vacation - that's why it is #1 on this list! Here are a few tips to developing a strategic plan that will deliver with results.
- Map out your vacation way before you go. Decide which parks you will like to visit and how many days at each one you will want to spend.
- Book all of your table-service dining reservations 4-6 months before your trip. With only around 100 sit-down restaurants on property, reservations go quickly.
- Make all of your FastPass+ selections as soon as you can. Decide as a family what attractions are most important for you to do together.
- Familiarize yourself with the park maps before you go. This will save you a lot of time when you enter each park and you are not wasting time trying to figure out where to go first.
2. Learn Disney Bus Etiquette
The Walt Disney World Transports (Disney Buses) are going to be a part of your day. Here are some tips to make this as manage as possible...
- Wheelchairs and ECV’s will always take priority. The bus driver will load them first, and everyone can board after their vehicle is secured safely.
- Fold strollers before boarding the bus. Have them completely folded up before the bus arrives at the stop. Being ready when the bus pulls up will save a lot of time and frustration for everyone.
- Allow passengers to exit before boarding the bus. Always.
- Only board through the front entrance. Do not try and board the bus through the back door, this is for loading wheelchairs and exits only.
- Happily give your seat up to older guests or guests holding small children.
3. Be Patient
Patience - one of the most difficult things to have. Here are some bites of reality at Walt Disney World...
- Disney transportation may take longer than you expect. The bus system is supposed to swing around to your resort every 20 minutes, but sometimes there are delays.
- Wait your turn, everyone is excited to be there and wants to see everything they can.
- No running. Cast Members will stop you and make you start again - just like in 1st Grade. :)
- Do not get angry at others who are not patient, it will only ruin your fun.
4. Watch for Traffic Patterns
Walt Disney World can be very busy, especially during peak times of year. To avoid running into each other, check out these tips...
- Always stay to the right of the walkway, it is a good habit to teach your kids too.
- Follow cast members directions on which way to go. If they are directing you to “keep moving”, or “do not go this way”, please listen and follow their directions.
- Go with the flow. If you find yourself on the wrong side of the traffic pattern, cross the path to be in the flow of traffic, do not try and fight it.
5. Talk to Cast Members
These friendly faces are there for a reason. Talk with them -- they love it, too...
- Follow their directions and suggestions. They are your best source for information.
- They always know where the nearest bathrooms are, don’t be afraid to ask.
- Each country in Epcot has cast members that are from that country. Learn about their country and have them teach you a few words from their native language.
6. Eat & Stay Hydrated
Have you ever heard the expression "HANGRY?" Meaning someone is hungry, and getting angry because of it? Yeah, that is no fun! Here are some tips to avoid that at Walt Disney World...
- Hungry family members = cranky family members, keep everyone full.
- Schedule your meals, you may forget to eat.
- Reservations at table-service meals are a must, if you do not have reservations, you will have a very long wait, or there may be no availability at all.
- Pack emergency snacks in case of meltdowns.
- Drink A LOT of water during the day. All quick-service locations will give you a free cup of ice water when asked.
7. Enjoy the Little Things
Sometimes the littlest things can have the biggest results. These are EVERYWHERE at Walt Disney World -- you just have to take the time to notice them...
- Don't forget to listen to the music. Music is everywhere at Disney -- Enjoy it! :)
- Watch the performers. If you come across entertainers while you are walking to your next attraction, take a minute and enjoy their show.
- Meet a new friend while waiting in line. Chances are they are from another state or even another country.
- Smile and be friendly to everyone. It's the Disney way.
Michelle Bork has been on the Travelmation LLC Team since 2013 and has been rockin' and rollin' ever since. She is a FANTASTIC Travel Agent and leaves no detail behind. Michelle lives in Temperance, MI with her husband, Todd, and she has three children: Addison, Aidan, and Aspen.