1. Don't go to any of the theme parks during the months of June, July, or August. It's Walt Disney World's peak season, and not in the way fruit and vegetables have a peak season and you buy as many as you can and put all the left overs into the freezer to enjoy the rest of the year. No, Disney's peak season is nothing like that. It's HOT, it rains every day (sometimes so hard, the rain rips bark off of trees), the parks are over crowded with kids on summer break and tour groups from all over the world, and the lines are way too long. Just avoid all the parks during those months.
2. Don't go to Blizzard Beach. Go to Typhoon Lagoon instead. Other than the slide Summit Plummet, Blizzard Beach doesn't really have any good water slides. Typhoon Lagoon however, has three great slides and a lazy river that is longer than the one at Blizzard Beach.
3. Don't waste your time waiting around for a parade to start at The Magic Kingdom. Instead, go have a meal at Columbia Harbour House and watch it from the second floor of the restaurant.
4. Don't be mean to the cast members. Please. They're nice people and work very hard for not a lot of money.
5. Don't watch all the fireworks shows, pick one and enjoy the other four hours of your vacation spent going on rides with no lines. I recommend Illuminations at Epcot.
6. Don't buy the Photopass Plus. Any cast member would be more than happy to take a picture with your camera for you. Do buy the Attractions Plus card though if you are in a group of 5 or more, are above the age of 20, and are staying for 5 days or more. The price (49.95) is a really good deal for the amount of ride photos you'll get during your vacation.
7. Don't assume there's a monorail for all the parks or all the resorts. One day when I was at the Polynesian Resort I ran into a family from Australia who were looking for the resort's monorail station. I asked them where they were going and when they said they Animal Kingdom, I informed them there was no monorail that went to the Animal Kingdom, so they would need to take a bus instead. They said no, they'd rather take the monorail to Animal Kingdom. I told them again that Animal Kingdom had no monorail and that I was a cast member. They still didn't believe me. I pointed them in the direction of the bus stops. I assume they weren't happy when they found out what I had done, but at least they didn't end up wasting half of their day figuring out that only Epcot and The Magic Kingdom have monorail stations.
8. Don't go to a park the day you fly into Florida. It is such a waste to go to the parks when you're only at half battery. Instead spend that day in Downtown Disney or at Typhoon Lagoon soaking up the sun, getting your souvenir shopping out of the way, and eating at some great restaurants.
9. Don't eat at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre Restaurant at Hollywood Studios. It's not as cool as it sounds and they play the same five-minute clip over and over again during your meal.
10. Don't go to a park alone. I went to all of the parks so many times this summer and my happiest memories are of going on rides with my friends and seeing the different sights with my mom when she came to visit (even after I had seen them everyday for a month already). I did go alone a few times and those days were nice and peaceful, but I would often find myself wishing I had someone with me to share in the experience.
1. Do eat at the Rainforest Cafe at Animal Kingdom. It's one of the 20 places in Walt Disney World where you can get a really really good meal.
2. Do use the single rider lines at Rockin' Roller Coaster and Test Track. They will cut your wait time in half. But please don't use those lines if you have kids under the age of 12 because the cast members will separate you from your children. It's a single rider line.
3. Do the character drawing class at Hollywood Studios. It's a lot of fun and you'll be left with an impressive souvenir to show off to your friends when you go home. Plus it's free and you can keep going as many times as you want. That's right, every half-hour drawing lesson teaches you how to draw a different character. Also, bring your own eraser because they won't give one to you, no matter how much you beg.
4. Do purchase the dining plan. It's a good deal and from my own experience it gives you more food than you can eat on your own.
5. Do stay in Walt Disney World for at least a week. There is so much to do, and after spending almost three months working at Walt Disney World, I still have a long list of things I never got to do. Rides I skipped because the lines were too long, restaurants I didn't eat at because there was a waiting list, live performances and parades I missed because I didn't know about them. On the top of my list of things to do when I get back is participate in the wilderness explorers challenge at Animal Kingdom.
6. Do buy a pillow plush. Just do it. They are so soft and fluffy and you will love your pillow plush forever. I love my Pluto pillow plush so much. : )
7. Do go on the Living With the Land ride at Epcot. It never has a wait time and it's a really neat ride where you get to see the green house where Disney grows the fruit and vegetables for the Garden Grill restaurant.
8. Do go on the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride at Animal Kingdom, and make sure to go early, between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. That's when the animals are the most active. Now you wouldn't think that riding in a safari truck and taking pictures of animals would be a lot of fun, but it really is. Maybe it's because you get to see the animals so close, maybe it's the mildly funny script the cast members repeat for every ride, or maybe it's the chance to sit down and enjoy the sights after so much running around the parks.
9. Do pin trade. It's so much fun, and a little addictive, but most of all it's a way to get to know people in the park and potentially hear some really interesting stories from cast members.
10. Do visit all the parks. Sure Animal Kingdom closes early, and yes Hollywood Studios doesn't have a lot of rides, but each park has some amazing sights to see that are unique to those parks. The biggest example of this are the shows. At Animal Kingdom you can watch the Lion King acrobatic musical performance and Finding Nemo the Musical, and at Hollywood Studios you can see the Indiana Jones show and even participate in the American Idol experience show.