I Used To Work At Disney World, And Here Are 18 Tips Nobody Else Will Tell You

Hi! I'm Audrey, and I used to work at Walt Disney World. Aside from being a former cast member, I'm a born Floridian and passholder, so I've been there a time or two.

The author at Disney
Audrey Engvalson / BuzzFeed

You can definitely be good at going to Disney. How do I know? When I eventually visited Disneyland a few years ago for the first time, I was bad at it. Not knowing what the crowd will do, where things are, or not having a game plan means you spend a long time just walking around and not actually doing anything.

So here are some time-saving and headache-saving tips I've learned about Disney World from all my times being there that will hopefully make you feel like you're maximizing your time!

The author taking a selfie
Audrey Engvalson / BuzzFeed

1.If meeting characters is a must, character dining kind of rocks.

The author at Disney

You can eat, and the characters will come to you while you're in the air conditioning. You can get your autographs and photos there, and it'll save you having to wait in line to meet some A-listers like Mickey and Minnie or Anna and Elsa.

Audrey Engvalson / BuzzFeed

2.Check the alley between American Adventure and Italy for characters.

People at Disney

On certain days, typically mid-day, sometimes characters will come out between the American Adventure and Italy pavilions. They're unannounced, so they typically have short lines.

Audrey Engvalson / BuzzFeed

3.Don't stop at Spaceship Earth in the morning.

Epcot Center

Please, if you go to Epcot, never stop at Spaceship Earth first thing in the morning. You will be doing the same thing everyone else does. Spaceship Earth has, like, a 60-minute wait in the morning because its everyone's first stop. At night, you can basically walk straight on the ride.

Audrey Engvalson / BuzzFeed

4.Ask about rain locations.

The author taking a rained-on selfie with others

Characters who typically meet outside also have a designated rain location, where they'll go for inclement weather. The rain locations aren't on the map or updated on the app, so they typically don't have a line. If it's raining, keep your eyes peeled for characters in covered areas!

Audrey Engvalson / BuzzFeed

5.Eat at one of my favorite places.

a plate of food

6.Grab the free stuff!

A Disney pin

7.Disney Photopass photographers will take photos on your camera for you so you can get a picture of everyone.

The author with her family and Disney characters

Give staff or Photopass photographers your personal phone for them to take pictures for you! All you have to do is ask, and that way, your whole party can get in the picture.

Audrey Engvalson / BuzzFeed

8.Bring a portable charger (or even your phone cord and plug).

A digital map of Disney

9.Dine at a hotel and park for the day for free.

Kona Cafe

Here's a pro tip: Parking at the resorts is free if you have a dining reservation. If you choose to dine at the Grand Floridian, Polynesian, or Contemporary, you can monorail, boat, or walk to the Magic Kingdom straight from the hotel.

Audrey Engvalson / BuzzFeed

10.Save your Photopass code as your screensaver.

A PhotoPass code

11.If you are thinking about going early in the a.m. or late in the p.m., go in the p.m.

Disney at night

12.Use rider swap if you have people who can't ride.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

13.Watch parades literally anywhere other than Main Street.

Disney's Electrical Parade

The parade sneaks through the whole park. I'm not too sure why people pile up on Main Street to watch it. Watch it near the opposite end of the parade route in Frontierland to only deal with about 1/3 of the amount of people.

Audrey Engvalson / BuzzFeed

14.Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind have different experiences if you go multiple times.

People waiting in line outside of Disney

On Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway, depending on which part of the train you sit in, you'll be able to see different things on the ride. You'll be able to experience one of six different songs on Guardians of the Galaxy when you ride.

Audrey Engvalson / BuzzFeed

15.Take virtual queues seriously.

People waiting in line

If the newest ride or attraction is on your to-do list, pay attention to its virtual queue and try to get on it. Virtual queues typically open twice a day. If you don't get in the virtual queue, you'll have to pay per person for an individual lightning lane if you want to ride it at all.

Audrey Engvalson / BuzzFeed

16.Plan a non-park day.

The author looking from her balcony

17.Get the hug picture.

The author hugging Stitch

The BEST picture comes before the pose. Characters greet with a hug, and that's the money shot. Be ready with the shutter for when someone in your party is first introduced to the character.

Audrey Engvalson / BuzzFeed

18.Finally, being a nice person at the parks goes a long way.

"Aw, thank you."

Do you have a Disney World tip you swear by? Tell us in the comments below!