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I've had a Disney World annual pass since I was 3, and now I visit the parks at least twice a month.
I use a countdown clock to secure boarding groups for new rides like Remy's Ratatouille Adventure.
I never park at Magic Kingdom, instead, I take other forms of transportation to get to the park.
I always take a selfie with the family or friends who are visiting the parks with me.
The first thing I always do when I get to the parks is take a selfie with my group for the day.
This is usually done in front of one of the park icons like Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom or Spaceship Earth at Epcot.
I never used to do this. But then I'd return home, scroll through my photos, and realize I didn't capture any with the family members and friends who make these treasured memories so special.
Now it's something I plan for each trip.
When mobile-ordering, I have a special time-saving trick.
Most people will order and wait to tap the "I'm here" button until they're actually at the entrance of a restaurant, but I hit that button when I'm about five minutes away.
This is a major time-saver — by the time I arrive at the restaurant, my order is ready to be picked up and enjoyed. It works best at really busy spots, like Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo inside Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.
If I'm ordering food from my hotel, I hit the "I'm here" button just before I leave my room so my meal is ready when I arrive at the resort restaurant.
I always ask about annual-pass discounts.
One of the perks of being a Disney World Annual Passholder is the discounts you can get on food and merchandise around the parks, resorts, and Disney Springs.
The locations that take annual-pass discounts are always changing, and I can never keep up, so I always ask about discounts when I'm checking out.
Depending on where I am, discounts can be as large as 20%, which can save me a ton over time.
The Magic Kingdom parking lot is a hassle, so I never park there.
Magic Kingdom is beloved, but its parking lot (the Ticket and Transportation Center) is always a hassle. It's so far away from the entrance to the park that you have to take the monorail or ferry to get there.
This adds at least an extra 30 minutes to an hour to your travel time and takes away from valuable park time.
Instead, I usually do one of the following: take the bus from my Disney hotel; make a dining reservation at one of the Magic Kingdom resorts, eat there, and ride a smaller resort boat over; or stay at Disney's Contemporary Resort so I can walk to the park.
When it's time for a sweet snack, I grab a Dole Whip.
Disney World and Dole Whip go hand-in-hand like Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse. The line at Aloha Isle at Magic Kingdom is always long, but the sweet taste of the pineapple soft serve is worth the wait.
I try not to mobile order here because Dole Whip melts super quickly, but when the line is excessively long it's inevitable. When I don't have to mobile order, I always ask the employees about new flavors or swirl combos that might be available.
One of my newest favorites is the pineapple Dole Whip swirled with coconut soft serve for tasty piña-colada vibes.
I get boarding groups for top-tier attractions using a method I learned from a friend.
Securing a boarding group for new attractions like Remy's Ratatouille Adventure at Epcot or Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Hollywood Studios isn't actually as tricky as some people make it seem.
First, I figure out who's going to be in my group one hour before the queue system opens at 7 a.m. This makes sure that everyone is accounted for ahead of time.
Then I use a countdown clock on my watch or someone else's phone to smash the "Join Virtual Queue" button at exactly 7 a.m. This method also works at the 1 p.m. drop if you missed out on getting something in the morning.
Note that Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance isn't currently using a boarding-group system, but it could return on very busy days.
No trip is complete without a visit to Disney's Port Orleans Resort – Riverside to see Yehaa Bob.
The show Bob puts on every night in the River Roost Lounge is filled with interactive moments where guests are invited up on stage, all the dads in the room perform in a kick line, and kids young and old are encouraged to dance and sing along to some classic Disney and non-Disney songs.
The best part of the show is just before everything kicks off. Bob makes his way to every table in the lounge to meet everyone and personally thank them for coming. If you let Bob know you're celebrating something, like a birthday or anniversary, he might even give you a shout-out during the show.
There's no better place for a meal than Wine Bar George.
When family and friends venture off to Disney World, I always tell them to stop in at Wine Bar George at Disney Springs.
The restaurant is known for its extensive list of wines, which are all available by the ounce, glass, or bottle.
The food menu is equally as impressive, with dishes like crispy mac-and-cheese bites, large cheese and charcuterie boards, and mouthwatering whole-grilled Greek sea bass that's filleted table-side.
If you're lucky, you'll encounter the restaurant's namesake master sommelier George Miliotes, who often interacts with diners and answers their questions about wine — without a hint of pretentiousness.
The best time to ride Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom is late at night.
If you're like me and hate waiting around in lines, you're going to want to get in line for Flight of Passage just before the park closes.
The wait time might still be listed at 60 minutes if it hasn't been updated, but the actual wait is typically 30 minutes or less.
There's no better show at Epcot than the "Voices of Liberty."
One of my must-see shows at Epcot is the "Voices of Liberty," which features an eight-person a cappella choir.
The show currently takes place outside at the America Gardens Theater. But my favorite spot to enjoy it was inside the American Adventure Rotunda (where it used to be held). I'd sit on the cold tile floors to cool off and take in the sights and sounds of the show.
After the "Voices of Liberty" performance, I generally like to watch the "American Adventure" show located in the rotunda.
If I see that Tower of Terror has a 13-minute wait, I'm making my way there.
Hollywood Studios is my favorite Disney World park, and I typically bounce in and out of it multiple times during a trip.
Anytime I'm there and see that Tower of Terror has a 13-minute wait on the My Disney Experience app, I'm making my way to the ride.
When the attraction has a 13-minute wait, that often really means there's no wait at all and you can just walk right onto the elevators.
This same 13-minute rule also applies at Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom.
Treats from the Main Street Confectionery make for great hotel snacks.
When I'm done at Magic Kingdom, I stop in at the Main Street Confectionery to grab a snack to enjoy back at my hotel.
Sometimes this is a Mickey-shaped marshmallow treat or piece of fudge, other times it's a cookie or presliced caramel apple.
While I explore all of my options, I like to watch the candy makers at work.
I never leave Disney World without giving out at least one cast compliment.
Disney cast members (what the company calls its park employees) are the magic behind everything.
One of the easiest ways to recognize them is through a cast compliment. Each day as I leave the parks, I stop in at guest services and ask for a cast-compliment card or have someone at the desk help me fill one out virtually.
These cards are just one way to show appreciation to a cast member, whether you had a meaningful conversation with them, something went wrong and they made it right, or they just did something that made you smile.
To remember where I had these meaningful interactions, I make a note on my phone of the person's name, location, and about what time it took place.
After you've filled out the card, the employee will be recognized by their management team and the card goes into their personal file.
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