**Please note that these tips and tricks are always subject to change due to the parks constant additions. Always check the information ahead of time**
Well, here it is! I’ve organized all this awesome information into three categories: Rides & Attractions, Time Saving Tricks, and Cool Things to Discover! Hopefully this helps makes planning your Disney vacation more magical and exciting! Check back, this list will be updated frequently!
Rides and Attractions
If you’re planning on riding the train, get on the last car. If you’re lucky, the conductor will let a few children stand in as guest conductors.
What better way to commemorate your first haircut then by heading to the barber shop in Main Street? You will receive a “First Haircut” certificate and parents will get a few locks to keep, too.
If you are or know a veteran, head over to City Hall. You might get chosen to participate in the daily Flag Ceremony where they lower the US Flag. The veteran will receive a certificate and pictures from the ceremony. It’s truly unique!
City Hall is also the place to go if it’s your birthday, anniversary, first time visiting the park… really anything worth celebrating, because you will receive a special pin commemorating the occasion!
Visit Fairytale Garden, found on the side of Cinderella Castle. There you will find an attraction called Story Time with Belle. She shows up several times a day, and with the help of some children from the audience, she recreates her adventurous tale! Afterwards, you can get your picture taken with her.
If you want to experience Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, but are a little unsure if you can handle the intensity, sit in the front row for a tamer ride. If you crave more of a rush, sit in the back row.
After tiding BTMR, you may want to relax for a moment. Go find the Shooting Gallery, an often missed attraction in itself, where nearby you will find a couple of large tree stumps and a checkerboard. A nice game of checkers might reenergize you enough to take on Splash Mountain!
You remember Aunt Polly, who tasked Tom Sawyer to whitewash the fence. Well, she won’t be happy when she learns that he has lost the paintbrush! Every day, cast members hide a few paintbrushes throughout Tom Sawyer Island. Find one and return it to the raft driver, and you (and your family, so no need to find ALL of them!), will receive a FastPass to Splash Mountain or BTMR and maybe even get a pass to go to the front of the line for another major attraction!
If you take a trip on the Liberty Square Riverboat, which I recommend for a few peaceful moments, ask if you can join the Captain. You might be taken to the Captain’s Quarters and get a chance to pilot the shop. You’ll receive a Riverboat’s Co-Pilot license for a one-of-a-kind souvenir!
Watch a silent movie in the still operational Mutascopes. It only costs a penny!
To score major points on Buzz Lightyear’s Spin, hit the diamond plates. They’re worth the most. Also, if you manage to hit the ‘Z’ at the bottom of Zurg’s pulpit as you enter the third room, you will have hit the jackpot!
For Mickey’s PhilarMagic Show, the set of doors on the left lead to the front of the theater while the doors on the right lead to the back. Try and go through the left set of doors and sit in the front for the best experience.
Time Saving Tips
Always pick up the daily Times Guide at the entrance of each park. All of the scheduled shows, parade times, parks hours, and character signings can be found here. Also, attractions that are open on specific days at all parks will be outlined.
Get a table for dinner at the Liberty Tree Tavern. If you can time it so that you are finished with dinner around 15-20 minutes before the Electric Lights Parade begins, you’ll be able to watch it from the porch of the restaurant and get amazing views!
A good place to watch the SpectroMagic Parade is by Town Hall, where the Parade starts. Once the end of the parade passes you, race over to Adventureland. It should be rather quiet since most people will still be watching the parade. The lines for Jungle Cruise, Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride, and Pirates of the Caribbean should be very short, if there’s a line at all!
So you got to the Magic Kingdom before the sun was high in the sky and now you’re ready to head out at night while the last fireworks sizzles out over Cinderella’s castle. It’s been a long day. Your tired feet are turning away towards the gates. Yeah, you and a thousand other families. You don’t really want to wait in another long, crowded line, do you? Okay, take my advice. Forget the boats, forget the buses, and head to the monorails. I know, duh Diva, that’s where most of the crowds are. But you see, most people are in line to take the Monorail to the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC), to get to their cars and leave. But much less people are getting in line for the Monorail to the Resorts. Why would you, since you need to get to the TTC. Well, the second stop after the Contemporary Hotel on the Monorail to the Resorts IS the TTC! You’ll get to the parking lot much sooner than most and also miss the traffic leaving the lot.
Cool Things to Discover!
The entrance to the Magic Kingdom entrance was built in the likeness as an elaborate (and clever) old-fashioned movie theater. The flowers serve to resemble the a movie marquee, with Mickey Mouse’s face representing the ‘feature’. The railroad is built above you and as you pass under it, it signifies being transported to another place. The tunnel that you walk through under the railroad was designed to keep you from getting hit with a full view of the park. Inside the tunnel, it is lined with ‘movie posters’ of ‘upcoming attractions’, which usually represent different rides (or attractions). Then, as you exit the tunnel, cleverly placed at the exit is a popcorn stand. The smell signifies that you have entered the ‘movie lobby’. On Main Street, the bricks are tinted red, mimicking the red carpet of celebrities, and as you stroll down the street, the second story windows of the buildings on either side of you have names etched on them. These are people who worked on the Magic Kingdom, and this signifies the ‘Opening Credits’. Once you pass the building, you have arrived at Cinderella’s Castle, the ‘Main Attraction’, the most recognized structure in the world. Let the magic begin!
If you plan to take the Main Street train, look around the lower level of the station. You will see Aladdin’s lamp, an artificial leg named Smith, and other items belonging to character’s waiting to be picked up. As you climb the stairs, you might hear an old-fashioned telegraph sending a message. It is actually Morse Code version of Walt’s opening day speech at Disneyland.
If you head over to Tony’s Town Square Restaurant on Main Street, you will see a set of paw prints in the cement from Lady and Tramp. Also, look for a talking statue of Goofy sitting on a nearby bench.
When your on Peter Pan’s Flight, you might spot a familiar mermaid; Aerial is sitting amongst the other mermaids in the scene. Also, look at the blocks in the nursery. They spell out “P Pan” and “Disney”.
On the ride “It’s a Small World”, in one of the last scenes, you’ll see a doll inside a balloon, holding a sign that says “Help!”.
Make your way to the candy shop on Main street and find an old phone on the wall inside the shop. Pick it up and you’ll be eavesdropping on a mother and daughter’s conversation.
When Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride became The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, a tribute was made to old Mr. Toad. As you enter Owl’s house, look to the left, and you will see a picture of Mr. Toad handing Owl the deed to the ride!
There are many hidden things in Cinderella Castle. If you sit on the stone ledge by the right side of the castle, you might hear Stitch giggling before he asks you to be quiet because he is hiding.
On one of the mosaics along the walls you’ll find the two stepsisters. They don’t look very happy!
Look up in the rafters of the castle and you’ll see some of Cinderella’s mice. Gus and Jacques are in the throne room.
On the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, see if you can locate the horse with the gold ribbon on its tail. His name is Major, and this is the horse that Cinderella’s father gave to her when she a little.
Near the Carrousel is the Sword in the Stone. Try and pull it out of the stone!
If you need a quiet break from the crowds on Main Street, there’s a nice place for you to relax. Between Main Street and the Crystal Palace restaurant, you will find Casey’s Corner. They serve all-American food. In the back room are some tables and benches, and they are placed in front of a large TV that’s playing old sports-themes Disney cartoons. There’s also an outside seating area where every once in a while, a ragtime piano player is there performing songs. He also takes requests.
After the final fireworks display at Magic Kingdom, hang back and see the “Kiss Goodnight”. This is when Cinderella Castle is covered in a rainbow of changing colors.
Take the upper path on the right side of Cinderella Castle to Fantasyland and you’ll find Cinderella’s Wishing Well. Why not toss a coin and make a wish, you never know. Disney is the place where dreams come true!
There’s also a painting of Cinderella on the wall. You’ll see that she is wearing a crown on her head. The painting is placed above a drinking fountain, and as you bow down, it appears you are bowing to the Princess. While you’re taking a drink, glance up at Cinderella and notice that her crown has disappeared.
Inside Sir Mickey’s Shop, look up to the ceiling where it meets to wall. You’ll see that Willie the Giant has lifted part of the roof and is peeking in on the shoppers inside.
If you reach the Jungle Cruise from Main Street, notice the Tiki statues next to Bwana Bob’s and listen carefully. You can hear drums off in the distance – but watch your step! If you’re note careful, the Tiki Gods will spit at you.
As you exit most Magic Kingdom attractions, you’ll notice that one the walkways they have painted footprints to show you which direction to head. Notice the difference when you leave the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. Instead of footprints, you’ll see a single boot print, followed by a small circle. Must belong to a peg-legged pirate!
In the Swiss Family Tree House, throughout the tree you’ll see plaques placed in journal form that tell the story of the Robinson’s and their sons; Fritz, Ernest, and Francis.
The gold camel in front of Aladdin’s Magic Carpet ride occasionally spits!
Liberty Square has some of the most amazing details within it. One small detail takes the history of America greatly into account. During the Revolutionary War, Britain would not sell weapons or ammunition to the Colonists. This left them with a need for metal to create ammunition. So, they would take the hinges off of their shutters and melted them down for ammo. Shutters were a very essential part of homes in those days, so this was a very big deal. To replace the metal hinges, the Colonists used leather to hold the shutters in place. This was not a very good substitute, and over time the weight of the shutters pulled the leather down, which caused the shutters to sag outward. Take notice of the sagging shutters in Liberty Square, truly a small detailed that is very easily overlooked.
The thirteen lanterns that are hanging in the Liberty Square Tree are there representing the 13 colonies. You’ll see them hanging on the big tree, on the left if you are facing the Paddle Wheel boat.
You can see (but not step on) the Presidential Step in Liberty Square. There is a gate around it, and the step is actually a marble slab from the Monticello, and President Jefferson actually walked on it.
There is a brown river flowing through the middle of the street in Liberty Square. This represents the “waste” from households back in colonial times. Since there was no plumbing back then, the people had to dump it somewhere and… on a side note, did you know that because of the waste rivers, high heels were invented to keep the bottom of women AND men’s clothing from getting soiled. Yuck!
In Tomorrowland, you might run into PUSH – a talking trash can! He a sarcastic character that moves around Tomorrowland and looks like a normal old trash bin, until he starts talking! He usually roams around for about 20 minutes every hour and is rumored to come and go from Mickey’s Star Traders.
Inside the women’s restroom at Cosmic Rays, you might hear Stitch as he’s looking for Lilo. He’s a little lost, but so is Lilo, since you can hear her searching for him in the men’s room!
On the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride, look for a crate that says “Lytum & Hyde Explosives Company”.