Samantha posing at typhoon lagoon waterpark in disney world
Typhoon Lagoon water park at Disney World.Samantha Tetrault
  • I know a lot of things tourists get wrong when visiting the parks.

  • Outside of the theme parks, there are resorts and water parks.

  • There is no way anyone could do it all in one trip.

I consider myself a Disney native because I grew up a few miles from Disney World. It was my normal to go to the parks on the weekends for day trips.

The sheer number of tourists was one of my favorite parts of living in the area. Sharing this little corner of the globe with people far and wide was a special experience, and it made the community warm and welcoming to outsiders.

I wish tourists knew a few things about Disney World.

There's plenty to explore outside the 4 main theme parks

hand holding cup of dole whip at disney polynesian resort
Dole Whip from the Polynesian Resort.Samantha Tetrault

There is more to Disney World than just the four theme parks.

The shopping, entertainment, and dining district of Disney Springs is well worth a visit. They are free to visit.

You don't have to be a guest to visit the hotels. If you have a confirmed dining reservation, you can park in the lots. If you want to explore, hop on Disney transportation.

The two Disney water parks are must-dos, even if you don't have a ticket.

An annual pass is cheaper than you might think

I am a lifetime annual passholder and it is not that expensive if you visit the parks often.

A pass costs about $1,300 a year if you don't live in-state. One-day park-hopper tickets can cost as much as $200.

The annual pass will probably save you money if you plan on taking a few multiday vacations to the parks a year.

Not to mention the added perks of the pass, like not having to pay for parking at the parks, having the ability to park-hop, and getting discounts across the property.

An annual pass is always upgradeable.

It's nice to have a little escape from the Disney bubble

The Wheel at Icon Park in Orlando.Samantha Tetrault

There is so much to do in Central Florida, and I wish I could go there sooner.

You can find amazing dining, shopping, and cultural sites. Better yet, drive to the local natural springs, state parks, or one of the state's beaches.

Plan for rain even on the sunniest days

You can always count on rain in Florida.

The weather in the tropics is unpredictable. In the warmer months or during hurricanes, it could be beautiful one minute and pour rain the next.

It's not the same as back home, even if you are used to it. There will be huge gusts of wind, thunder, and lightning.

Carry your rain ponchos and umbrellas with you. If you see rain, head inside. It will be over before you know it.

Always travel in the off-season if you can

Epcot in the spring.Samantha Tetrault

You can't pay me to go to Disney World during a school holiday in Florida.

In the off-season, do your best to travel. Summer vacation, spring break, and the winter holidays are all missing.

You can save a little time and money by visiting in February, May, September, and early October. The weather is great during those times of the year.

I'm a big fan of taking an afternoon break

Naps are not only for those under 5 on a Disney vacation.

The Florida weather can be brutal, the parks are overwhelming, and it is hard on your body to walk all day. It is a big ask to stay until closing if you plan to go to therope-drop parks.

Take a break around 3 p.m. and head back to your hotel. This part of the day is the warmest and most miserable, so staying late is more reasonable.

This break is a must if you are traveling with kids. This is a great time to rest at the resort, jump in the pool, or just soak up some much-needed AC, even if you don't want to take a nap.

Arrive before the park opens if you want the 'rope-drop' perks

It's especially important to arrive early during busy times, like the holidays.Samantha Tetrault

It would be nice to lounge around in the mornings and make your way to the Disney parks by opening time. You will probably end up being late.

The parks open a little early. Rise of the Resistance and Flight of Passage are popular attractions.

Arrive at the park 30 minutes to an hour before it opens. You can get the perfect spot in line.

The shortest wait times are found in the first hour after the park opens.

You'll never be able to do it all in one trip

You have to make peace with the fact that you can not do everything in Disney World. Time has a way of getting away from you if you spend more than a day in each park.

Focus on being in the moment instead of rushing from activity to activity. The downtime at Disney is a great time to go on a midday adventure or watch a show.

It is better to go at a reasonable pace than to be overwhelmed.

The original article can be found on Insider.

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