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Tips and tricks to make you Disney World trip even more magical

Disney World is one of the most magical places on earth, and it's no secret that there are endless things to see and do. However, some of the best experiences are the ones that are not well-known or publicized. Here are some additional secret things to do at Disney World:

Scavenger Hunts - One way to enhance your magic with little or no cost is to participate in the scavenger hunts available throughout the parks. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Animal Kingdom - Become a Wilderness Explorer just like Russell from Up! Throughout the park, you will find stands set up where kids can complete tasks to earn badges. Grab a Wilderness Explorer book from one of the guides and start your adventure!

  • Magic Kingdom - Head over to Fantasyland, by the “Tangled” bathrooms you can track down Pascal, the adorable chameleon from Tangled. There are 10 Pascals in total, and the first one to find them all gets bragging rights!

  • Disney World Resorts - Some resorts offer scavenger hunts that send you throughout the resort grounds. While they aren't always available, it can be a fun way to break up a rest day if you're hanging out at the resort pool.

  • Epcot World Showcase - Purchase a scavenger hunt card for about $10 and explore the park while searching for answers. Once completed, you can turn in your card for a prize, usually a small trinket or sweet treat. This is one of our kids favorite things to do at Epcot and as a bonus, it gives the adults a chance to explore the delicious food and drinks at the various countries while the kids are busy tracking down the clues!

First haircuts - Make reservations up to 60 days in advance for a haircut at Magic Kingdom (they offer haircuts for everyone, not just first cuts). Not only will your child receive an adorable haircut, but if it is a first haircut, they will also receive a certificate, a pair of ears that say "First Haircut" and lock of hair to take home. These book out in advance, so make sure you book early!

Souvenir buttons - Commemorate your celebration with a free souvenir button, ranging from “1st visit” to “It’s my birthday” or “I’m Celebrating”. Add your name or event and take it over to Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe in Liberty Square at Magic Kingdom to have it personalized for just $3.00.

Flag retreat ceremony - Pay tribute to veterans at the daily flag retreat ceremony at Magic Kingdom, which follows U.S. flag protocol and takes place around 5pm each day. Sometimes a veteran is even chosen to participate in the ceremony. Did you know that this is the only “correct” flag at Magic Kingdom? All of the other flags have something incorrect (missing stars or stripes, etc) so that they can remain flying at all times and do not need to follow proper flag protocol.

Professional photography - For only $99, you can hire a professional photographer for a 20-minute session to capture your memories at the park.They use their magic to make it look like you are the only ones at the park. What an amazing way to remember your vacation! Book your experience here.

Visit the Enchanted Tiki Room - This classic attraction at Magic Kingdom is often overlooked by visitors, but it's definitely worth a visit. The show features animatronic birds and flowers that sing and perform a variety of musical numbers. It's a great way to escape the heat and crowds, and it's also a fun way to introduce younger visitors to classic Disney attractions.

Try a secret menu item - Did you know that many Disney World restaurants have secret menu items that aren't listed on the regular menu? For example, at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café, in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom, you can order Galaxy Loaded Fries, house-made fries with garlic ranch sauce, melted cheese, bits of bacon, pico relish, and flamin hot cheese dust. Other popular secret menu items include the Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread) at Jungle Skipper Cafe (a personal favorite of mine) and many more!

Take a backstage tour - If you're interested in learning more about how Disney World operates behind the scenes, consider taking a backstage tour. There are several options available, including the Keys to the Kingdom Tour at Magic Kingdom, which takes you through the park's underground tunnels and gives you a glimpse into the history and design of the park.

Go on a dessert party - For a special treat, consider booking a dessert party at one of the parks or the new Celebration at the Top - Sip, Savor and Sparkle Dessert Party at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. These events typically include a reserved viewing area for a nighttime show, as well as a variety of delicious desserts and drinks. Currently, reservations can be made for these parties at both Magic Kingdom (a great way to see the newly returned Happily Ever After show) and Epcot.

Visit the Coca-Cola Store Rooftop Bar - Located in Disney Springs, this hidden gem offers great views of the area and a variety of unique Coca-Cola drinks from around the world. It's a fun way to take a break from shopping and enjoy a refreshing beverage.

Check out the character meet and greets - While meeting Mickey and Minnie is always a must-do at Disney World, there are also some lesser-known characters that are worth seeking out. For example, you can meet Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope at Hollywood Studios, or Joy and Sadness from Inside Out at Epcot. Meet princesses, Jack Sparrow, Star Wars characters and more! As a tip, if you don’t have Photopass, you can always hand your phone over to the photographer and they will take pictures with that for free!

Go on a behind-the-scenes at Animal Kingdom - You can book a number of different tours at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Take a Wild Africa Trek or Savor the Savanna tour, which take you on private safaris through the park's savanna. You'll get up close and personal with the animals, learn about conservation efforts, and enjoy a delicious meal with a view.

With these additional secret things to do at Disney World, you're sure to have a magical and memorable vacation. Don't forget to plan ahead and make reservations for any experiences you're interested in, as some of these options book up quickly.

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