10 Tips to Have the Best Walt Disney World Trip

Taking up 40 square miles, across 4 theme parks, Walt Disney World can be a pretty overwhelming prospect when you first arrive. After a pretty epic trip to the parks, here’s my top 10 tips to have the best Walt Disney World Trip ever.

Magic Kingdom

buy a rain poncho

Look, I know you’ve spent weeks planning your holiday wardrobe or your Disney bounds, and you don’t want to wear those highly attractive rain ponchos, but honestly? Suck it up. Florida rain, especially in the summer, is no joke, and it will happen and it will be torrential. Disney’s own ponchos are about $10 each, so I’d suggest being more organised than us and buy some much cheaper ones before you go. You can buy a box full on Amazon for less than £6.

Hydrate for free

It’s Florida. It’s probably hot. Disney’s cast members are constantly reminding you to hydrate, so do it. There are water fountains around the park (often in queues, which is a great idea) which you can use, and you can ask for a cup of water in the restaurants too which they’ll give you for free.

Cinderella Castle

Get the my disney app

Before your trip, you can add your whole party to the app, and you can use it to book fast passes before you go. When you get to the parks, you can keep booking fast passes, access your memory maker photos, find park maps, get directions, check queue times, reserve tables for restaurants, browse menus, order food and see which characters are out and about. It’s really helpful, and we used it almost constantly.

Grab a badge

If you’re celebrating virtually anything, Disney have a badge for it. Birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, engagements, family reunions…there’s even a badge for first visits. Cast members do chat to you more with the badges, and I’ve heard rumour of some lucky badge wearers getting freebies. You can pick these up from guest services, or from the till in any of the shops.

Hollywood Studios

Get on the wifi

I guarantee you’re going to take approximately eight trillion photos and want to bombard your Instagram with your snaps. save your data. There is free wifi across all parks (it kicks in right by each park entrance, I found), and it’s strong, fast and reliable.

Get the picture

Charge your camera, and make sure you have plenty of memory space. I found I was taking around 150 photos every day. The Memory Maker pack means you can get professional shots taken at popular locations all over the park. If you haven’t gone for the pack, the PhotoPass cast members will take photos for free using your own camera, if you ask them nicely.

Cinderella's Castle

Hunt for hidden mickeys

There are several books and apps to help you hunt for Hidden Mickeys, but there are lots around the park. It’s a fun extra game for kids and adults. There’s also an Imagineering Field Guide which helps you spot some of the amazing hidden details around the park.

Ditch the shopping

If you’re staying at a Disney-owned hotel, you can have any shopping  you buy in the park sent to your hotel so you don’t have to carry it around all day. Much easier if you’re on rides!

Star Wars ears

Consider ditching your group to dodge the queues

Some rides have single rider lines that will save you a lot of time if you don’t mind splitting up from your group. You can save up to an hour on queue times.

Be ready for bag checks

Bags are checked as you go into all parks. The queues were moving pretty fast when we were there, but if you want to save time, ditch the bags and you can go through a seperate line. Be aware that Disney do not allow anything vaguely weapon like. This includes selfie sticks, and we saw lots being take away at the gates. You can leave it with guest services or take it back to the car, but save yourself the time and just don’t try and take one in.

 

Ten Things to Do in Padstow

Padstow is a really popular tourist spot, and is only getting busier as it’s reputation as a foodie destination grows. Here’s my top tips for ten things to do in Padstow.

Padstow Harbour

Hire a bike

Padstow is on the beginning of the Camel Trail, an 18 mile cycle route that runs along a disused railway line, all the way to Wenfordbridge. There are lots of places to hire a bike in Padstow. I recommend Trail Bike Hire. I got a bike for the whole day for just £14, and the hiring process was super fast and easy. They’ll throw in a bike lock and repair kit as part of the price, and you can also borrow helmets.

The trailer is mostly traffic free, and virtually level. It’s gorgeous too, with the first part all along the water, and then into a wood. There are plenty of coffee shops on the way too.

Eat somewhere stein

There is a staggering array of options for all budgets, but Stein truly is the king of Padstow. If you’re on a budget, hit his Patisserie at the end of the day for bargains on pastries (we went in about ten minutes before closing and pastries were two for one, and there discounts on pasties too. The cafe is a good deal too. If you’re feeling more flush with cash, his main restaurant is supposed to be gorgeous, or you could feel chic and sit at the bar with champagne and oysters in the Seafood Bar. You can even take a little Rick home, with tasty treats from the deli.

Jubilee Queen

Get the Ferry to Rock

The ferry ride itself is nice. It’s only a few minutes, but you get some lovely views across Padstow Harbour. Once you get to Rock, make sure you pop by the Lifeboat Station (the RNLI are always in dire need of funds), and then stroll up the high street. There are a few shops, and a couple of good pubs, where you can drink with a view. Check out The Mariners, a pub owned by Nathan Outlaw. It’s an very pleasant afternoon out.

Visit the National lobster hatchery

See some very cute baby lobsters, and learn about how you can help support sustainable fishing at the National Lobster Hatchery. Read my post about the Hatchery here.

Padstow

Head to Harlyn Bay

Harlyn Bay us considered one of the best family beaches in Cornwall. The beach is spacious, and sandy, with plenty of interesting rock pools. It’s a popular spot with the surfers and body boarders too, so you can either have a go yourself and relax on the sand and watch.

Take a boat ride

There are lots of options for different boat trips from Padstow, depending on budget and the sort of trip you’re after. We caught the Jubilee Queen which is an hour and a half long trip along the coast line, looking out for interesting features and wildlife. You can also catch the Sealife Safaris which is crewed entirely by RNLI volunteers, and takes you on a trip to search for seals. There are lots of different fast boat options too, if you’re after something more thrill seeking.

Rock

Test out some local produce

There are lots of businesses in Padstow creating food and drink locally. Whether it’s the Padstow Coffee Company, a local beer in the Padstow Tasting Rooms, or some tasty from Chip Ahoy, there are lots of options for filling your face. Keep your eye out for food markets too. We found one in the Memorial Hall where you could 20 different kinds of cheese.

Shop

Padstow has a surprising amount of high street shops for a small town, but it’s the specialist shops that stand out. Grab your surf gear (or your surfer chic look) from Ann’s Cottage, go nautical at Quba or stock up on sweet treats at one of the many fudge shops. There’s even a shop just for things for your dog.

Boat trip Padstow

Eat a proper cornish pasty

There is a mind boggling array of places to buy a Cornish pasty from in Padstow. Whichever you choose, buy it hot and eat it straight away. Delicious. We loved The Chough Bakery, which is a family run bakery, using locally sourced ingredients. They also came top in the Cornish Pasty Company category in the World Pasty Championships in 2016.

Have a drink

Padstow is home to some lovely bars and pubs if you fancy a tipple. We love The Old Ship Hotel, for nice surroundings, excellent food and friendly welsh owners! Pop in and catch the rugby. If you’re feeling a little posher, try The Old Custom House. They have a traditional pub menu, but also has the recently opened Cally Seafood Bar where you can enjoy oysters and champagne.

 

Breakfast at Rick Stein’s Cafe

I couldn’t go to Padstow and not eat in one of Rick Stein‘s many establishments. Padstow really is Stein central, with his restaurant, hotel with a bistro and bar, cafe, fish and chip shop, seafood bar, cookery school, accommodation, deli, patisserie, fishery and gift shop. Yes, he really has all that in one town.

Rick Stein's Cafe

I’m actually a bit of a fan of the TV chef, but the budget wouldn’t quite stretch to his beautiful restaurant, so instead we opted on breakfast in Rick Stein’s Cafe. The cafe itself is lovely, all white wood and snuggly booths. It is simple, but cosy, with plenty of Rick’s books on display. There’s also a little courtyard at the back, but as it was raining, we took over a booth and settled in.

Latte

Peppermint Tea

A friendly waiter (after chatting to Dave about his wrestling t-shirt…this happens in so many places we go..) took our drinks order. I, of course, went for a latte (£2.95). The syrup offering was a bit narrow, and they’d run out of vanilla too, but I was content with a good slosh of gingerbread (£0.50), and it was an excellent, freshly ground coffee. Dave’s peppermint tea (included with his breakfast) arrived in a cute teapot (which you can buy yourself in the gift shop next door), and he got what seemed to be an endless line of cups of tea out of the pot.

Rick Stein breakfast

For once, I decided not to order something involving avocado or smoked salmon, and chose the Huevos Rancheros (£5.50). Two fried eggs are served on a tasty bed of tomatoes on mini tortillas. It was delicious. The tomato mix was spicy, and the eggs were perfectly cooked for that runny yolk I love so much. I thought this was a decent portion for the price too, and I was full without filling stuffed.

Breakfast Special

Dave ordered the Breakfast Special (£7.95) which is a bacon roll with a freshly squeezed orange juice and hot drink of your choice. The roll was massive and full of crispy bacon, which again made this an excellent deal.

We were both very surprised by how reasonable the cafe was actually. We’d expected a mark-up purely because of the name, but I’ve paid lots more for brunch in Birmingham and not batted an eyelid. The cafe is so relaxing to be in, the staff are friendly and attentive and the food really was excellent. A total bargain, if you ask me.