I grew up 2 miles from Disney World. Here are 8 things I wish tourists knew.

Typhoon Lagoon water park at Disney World.Samantha Tetrault
As a Disney World "Native" resident, I know that tourists make many mistakes when visiting the parks.
Definitely worth checking out the resorts and water parks outside of the theme parks.
Don't feel pressured to do it all in one trip because no one can.
I grew up just a few miles from Disney World and consider myself a Disney native. Going to the parks on the weekends, for day trips and “just because” was my norm.
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One of my favorite aspects of Orlando was the sheer number of tourists. Sharing this little patch of earth with people far and wide was a special experience, and it made the community warm and welcoming to outsiders.
But there are a few things I wish tourists knew when planning their trip to Disney World.
There is much to explore outside of the 4 main theme parks
Dole Whip from the Polynesian Resort.Samantha Tetrault
I love a day at one of Disney World's four theme parks, but there's more to the property than that.
A trip to Disney Springs (the shopping, entertainment and dining district) and the Disney resorts is definitely worth it. In addition, they can be visited free of charge.
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Pro tip: You don't have to be a guest to visit the hotels. But you cannot park in the car parks unless you have a confirmed table reservation. Hop on Disney transportation (like buses, monorails, or the Skyliner) if you just want to explore.
Although you must purchase a ticket, both Disney's water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, are must-sees as well.
An annual pass is cheaper than you might think
I'm a lifetime annual pass holder, and it really isn't that expensive if you visit the parks often—though you can't take advantage of the sweet Florida resident discounts.
If you don't live in the state, a pass costs about $1,300 a year. But day tickets can cost over $100 and Park Hopper day tickets are closer to $200.
If you plan on taking a few multi-day vacations to the parks each year — especially with top teams like spring break and winter break when ticket prices are at their peak — the annual pass will likely save you money.
Not to mention the additional benefits of the pass, such as: B. Not having to pay for parking in the parks, having the opportunity to park and receiving discounts throughout the property.
You can upgrade your day pass to an annual pass at any time.
It's nice to escape the Disney bubble for a bit
The Wheel at Icon Park in Orlando.Samantha Tetrault
There is so much to do in Central Florida and I wish I hadn't waited so long to explore Downtown Orlando, Winter Park, Winter Garden and Celebration.
Here you will find fantastic restaurants, shopping and cultural attractions. Or, better yet, drive to the local natural springs, state parks or one of the state's beaches.
Expect rain even on the sunniest days
You can almost always expect rain in Florida.
Tropical weather is unpredictable year-round. It can be nice one minute and pouring rain the next — especially in the warmer months or during hurricane season.
Even if you're used to rain at home, it's a whole different breed here. Expect violent gusts of wind, thunder and lightning.
Bring your own rain ponchos and umbrella and carry them with you. If you notice rain, go in a bit. Chances are it will be over before you know it.
If possible, always travel in the off-season
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