I worked at 26 locations in Disney World. Here are 17 things I do, see, and eat every time I visit.

I've worked in 26 Disney World locations as part of the Disney College program. Saira Umar
During my 6 month Disney College program, I worked in 26 different locations in Disney World.
When I return, I always make detailed plans and agendas to get the most of my travels.
Some of my favorite foods are Mexican empanadas in Epcot and Flame Tree in Animal Kingdom.
Disney Springs is almost a park in its own right.
Seeing Avengers: Endgame at Disney Springs was iconic. Saira Umar
Disney Springs - the property's free dining, shopping, and entertainment district - is so busy that I could easily spend a day there.
You can shop at World of Disney (the largest store in Disney World) or view Disney-inspired art at WonderGround Gallery, as well as many other shops, entertainment and attractions.
You can also get some popular snacks like dole whip and a variety of mac and cheese specialties. I recommend stopping by the Ganachery, Gideon's Bakehouse, or Amorette's Patisserie for unique treats.
Don't forget to visit the resorts - also known as resort hopping.
There are seldom queues for great photo ops. Saira Umar
It is free to visit Resort Hop or the various Disney resort hotels around the property.
I love taking pictures with character sculptures at the Art of Animation Resort or the giant throwback toys at the Pop Century Resort and the best part is that there are hardly any crowds.
Other favorites are the BoardWalk and Beach Club resorts just outside Epcot and the beach huts at the Polynesian Resort.
You can also get great food at the resorts restaurants and food courts.
Character Warehouse has some great Disney merchandise on sale.
I got over $ 1,000 worth of items for less than $ 400. Saira Umar
Once items are out of season, Disney ships them to places like the Character Warehouse, which has two locations in outlet malls in Orlando.
Both carry parking items with strong discounts. I got over 50% off my souvenirs.
When it is time to go to the parks, always go in with a plan.
I always get better photos when I have a plan. Saira Umar
Whether I go to the parks for a few hours or a full 16-hour day, I always have a plan to make the most of my time and energy.
Some time-saving tips include using a magic band for park entry and shopping, as well as making restaurant reservations and mobile orders.
Whenever I have an agenda for the day, I can always do the things I really want to do, like taking certain photos or taking my favorite drives.
Go early and take lunch breaks in the parks.
You can watch the sunrise behind Cinderella Castle. Saira Umar
At Disney, the early bird gets the most trips with the shortest waiting times.
I always recommend getting to the park early. If necessary, you can take a break for lunch by riding one of the air-conditioned, slow rides or watching an indoor show.
My favorite breaks include Mickey's PhilharMagic in Magic Kingdom, the Short Film Festival in Epcot, Finding Nemo - The Musical in Animal Kingdom and Lightning McQueen's Racing Academy in Hollywood Studios.
Don't be afraid to go to the parks alone or pose for solo photos.
The "Bubblegum Wall" on Spaceship Earth in Epcot is a popular photo spot. Saira Umar
I love having time alone in the parks to explore and do exactly what I want. I also always want photos to look back, even if that means I have to pose alone.
Don't be afraid to get silly and ask park staff (especially PhotoPass photographers) or other guests to take photos for you.
Enjoy a secluded meal at the Flame Tree Barbecue.
Flame Tree is an underrated place to eat. Saira Umar
The Flame Tree Barbecue at Animal Kingdom has great views of Expedition Everest and live ibis birds (which will try to eat your food).
The dining area is covered in fallen leaves so many guests don't even know it exists.
I always get the pulled pork macaroni with cheese and a tangerine and orange lemonade.
The cheese empanadas in the Mexico Pavilion are delicious.
Get an early lunch of empanadas con queso at La Cantina de San Angel. Saira Umar
The Epcot World Showcase pavilions are packed with iconic snacks and meals, but one of my favorites is the cheese empanadas at La Cantina de San Angel, Mexico.
Don't be afraid of the kids' meals either, they're more budget-friendly and come with side dishes like fries and queso and a drink. In addition, the smaller portions leave space for more food.
Then, explore the cool pavilion and take a ride on the Gran Fiesta Tour.
Play with your food in Woody's lunch box in Toy Story Land.
Snap a photo with a giant Pixar ball just outside the restaurant courtyard. Saira Umar
Woody's Lunchbox at Hollywood Studios has some great finds like barbecue brisket melts and grilled three-cheese sandwiches.
It also offers unique side dishes of tater tots or tomato soup.
You can also grab your takeaway and watch a nightly show.
If you can snag a reservation, breakfast at Be Our Guest is a must.
The fixed price breakfast with Croque Madame, pastry tray and the Gray Stuff Cupcake. Saira Umar
As a big fan of Beauty and the Beast, the Be Our Guest restaurant in the Magic Kingdom is a must for me.
Over the years I've learned that the best way to dine there is to make a reservation and order in advance before the Magic Kingdom opens - which is possible in most breakfast restaurants.
I recommend the Croque Madame which also includes free pastries and a drink. I think one order is enough for two adults to save money.
To get to the park, I just walk over to the Contemporary Resort because there are usually fewer crowds and I can easily get to the entrance until 7:30 a.m. when the gates open for anyone with a breakfast reservation.
At Be Our Guest: first come, first served, so I take a few pictures in the almost empty park and go to the restaurant. If I order in advance the food will run out quickly and I can line up for a popular attraction before the rest of the crowd even comes in.
I like to eat smaller meals so that I can still take snack breaks.
The marshmallow treats are iconic at Disney. Saira Umar
I love trying all the Disney snacks when I go to the parks so I schedule my breaks between meals.
Some of my must-have snacks include the giant marshmallow goodies from the pastry shop (which are made in-house while the little ones aren't), a $ 2 souvenir popcorn bucket all over the parks, cream cheese-filled pretzels at lunch Pad and of course Dole Whip or a Citrus Swirl in Adventure Land.
Animal Kingdom has some of the best drinks (for all ages).
The Animal Kingdom has fun drinks and photo ops. Saira Umar
Animal Kingdom has some of the best drinks including Frozen Flamingo (strawberry and passion fruit slush) at Harambe Market, Pink Lotus (strawberry and lychee lemonade) at Thirsty River Bar, Night Lotus (apple, pear and lime Slush with.) Passion fruit boba) in pongu pongu and frozen cola from different places.
Check out Epcots Festivals and other seasonal deals.
Purple lemonade, honey mascarpone cheesecake and ice cream from the flower and garden festival. Saira Umar
Epcot has four seasonal events each year: Flower and Garden Festival, Food and Wine Festival, Festival of the Arts and Festival of the Holidays.
Although offerings vary for each festival each year, some of the best recurring foods and drinks I've tried include the violet lemonade, cronut, tres leches cake, lobster tail, and honey mascarpone cheesecake.
Most things are small, around $ 5, so you can easily try a lot.
There are also great performances and activities, like the free drawing classes during the Festival of the Arts.
There are a number of additional magical experiences that are free around the property.
I have a whole collection of freebies. Saira Umar
Disney vacations aren't cheap, but that's all the more reason to take advantage of all of the free perks and experiences.
For your first visit, birthday, anniversary, or honeymoon, there are free celebration buttons that you can pick up from guest services or most merchandising locations.
I also like pin trading with park employees where I can trade any pins I have for something from their lanyards or boards.
For more interactive activities, at Epcot you can also collect stickers and postcards from around the world with KidCot, try international sodas from Club Cool in Epcot, get "pixie dust" in Magic Kingdom, go on a pirate adventure in Magic Kingdom, a wizard of the magical kingdom , or become a wildlife explorer in Animal Kingdom.
You can also collect stickers and autographs all over the property.
When I have to go, I always go to the themed toilets.
The “Tangled” rest area is a popular photo spot. Saira Umar
It is inevitable that you will need to use a toilet in the parks, so try some that are well themed, cleaner, and less crowded.
My favorites in Magic Kingdom are Gaston's Tavern, Storybook Circus, and the Tangled themed area in Fantasy Land.
There are also sauna toilets in the Norway pavilion in Epcot.
Bonus tip: Similar to the actual colonial era, there are no indoor installations (also called public toilets) in Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom.
Spend a full day in each park.
There is so much to see in the Epcot Pavilions. Saira Umar
Some people only plan a full day in Magic Kingdom and try to push the other parks to half days, but I think they all deserve attention.
If you have the time, you'll really enjoy all of the country pavilions in Epcot, from the 360-degree films in Canada, China, and France to the galleries in Morocco, China, and Japan. I like to find photo spots to get my friends to think I'm a world traveler.
In Animal Kingdom, see all of the shows and take your time on the Maharajah Trek and Gorilla Falls trails, where you can get up close and personal with animal encounters.
Check out Walt Disney Presents at Hollywood Studios, a walk-through attraction with lots of Disney history. The exhibitions even end in a theater where you can see the documentary "One Man's Dream" or exclusive expanded previews for upcoming films, depending on what's playing.
Always end the day with a night show.
Hollywood Studios' Sunset Boulevard is illuminated at night. Saira Umar
There's no better way to end a day in the parks than with one of the nightly shows.
My favorites are “Fantasmic” in Hollywood Studios and “Happily Ever After” in Magic Kingdom - which was recently replaced by a new show called “Disney Enchantment”.
I think the best place to see the Magic Kingdom fireworks is near the Walt and Mickey Partners statue.
As a bonus, you may be able to stay long enough after the shows to snap some blank parking photos.
Note: Some of the experiences on this list may be temporarily closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
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