Why you should never pay for water at Disney World

If you plan on riding Space Mountain, meeting your favorite princesses, and spinning around on the teacups under the hot Florida sun all day, you need to remember to also stay hydrated. Buying bottled water throughout the day in the park can add up though, but with this little-known Disney World hack, you’ll be able to cool down and quench your thirst for free. Bottled water isn’t the only pricey thing at Disney—the tickets will cost you too. Here’s the real reason they’re so expensive.

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11 new things to do at Disney in 2019
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11 new things to do at Disney in 2019

Mickey and Minnie's Surprise Celebration

Open: January 18, 2019 through September 30, 2019

Join Disney's Mickey and Minnie for new surprises in the Magic Kingdom. Sign the Celebration Guest Book and meet the duo (in their new party outfits!) for a picture inside the Town Square Theater. Then join them outside in front of the castle for their new Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party

The new outdoor dance parade features a new song called "It's a Good Time," and classic cast members like Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy, Chip 'n Dale and more. 

Choreographer Cindy Wilson told the Disney Parks Blog, “The ‘Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It!’ Street Party is a throwback to the Mickey Mouse Club, with wonderful music that everybody’s going to want to get up and dance to, and it’s contemporary at the same time. I think when [the characters] all come off the floats, guests are going to want to just jump in.”

Check the entertainment schedule for run times. 

Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party

Open: January 2019

Disney is celebrating the 25th anniversary of "The Lion King" with a Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party hosted by Timon and Rafiki on Discovery Island in the Animal Kingdom.

The dance party includes music, characters and new photo ops every day from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 

Meet The Incredibles at Pixar Place

Open: January 2019 through September 30, 2019

At the start of 2019, Pixar Place at Disney's Hollywood Studios transformed into a Municiberg city block. The park features a party for Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible and Frozone to honor their victories and a meet-and-greet with Edna Mode and her best creations. In addition, guests can look throughout Pixar Place for clues on where to find the youngest member of the Incredible family, Jack-Jack.

Lightning McQueen's Racing Academy

Opening: March 31, 2019

Lightning McQueen's Racing Academy is a new show using high tech screens. Guests (rookie racers) will learn the rules of the road from "Cars" star Lightning McQueen. There will also be a new character meet-and-greet with Cruz Ramirez.

Wonderful World of Animation

Opening: May 1, 2019

The Wonderful World of Animation is a new projection light show that will take place at Disney's Hollywood Studios. The show will take guests on a journey through more than 90 years of Disney and Pixar animations with favorites including "The Incredibles," "Coco," "Sleeping Beauty" and more. 

Space 220

Opening: 2019

Epcot is opening a new space-themed restaurant called Space 220. According to Disney Food Blog, the restaurant will showcase simulate space views while guests sit in a restaurant modeled after a space station. It will seat more than 350 guests, those of which will be "transported" to the restaurant by elevators covered in digital screens that will mock a trip to space.

A job posting seeking staff for the restaurant lists April 2019 as when applicants can join the cast, so we can assume this restaurant will be open by summer. 

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

Opening: Fall 2019

Both Disney World and Disneyland will be opening a Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. The park is being made to look like the planet of Batuu, which is a remote outpost that was once a busy crossroads along the old sub-lightspeed trade routes and is now a safe haven for those avoiding the First Order. 

There will be two main attractions where guests can fly the Millennium Falcon and another that puts guests in a Star Destroyer in a battle between the First Order and the Resistance.

Other fun additions will include Luke Skywalker's blue milk, a marketplace and toys, apparel and characters like BB-8 and Chewbacca. 

See more on the park's progress here

Skyliner Gondola

Opening: Fall 2019

If you like taking the monorail into the parks, you'll want to check out the new Skyliner Gondolas. Similar to a lift you'd find at a ski resort, the gondolas will take guests through two parks, offering spectacular views. 

The Skyliner Gondola will connect Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios to four hotels: Disney’s Art of Animation ResortDisney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort as well as a new resort coming in fall 2019, Disney’s Riviera Resort.

For more on the Skyliner Gondola system, see here

Disney's Riviera Resort

Opening: Fall 2019

The new Disney Riviera Resort hotel is inspired by the "grandeur of Europe." It will have transportation to the parks, a fitness center, a rooftop restaurant and wide range of room sizes.

The Riviera Pool, a family-friendly pool, will be decorated with stucco façades, a slide that winds around a column tower (pictured) and a kids interactive water play area that slightly mimics the public fountains of Europe. 

For adults seeking peace and quiet, there's a separate area called the Beau Soleil Pool. 

The Disney Riviera Resort is currently taking reservations for Dec. 16 - Dec. 31, 2019. 

Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway

Opening: 2019

While there's no set opening date yet for Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway, their first ride attraction, it's set to open sometime this year. The ride will begin with guests viewing a new cartoon short with the mice getting ready for a picnic As Mickey and Minnie are leaving, they drive alongside a train where they see that Goofy is the engineer and the ride takes off from there.

There isn't a whole lot of additional information, but according to the Disney Parks Blog, "Imagineers have been hard at work creating Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, using breakthrough technology to transform a two-dimensional cartoon into an amazing real-world experience."

Epcot Forever

Opening: Fall 2019

Epcot's famous IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth nighttime lights and fireworks show is sadly ending at the end of Summer 2019, but will be temporarily replaced with a show called Epcot Forever. The new show will feature classic Epcot tunes, combining music with fireworks, lighting, lasers and special effects kites. 

Then, keep an eye out, because in 2020 Disney is gearing up to replace Epcot Forever with a new nighttime show called A Celebration of Disney Music with floating set pieces, custom-LED panels, fountains, lights, fire and lasers.

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The smart thing to do is plan ahead and bring a reusable water bottle with you. You’ll be able to refill it at any of the water mains around the park. However, if you don’t feel like lugging a heavy water bottle around with you all day, or you forgot it at home, just ask one of the many restaurants around Disney for a cup of water.

According to the book, Walt Disney World Hacks, all counter service restaurants will give you a cup of water (with or without ice) whenever you ask, completely free of charge. And the best part is that you’re not even required to purchase food or another drink. All you have to do is ask the cashier for some water and then take your receipt over to the food pick-up counter. Hand your receipt to one of the Cast Members and they’ll give you your drink. The Disney employee will gladly hand you your water, but you’ll never hear them say these three words.

On really hot summer days, they put out ice water dispensers throughout the park so make sure to keep your cup with you to refill. Now that you know how to stay hydrated, check out these insider secrets to make your next Disney World vacation the best one yet.

Originally Published on Reader's Digest

Thinking of booking a Disney Cruise?

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Secrets about Disney cruises
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Secrets about Disney cruises

The cast-to-guest ratio is impressive

With 1,250 staterooms, the Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream can each accommodate 4,000 guests—and each ship has 1,450 cast members (Disney's name for its parks' employees). That means that when the ship is at full capacity, the ratio of cast members to guests is 1 for every 2.76 guests.

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Cast members come from all over the world

Just like in the Walt Disney World parks, cast members on the cruise represent almost every nation around the globe. On a recent sailing, there were cast members from 66 different countries, ranging from Poland and Serbia to Indonesia and Jamaica.

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Your server will speak your language

Those international cast members come in handy when it's time to order dinner. When you register for the cruise, you'll be asked which language you speak. You'll then be paired with a server who speaks the same language. And if you're American? No worries. All cast members, no matter from which continent they hail, are required to speak English. These are the three words Disney cast members can't say (in any language).

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Your servers will rotate through the restaurants with you

Don't be surprised to see a familiar face or two each night at dinner. Your head server, server, and assistant server rotate through the three main restaurants—Enchanted Garden, Royal Court, and Animator's Palate on the Fantasy—with you each night. "That helps us get to know your likes and dislikes," says a head server. "For example, if you like lemon with your water or your child wants apple slices, we can have it waiting at the table when you arrive." Heading to the park? These are the 10 new foods at Disney World you must try.

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Tipping is optional

On the Disney Cruise Line, tips are automatically added for dinners, beverage purchases that aren't included with your fare (alcohol, specialty coffee, fresh juices at the spa, and smoothies), room service, and spa treatments. In addition, your stateroom host will be tipped at the end of the cruise. Even though the tips are automatically included, guests can opt to have that amount lowered or raised at guest services at any point during the sailing. Don't miss these 14 ways to save on your next Disney trip.

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Your server is a wealth of info

Because tipping is optional, a good server will go out of his or her way to find helpful tips to share with you. "We know where the best spots on the ship are to view the fireworks on Pirate Night (always on the starboard side) and which of the shows are worth catching (Don't miss Aladdin on the Fantasy or Frozen on the Wonder)—or skipping," says a cast member. Here are 12 etiquette rules Disney employees need to follow.

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The ship's decor is a secret code

Not sure if you're on the starboard or port side, or facing forward or aft? (That's boat speak for "left," "right," "forward," and "back.") Look to the doors and the carpet. The staterooms on the starboard (left) side have fish sculptures as door markers, and those fish are swimming aft (toward the back), while the staterooms on the port side has seahorse sculptures that are also facing the rear of the ship. As for the carpet, the point of the star and the North point on the compass are pointing to the ship's front. Speaking of secrets, discover the hidden spots you never knew existed at Disney.

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The kids' clubs are a hot spot for unique character spotting

If your children are big fans of a Disney movie or show, including Toy Story, Star Wars, or Doc McStuffins, make sure they're in Disney's Oceaneer's Club or Edge during the activity corresponding to the movie, like Space Ranger training or Jedi recruitment. Beloved characters will often make a surprise appearance, so your little one just might get to be face to face with Toy Story's Jessie or Star Wars's BB-8. Unfortunately there are no autograph books or cameras allowed, so this is one experience at Disney that will live on only as a happy memory.

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You can skip the photo package

At $149 for ten photos, the professional photos the ship's photographers take are one of the items on the ship with the biggest markup. Instead of shelling out for the official photo of your child meeting Anna and Elsa, stand behind the photographer and take the exact same shot with your camera or smartphone. Learn what else you should skip (or splurge on) during Disney cruises.

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We get eight weeks vacation

The majority of crew members are on a four-to-five-month contract, after which they must take a mandatory eight-week vacation. "Let's face it, it's hard work being 'on' six days out of seven. It's good to go home and see our families and recharge our batteries," says one crew member. They do also work on different ships and might be asked to change ships at a moment's notice.

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They eat a lot of chicken

Each week before setting sail, the ship is loaded with about 12,000 pounds of chicken, 5,000 to 6,000 pounds of beef, and 10,000 to 12,000 bottles of wine, according to Disney Cruise Line hotel director Alberto Boscoe.

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You can order off any of the restaurants' menus

If you loved the chateaubriand from Royal Court so much that you want it again the next night in Animator's Palate, even though it's not on the menu, chances are, your server will give it to you. Check the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app to get a preview of the nightly menu.

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Working in a specialty restaurant is a coveted job

With only 12 servers each, Palo or Remy (on all four of the Disney Cruise Line ships) are the most desired restaurants for servers, but the job does come with an added challenge. "Because there are only 12 of us, it can be hard to get along," says one Palo server. "The benefit of being in the larger dining room is that if you don't like someone, you don't have to work with them."

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Your opinions count

On the last day of the cruise, guests are asked to rate all their servers and stateroom attendants on a comment card. "Our managers really do read all of those, and if we've made a guest unhappy, we'll definitely be reprimanded," shares one cast member. On the other hand, share if they did something that made you happy, because praise counts too.

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White uniforms don't signify we're steering the boat

Unlike on many other ships, wearing a classic white uniform doesn't mean staffers are the captain or even first mate; it means that they're managers, explains one cast member. The epaulets hold a clue as to which department they're in: theatrical masks are for entertainment, a propeller is for traditional ship crew, and an oval means they're part of the deck team. Learn about 10 dress code rules all Disney employees have to follow.

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Skyline Bar holds some surprises

The backdrop of the bar Skyline changes every 12 minutes, rotating through the European cities where the Disney ships have port calls, including London, Paris, and St. Petersburg. If you look closely, you'll see that the people on the city streets are actually characters from Star Wars. "My favorite is London, where Darth Vader has the flat above Mickey Mouse," shares a cast member. Check out these other awesome perks adults will love about Disney cruises.

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Even we don't know about the next top-secret ship launch

Only very senior cast members know the name and itinerary of the ship that will be launched in 2019—and they're very tight-lipped! "I'm hoping for Japan," shares one server. Only time will tell. Don't miss these other 23 secrets Disney employees won't tell you.

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