Disney World is one of the most magical places in the world. It’s fun for people of all ages, interests, and backgrounds. There are so many things to do at Disney World that it can be hard to know where to start when you first visit. That’s why we put together this list of 42 best Disney World tips and secrets! Whether you have a little time or a lot, there are some great ways to make your trip more enjoyable and get the most out of your vacation.
1. Figure out how much you can afford to spend before you start anything else- the more careful and thoughtful about budgeting, the better! Price drops happen all year long, so booking as early as possible will always be helpful.
2. Book as early as possible – preferably no later than six months in advance, because that’s when a majority of prices drop for last-minute reservations. Keep in mind that different promotions come around over time too, so keep an eye on those ahead of time!
3. Do all your research beforehand – by making sure everything is done before going on the trip will save you a lot of time and stress when you get in.
4. Pack lightly – Air carriers usually charge extra for luggage and items over the weight limit, so packing only the essentials is important! Make sure to pack light to avoid additional fees on your trip.
5. Look out for deals in advance – if you’re going during a regular time of year, check the Disney website for special discounts and promotions that usually go up a few months in advance.
6. Hire a travel agent – getting all of your information from one source is always easier than piecing it together yourself, so hiring an agent to help you out will be very helpful for your trip.
7. Be flexible with where you stay – if possible, avoid the most popular locations, i.e., the Magic Kingdom resorts, because they’re great but also more expensive than others like Pop Century or Caribbean Beach Resort.
8. Eat in moderation – Prices for food inside Disney World are quite high compared to traditional prices, so eating one or two meals a day can cut costs from your trip. Another tip to save money on food is by bringing snacks from home – this goody bag has good suggestions for what to bring along!
9. Buy disnery merchandise ahead of time – if you’re planning on buying anything at the park, do it outside of the park! There are lots of good deals at Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) and online. Some other great tips for planning your Disney vacation include renting a stroller, using Fast Passes, or buying souvenirs ahead of time. You can also request for Disney to mail you Magic Bands early, so they arrive before your trip.
10. Do not underestimate the Disney dining plan – it costs a lot upfront, but if you’re planning on eating as much as possible during your trip (and who isn’t?), then it will end up saving you money in the long run. Make sure to check out this article about different dining plans and how they work!
11. Plan your trip ahead of time – make sure to leave plenty of time for everything you plan on doing during your trip (i.e., don’t try and squeeze in as much as possible). Try choosing a good place to stay, marking rides and activities that are important, figuring out how you’ll be getting around the park; also, make sure to check out this website for some cool and unique itineraries that really incorporate all of Walt Disney World!
12. Avoid paying full price – there are many great websites and resources with information on how to pay less than full price for your trip, including the best time to book, ways to get discounts, and what kind of crowds to expect.
13. Know what to anticipate – Walt Disney World is a trendy place, so there will be lines and waits for rides, so understanding how long these typically take can help you avoid a lot of unpleasantness throughout your trip!
14. Consider not visiting during peak seasons – if possible, try to go when it’s less crowded because that means there are usually better deals to be found too!
15. Plan out your budget – set a budget for yourself before planning anything to have an idea of what you’re working with throughout this process. It’s always easier to stick to a number rather than just winging it.
16. Take advantage of the Park Hopper option – if you’re going to be in the park for more than one day, consider getting Park Hopper instead of One-Day tickets so you can visit multiple parks in a day. These are usually more expensive, but they are worth it when you have limited time in Disney World.
17. Keep hydrated – stay hydrated! There are many water fountains around the park; however, you can also buy bottled water in most convenience stores or quick-service restaurants.
18. Avoid buying a Memory Maker package – a Disney PhotoPass Photographer will take pictures with your camera but sometimes they’ll snap a few photos on their own. If you want to buy all of these photos, that is totally up to you but just be aware that it can easily become really expensive!
19. Have a plan B – if it’s not too hot, consider doing more outdoor activities like walking around the park and exploring exhibits/shows/parades. If it is too hot out, you might want to consider the Main Street Electrical Parade, where there are cool lights to look at instead, or plan on cooling off in one of the many pools around the park. Plan B can also include renting a stroller for little ones or purchasing a stroller through Disney.
20. Sample different types of transportation – take advantage of all that Walt Disney World has to offer, including the Monorail, boats, buses, and even bicycles if that’s what you’re into!
21. Do not rely on Disney transportation – at all costs, it does not depend on Disney transportation because it can be unpredictable and often takes a lot longer than expected. This is especially true for buses – consider renting a car to get from point A to point B.
22. Bring a stroller for little ones – if you have young kids, consider renting a stroller or bringing your own because they make an enormous difference during a long day of walking, and it is undoubtedly worth the comfort!
23. Consider staying at the resort – most resorts allow guests to visit them on the day of their departure (and usually welcome guests earlier than park hours), which can be convenient if you’re using Disney transportation to get to the airport. This way, you don’t have to worry about rushing or getting lost!
24. Make your own fun – this may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to remember that you can stay at the park for as many days as you want and never do the same thing twice. There are lots of rides/shows/parades, so try not to get bored!
25. Make your own meal plan – instead of purchasing meals, try bringing your own food into the park! Disney has a lot of rules about what can be brought in, so do your research before you go.
26. Download the app – this is by far one of the best apps out there to have on hand for any Disney fanatic because it has all kinds of helpful tools and helpful information when planning a trip!
27. Take advantage of extra magic hours at Disneyland – if you have a park hopper ticket, you can stay at Disney World for one additional hour after the park closes. If your hotel participates in this program, it could be well worth it because it’ll save you time/money!
28. Take advantage of fast passes – this is something that many people overlook but is actually really helpful. You can get a fast pass for any ride by going to the line and saying, “I want a fast pass.” Keep in mind that they run out of these quickly, so it’s best to get one if you see a long line.
29. Take advantage of height restrictions – while some rides have a height restriction, others don’t, but they are usually more kid-friendly. On the other hand, rides with height restrictions are generally more thrilling! This is primarily true for roller coasters.
30. Use Disney’s Magical Express – if you’re staying on property, this magical bus will take you from your resort to/from the airport with everything included. It’s a great way to save money and make sure you don’t have to worry about transportation!
31. Bring snacks – if you’re bringing your own food, be sure to bring some extra snacks because there are limited snack machines around the park. You should also consider packing a lunch for the day because it will help cut down costs!
32. Rotate characters – if you have children that are into princesses, this is a great way to make sure they get the full experience without spending too much money. Another thing to remember is that some characters appear more frequently throughout the day at specific locations closer to their respective parade times.
33. Be flexible – the best way to avoid costly mistakes is by planning a trip and then being open to spontaneous changes. If you’re willing to do that, it’s much more likely that your trip will end up pretty close in price (or even lower) than what you initially expected!
34. Avoid Disney souvenirs – if you’re on a budget, this is something you’re probably already avoiding, but if not, it’s definitely worth the consideration. Souvenirs are typically pretty expensive, so you might want to pick up a postcard or two instead!
35. Shop at the grocery store – while Disney resorts have pretty nice convenience stores on site where you can get some snacks and things for your room, they’re typically more expensive than what you can find at your local grocery store. If you’re on a budget, consider doing some research on the surrounding area to find out where you can buy groceries!
36. Utilize Disney transportation – this is something that most people don’t know about unless they’ve done their research beforehand. You can take Disney buses/boats to the parks for free (you’ll need to take them back, though), which is a great way to save money. This also means that you won’t have to buy lunch every time you go out because you can bring your own into the park!
37. Book your hotel under AAA – this might be something you’re already aware of, but it’s definitely worth mentioning. If you have an AAA membership, your hotel cost will likely be significantly lower than someone who doesn’t. Just make sure to ask before making any reservations!
38. Purchase park hopper tickets – this is probably the best way to maximize your time at Disney World because it makes it easy to go back and forth between parks. It’s also a great way to keep yourself from feeling burnt out because you’ll have some time away from the theme parks!
39. Take advantage of early entry – if you’re able to wake up/get to the park around 7:00 AM, this is usually an excellent time to get in. The lines are typically pretty short when you go early entry, considering it’s still relatively early in the morning, so this is also a good way to kill some time!
40. Don’t book last-minute reservations – if you want to visit Disney World during their peak seasons (meaning around holidays and summertime), booking as soon as possible is a necessity. People tend to book up quickly for those times, so the only way to guarantee you’ll be able to get your trip booked is by booking as soon as possible!
41. Check out after-hour parties – if you’re visiting Disney World during one of their peak seasons, this might be a good opportunity to check out one of their after-hour parties. These events usually include character meet and greets, fireworks, and parades – all things you don’t want to miss out on!
42. Purchase Disney gift cards – last but not least, free up some extra space in your wallet by purchasing Disney gift cards and reloading them as needed. This is super convenient because you won’t need to take your credit cards with you to the theme parks, and it’s a lot easier than carrying around a ton of cash!
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