Disney World…you HAVE to go! Everyone feels differently about vacations, but this place no matter who you are will always bring joy to your heart. This company works so hard to make this the happiest place on earth and honestly I never leave without some beautiful memories. I even recommend going at different stages in your life. Hopefully your parents were able to take you as a kid, you should go in your 20’s without kids, then return with your own kids, and probably go with your grandkids but that would be a convo for my parents, not me. 😉 I have been 6 times in my life and plan to keep on going!
Saving Money at Disney
You have two options when it comes to planning a Disney trip. Do you stay on property or find outside accommodations? Some people swear by getting the whole package and I don’t doubt it’s amazing, but the parks themselves are “wow” enough for me budget wise. If you are wanting the whole package and are willing to plan a year or TWO in advance, there are people who know how to save hundreds of dollars. I follow SMART Moms Planning Disney and the woman who leads this Facebook group knows how to make it happen. I am not a coupon clipper and I do love to plan things but I am also impatient so I just can’t. With that being said, here are my money saving tips….
- Go with a group and share an AirBnB (So many GREAT places to stay)
- Stay at a hotel that will take you to Disney or rent a car with your group so you only pay parking once (My mom rented a 15 passenger van and that thing hauled the mail!)
- Go with someone who can get you military tickets
- We were able to take advantage of this when Victor was in the Air Force and it saves tons of money
- We could buy up to six tickets so we always took family with us.
- Do you know someone who works at Disney? They can get up to two people in for free on certain days! (Not peak days)
- Kids under 3 are free
- Make and take your own food into the parks. Take a water bottle and ask for cups of water they are free!
- Do not purchase the park hopper option..seriously you need all day to enjoy each park
- The more days you go the cheaper the daily ticket gets. You need a 4-day pass to hit every park.
- Buy certain souvenirs from the local Walmart, Target, or discount Disney Store
- When you walk into these stores you think you are at a Disney gift shop! SO MUCH DISNEY STUFF!
- Only buy things at Disney that you can’t get any where else
- Mickey ears
- Christmas Ornaments
- Exclusive Park Toys (We bought Quinn the Rapunzel Tower)
- You can pay for anything with Disney gift cards so ask for those as gifts for Christmas or birthdays!
Tricks to Have the Time of Your Life
DOWNLOAD THE DISNEY PARK APP IMMEDIATELY
- FAST PASSES
- You need to sign up for them 30 days in advance or 60 days if you are staying on property. We stayed one night at Disney’s Art of Animation this last time so we were able to sign up for Fast Passes 60 days in advance! 🙂 DO NOT wait…Seriously, on your 30 day mark wake up at 6 AM and get to work.
- You can initially sign up for 3 passes at one park per day. (You do this using the Disney Park APP) Once you are at that park and after you use your passes, go on the app and sign up for more! We had 8 fast passes one day and never waited in line!
- Whatever you do, if you do not get a fast pass for a certain ride, head straight for that ride right at opening to avoid long lines. Not all rides need a fast pass. Do your research!
- WHEN TO GO
- Check out a peak time calendar to know when to go Disney
- If it’s in the “slow season” the tickets are cheaper! (Click here to view the website)
- June and July are miserably hot and busy
- Christmas week…NOT WORTH IT
- We went the week before Christmas and the first week of January both were good.
- Making it part of a work trip saves money (Thanks Victor 😉 )
- The sit down restaurants at Disney are pretty amazing but can be pricey. You must plan that out and you can make reservations up to 180 days in advance. (You can’t walk up to the restaurant and ask for a table. That won’t go well with the people who’ve reserved their spot up and are waiting in line. They’ll look at you like you’re crazy. 😉 ) The character dining is fun with kids! Research the prices because it can get up there!
- Be Our Guest is one of Magic Kingdom’s newest sit down restaurants. If you go during lunch it has more affordable options and you must try the grey stuff! If you go to the Enchanted Tales with Belle and then the restaurant it is almost like character dining with out the price tag. 😉
- MEMORY MAKER
- Purchase this with your group! We went with my family (15 people, hence the 15 pax van) We all linked to my account so it made the price worth it. Disney has people everywhere ready to take your picture. They will scan your ticket or magic band and it is all saved to one place. At the end of your trip you can download all of your images. They took around 500 pictures of us on 4-day trip.
- If you want to save money they will also take pictures with your camera for you!
- Talking Mickey is at Magic Kingdom and you can get a Fast Pass for him
- Epcot is a great place to meet a lot of characters
- Take an autograph book
- Use the App to find out times and places for characters
- Disney Junior characters are only at Hollywood Studios
- Ask any store at the park for your FIRST visit button (also, birthdays and anniversary)
- Go to Disney Springs (it’s free) and it has lots of shops and eateries
- Plan well but don’t over do it! You cannot do everything so figure out what is a must for you and stick to it! It is easy to get distracted by all the amazing things.
- Get a Dole Whip at Magic Kingdom and try as many different foods as you can in Epcot
- Most rides do not have a height limit and you can even ride those when you are pregnant!
- Take a stroller…Do not torture yourself or your children…
- Go early and stay late..the lines are the shortest. Take it slow in the middle of the day. Let your kid nap in a stroller while you ride big kid rides. Disney has child swap for anything with a height requirement.
BEST PARK STUFF
Magic Kingdom – Plan around parades and rides
Rides: FP=A must fast pass
- Peter Pans Flight FP
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train FP
- Space Mountain FP
- Splash Mountain
- Buzz Lightyear FP
- The Little Mermaid
- Winnie the Pooh
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Big Thunder Mountain
- Enchanted Tales with Belle
- Night Parade
Epcot- Plan around the food and characters
- Frozen Ever After FP
- The Soarin’ FP
- Test Track FP
- Mission Space
- The World Showcase
Hollywood Studios- Plan around the shows
- Tower of Terror
- Rock n’ Roller Coaster FP
- Toy Story Mania FP
- Star Tours FP
- Toy Story Land and Stars Wars is open and looks amazing. It is on our to do list!
- Disney Junior Show
- Frozen Sing Along
- Beauty and the Beast
- Indiana Jones
- All things Star Wars (if that’s your thing)
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid
Animal Kingdom- Check out all the animals
- Kilimanjaro Safaris FP
- Expedition Everest FP
- Avatar flight of passage FP
- Na’vi River Journey FP
- Lion King Show
- Nemo Show
- River of Lights