Must-Know Disney World Tips and Tricks
Whether you’re headed to a Disney theme park for the holidays or spring break, you’re bound to lay down a chunk of change. While it isn’t quite “Disney Magic,” you can use these tips and tricks to save money and time when you visit Disney World in Orlando. What are the options, and are they worth it to you?
Valpak savings expert and Disney fan Nicole Hampton offers these Disney World tips and tricks:
Bring These Items
No matter how you plan to see Disney World, take a backpack and leave plenty of room inside. Or have someone in your group wear an empty pack to store gifts. Central Florida weather can be fickle; check the forecast before you go. It’s smart to bring super-compact umbrellas and sun hats, especially in summer. If you plan to ride the water rides, pack a change of clothes and a dollar-store poncho for each person. Wear sandals or shoes that dry out easily.
Take Advantage of FastPass+
Popular attractions can leave you waiting in line for an hour or more. What a waste of time! When you buy your ticket direct or through the Disney Store, you automatically get a line-skipping FastPass+ for up to three rides per day. Instead of queuing up, you are given a designated time to show up.
Save time with the App
The free Disney app gives you a GPS-enabled map of the parks, allows you to make reservations, and, most importantly, helps you manage wait times for your most-wanted rides on the go. For FastPass+ holders, it makes it easy to see which attractions you can visit while waiting for your access windows. It also allows everyone in a group to reserve rides at the same time.
How to Save Money on Meals
Plan your meals with the app for the best use of your dollar. Save extra money by bringing your own water bottles and filling them at drinking fountains. Snacks are a good idea, too, for those between-meal munchies on the cheap. Here’s another money-saver: if you eat in cafeteria-style restaurants, adults can eat more cheaply by ordering a kid’s meal. This doesn’t work for sit-down meals.
Travel Light with the MagicBand
This radio-frequency wristband simplifies the Disney experience. For $12.95 plus tax, it offers instant access to parks and your hotel room. You can buy food and merchandise without cash on hand. It also stores and updates your FastPass+ selections. The band comes free when you stay at a Disney property.
Use a Park Hopper Pass
Standard tickets allow you to visit one park per day. If your family is feeling energetic, pay the extra $64 per person for a Park Hopper pass. It lets you pop in and out of Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on the same day, every day of your visit. One place you can’t go with Park Hopper: Disney water parks and golf adventures. Admission requires a separate $64 Water Parks Fun and More pass that gives you access to one of these attractions per day. Buy both options and save $32.
Consider the Disney Visa Card
When you sign up for the Chase Disney credit card, you get a lot of features such as credits on your statement on the purchases you make within three months of opening an account, credits toward airfare, 0% introductory APR vacation financing (but after the promotion the APR jumps to 15%), and exclusive meet-and-greets with Disney and Star Wars characters. If you’re a frequent visitor, it might be worth signing up.
Stay On Property, Get Perks
If you stay in a hotel on a Disney property, parking and transportation are included. You automatically get a MagicBand and gain access to Disney Magic Hours. Depending on the day and time, this special admission can get you in the parks an hour earlier than everyone else or stay beyond the normal closing time. That’s more bang for your buck!
If you plan to visit Disney theme parks multiple times a year, consider getting an annual pass. These pay for admission, parking and discounts on everything from rooms to merchandise. Some are for Florida residents only. There are several options ranging from $729 for the four-park Platinum Plus Pass to $110 for daily admission to the Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach water parks.
The cost of going to Disney World and Disneyland has gone up in the past year. Some special features may be worth it to you to save time and money. Plan your budget and most-wanted attractions, and make the most of your vacation to the Happiest Place on Earth.