READING TIME: 6 min.
If you are planning a trip to Disneyworld
in the near future, then read-on my friends
, I have some insider tips for a better trip to the Happiest Place on Earth! I wouldn’t consider myself a Disney expert – but I have been 5 times in the last 5 years and have learned a few things along the way that will help you spend more quality time at the park
, spend less money
, and enjoy your trip
long after you’ve returned.
More Quality Time At The Park
1) Skip the Hotel Breakfast. Under normal travel circumstances, I love nothing more than a hotel breakfast buffet (helloooo, waffle station) – but in the case of Disney, I recommend doing things a little differently. The hotel breakfast, while delicious, can take a LONG time and the mornings are simply the best, least crowded time at the park. Opt for breakfast in your hotel room and you will save your self a lot of time in the morning. Those first couple hours, even during busy season, are by far the most enjoyable. Most all of the hotels, no matter the price tier, have a small fridge in the room and convenience stores in the lobby. I recommend stocking up on a few breakfast essentials and eating in the room while everyone is getting dressed – granola bars, cereal, bananas, yogurt, that sort of thing.
2) Extra Magic Hours –
This is extra time set aside for guests staying on WDW property and will allow you into a designated park before it opens to the public. These hours are a major perk
of staying on property, take advantage of them. Seriously, get to the park a few minutes before it opens
and you will have about an hour and a half or so of little to no waits on even the most popular attractions. I would pick the number one thing on your list and go there first.
3) Rest Time For Everyone – Disneyworld is so fun – but it can be a lot to take in and at some point each day, everyone needs a break. It gets hot and crowded as the day goes on, and everyone (adults included) need a little recharge. We have found that taking a few hours off in the middle of the afternoon allowed us all to return to the park well-rested and enjoy the evening rides, parades and fireworks.
4) Dining With Characters –
There are so many ways to spend time with your favorite Disney characters – but I love Character meals! During each character meal, your family remains seated at your table and, one by one, the characters come to you.
They sign autographs, pose for pictures and visit for a short time with your family. You don’t have to wait in line or fight crowds to get a hug from Mickey! And you are eating at the same time…two birds, one stone. If you are looking for character meal suggestions, let me know in the comments, happy to share my favorites! Note: Character meals should be reserved in advance and they often book up quickly, so be sure to make reservations well in advance of your trip.
Spend Less Money in Disneyworld
1) Stroller Rental –
If you are planning to rent a stroller at the park, consider reserving one from a rental company ahead of time. Although I have a double stroller at home, I didn’t want to lug it all the way to Florida or risk airline damage. Luckily, there are lots of companies that rent baby gear in Orlando! I have used used KingdomStrollers.com
(multiple times) and was able to rent a City Mini double for a whole week
for a fraction of the price of the rentals available in the park. Plus, an added perk, the stroller was delivered directly to my hotel and picked up at the end of the week for no additional charge.
2) Meal Plan – In my opinion, the meal plan is completely worth doing. We chose the plan with 1 sit down meal, 1 quick service meal and 1 snack. We were able to use each of our sit-down meals for character meals and enjoyed a meal on each day we were there with Mickey, Princesses and Pooh and Friends.
3) Water bottles – This is so simple, and will save a lot of money…take your own water bottles for everyone in the group!! There are water fountains all over the park to refill all day long. I would also ask for large cups of ice at our meals to refill my bottle. Bottled water in the park runs around $4 a bottle and counts as a “snack” on the meal plan.
4) Cooler and snacks – There is nothing worse than a Hangry family on vacation, am I right? We packed a small cooler (actually, the freebie that came with my stroller rental) and took in our own snacks to the park each day. I packed it full of peanut butter sandwiches, granola bars, apples, grapes, squeeze packs, etc. The meal plan allows for a “snack” but a “snack” is one drink, or one bag of chips, or one ice cream, etc. This saved us from having to buy extra (overpriced) snacks through out the day.
5) Glow Sticks – Before heading to the park, stop by Dollar Tree and stock up on glow sticks. They are great for kids who are a little afraid of the dark to hold on the darker rides (Winnie the Pooh is adorable but quite dark inside). We also used them while we watched parades and fireworks.
Enjoy Your Trip (Even After You’ve Returned)
1) Autograph books – This is one of my favorite things to do in Disneyworld! You can pre-buy at the Disney Store, Amazon or at literally every kiosk in the park. Make sure to get a book that holds pictures. Your child will have fun collecting autographs as they meet their favorite Disney characters. Be sure to snap a quick photo of your child and each character that signs their book. Then when you return, print pictures and fill in the book. It makes for a really fun memory book and I can tell you that my daughter still looks at hers weekly, even from trips we took 3 years ago.
2) Go In with A Plan – Spend a little time before your trip making a list of rides and attractions your family wants to see. Look at maps of the park and plan out your mornings and afternoons. The plan can be fluid and may change on the go, but having an idea ahead of time will help you prioritize and see the most desired attractions.
3) Take a Deep Breath and Enjoy – You know what zaps the magic in the Happiest Place on Earth? A stressed out family. Yes, there will be crowds, there will be lines and there will be over stimulated kids. But find the things that bring joy to your family and focus on those the most. Don’t kill yourselves trying to see and do every single thing available.
Do you have any favorite Disneyworld tips or tricks, or have any Disneyworld questions? Feel free to share them in the comments below.