Disney World Time and Money Saving Vacation Hacks – Part One

Disney Hacks
Disney Hacks


Walt Disney World Tips

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for ways to save both money and time when planning a Walt Disney World vacation.  Since I’m currently less than 60 days from my next trip, I’ve been writing down all of my time and money saving hack and wanted to share them with you.  Since I have quite a few, this will be (at least!) a two part article, so make sure you check back for the second half of the list!

1. Kids Under 3 Don’t Need a Ticket! Yep, that’s right!  If your little one is under 3 years of age at the start of your vacation (they can turn three while you’re there) then  you don’t pay for a ticket for them. So if you’re thinking of planning a trip and have a kiddo who turns three soon, I’d plan the trip for before that birthday!

2. Want Character Dining?  Book a breakfast, which is traditionally less expensive.  On average, breakfast character meals are about 20-25% less expensive than the lunch and dinner meals. And it’s usually the exact same experience (except for the different food!).  A few meals do have different characters at breakfast (like 1900 Park Fare and Hollywood and Vine) but for the most part it’s exactly the same at a nice cost savings.  Plus you’re got some character meet and greets out of the way before the kids are hot and tired!

3. Need a stroller?  Don’t rent from Disney, consider renting from an outside vendor. There is nothing worse than a tired toddler, so a stroller is a must have for us.  But renting from Disney can be pricey, and those strollers really aren’t that comfortable.  Consider renting from an outside company that will deliver and pick up the stroller from your Walt Disney World Resort.

4. Use your Target Red Card and save 5% on Disney Gift Cards.  Disney Gift Cards can be used to pay for just about anything on property (and your resort, tickets and dining plan if staying on property).  Why not take advantage of this savings and use Disney Gift Cards to pay for everything. And if you’re using them to pay for a vacation package, remember you can combine them to make everything easier.

5. Don’t forget your Disney button!  Your First visit?  A birthday?  Just married?  Not matter what you’re celebrating, don’t forget to grab your free button at your resort or Guest Services!  I can’t tell you how many free cupcakes we’ve gotten at Table Service meals because we always celebrate birthday’s at Disney World!

6. Bring your own snacks and water.  You are able to bring food and non-alcoholic drinks into to parks in a soft-sided cooler.  You can’t bring in glass containers but they don’t limit you from bringing in water, soda, snacks and even lunches!

7. Don’t want to rent a stroller? Buy a cheap one and bring it with you.  Our family has a “Disney stroller” I got it at a major retailer on clearance before my son’s first trip.  It’s a nice stroller and only cost $25!  Even if you can’t find a deal like that, those little umbrella strollers are cheap and light weight and perfect for preschoolers who have tired little legs!

8. Don’t forget to make your dining reservations 180 days in advance. Advanced Dining Reservations for Table Service meals can be made at the 180 day mark (or 180+10 if you’re staying on property).  Consider making those reservations well in advance so you’re not wasting time figuring out where to eat while you’re in the parks (chances are you won’t have a ton of options since some restaurants fill up super fast!

9. Staying on property?  Take advantage for Disney’s Magical Express transportation to and from Orlando International Airport. This is a free service that takes guests from the airport to their Walt Disney World resort.  They will even collect your luggage from baggage claim and deliver it to your resort room for you (so you can skip waiting for it and lugging it through the airport!). They pick you up at your resort and take you back to the airport when your trip is over (we call that the “Tragical Express” in our family!).

10. Use Disney Rider Switch. Rider switch allows guests traveling with small children who can’t ride certain attractions the opportunity to only wait in line once.  While someone stays with the little one(s) the rest of the party gets in line.  Just tell a Cast Member you’re doing rider switch and you’ll get a pass for the rest of the party (up to six guests) to skip the line once the original riders are done. This is a great time-saver!

11. Download and use the My Disney Experience app on your phone. This app is amazing!  It’s your one stop shop to all things Walt Disney World!  You can access your resort reservation and tickets, book, view, change and cancel diving reservations, make and change FastPasses, get additional FastPasses and even check out attraction wait times.  A must to have downloaded for your Walt Disney World vacation!

12. Stay at a Disney Resort for access to Extra Magic Hours.  Guests at Walt Disney World properties have access to special hours at the parks when they are open only for them.  Every day at least one of the four theme parks either opens an hour early or closes two hours later for those guests.  Crowds are smaller and you can fit in a lot more fun!

13. Book your FastPasses in advance. Every ticketed guest can book up to 3 FastPasses per day at one park.  Staying on property you can do this 60 days in advance, while the general public has access at the 30 day mark.  The most popular attractions fill up quickly though, so don’t wait until you’re at the park to grab yours!

14. Schedule early morning FastPasses and when those are done you can grab another, and then another, and then another!  The way the FastPass system works is you can book up to 3 FPs for attractions at a park.  Once those have been used (or expire) you can grab another from a kiosk in the park or the My Disney Experience App.  And when that is used you can get another, and so on.  So if you book your first three early in the day, you’ll be able to cotinue to get more (based on availablity) saving you from waiting in longer lines!

15. Attending a ticketed event? Don’t waste a full day ticket when you can get into the park at 4pm with your event ticket. Events like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party start at 7pm, however guests can enter the park at 4pm with their event tickets.  So instead of using a full day ticket and then your special event ticket, consider spending the morning and early afternoon at the hotel pool or Disney Springs and then head over to Magic Kingdom for a 4pm entry time!

16. Collect pressed pennies for a cheap souvenir. For only $0.51 each (two quarters and then the penny you are pressing) you can make a pressed penny at various locations around the Walt Disney World theme parks.  So for around $20, you could end up with 40 pennies!  Those pennies can be framed in a fun design or placed in an album to save as a keepsake.  What a great (and inexpensive) way to remember your Disney vacation.  Plus, hunting for the press locations is fun too!

What’s your favorite money or time saving tip when visiting Walt Disney World?  Don’t forget to share it in the comments below or on our Facebook page.  You might just find it listed in the second half of this article!

Image copyright Disney.

Disney World Time and Money Saving Vacation Hacks - Part One 1

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