36 Disney World Hacks That Will Make Your Trip Even More Magical
Walt Disney World is an adventure whether it's your first time or your 100th visit. But without careful planning, the most magical place on Earth can quickly become the most expensive place on Earth. That's why it's important to plan ahead so you can find the best deals and make the most of your vacation.
In addition to cutting costs, if you're traveling with little ones it's helpful to consider they're experience. Everything from the weather to how much walking they'll have to do will factor into how you navigate the parks. Disney World is about making precious family memories and you don't want to be bogged down by long wait times if you can avoid it.
We've gathered tips and tricks from some of the park's biggest fans — like Guide2WDW and Disney Tourist Blog — on how to make your trip to Disney World even more magical and more economical, too. Whether it's avoiding the long Disney World lines or trying to save a little money on a hotel so you can spend it in the park, keep reading for the best Disney World tips.
—Additional reporting by Lauren Harano and Melanie Whyte
Work with a Disney-certified travel agent.
Reaching out to a Disney-certified travel agent will not only save you money with access to insider knowledge but working with them is absolutely free. From suggestions on where to stay, what to eat and how to make reservations.
Use a Crowd Calendar to find out the busiest park times.
Use discount websites and travel companies to help you save and plan.
"Check out Mouse Savers for discounts and offers. Call the Walt Disney Travel Company for assistance with planning. If you give them your goals and budget parameters, they will absolutely work with you to help create the best stay possible. They can help you work through pros ands cons of different hotels, ticket packages, and the various rates associated with different times of year." — Quora user Ian McCullough
Subscribe to the Touring Plans website.
"Touring Plans provides day-by-day recommendations for which parks to see to minimize crowds and waits in line . . . Touring Plans is a company founded by a guy named Len Testa, whose team tracks wait times and crowd levels, and reviews restaurants, hotels, and attractions on property. Testa's staff creates touring plans, or step-by-step suggestions for where to go in the parks that are designed specifically to minimize your wait in line. On the busiest days, they claim that their plans can save you three to four hours of waiting. You can either use their pre-planned outlines or design your own, and you can re-optimize them throughout the day based on what you've experienced and what the crowds are like. Touring Plans can also walk you through Fastpass+ recommendations." — Quora user Michael Lee
Make sure to mention your special occasion.
"Disney evidently noted that [it was our honeymoon] in our reservation and 1) mentioned it when we checked in at the Polynesian, 2) gave us a couple of 'Just Married' buttons that every single cast member you see will acknowledge, and 3) left us a personalized, signed photo of Aladdin and Jasmine in our room when we arrived!" — Quora user Michael Lee
Get to the park early.
Get to the parks for rope drop — aka when cast members "drops" the rope that signals the park is open for visitors. Guide2WDW suggests getting to the park at least 30 minutes before opening. You can see so much with no wait at all while half of the guests on property are still asleep!
Consider splitting up if you're in a group.
"Consider splitting up the group from time to time, especially for character interactions . . . You'll be able to pick up a 'Times Guide' with the park map at each park, and those will show character availabilities throughout the day. Don't discount when you'll see the characters out walking around, either!" — Quora user Michael Lee
Use memberships and statuses to get discounted tickets.
"AAA members, active military and tour groups of 10+ can also get discounted tickets (through Disney)." — Quora user Tom Nikl
Take advantage of Disney's Free Dining program.
Don't overlook Disney's Hollywood Studios during Fantasmic!
"I loved seeing the show one night of our last trip, but we were also there one other night during the show, and we rode the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror about five times in a row with no wait. It was glorious!" — Quora user Michael Lee
Don't buy bottled water.
"Every food establishment will give you a free cup of ice water if you ask." — Quora user Tom Nikl
Don't crowd into the Magic Kingdom for the Wishes fireworks show.
"Instead, head to the beach at the Polynesian Resort, and watch from afar (with the music piped in) and with a drink in your hand!" — Quora user Michael Lee
"Now's not the time to worry about your diet — at least, not too much. All of the walking you'll be doing will more than offset a cheeseburger for lunch, and that goes for the kids, too!" — Quora user Michael Lee
Examine menus online before making dinner reservations.
"Examine menus online before you make dining reservations, especially at buffet-style restaurants. In some cases, the menus at lunch and dinner are (roughly) the same, but lunch may be a bit less expensive. Biergarten at Epcot is a good example of this." — Quora user Tom Nikl
The Disney resort hotels are organized into different resort areas, so know your travel times.
"Walt Disney World is much larger than Disneyland (it's about the size of a normal American city), and travel times between these areas can be significant, especially if you are depending on Disney transportation.
When choosing where to stay, factor in the location of the hotel within the property. Also keep in mind that different hotels have different transportation options. Some are serviced only by buses, while others have monorails and boats as well." — Quora user Ian Stainbrook
Take advantage of Disney pizza delivery services.
"Disney resorts (typically) offer their own pizza delivery service to your room up until one AM." — Quora user Tom Nikl
Don't forget the most important thing of all . . .
"The more magic you give out, the more it will be returned to you." — Quora user Mark Flory.