12 Tips to Make the Most of Your Disney Vacation

by May 25, 2023

If you are planning a trip to the Walt Disney World Resort, you may be looking for all the tips to help you along the way! There is a lot of information and things to keep in mind as you get ready for your vacation. Here, we share 12 tips to help you make the most of your Disney Vacation.

Visit During Non-Peak Times

One of the best ways to save money on your Disney vacation is to visit during non-peak times. Since the pricing at the Walt Disney World Resort is date-based, the price will go up when the parks are expected to be busier.

What is a non-peak time? Well, a good rule of thumb to remember is that if kids are out of school, the parks will likely be busier. For example, Christmas, Spring Break, and summertime will always be more crowded than times when kids are in school.

This does not mean that no one is in the parks. It does mean, however, that pricing is generally lower and there may be lower crowds. My favorite non-peak times to go to the Walt Disney World Resort are mid-January and early May.

Use a Travel Advisor

There are many benefits to using a travel advisor. At the top of the list is the fact that a travel advisor can help you save both time and money! From finding you the best hotel and ticket options to monitoring for discounts and helping you navigate the Disney Genie+ Service, it’s always a good idea to have someone to help!

A travel advisor is also familiar with the theme parks and the resorts and can be as involved as you would like in the planning process. Our friends at Key to the World are a great resource to help you plan your vacation.

Rope Drop or Extended Evening Hours

To make the most of your time in the parks, a great tip is to be there before the park officially opens. Rope drop refers to the official park opening when cast members drop the rope and allow guests to go back to the attractions.  Guests are often permitted to enter the parks and line up in preparation for rope drop.

Arriving early will often allow you to experience more attractions with shorter wait times, as the crowds often increase closer to mid-day. In addition, all guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel can take advantage of Early Theme Park Entry. This allows guests to enjoy select attractions in the theme parks starting 30 minutes prior to the park opening.

Alternatively, it is a great value to stay at a deluxe or deluxe villa resort because you get extra time in the theme parks on select nights. After the official park closing, guests staying at select resorts can enjoy many attractions with shorter wait times. This even includes an additional opportunity to join the virtual queue for two attractions!

Skip Genie+…Sometimes

Disney Genie+ Service is the new way to enjoy shorter wait times for many of your favorite attractions. When you purchase this optional service, you have access to nearly 50 different attractions in the four theme parks.

However, this service is not required to enjoy your day in the parks. In fact, it’s entirely possible to visit all your favorite attractions without using the Disney Genie+ service at all. I like to save money by only purchasing this add-on for select days. Alternatively, I have also not purchased it all and opted to only purchase a few Individual Lightning Lane attractions or simply use the stand-by lines.

Now, this is not always advisable. Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes are definitely a good way to save time during your vacation, especially during busier times of the year. However, skipping these add-ons sometimes is a good way to save money. With a good plan and some guidance from your travel advisor, you can still have an enjoyable day at the parks without adding them on.

Skip the Park Hopper

The Park Hopper allows guests to visit more than one Disney Park each day, starting at 2:00 pm. It is an extra cost to add it to your park ticket and the cost will vary depending on when you are visiting.

Although it’s fun to park hop and allows you to have more flexibility during your vacation, it is not a necessity. This is especially the case if you are traveling with young children or if you are not as familiar with the parks. It takes some time to get from one park to another so skipping it will save you some time.

Plus, there is so much to do in each theme park that it is easy to spend the whole day in each one. Therefore, skipping the Park Hopper is also an easy way to save money.

Plan A Rest Day

There are a few reasons why planning a rest day during your Walt Disney World vacation is a good idea. If you plan your rest day toward the middle of your vacation, it will give you the opportunity to relax and recharge for the remainder of your park days. This is valuable no matter who is in your travel party but is especially helpful if you are traveling with young children.

In addition, having a rest day will save you some money. It’s easy to enjoy your resort hotel amenities or some of the low-cost activities available at the Walt Disney World Resort. For example, you may want to explore Disney Springs or enjoy a free game of mini-golf.

Use Disney Gift Cards

If you are looking to save some money on your Disney vacation, using Disney gift cards may be a great way to do it. There are a few ways to save.

If you have a grocery store that offers fuel perks or discounts, see if they sell Disney gift cards. Although you won’t save directly on your Disney vacation, this is an excellent way to save some money on gas.

In addition, if you have a membership to places such as Sam’s Club, you may be able to get a slight discount on the purchase of Disney gift cards.

Disney gift cards can be used to make payments on your vacation or for many things once you are on Disney property.

It’s possible to budget accordingly and use gift cards for food, souvenirs, etc. For example, when I travel with my children, I give each child a gift card with a set amount on it. This helps them as well because they learn to budget and choose what they buy carefully.

Bring A Phone Charger

A portable charger is an absolute must for your packing list, and it will be a huge timesaver if your battery starts to run low! The My Disney Experience mobile app is an important part of navigating the Walt Disney World Resort. Whether it’s placing a mobile order, checking wait times, taking photos, or making Disney Genie+ selections, you will use your phone a lot! Being prepared with a charger will be so helpful and keep your day running smoothly.

You can find portable phone chargers of various sizes, including those that will charge multiple devices. In addition, you may opt to purchase a FuelRod and take advantage of swapping it out as needed at the Disney parks.

TSA Pre-Check

If you are flying and plan to fly again at all in the next five years, getting TSA Pre-Check is well worth it! This program provides expedited security screening benefits for flights departing from U.S. airports. The cost of this program is $85 and it is good for 5 years.

Using this service will certainly save you time going through security at the airport, especially if you are traveling during a busy time of the year.

Rent A Car if Staying Off-Site

If you are staying at an off-site hotel or vacation rental, consider renting a car. This will save you so much time during your vacation.

While many partner hotels offer shuttles to and from Disney property, these shuttles often have a set schedule for the pick-up and drop-off times. This leads to less flexibility with your park time since you have to be at the pick-up location by a certain time.

If you are flying, renting a car will also make it easier to get to your accommodations. You can pick up your rental right at the airport and maybe even stop for groceries on the way there!

Order Groceries

To save some money on your Disney vacation, consider ordering or picking up groceries. It is easy to place an Instacart order and have it delivered right to your resort hotel. Grab some breakfast items and even snacks to have on hand in the parks. All of the Disney Resort hotels include a mini refrigerator. In addition, villas with at least one bedroom offer a fully-equipped kitchen.

If you are planning to rent a stroller, many companies include a soft cooler for you to use with your rental. Here are a few ideas that you may want to include in your grocery order:

  • Bottled water
  • Granola bars, Pop-tarts, or cereal
  • Fruit such as bananas
  • Goldfish crackers or other grab-and-go snacks

Monitor Flight Prices

If you are planning to fly to Orlando, keep an eye on your flight prices. These prices will often fluctuate over time. You may find that pricing is the lowest right after the flight schedule is released.

In addition, consider using websites such as Google Flights or the Hopper app to receive notifications when there are price changes. Not all airlines are included in these resources but oftentimes, when the prices change for one airline, they change for most.

Talk to your Key to the World Travel advisor today to start planning your next Walt Disney World Vacation. Never booked with a travel advisor before? We do all the work, so you can focus on enjoying your vacation. Send us a quote request to get matched with an expert travel planner and start planning the vacation of a lifetime.


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