Tips for Visiting Walt Disney World Orlando with Children

My son and I have been frequent visitors to Walt Disney World Resort (WDW) in Orlando, Florida since he was 2 years old. The four theme parks we visit at WDW are Disney’s Animal Kingdom (our favorite), Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, and Epcot. We are sharing some learnings and tips from our visits to Disney World.

I use these travel tips for WDW Orlando Parks in combination with my personal and business travel checklist.

Before you go

💡 Even if you have previously visited Walt Disney Parks, it is helpful to conduct online research to get informed about notable updates and changes since your last visit. This will help you be aware of any new attractions, dining options, or entertainment offerings, as well as potential adjustments to policies, operating hours, or park guidelines. By staying up-to-date, you can make the most of your time at the parks.

💡 Consider staying in a Disney affiliated hotel. They have excellent transportation to and from the parks included in the price of the stay.

💡 Check the weather before each day’s visit to the parks. However, always pack necessities for rain, regardless of the forecast. It has often rained when I have visited Walt Disney World Parks in Orlando. Be prepared and dressed to accept, embrace, and enjoy the rain as part of the experience.

What to bring to the parks

💡 We recommend carrying a transparent and waterproof backpack into the park containing the following useful items. The weather in this area is usually hot and rainy. My son and I often visit WDW for a week during the April Spring Break, the July Summer, holiday season, and the days after Christmas through New Years’ Day.

Transparent and waterproof backpack

💡 Be sure to carefully review the list of prohibited items that are not allowed in the parks. I once had a jacket with an attached whistle and had to discard the whistle to enter the park. The same Property Rules page also lists prohibited activities.

💡 Be aware that items in your backpack may trigger the security alarm when you enter the parks. Be prepared to allow inspection of your bags. So don’t pack them too tight.

A security guard shared a valuable tip with us: to speed up your entry into the park, remove items from your backpack that may set off the metal detector. For example: folding umbrellas, eyeglass cases, and stainless steel water bottles. Hold these items in your outstretched hands as you walk through the metal detector. We tried this at multiple parks, and got in quicker.

Take items that may trigger the alarm out of our backpack while passing through the metal detectors for smoother and quicker entry to the parks.

💡 Bring a portable waterproof umbrella. I recommend davek New York. We have often experienced heavy rain at Walt Disney World Parks. Be aware this is an item that will likely set off the metal detector alarm if left inside your backpack when entering the park, so see the earlier tip on how to avoid that.

💡 We prefer light summer-weather friendly rain-jackets, safari hats, quick drying pants or shorts, and water-friendly shoes. A jacket with waterproof hoodie is preferable to flimsy ponchos that can easily tear and are harder to do activities in. This turned out to be a wise choice, as in the past we found ponchos too uncomfortable in Orlando’s hot and humid weather. This also avoids the hassles of taking ponchos on and off when during intermittent rain, and of storing went ponchos in your backpack. In our experience, getting slightly wet in mild to moderate rain felt safe and enjoyable.

Your shoes are likely to get wet on water rides and when it rains. My go to shoes are the Vivobarefoot Ultra III Bloom Men’s.

💡 Bring Klean Canteen or similar insulated flask that keeps water cold. Storing beverages in plastic bottles or non-insulated containers will quickly make them warm and no longer enjoyable to drink as you walk around in the hot weather in the park. This will save you money compared to buying bottled water because there are many free water and ice refilling stations all over Disney parks. Staff at most restaurants at Disney Parks happily let you refill your water bottle for free. If you purchase cold drinks, your flask will keep them cold. This is especially useful if you are carrying a transparent backpack which may have a greenhouse-like warming effect. Bring one flask per person in your party.

💡 Consider wearing a secure fanny pack or clothing with zippered pockets to keep your wallet, keys, and phone secure and with you on rides.

💡 When visiting Walt Disney World, especially with children, consider using a dedicated camera like a GoPro or a mirrorless camera for capturing photos and videos. This can help conserve your phone’s battery and allow you to focus on enjoying the park and staying safe with your family. Using a dedicated camera can also minimize distractions from your mobile phone, allowing you to be more present in the magical moments. GoPro is an excellent mini camera for travel as an alternative to using your phone for adventure photography.

Visiting amusement parks presents challenges that can increase the risk of accidentally dropping or losing your camera or phone compared to everyday life. Here are some reasons why securing your phone and camera is particularly important at WDW:

  1. Attractions and thrill rides: Disney Parks are home to various attractions, including high-speed roller coasters, spinning rides, and sudden drops. During these adrenaline-pumping moments, unsecured devices can easily slip from your grasp, resulting in potential damage or loss.
  2. Crowded areas: Walt Disney World can be quite busy, with large crowds navigating narrow walkways and queues. Bumping into others or being jostled by the crowd can cause you to accidentally drop your device.
  3. Taking photos with characters: While capturing memories with beloved Disney characters, it’s easy to become distracted and lose grip on your camera or phone, especially when trying to manage excited children.
  4. Water attractions and shows and the rain: Disney Parks feature water-based attractions and shows where splashes or sudden movements can lead to accidental drops or water damage to your devices.

Retrieving a lost or dropped device at Walt Disney World can be time-consuming and challenging. Depending on where the device is lost, it may require assistance from Cast Members or even temporarily shutting down an attraction for retrieval. In some cases, it may take hours or even days before your device is recovered and returned to you. If you drop it in certain places, it may be irretrievable.

Securing your phone using a tether or strap can provide peace of mind while visiting Walt Disney World. There are several options available for keeping your phone safely attached to yourself. One popular choice is using a phone lanyard or neck pouch, which allows you to wear your phone around your neck, keeping it accessible and secure. Alternatively, consider using a wrist strap that connects to your phone’s case or a crossbody phone case with a shoulder strap, both of which offer hands-free convenience while keeping your device close. For added protection during thrill rides or water-based attractions, you might want to invest in a waterproof phone pouch with a secure strap. My son and I use the QuadLockCase system to tether our phones. For tethering Quad Lock cases, I suggest using one the following accessories attached to a lanyard or wrist strap: Phone Ring/Stand, Sports Armband, or Belt/Utility/Backpack – Clip.

  • Since selfie sticks or hand held extension poles for cameras or mobile devices are not permitted in any Disney theme parks or water parks, I do not recommend Quad Lock’s Tripod/Selfie Stick plus Lanyard accessories for use at WDW.
(At the parks we met this gentleman with a GoPro camera. Photo taken with permission.)

💡 Get the My Disney Experience app on your phone. It is almost necessary to visit the WDW parks these days. Among other essential features these has a map of each park and tells you standby wait times for rides.

💡 Get and wear Disney Magic Bands. This way you will avoid having to take your ticket cards/ passes/ phone out of your pocket/ wallet dozens of times. If you own an Apple Watch, it also works as a Magic Band after you download the My Disney Experience App to your iPhone and add your passes to Apple Wallet. You can learn about using your Apple Watch, iPhone, and Android devices as Magic Bands at Disney’s Magic Mobile service.

We noticed that the Magic Band has some advantages over using a physical Disney pass card or the card loaded on an Apple Watch Wallet. For example, it automatically linked our ride photos on certain rides and unlocked our hotel room door—features that the card loaded in the Apple Watch Wallet doesn’t yet offer.

If you’re like us and have multiple Magic Bands, take photos of their serial numbers and note which ones you are wearing. We did this, and it gives us peace of mind knowing that if we lose one, we can easily identify and disable just that one.

Disney Magic Bands

💡Wearing a sun hat will not only protect you from the sun, but also provide additional coverage when it rains. Some sun hats have a water evaporation based cooling feature where you can pour water on the hat, shake off excess water, and put it on.

Sun hat

💡 Keep a phone battery charger external battery and regular phone charging cable in your backpack. You can keep the charging brick on the side pocket of your backpack where water bottles are kept and keep your phone attached to it. This way you can keep taking photos even when your phone is low on battery. (I recommend a normal charge cable, not one with multiple tips because those get disconnected easily while moving.)

💡 During our visit, my iPhone got wet and the charging port was temporarily disabled. This is a safety feature Apple builds into the iPhone’s Lightning connector. The iPhone’s wireless magnetic charging (called MagSafe) continued to work. Having a wireless charger can come in handy.

During the Disney Vacation

Tips for Rides and Activities Inside The Parks

💡 Use the mobile order function in the My Disney Experience app to order food at non-fine-dining table service restaurants. This will save you a lot of time compared to standing in line to order.

💡 Set an alarm 15 mins before each Lightning Lane or Virtual Queue reservation. Use Siri on your Apple Watch or iPhone or to do this quickly and conveniently. Android users, use the Google Assistant.

💡 Ensure you and your child make a restroom stop before embarking on popular attractions or facing lengthy wait times. This proactive approach not only helps to prevent the need for urgent bathroom breaks during the ride or while waiting in line but also allows for a more relaxed and enjoyable experience. By taking care of restroom needs in advance, you can fully immerse yourself in the magic of Disney without any unnecessary interruptions.

Turning Idle Moments into Learning Opportunities

While waiting in lines at Disney World, it’s easy to see the time as something to be endured. However, my son and I view these moments as opportunities for enrichment. Here are some of the activities we engage in to make the most of our wait times:

  1. Practicing Hindi: We use this time to practice speaking Hindi together, turning idle moments into language-learning opportunities.
  2. Math Puzzles: To keep our minds sharp, we solve simple math problems or logic puzzles.
  3. Geography Quiz: We test each other’s knowledge of world capitals or states, making it a fun and educational challenge.
  4. Historical Facts: Depending on the ride or attraction we’re waiting for, we share interesting historical facts or trivia related to it.
  5. Science Questions: We also discuss basic science concepts. For instance, while waiting for a water ride, we might talk about the properties of water or the concept of buoyancy.

By turning these waiting periods into educational moments, we not only make the time pass more quickly but also enrich our overall experience.

💡 On some attractions, particularly some of the older ones, where you sit can provide a significantly better experience.

Animal Kingdom

💡 When enjoying roller coaster attractions at Disney Parks, my son and I politely request the front row seats. Generally, Disney Cast Members are more than willing to accommodate such requests, allowing guests to enjoy their preferred seating experience. Some rides including Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain at Animal Kingdom and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at Epcot even feature designated waiting areas specifically for those who express a preference for front-row seating.

💡 One day, my son and I rode Expedition Everest three times in a row, each time in the front-most seat. On our fourth ride, we decided to switch it up and sat in the back seat, row 17. We found that while row 1 offers an unparalleled view, if you want to switch it up and experience a view from the back of the roller coaster, then row 16, the front seat of the last car provides a better view than row 17 whose view is slightly blocked by row 16.

💡 The Kali River Rapids ride now allows you to take your (waterproof) backpack on the ride, as we learned in August, 2022. In previous years, pre the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to store our backpacks in lockers for the Kali River Rapids ride.

Epcot

💡 When we requested the front-most seat 1 on the Figment ride in Epcot that we do on all rides at all Disney parks, a Disney Cast member recommended that row 3 for the best view. We took the advice found the views better from row 3. To compare and for fun, we rode again on row 1 and found the Cast Member’s advice to be spot-on.

Soarin’ Around the World is a popular attraction at Epcot in Walt Disney World, featuring a simulated hang-gliding experience with breathtaking sights and sounds from around the globe. The ride consists of three concave screens with multiple rows of seats in each section.

For the best experience at Soarin’, consider the following seating preferences:

First you will encounter three concourses A, B, and C. In our experience, which concourse you are sent to doesn’t matter. In each concourse, there are sections A, B, and C. These lettered sections do matter.

  1. Center Section (B): The center section (B) provides the most balanced and immersive view of the screen, as it aligns you with the middle of the projection. This position helps to minimize distortion and gives you a more accurate perspective of the scenes.
  2. Front Row (Row 1): Sitting in the front row minimizes the chances of having other guests’ feet dangling in your line of sight, which can be distracting. The front row also offers an unobstructed view of the screen, enhancing the sensation of flight.

Remember the following. Go to whichever concourse A, B, or C, the cast members send you to. Inside the concourse, the Center Section (B) provides the best, least distorted views.

To request specific seats on Soarin’, politely ask the Cast Member attending the attraction’s entrance for your preferred section and row. They will do their best to accommodate your request, but please note that seating preferences are subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed.

While the center section and front row are generally considered the best seats for Soarin’, the ride is designed to provide an enjoyable experience for all guests, regardless of their seating position.

Hollywood Studios

In the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror ride at Hollywood Studios, the front rows—specifically rows 1 and 2—are essentially interchangeable in terms of experience. After trying various seating options, we found these front rows to offer the most enjoyable experience. Their vantage point enhances the thrill and contributes to a more immersive adventure, making the ride particularly memorable.

Fitness

Being physically fit when visiting Walt Disney World Parks with children offers several advantages that can significantly enhance your family’s experience. First, keeping up with the boundless energy of kids requires stamina and endurance. A good level of fitness enables you to actively participate in their excitement, whether it’s exploring different areas of the park, riding attractions together, or joining impromptu dance parties with Disney characters.

Second, children often need assistance in navigating the parks, whether it’s lifting them onto your shoulders for a better view of a parade or carrying a backpack filled with essential items like snacks, sunscreen, and extra clothing. Being physically fit allows you to comfortably manage these responsibilities without feeling overly burdened or fatigued.

Third, maintaining a healthy level of fitness can help you better enjoy the thrill rides and attractions that Walt Disney World has to offer. Certain attractions may require you to be in good physical condition to participate safely and comfortably. By staying in shape, you can confidently and comfortably experience a wide range of attractions, ensuring that you and your child don’t miss out on any of the park’s exhilarating experiences.

Even non-roller-coaster attractions recommend having good health and fitness to enjoy them.

Fourth, visiting Walt Disney World Parks often involves long days of walking under the hot sun. My Apple Watch has counted walking more than 20,000 steps in a single day. Being fit equips you to handle these physical demands and maintain your energy throughout the day, ensuring that both you and your children can fully enjoy the magic of Disney.

Being physically fit while visiting Walt Disney World Parks with children provides numerous benefits, including the ability to keep up with your kids’ energy, manage essential tasks such as carrying backpacks, participate in various attractions safely and comfortably, and withstand the long days of walking in the sun. By maintaining your fitness, you can create an enjoyable and memorable experience for the entire family. You can read more about my commitment to fitness in my blog post titled What I am learning from working out daily for 1,001+ consecutive days.

💡 In my daypack, I carry a compact Blender Bottle along with four pouches of Protein2o’s Orange Mango Flavor Powder. Each pouch is packed with 20g of whey protein isolate and essential electrolytes, and has a delicious taste. By adding cold water, I’m able to conveniently consume a total of 80g of protein and vital electrolytes during my day at the park.

Sleep

In my experience, a Disney vacation with children is an exciting, wonderful, and heartwarming experience. It is not a lazy vacation where you spend hours resting and relaxing during the day. So be sure that you and your family all et at least 8 hours of sleep every night during this vacation. This will not only enable you to enjoy the packed days at the parks, but also not make you you completely exhausted when you return to work the next week.

Daily Schedule

During our 2023 August 28th to September 2nd visit, my son and I kept a daily schedule similar his school and my daily work schedule. I woke up at 5 am and maintained my daily workout routine from 5:30 am to 6:30 am. during our Disney trip. This timing worked out well, as it gave me a half-hour to freshen up and be ready to book our desired Genie+ rides right at 7 am when the Disney app enables this feature for that day. We arrived at the parks to take advantage of the Early Theme Park Entry benefit for guests staying on Disney properties.

Extra Father and Son Magic Hours

While my son and I have previously enjoyed evening and nighttime events like the fireworks at Disney parks, we now prefer to leave the parks by 5 or 6 PM. After we return to our hotel, we take the time to reflect on and discuss our day’s experiences. We make a note1 of what we learned recently and we update our travel tips blog posts about Disney. In the evening, we have dinner and spend some time reading books before calling it a night.

Safety Plans for Children

💡 When traveling with children, tether a mobile phone to the child so they don’t lose it. Quadlock case works well for this. Or, have them wear an Apple Watch with a secure strap.

QuadLock case used to tether a phone to a child.

QuadLock case used to tether a phone to a child.

💡 When traveling with children, set a meeting spot with them in advance. Aim to pick a meeting spot which has rain shelter. Otherwise, if rains hard, the child may not be able to stay there if the spot is not rain sheltered.

💡 Have your child memorize your phone number and email address. Help them remember using a daily practice quiz every morning before heading to the parks.

💡 Teach your children how to identify Disney staff (called cast members by Disney) in the parks. They are friendly and helpful. Feel welcome to ask them questions.

💡 On one of our trips, my son and I wore N-95 masks due to concerns about COVID-19, the flu, and other airborne respiratory risks. Especially since we wore sun hats and I also wear eyeglasses, I converted the two behind-head elastic band loops on my N-95 mask to behind the ear loops. I did this by cutting the two bands in the middle and reattaching them on the same sides. This made it easier for me to take my mask on and off and then enter and exit crowded places. Warning: This is not medical advice. Modifying an N-95 mask this way is likely to reduce its effectiveness by potentially weakening its sealing around the nose and mouth.

Warning: This is not medical advice. Modifying an N-95 mask this way is likely to reduce its effectiveness by potentially weakening its sealing around the nose and mouth.

Special Events & Tours: Discover Unique Disney Experiences

Enhance your Walt Disney World experience by participating in one of these special events or exclusive behind-the-scenes tours. Gain a unique perspective of the parks, learn fascinating stories, and enjoy exclusive experiences that will make your visit even more memorable. Here are seven exceptional tours to consider during your trip.

Please note that each of these experiences cost a significant amount in addition to the tickets.

Be sure to check the minimum age requirements for each of these in advance of booking your Disney Park tickets. If not, you and your child may face the disappointment of planning to go on one of these, but not being able to.

  1. Keys to the Kingdom Tour: Delve into the secrets of the Magic Kingdom with this five-hour walking tour. Discover hidden gems, learn about the park’s history, and enjoy backstage access to areas typically off-limits to guests. This tour is suitable for Disney enthusiasts who want to uncover the magic that brings the park to life. I recommend this behind the scenes tour on a later visit after you have already visited Magic Kingdom at least once, preferably two more times. This will make more sense and be more enjoyable if you have already experienced the park as a regular visitor and know it well. Guests must be 16 years of age or older and have a valid photo I.D.
  2. Behind the Seeds at Epcot: Explore the future of agriculture with this guided tour through Epcot’s Living with the Land attraction. Learn about innovative growing techniques, interact with unique plants, and gain insights into sustainable food production. This tour is ideal for those interested in science, agriculture, and the environment. You can enjoy this one on your first or any visit to Epcot. Guests must be at least 3 years of age to participate, and guests under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
  3. Savor the Savanna at Animal Kingdom: Embark on a premium safari experience in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Journey through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve and enjoy a private viewing of the stunning savanna, while savoring African-inspired cuisine and beverages. This tour offers an intimate and unforgettable wildlife adventure. You can enjoy this one on your first or any visit to Animal Kingdom. Guests must be at least 8 years of age to participate, and guests under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
  4. Wild Africa Trek at Animal Kingdom: Experience a guided expedition through the heart of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Traverse rugged terrain, cross rope bridges, and come face-to-face with incredible wildlife. The tour concludes with a delicious African-inspired meal while enjoying panoramic views of the savanna. You can enjoy this one on your first or any visit to Animal Kingdom. Participants must be 8 years of age or older and at least 48 inches (122 cm) tall. Participants must be between 45 and 300 lbs with the harness gear on. The safety harnesses used for this experience may prohibit Guests of certain body shapes or sizes from participating. Guests under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a participating adult.
  5. Caring for Giants: Get up close with the majestic African elephants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Learn from animal specialists about elephant care, conservation efforts, and the daily lives of these gentle giants. You can enjoy this one on your first or any visit to Animal Kingdom. Guests must be at least 4 years of age to participate, and guests under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
  6. Up Close with Rhinos: Join this unique experience at Disney’s Animal Kingdom to encounter white rhinos up close. Gain insight into rhino behavior, biology, and conservation efforts from the park’s dedicated animal care team. You can enjoy this one on your first or any visit to Animal Kingdom. Guests must be at least 4 years of age to participate, and guests under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
  7. Starlight Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge: Embark on a nighttime adventure to spot the nocturnal creatures that inhabit the savanna. Equipped with night-vision goggles, you’ll witness the fascinating behaviors of these animals under the cover of darkness. You can enjoy this one on your first or any visit to WDW. Guests must be at least 8 years of age to participate, and guests under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.

For an even more personalized and luxurious experience, consider booking a Disney Private VIP Tour. These customizable tours provide the ultimate Disney experience, with a dedicated guide who will tailor the day to your preferences, granting expedited access to attractions, preferred seating for shows, and more. Disney Private VIP Tours are perfect for those seeking a truly exclusive and memorable visit.

By adding one of these special events or exclusive Disney tours to your itinerary, you can enrich your visit to Walt Disney World and create memories that will last a lifetime. Remember to book your tour in advance, as spots often fill up quickly. These unique experiences cater to a variety of interests and preferences, ensuring that everyone in your group can find something special to enjoy during your magical Disney vacation.

12 Money-Saving Tips for Your Walt Disney World Vacation

A visit to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, can be a magical experience, but it can also be expensive. With some careful planning and smart choices, you can save money without sacrificing the fun. In this section, we’ll share 12 tips to help you save money while enjoying the magic of Disney. Please note that a few of these tips for those on a tight budget are contrary to some of the advice and tips we have shared elsewhere in this blog post.

  1. Plan your visit during off-peak times: Traveling to Walt Disney World during less busy periods, such as weekdays or non-holiday seasons, can result in lower accommodation costs and potentially discounted park tickets. Plus, you’ll enjoy shorter lines and fewer crowds.
  2. Choose economical accommodations: Opt for either off-site hotels or Disney Value Resorts (more info below) when planning your stay. Off-site hotels near Walt Disney World often offer competitive prices and additional perks, such as complimentary breakfast or shuttle services to the parks. If you prefer staying within the Disney property, consider one of the Disney Value Resorts. These resorts provide a more affordable option while still offering the convenience and immersive Disney experience. By selecting budget-friendly accommodations, you can save a significant amount on your overall trip expenses.
  3. Buy tickets in advance: Purchase your park tickets ahead of time and search for special offers, discounts, or promotions. Multi-day tickets often provide better value per day compared to single-day tickets.
  4. Use Disney gift cards: Buy discounted Disney gift cards at wholesale clubs or during special promotions to save on park admission, merchandise, and dining.
  5. Bring your own food and drinks: Pack snacks, sandwiches, and refillable water bottles to save on food costs inside the parks. Disney allows guests to bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages, as long as they follow the park’s guidelines.
    • Non-bottled drinking water is free at Walt Disney World Parks. There are many drinking water fountains and the restaurants will give you a cup of water with or without ice for no charge.
  6. Share meals in your group: Disney restaurant portions can be quite generous, so consider sharing meals to save money, reduce food waste, and be healthier by restricting your caloric intake.
  7. Take advantage of free activities: There are plenty of free activities available at Walt Disney World that can add value to your vacation without increasing your expenses. Some of these experiences include:
    • Resort hopping: Visit different Disney Resort hotels to explore their unique theming, architecture, and atmosphere. You can also enjoy free entertainment, such as live music or movies under the stars at select resorts.
    • Disney’s BoardWalk: Stroll along Disney’s BoardWalk, a picturesque waterfront promenade featuring shops, restaurants, and entertainment. You can also catch a glimpse of the nightly fireworks from nearby parks.
    • Electrical Water Pageant: Catch the whimsical nighttime display of illuminated floats that glide across the waters of the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake. This classic show is visible from several resort locations and is free to enjoy.
    • Monorail loop: Hop on the Walt Disney World Monorail System for a scenic ride through the resort. The monorail offers unique views of the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, as well as several Disney Resort hotels.
    • Disney Springs: Spend an afternoon or evening at Disney Springs, an entertainment and shopping district with live music, unique shops, and diverse dining options. While shopping and dining are not free, simply strolling through the area and enjoying the atmosphere can be a fun, no-cost experience.
  8. Opt for a Disney dining plan: If you’re staying at a Disney Resort hotel, consider adding a dining plan to your vacation package. This can help you budget your food expenses more effectively and potentially save money on dining.
  9. Utilize Disney’s free transportation: Take advantage of Disney’s complimentary transportation system, including buses, monorails, and boats, to get around the resort without incurring extra costs.
  10. Plan and budget ahead: Research prices and options for dining, souvenirs, and experiences before your trip. Set a daily budget for spending and stick to it to avoid overspending during your visit.
  11. Use discounts and memberships: Check for discounts available through your AAA membership, military status, and your employer. You might find deals on park tickets, accommodations, or even dining. If a family member or friend of yours works for one of the Disney companies, they may be able to help you get a great deal.
  12. Skip the Park Hopper option: Opting for the Park Hopper option can increase the cost of your tickets significantly. Here are some additional reasons to consider skipping the Park Hopper option:
    • Time efficiency: Traveling between parks can be time-consuming, especially during peak hours when transportation may be more crowded. Sticking to one park per day allows you to maximize your time spent on attractions and entertainment within that park.
    • Less stress: Planning a day at a single park can be less overwhelming and more manageable than trying to fit multiple parks into one day. Focusing on one park allows you to explore at a more relaxed pace and immerse yourself in the park’s atmosphere.
    • Prioritize must-do attractions: By visiting one park per day, you can prioritize the must-do attractions and experiences within that park, ensuring you don’t miss any highlights.
    • Focus on park-specific events: Each park offers unique events, such as parades, nighttime spectaculars, or special character meet-and-greets. By spending an entire day at one park, you can fully experience and appreciate these events without rushing between parks.
    • While the Park Hopper option offers flexibility, skipping it can save you money, reduce stress, and help you maximize your time at each park. By focusing on one park per day, you can fully immerse yourself in the park’s atmosphere, prioritize must-do attractions, and take advantage of park-specific events.

By following these 12 money-saving tips, you can enjoy a magical Walt Disney World vacation without breaking the bank. Plan ahead, take advantage of discounts and free experiences, and make smart choices to ensure a memorable and budget-friendly Disney adventure.

Disney Value Resorts

Here is a list of the most economical Disney brand hotels, also known as Disney Value Resorts:

  1. Disney’s Pop Century Resort: This resort celebrates the unforgettable fads and trends from the 20th century, with larger-than-life icons and themed pools.
  2. Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort: This resort is inspired by Disney films, featuring giant movie-themed icons and a Fantasia-themed pool.
  3. Disney’s All-Star Music Resort: A resort dedicated to music genres, including country, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, calypso, and Broadway, with guitar- and piano-shaped pools.
  4. Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort: This sports-themed resort showcases giant sports icons and features a Surfboard Bay Pool and a Grand Slam Pool.
  5. Disney’s Art of Animation Resort: A resort that immerses guests in the magic of Disney and Pixar animation, with themed areas based on popular films such as The Lion King, Cars, Finding Nemo, and The Little Mermaid.

💡 Bring a Greyl or similar water filter for use in your hotel room if you are staying in an economy hotel where the only free drinking water it tap water. Bringing a high quality water filter while traveling is important for access to clean water, cost savings, and control over water quality.

💡 During our stays at the sprawling Disney All Star Resorts, we have stayed in rooms close to the hotel entrance and at buildings that were 5 or more minutes of a walk away. We found that a room close to the main entrance is a game-changer. The proximity offered several advantages: we saved significant time getting to and from our room, had a better shot at catching earlier buses to the parks, and minimized our exposure to rain. Additionally, it made quick trips to the restaurant, hotel shop, and front desk far more convenient. After a long day at the park, the short walk back to our room felt like a luxury.

💡 Have Fun!

(Updated: August 2023)


My sources of this information include my own experiences as well as the Disney World Web site.

  1. Usually in Notion, a tool we use for knowledge management []
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