So you’ve decided to take the plunge and head on down to Disney World with your family, huh? Well boy aren’t you in for a treat.
With so much to see and do at Disney, planning a vacation to the magical kingdom sure can get a little overwhelming— though it doesn’t have to be.
I’ve put together some great tips to help make your trip more exciting, not to mention help you save a little dough in the process.
First things first, being the savvy chic I am, I look for deals and special promotions before I spend a dime. And so should you.
1.) Lucky for you, Disney is currently offering a promotion that runs through March 23, 2013. And if that won’t work for you, they’re also offering the same deal from April 2nd, through June 14, 2013. So, what’s the deal? You can save up to 30% on a resort stay. There’s also savings on resort and theme park ticket packages.
Obviously visiting such a high attraction park like Disney, you’re going to deal with huge crowds. Here’s a tip you need to know, the parks get busy especially in the afternoon and at night.
2.) To get the best out of Disney, avoid the crowds by visiting early in the morning (right when the park opens), stay until lunch, then head out and find some other way to entertain your family or take a relaxing nap. After a bit of a break (swimming in the resorts pool, etc.) Go back to the park for dinner and take in the fireworks or light shows. They’re amazing!
Something else you’ll want to know, Disney’s parks have Magic Hours (bonus hours) when they open up just for those who are staying in the resorts. Magic Hours are typically early in the morning or late at night.
3.) If for some reason you can’t handle standing in those long lines to see the attractions, or you’re just impatient, you may want to think about purchasing a Fastpass. The Fastpass system is basically a reservation system for popular rides that give you the ability to bypass long lines. It’s best to arrive at the attraction early, and grab a Fastpass from the kiosk. Shh… the earlier the better since there are only a limited number of Fastpasses per ride.
If this still isn’t to your liking, and you can afford to spend a little more, the VIP Tour services may be a better option for you. With a VIP Tour, a staffer takes you on a guided tour around the park so you get to the front of the line and preferred seats for events. The only downside, it costs $300 per hour.
Old Key West Resort
4.) By now you’re probably grumbling about the money it’s going to cost, right? Well, how about saving some money by eating a few meals right there in your room? If you stay in a resort with a kitchen you can serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and or snacks without even leaving your room and save a chunk of money. Booking in resorts such as Disney’s Art of Animation, or Old Key West Resort offers you kitchens which come outfitted with basic equipment that are perfect for making meals and snacks. They also offer a sundries store where you can buy eggs, cereal, milk, and other items which can end up being cheaper than dining out.
You’re also free to purchase foods from a local grocery or discount store as well for even more savings.
5.) If you’ve already decided you want to dine in at one or more Disney World restaurants, it’s a good idea to make reservations in advance. To book a few lunches or dinners, check out Disney’s restaurant reservation system. Many of the restaurants require a credit card when booking online but you can cancel up to 48 hours in advance, if necessary.
6.) Being more organized in your plans is the best way to go! Mapping out your family’s route will help cut down on stress and allow you to enjoy your vacation, as it should be. Try customizing a map of each park with Disney’s map customization tool. Here you can highlight the rides and attractions you want to visit, then print out your personalized map and take it with you. This is the best time to decide which parks you’ll go to and on what days. Insiders tip: Magic Kingdom takes at least 2 days to enjoy all that it has to offer. Others take at least one day.
7.) Not sure which parks are best? How about watching the attraction videos first before you make a selection? Sit down with your family members (everyone that is going) and get your game plan in order by watching the short videos that Disney offers (found under Parks & Tickets). Each park lists height requirements for every ride so you’ll know in advance. Make a list of which rides are a must.
Here’s a listing of MUST SEE main attractions you might want to consider:
There’s nothing quite like this place. It gives you a feeling as if you’ve been transported to another world with old-fashioned store fronts in dazzling colors, open-air street cars that ramble by, familiar characters such as Pluto and Donald Duck hug children and take pictures with families. There’s also the infamous Cinderella’s castle, a corner sweet shop where you can get a few scoops of ice cream, Mickey Mouse shaped cookies, and other goodies. It’s a true WOW experience to soak up.
This new attraction, located within the Magic Kingdom, showcases some of the best-loved newer princesses including Belle and from Beauty and the Beast. Little Mermaid fans will love the new musical attraction Under the Sea. Looking for something to do for lunch? You have GOT to stop by the Be Our Guest restaurant! The decor is out of this world magnificent.
This enclosed 1970′s attraction was built with an other-worldly rollercoaster theme. Feel like you’re blasting off in a space ship as you soar amongst the stars. This is one you’ll want to do again and again.
A trip to Disney World wouldn’t be complete without a visit with your favorite characters. Because you won’t always catch sight of them in the park, many of the restaurants allow kids to dine with their favs. Tables do fill up fast so you have to make your reservations online as early in advance as possible. Have breakfast with Alice in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh, or how about Mary Poppins at the Supercalifragilistic Breakfast? Mickey, Minnie and friends can be visited at Chef Mickey’s.
Have the need for speed? Then you’ll love the Test Track at EPCOT. Here you’ll sit in a car, and race around a track at high speeds. You’ll also be taken through a series of safety tests. Oh yeah, you get to design your own virtual car with a touch screen! Super cool.
Oh my, this is as close as you’ll get to hang gliding without actually getting up in the sky. This multi-sensory IMAX experience lifts you 40 feet in the air and gives you the feeling of soaring above California’s natural beauty. During your ‘trip’ you’ll fly through a hot air balloon festival, swoosh down ski slopes, and then cruise over a dramatic coastline. Breathtaking!
Africa anyone? Here you’ll ride in through an open-air vehicle as you take in the Savannah. Watch as the elephants, zebras, giraffes, and other animals give you an up-close feeling of actually being in the dessert. Disney has definitely put a lot of time and effort into this stunning attraction.
There are many more fun and “well worth it” attractions that are sure to make your trip a memorable one. It’s just up to you which you take in and what your family prefers.
With these first-hand strategies and insider tips you are sure to make this vacation super easy, cost effective, and the absolute best it can be.
© 2013, Dee @ Bella Savvy. All rights reserved.