Heading to Disneyworld anytime soon? Here’s how to make the most of your trip to Disneyworld with several tips I’ve learned along the way.
First, let’s get this out of the way. If you don’t like being around a lot of people, standing in lines for rides, and paying $12 for popcorn then Disneyworld is not your place. I’ve had too many discussions with people who tell me they didn’t like Disneyworld but then also tell me they don’t like crowds or waiting in lines.
To my family and me, Disneyworld is truly the most magical place on earth. So magical in fact, we come home and immediately start thinking of our next trip.
Along the way, I’ve picked up some tips and tricks to help with each trip and I want to share all of those with you. These are just my own personal tips and what’s worked for us. Please also keep in mind we are a family of 3 which makes things easier sometimes. Each family is different in what they do and don’t like, so take these tips as a guide.
I’ve broken the tips down into specific categories which hopefully will make it easier to read. Here’s how to make the most of your trip to Disneyworld.
- Where To Stay And Save
- Where We’ve Stayed
- How To Buy Discounted Tickets
- Best Times To Go
- Favorite Restaurants
- Stroller Rental
- Other Random Tips
I should also mention some of these tips will not apply if you are working with a Disney planner. We have worked with a Disney planner for two of our trips in the past. I couldn’t recommend her more and if this is your first time to Disneyworld, then a planner is the way to go.
Basically, a planner will take care of everything for you from the tiniest details to the big details. If you want to just get on the plane and go the day of your trip and not have to think about anything, then go with a Disney planner.
We are just at that point where we know what we want to do and not do, so it’s easier for me to book the trip now.
Where To Stay And Save Up To 50% Off
One of the most anticipated topics about Disney is where to stay. First, we always stay on Disney property more for the experience than anything. All the Disney hotels provide some sort of free transportation to the parks via bus, boat, or skyliner.
Some of the hotels/resorts offer more of a Disney theme than others so it all depends on what you are looking for. And of course, there are different price levels for the hotels- value, moderate, and deluxe.
There are a few ways you can book the hotels but if you are looking for a more cost-effective way then I would recommend using one of these two sites where you can save up to 50% off Disney resort rooms.
DVC Rentals and Dave’s DVC Rentals, both of these sites offer you the opportunity to basically “rent” someone’s Disney Vacation Club points. An easier explanation is you are renting someone’s timeshare points. If you are working with a Disney planner, you are not able to book with these sites.
For example, last time we stayed at Disney’s Old Key West in a one-bedroom villa. The room through Disney is about $620 a night normally, but by renting someone’s points we paid around $400 a night.
The one con to booking DVC points is you need to book ahead like 7 months ahead. The rooms go quick so the earlier you can plan your trip the better chance you have at being able to book a resort you really want.
Where We’ve Stayed Before
Here’s where we’ve stayed before on our past trips and will hope you make the most of your trip to Disneyworld.
- Disney’s Old Key West– Would stay here again especially for the larger villa rooms. The only transportation offered to parks is through the bus system. This resort also has a boat which can take you to Disney Springs. This is a large spread out resort so be prepared to walk.
- Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside– This is one of our favorite moderate priced hotels to stay. We’ve stayed here twice on previous trips. The atmopshere is great, the kids pool is great, and the rooms are nice. Would definitely stay here again. Bus and boat transportation are available at this resort.
- Disney’s Pop Century– This is one of the value resorts and we wouldn’t stay here again. The rooms are remodeled and the beds are comfortable but that’s about all. The resort is on the skyliner which is a huge advantage but we didn’t care for the atmosphere.
- Walt Disney World Dolphin– The dolphin is more of a business hotel but has great access to the skyliner, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios. I would stay here again plus it’s actually a Marriott property so you can use Marriott points here. Not much of a Disney theme here so take that into consideration, still on Disney property though.
How To Save On Tickets To Disneyworld
There are a few websites where you can buy discounted tickets to the parks. The site we use is Undercover Tourist for our Disneyworld tickets. At the end after tax and discounts, it comes out to a savings of about $30-$40 per person. This isn’t a huge savings but any saving at Disney is a win for me.
Disney is great about discounting tickets the more days you stay of course. I would always recommend buying the park hopper option with your standard tickets.
The park hopper lets you “hop” to any other park after 2 pm on that same day. Our favorite thing is to start at Magic Kingdom in the morning and “hop” on over to Epcot in the evening for dinner and fireworks.
Don’t forget at this time you have to make park reservations to enter any Disney park. Make sure to check the park availability site before purchasing your tickets. You just have to make a reservation at your starting park for the day and do not have to make a reservation if you are park hopping later in the day. This is to help with crowd control due to Covid and limiting park capacity. Hopefully, making park reservations will go away once Covid is over.
Best Times To Go To Disneyworld
Throughout the year there will be better times to go to Disney than others. One place you can always check to see an estimation of crowd levels is the undercover tourist site. I have found this to be pretty accurate and can help determine when to go.
Twice we have been in April and prefer this time the most out of the year to go. There’s a sweet spot right after spring break and before Easter, that’s a perfect time to go. The weather is beautiful and the crowd size is manageable.
We have been at Christmas and I will say the parks are absolutely beautifully decorated. It’s so magical and gets you in the holiday mood. However, it’s incredibly busy so be prepared for more people than normal, longer lines for everything, and higher prices on room rates.
I would personally stay away from Summer unless you absolutely have to go during this time. Just be ready for really hot weather and again, to deal with everyone else who is also there at the same time as you.
Where To Eat In Disneyworld
I’ll start by saying we love to eat at Disneyworld. I get really excited 60 days out when I can start making our dining reservations. Each of us has a favorite restaurant and we make sure to eat at those places every time we go. We also try a few new places as well each time.
I think sometimes people have a bad misconception of the food at Disney and I can understand why. The quick-service food places are not the best and are mostly overpriced. In fact, we hardly eat at any of those places.
The sit-down full-service restaurants are where you should eat but these do cost more than one of the quick-service food places. Usually, we will eat at least 1-2 sit-down restaurants a day then either eat at the hotel or in our room. I am going to list our favorite restaurants by park.
At this time you can make dining reservations 60 days before your Disneyworld arrival. Believe me when I say you want to make dining reservations. It may seem silly to make reservations out that far but you can always cancel. The last thing you want at Disney is to have a hangry family and no dining reservations.
You can easily book or cancel reservations in your My Disney Experience App. I am working on another dining post that will break down what to order. Also, adults can order kids’ meals if they would like which is sometimes more cost-effective.
Magic Kingdom Dining
Do You Need A Stroller At Disneyworld
If you are in need of a stroller at Disneyworld and don’t want to bring yours there are several options. First, you can rent from a place called Kingdom Strollers who will bring your stroller to your resort for you. You can rent for as long as you need. If you prefer not to carry a stroller onto the bus when heading to the parks you can rent strollers at each park.
You just pick your stroller up when you arrive at the park and drop it off before leaving the park. You can also rent as long as you need as well however it’s more costly than renting from Kingdom Strollers. Renting a stroller was one of the best things we did when London was younger.
Other Random Tips
You can order food from Amazon Prime, Publix Grocery, or Shipt and have the items delivered to your resort. All of the resorts are used to guests doing this so they just hold your items at the concierge. I always place an order the day before we arrive of coffee, bottled water, snacks, and anything else we may need in the room.
Take a water bottle into the parks because you can save lots of money this way. A bottle of water is almost $4 so that can add up during the day. The only thing we’ve found is that sometimes the water tastes a little too chlorinated at some fountains.
It’s very random though because at other fountains it’s just fine. Still worth it to take a water bottle and try it out. You can also take snacks in your bag as well into each park.
Some items to carry in your backpack or bag for the day:
- Water Bottle
- Ponchos(buy them off Amazon and not at the parks)
One last tip is in regards to Disney’s new Genie+ and Lightning Lane options to gain access to the more popular rides without waiting in a long line. You can see a full review of how it works over on Disney Tourist Blog. They have a much better explanation than I can give you. If you are going for a couple of days then I would say it’s worth your time to pay for the extras. If you are staying for a full week, maybe not so much because this cost will add up.
I just covered a lot of information and hopefully provided you with how to make the most of your trip to Disneyworld. I will have a few other posts dedicated to the most magical place coming soon.