How many of you have never been to Disney World? How many of you visited as toddlers who were too young to enjoy or remember it? If you fall into one of those categories like I did, then you’ve probably had Disney on your list for a while.
As an adult, planning a trip to Disney World can be a headache, especially considering that Disney isn’t cheap. Since this was my first trip, I can’t offer you many tips on how to do Disney on a budget, but I can offer advice on how to make it worth it and enjoy yourself. Below are 10 tips to make the most out of your trip to Disney World and awaken your inner kid.
- Save, Save, SAVE!
The best way to enjoy Disney and all its magic as an adult is to save for it! The parks make it near impossible to let loose and enjoy yourself without spending a pretty penny, so unless you’re planning on buying your tickets and nothing else, you will need to save for this trip.
- Download the Disney World app
The Disney World app is a godsend! It honestly makes planning your trip a breeze, and can give your day a sense of structure so that you aren’t wandering around the park for 12 hours. Some of the features on the app include an interactive map of each park and all its attractions, a list of all the restaurants and food places that the parks offer, and current wait times for each ride or attraction. The sooner you download the app the better. The longer you wait, the more chaotic your day will be. I learned that the hard way!
The FastPass at Disney is everything! Unlike most theme parks, Disney World doesn’t charge extra for front of the line passes. As long as you have purchased admission to one of their parks, you are given 3 free passes to book on the ride or attraction of your choice for the time of your choosing. The tricky thing about FastPass is that to get the most out of them, you must book them early. FastPasses can be booked up to 30 days in advance for most people (60 if you’re staying at a Disney resort), so it’s best to book the rides you want as soon as you purchase your ticket. Waiting until the last minute will result in wasted FastPasses and sore feet.
Pro-tip: To get the most out of your FastPasses, reserve them for the big rides only. The wait time for Space Mountain in Magic kingdom was 150 minutes, but we only waited 30 minutes with the FastPass. Smaller rides typically have shorter wait times, and the wait times to meet your favorite Disney characters are never as long as they say.
- Plan Out Lunch, Dinner, And Snacks
If you plan on eating in the park (which I recommend because it’s a hassle to leave and return) you will need to book your reservations in advance as well. The Disney World app allows you to book lunch and dinner reservations up to 180 days in advance after purchasing your tickets, which can be helpful when scheduling your
fastPass times. The app also gives you the option to order ahead or order “to go” for most of the smaller food courts or snack stations around the parks. Ultimately that feature comes in handy when lines are a mile long for funnel cake and a slushy.
- Pack Light, And Pack Smart!
Nobody wants to lug around a backpack in a theme park, but there are some things that are best to bring with you instead of buying in the park. A water bottle, for example, is one of those things you will wish you had when you’re paying $12 for a 16oz bottle that will be gone in two seconds. Other things to bring are ponchos in case of rain, battery packs or portable chargers, light snacks, and sunscreen. Having those items handy will make your trip much more enjoyable and save a ton of money.
- Wear Comfortable Shoes!
It probably goes without saying, but when you’re walking around a huge park all day you’re going to want to wear comfortable shoes. Disney is a magical place and the urge to dress cute and take amazing, memorable photos will be irresistible, so I have come up with a pro-tip that allows you to look great and be comfortable. The key is to take all your photos from the ankle up. This way, you can wear that cute pink dress with your Crocs and nobody on the gram will be the wiser! If this just won’t do and you need to look good from head to toe, then pack your cute shoes in your backpack and change when it’s time to snap a pic! Your toes will thank you.
- Don’t Overextend Yourself
Disney World has 4 parks; Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios. Each of these parks are pretty expansive and can easily be a full day of fun. If you are planning on doing more than one park then I recommend that you do a multi-day ticket instead of a park hopper ticket. The parks are miles apart and it takes a lot to get in and out of each park, so in order to get the most out of your day, pick one park and plan your whole day around it. If rides are your main focus, then schedule your FastPasses for the best rides in each park and give yourself time to get to each one.
- Book Cheap Lodging And Parking
If saving money is your goal, then I would NOT recommend staying at the Disney World resorts or nearby hotels. Book an Airbnb nearby then driver or Uber to the park each day. I went for 2 nights and booked an Airbnb about 20 minutes from the park. The cost of lodging per night was $87.50, and it was $25 a day to park so $250 all together for clean, comfortable lodging and transportation. The earlier you book your lodging, the cheaper it will be!
- Don’t Be Afraid To Get Silly
You’re never too old to let your inner kid free. Disney World is a place for children and adults alike to escape the trials of daily life and open their imagination to a world where magic happens and dreams come true. For this reason, the best way to get the most out of Disney is to let go of your adult reservations and be silly! Buy the ears, hug the characters, get your face painted, eat that Mickey Mouse shaped pretzel and worry about the calories later. Your first trip to Disney will be filled with wonder and excitement so embrace it and enjoy it.
- Stay For The Finales
At the end of the night each park has a grand finale of sorts. It’s a showcase of lights, color, and fireworks that ties together your eventful day and makes the whole trip unforgettable. At Epcot there’s Epcot Forever, a fireworks and lights show over a lake. At Animal Kingdom it’s the River of Lights, a water show that features boats, projections, and a dazzling water dance. Then at Magic Kingdom there is Happily Ever After, which will bring you to tears with the most beautiful firework show you’ve ever seen happening right above Cinderella’s castle. Check the times on the Disney World website to make sure you don’t miss these great events. All three finales are breathtaking and absolutely worth staying for.
Going to Disney World is a big trip, and not one that people get to take often. Planning out every detail is important to make sure you can get the most out of your trip. The worst part of Disney are the lines, so to avoid those it’s best to put yourself and your party on a loose schedule and stick to it as much as possible. And most importantly remember to have fun!