Mousehints’ Best Disney World Tips
We love Disney World. The reason why we started this website is to help others enjoy the parks as much as we do. Quite often people don’t end up having a good time. They wait in long lines, spend much of their day hot and tired, and come home exhausted. This section of our website has all of the best Disney World tips that we’ve learned over the last decade. We’re constantly trying new things, so we’ll try to update it as much as we can.
Disney World Money Saving Tips
Bring your own poncho. You can buy a poncho from Walmart before you go and save yourself a fortune. Orlando can be quite rainy and if you don’t bring your own, you end up buying expensive ponchos at the Disney parks.
Buy souvenirs online BEFORE you go to Disney. Pack the souvenirs and give them out to the kids during your park stay. They won’t know the difference and you’ll save a bunch of money.
Order bottled water, food supplies and other necessities from Amazon and have them ship the items directly to your resort! If you have Amazon prime, you can place your order the day before you arrive and they’ll be there on day 1. All you need to do is to let your resort know to expect a package and they will save it for you. This can also help you save luggage room if you’re flying to Disney.
Some guests have joined AAA for the discount on room tickets (up to 20%!) It could save you 2 or 3 times the amount of a AAA membership.
Thirsty on a hot day? You can get free water from counter service restaurants in any park. All you have to do is ask!
During some of the nighttime festivities, Disney sells glow bracelets and sticks at high prices. But you can buy these before your vacation! As an example, there are big glow stick packs on Amazon. Pack those in your backpacks and bring them out at night. It will save you a ton of money and your kids will have a blast.
Here’s an interesting suggestion. Buy Disney gift cards at Kroger or other local grocery stores that have a fuel or reward point system. Then you can use those gift cards to pay Disney. This will allow you to save money on gasoline in the months before your vacation.
Helpful Disney World Tips
Here are a few time-saving tips that I think you’ll enjoy:
If you have a stroller, attach a bright scarf, ribbon or balloon to the handle. Many strollers look that same and this will help you to quickly identify it. Cast members will move your strollers around so your stroller won’t necessarily be in the place that you left it.
Arrive early. For optimal touring, get to the parks 45 minutes before rope drop. We used to recommend 30, but times have changed and this has become a popular strategy. During busy times of the year, you may want to actually try to be there an hour ahead of time!
When the firework show ends, thousands of guests exit Disney at the same time. Use the souvenir shops to skip past the hoard of people. They are all connected.
There are two monorail systems from the Magic Kingdom. There is the resort monorail and the Express monorail. If you’ve parked at the Transportation center, you’ll notice that the Resort Monorail may have much shorter lines than the express. Feel free to take the shorter of the two lines, as both stop at the Transportation Center!
Use character dining to meet characters. This can keep you from standing in long and slow-moving character lines at the parks.
The Child Swap/Rider Switch program has changed quite a bit, but it can still be very useful. Educate yourself on the ins and outs of this program if you have small children.
If you need to get a stroller, use one of the many local Orlando stroller companies instead of renting from Disney. These strollers are better, they are cheaper, and you can use the stroller on the long walks to the cars and/or the bus. The same applies to wheelchairs!
If it rains, put your ponchos on and keep going. The afternoon rain showers are often fierce and many people will head to the exits. But when they are over, the park will be much emptier. Don’t leave if the rain isn’t going to last.
Get in shape before you come. We often find ourselves walking 8-12 miles a day. That’s a lot of walking if you’re not used to it. Make sure you have proper shoes and clothes for heavy walking. If you aren’t in shape and you aren’t prepared, you’ll wear out and be miserable. Trust me on this one!
If you’re going to Disney in the summer, don’t underestimate the Florida sun. You will be very hot. Prepare to drink water, pack sun-screen and plan to take breaks during the hot part of the day.
Driving your car? The parking lot is huge. Take a picture of your parking section/spot, so that when you return you know where to go.
If you are staying onsite, there is a package delivery service. If you buy a souvenir, ask them to deliver it to your room so that you don’t have to carry it around all day.
What to Bring to Disney World
One of the biggest time and money wasters are having to buy essentials when you’re at Disney. Disney prices are high and if you’re staying onsite, you may not have a car that can easily allow you to head to a local store to grab necessities. Here are a few things we’d recommend bringing to Disney World.
Don’t bring your brand new shoes unless you want to spend your entire week with blisters! Make sure your shoes are broken-in.
Pack flip-flops or Crocs for possible rainy days.
Ziploc bags are your friend! You can store so many things in them, including your phones and other electronics that could be damaged in rain or on water rides.
Bring your own ponchos. You can buy them from Amazon
Bring a power strip. Some rooms have just a few plugs and your family will likely need to charge all the devices that you’ve used throughout the day.
Disney World Planning Tips
We have a lot of articles that can help you plan your Disney Vacation. Here are a few tips from those articles.
If you are staying onsite, you can call and make dining reservations for your entire trip (up to 190 days in advance) at the 180 day point from your check-in date. Book the popular and hard-to-get restaurants later in your trip when there will be less competition. As an example, if you are staying onsite for 8 days, you’ll be able to book dining reservations for your final evening 187 days in advance. There will be very few people that are eligible to book dining at that point.
Most Disney resort guests check-in on Saturdays. Try to check-in on Friday or even Thursday! When you’re creating Dining reservations, that extra day will give you a huge advantage in securing the best restaurants.
Saturday is the busiest day for the Magic Kingdom. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten my own advice on MK-Saturdays….and I’ve almost always regretted it.
Don’t schedule late events followed by early morning breakfasts. This is sometimes tempting, especially due to low availability of character dining. But this will wear out your group, and especially your kids.
Common Disney World Questions
Here are some common questions that many Disney World guests have. We’ll briefly answer them here and give you a link to a longer article if necessary.
Can you change fastpass plus reservations for one individual in your group?
Yes, assuming you’ve setup your account correctly, adults will be able to go in and make changes, without changing the plans of the rest of their group. This does require them to have their own My Disney Experience account.
What is the best time to Meet Anna and Elsa at the Magic Kingdom?
The best thing to do is to get a fastpass. If you can’t, you’ll need to get to the park 45 minutes early and head straight there. If you don’t do either of these things, you can expect to have a significant wait.
When is a Disney Annual Pass Worth it?
For non-Florida residents, you’ll need to make 2 4-day trips in one year just for the annual passes to pay for themselves. One way to take advantage is if you go on Disney vacations on an annual basis. Space your trips 11 months apart, and get an annual pass to cover both vacations. If you go more than twice a year for 3-4 days, it’s a slam dunk.
What time at night can you begin to book fastpasses?
For guests who are staying at a Walt Disney World resort, you can begin to book fastpasses 60 days before your check-in date at 7AM EST. For guests who don’t have resort reservations, you can begin to book fastpasses 30 days before your scheduled arrival at 7AM EST.
Should I bring a baby to Disney World?
It all depends on your situation. Do you have other kids? If so, don’t skip a trip due to the baby. If your baby is your only child, they obviously won’t enjoy it, so you may want to wait a few years. But you can always get child swap passes, and Disney is ALWAYS fun. For us, the baby stage was actually easier than the small children stage, as our son would sleep for hours in a stroller, while small children often need to go back and nap.
What is a Park Hopper Ticket at Disney World?
If you purchase the park hopper ticket, your base tickets will allow you to visit any of the four theme parks on the same day. Without the park hopper, you are restricted to staying in one park, per day.
What is the Best Day to Visit the Magic Kingdom?
The crowds will be lower midweek. Mondays and Wednesdays are typically great days, though you’ll always need to look at the schedule and make sure there are no special events. If you’re not a resort guest, plan to arrive early on the morning after a late-night Magic Hours. The park will be quite empty as many guests will have stayed up very late the night before.