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10 Killer Tips For Budgeting And Planning Your Disney Trip

Each visit to Walt Disney World is a magical experience from the first moments in the Magic Kingdom to the final attraction before heading home. Guests can spend months looking forward to their Disney vacations and want to make the most of each moment in the parks by seeing as much as possible and making each experience count. By doing some simple planning and budgeting before leaving home, guests can be prepared for their Disney vacations and ensure that they will have an amazing time. By following these few simple tips, guests can be totally prepared and be sure to have a Disney vacation they will remember for a lifetime. Here are ten killer tips for budgeting and planning a Disney trip.

10. Pick The Right Resort

Guests who visit Walt Disney World should definitely opt to stay on property at a Disney Resort. Not only are Disney Resorts amazing, they offer unique perks to guests making their entire vacation easier and more enjoyable. Guests should begin the process of choosing a Disney Resort by figuring out what their budget for accommodations is. Disney Resorts are broken down into four categories with Deluxe Villa and Deluxe being the most expensive, Value being the most reasonable, and Moderate falling somewhere in between. Once guests know what their budget is, they can choose the matching category of Disney Resorts and select the best option for them from a shorter list. A Travel Planner who is part of an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner agency can greatly assist in the process of narrowing down the perfect resort.

9. Decide If The Park Hopper Option Is Worth It

When looking at ticket options, guests should also consider whether it is worth paying an additional amount to have the Park Hopper option which allows them to visit more than one theme park per day. While the option is relatively inexpensive compared to regular ticket prices, guests who know that they are going to only visit one park per day should not bother with the option in order to save some money which can be applied elsewhere throughout their vacation. Even without the park hopper option you can leave the park for a mid-afternoon break and return to the same park that night.

8. Book FastPasses

All guests who visit Walt Disney World can utilize the FastPass system which works in a similar fashion to reservations, assigning guests a particular time to return to an attraction to enjoy the experience with little to no wait time. Guests who stay on property at a Disney Resort can book their FastPasses sixty days in advance and guests who stay elsewhere off property can book thirty days in advance. Guests can initially book three FastPasses per day but then can book a fourth one once the initial three have been used. FastPasses are most efficiently used when booked for more popular attractions which tend to have longer wait times, thus saving the most time that would have otherwise been spent waiting in line. Some of the best FastPass options are Soarin’, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Test Track Presented by Chevrolet, Toy Story Mania, Expedition Everest, and Dinosaur.

7. Book Advanced Dining Reservations

One of the best things that guests can plan in advance for their Disney vacations are dining reservations. Advanced Dining Reservations can be made up to one hundred and eighty days in advance and are absolutely necessary for most Disney restaurants. By making Advanced Dining Reservations as far in advance as possible, guests save the frustration of being turned away from a fully booked restaurant and save the time spent waiting to be seated as a walk up dining party.

6. Make A Schedule

A great way to save time and frustration while on a Walt Disney World vacation is by making a schedule before leaving home. Guests should consult park hours and decide which park they want to visit on each given day of their vacation. By knowing ahead of time which park they will be heading to each day, guests save time and frustration trying to make a decision each morning and can also more efficiently book their Advanced Dining Reservations and FastPasses ahead of time.

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5. Pack Snacks

While there are plenty of delicious snacks found throughout Walt Disney World, they can become costly. A great way to maintain a budget on a Disney vacation is to pack sealed snacks from home to carry in the parks. By doing so, guests can then reach for pre-purchased treats instead of continually paying out dollars at a time when hungry for a snack. Some great options to carry in the parks include Goldfish, Cheez-Its, and granola bars. And don’t forget you can bring drinks as well—a refillable water bottle is a must.

4. Pack Smartly

In addition to packing snacks, guests should also be smart about everything they pack for vacation. No one wants to be unprepared and end up purchasing something needed once in the parks, so packing wisely is a must in order to save some money and frustration. Key items to not forget at home include a refillable water bottle, rain jacket or poncho, sun screen, band aids, and toiletries.

3. Make Time To Relax

While Disney vacations are a lot of fun, they can also be exhausting. The Central Florida area is known for being hot and humid and when combined with lots of walking through the parks, guests can easily become overtired and cranky. One of the best ways to keep energy high throughout an entire vacation is setting aside some time each day to relax. By stopping to go for a swim, sit down and enjoy a meal, or nap at a Disney Resort, guests can recharge and be ready to finish their days in the parks.

2. Be Familiar With Things

A great way to save lots of time on a Disney vacation is by doing some research before leaving home and becoming familiar with a chosen Disney Resort and the theme parks. By knowing where things are, guests can save time stopping to consult a map or ask for directions and by knowing what things are, guests can decide if they are experiences they want to enjoy.

1. Know When To Line Up Early

Certain experiences in Walt Disney World are so popular with guests that they tend to become very crowded very easily. Guests should know which experiences are so popular and be sure to line up or choose a viewing spot at least an hour early to ensure a great view. A few things to line up early for are Wishes Nighttime Spectacular, Fantasmic!, and Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, and Fantasmic!

About Caitlin Kane

Caitlin Kane first visited Walt Disney World when she was two years old, and despite spending most of the trip quarantined with the chicken pox she managed to fall in love with the place. Visiting WDW every year since, she especially loves learning about the history and small details of the parks, enjoying a Lapu Lapu, and eating/drinking her way through the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. When she's not in Disney, Caitlin lives in New York teaching preschool and spending her time counting down the days to her next trip.