I’ve been to Walt Disney World many times and each time I go I learn something new so I am sharing my 10 tips for maximizing your Walt Disney World Vacation for free. These are simple tips that every person that takes a Walt Disney World vacation should know before going. I’ve been about 20 times and some of these I just learned this year when I attended Disney Social Media Moms Celebration so these tips can even teach a seasoned Disney World vacation taker a thing or two or ten. Hold on to your rose gold Mickey Ears because you’re about to be blown away.
1.There are outlets and charging areas in each park. Some are well-known and easily found others are hidden in plain sight. One option available at all 4 Walt Disney World parks is to drop your phone off at Guest Relations in the park for charging. You provide your own charging cord and they will give you a claim ticket. There are outlets throughout the parks if you know where to look. My favorite charging stations are the ones in the Magic Kingdom, particularly, the false tree stumps across from the bathrooms in the Rapunzel/Tangled area and the outlets in The Yellow FastPass+ Tent in Storybook Circus.
2. You don’t have to pay $3.25 for water to survive the raging Florida heat. Disney World provides free ice water/ water bottle refills at all quick service restaurants. All you have to do is ask.
3. Everyone knows that you get three fast passes per person per day on your Walt Disney World vacation. Did you know if they are used before 3 pm, you can then schedule 1 more at a time for your group so the earlier you schedule your fast passes, the better.
4. If you are celebrating a special occasion (birthday, 1st visit, honeymoon and anniversary) every cast member will wish you a happy, pixie dusted celebration and some places you even get royal treatment like free desserts and fast passes. It’s a great way to make a celebration even more special but please, don’t say you’re celebrating if you’re not.
5. If you love Walt Disney World but hate long lines, have I got a tip for you. Lines are always shorter for rides during parades, fireworks and mealtimes. I know, it is total common sense but if you are like me, you might get swept up in all the Walt Disney World magic and totally lose all that common sense when you hit the parks. I do.
6. Speaking of long lines. I tend to get hangry and a hangry mom is a bad situation. It’s even worse than hangry toddlers. So to avoid both, use Disney’s new mobile food ordering option on the My Disney experience app. It’s like the Starbucks app, you place your order, pick up your food and eat and avoid the lines and the hangries. It’s a win, win, win. Nothing ruins a nice Disney World vacation with your family like turning into monster mom because you need food.
7. As I just mentioned the My Disney Experience app, I’m going to mention it again because it is THAT good. I use it to schedule fast passes, meal reservations and know the extended magic hours (if you are staying on grounds) 180 days in advance. Believe me you will want to get those coveted reservations as far in advance as possible. But even if you miss that 180 day window of opportunity, by using the My Disney Experience app, you can check while you are on grounds and reservations open up all the time and if you want to go old school and you like to do your Disney World vacation with no tech whatsoever, most restaurants do take some walk-ups.
8. Speaking of magic hours, like the way I did that? If you are staying at one of the Disney resorts on grounds or one of their participating partners, you can take advantage of magic hours which are either an extra hour in the morning before the general public is allowed into the park or a few hours at the end of the night. It is a great way to grab photos that are not saturated with strangers and get in line for the most popular rides and avoid some of the wait time. At night, it is so much fun to ride the rides in the dark and also to have access with so many fewer people. I highly recommend planning your days in the park according to the days they have extended hours.
9. Memory Maker is your friend. As a mom, I’m usually never in the photos and that makes me sad especially when we are making all those amazing memories on our Disney World vacation. However, with Memory Maker I can just let Disney take all the photos and not worry about it. Then I have access to 100s of photos including those hilarious ride photos. It’s simple you find the photographers in the parks ( they are everywhere) and they will take your photo. They scan your magic band and voila, they appear in your my Disney Experience. Same protocol when you get off the rides, go to the kiosk and scan your band. They even do some Disney Magic and add fun little surprises to some of your photos.
10. Last but not least, my best tip for maximizing your Walt Disney World vacation for free is to simply be in the moment, enjoy yourself and most importantly enjoy your family. Those little ones will only be little for a little while and it goes by in a flash. Who stole my toddlers and gave me these teens? Luckily, magic is not just for the little ones. Walt Disney World has a way of transforming us all into happy, excited 4-year-olds every time we walk through the gates. That’s the real magic and I love every single minute of it, every single time.