So you’re planning your Disney vacation and you want to know how to make the most of it? Here are 5 tips that will help you get the most of your next Disney vacation.
Research Before You Go
If you listen to our podcast, you know that there is a lot — and we mean a LOT — of details big and small about Disney that require tons of research; or experience, at least. There’s no doubt about it, there is a plethora of content about Disney Resorts out there and way too much content to take in. Talk about drinking out of a fire hydrant.
Besides just listening to the Parks Academy podcast (which, yes, you should absolutely do) watch YouTube videos, read articles, and check out pretty much any details you can find. Here are a few suggestions of Bloggers and Vloggers we recommend.,
It’s all good stuff and these folks know what they’re talking about.
Use Gift Cards in the Park
A few years back, Paige decided to buy Disney gift cards from Target to cover our expenses for our next trip. We decided to cover three categories: Dining, Snacks, Souvenirs.
Let’s face it, while having your credit card on your Magic Band is great, it’s a bad idea if you’re trying to stay on budget. Keeping gift cards on hand is kind of like having cash. It feels a little more “real” than swiping a credit card.
It’s expensive to go on Disney vacations (duh), but you can keep costs down by deciding a budget and sticking to it. Trust us, your bank account will thank you.
You Can Probably Skip Park Hoppers (Unless You’re in Disneyland)
For some folks park hopping is must — we get that. But buying Park Hopper tickets can add an extra expense to your trip that is unnecessary. As of March 2022, it’s an extra $65 per person (per day) to park hop. Add that cost with what you’d pay for Genie+ or any other add ons, and it’s just not really worth it. If you have small kids, especially, it can be an extra cost that is unnecessary.
Now, if you are only staying in Disney for a day or two and want to maximize what you see, then by all means flip for the Park Hopper tickets. Typically, however, there is so much to be done in a single park that a Park Hopper ticket will take away from a single day in a park and perhaps add unnecessary stress.
What about Disneyland? This feels like a pretty easy exception because the gates are literally 300 ft away from one another. Because there are only 2 gates in Disneyland Resort, it makes sense have park hopping at your disposable. One of the things we like to do is buy 2 single park tickets and then get a third day Park Hopper.
Stay at a Disney Property Hotel
There are an incredible amount of perks staying at a Disney Hotel — especially in Disney World. For one thing, the bus system is incredible. Coming from California, there really is not much need for transportation. Fun fact: you can fit 51 Disneylands inside of Disney World. FIFTY-ONE! Yea, you don’t really need transportation when staying at Disneyland.
If you stay at a Disney World, you have a myriad of opportunities for transportation. Boats, Skyliners, Monorails, and Buses. It doesn’t get much better than that. When you stay at any Disney World property, you are guaranteed to have an exceptional transportation experience. Yes, even in the sweaty, over-crowded buses.
Another perk of staying in a Disney Property Hotel is early entry to parks and perhaps being able to stay later. Obviously there’s some things changing with the Magical Express, but you can get transportation from the Orlando Airport to your resort.
Finally, you’re going to get advanced dining reservations up to 60 days in advanced. So…. let’s move on, shall we?
Plan Your Dining Way Ahead of Schedule!
Sometimes booking dining can be harder than getting a boarding pass for Rise of the Resistance on opening day. Oof. We recommend planning your dining ahead of schedule. Way ahead of schedule.
If you’re staying at a on-property resort (mentioned above) you get 60 days prior to arrival to book your dining plans. But don’t wait until the 60 days to know what you’re going to do, plan ahead — 90 days, 120 days. Whatever. It sounds crazy but trust us, if you want to get those prime dining opportunities you need a plan.
Here’s a handful of restaurants you might want to book ahead of time: Ohana’s, Oga’s Cantina, Cinderella’s Royal Table, California Grill, Tusker House, Garden Grill, Via Napoli, Skipper Canteen, Hollywood Brown Derby, Topolino Terrace, Storybook Dining, Space 220, Steakhouse 71, The Edison, and the Boathouse in Disney Springs. To name a few.
There’s a lot to think about when you’re planning your Disney vacation and, trust us, these are only a few choice tips. Do your research, plan ahead, know what you want to eat, and remember — have fun!