Whether you’re planning your very first trip to Disney or your 100th, you probably want to get every bit of magic out of your time in Disney World!
Here at DFB, we are always looking to load you up with top tips so that you don’t have to spend your precious time and energy stressing before or during a trip. And today we’re telling you about some expert Disney vacation hacks that even the Disney pros swear by. These under-the-radar tips can help you save time and money, so welcome to the in-crowd, friends!
Arrive Early for Ticketed Events in the Parks
We get it, ticketed events like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party are an added expense to your already pricey trip. But these events give you access to an evening at Magic Kingdom with far fewer crowds than a typical night.
So you may have less time in the park than a typical park ticket, but you may find that you can accomplish even more in the few hours of an after-hours event than during a full day with the normal crowds and queues — not to mention you also typically get party exclusive entertainment, character interactions, and food! This brings us to our next tip: you can typically get into the parks early with a ticket to these events.
These parties typically start at 7PM, but Disney has noted that guests with tickets are welcome to enter Magic Kingdom as early as 4PM. That’s bonus time, baby!
Save Money By Getting Your Disney Gift Cards With A Discount
You don’t have to be on Disney property to buy a Disney gift card! And buying a gift card while you’re back home can save you some cash! If you have a Target RedCard, you can save 5% on your purchase — including Disney gift cards! Every penny counts when you’re saving for Disney so an instant 5% off sounds like a great plan to us!
You can also check Sam’s Club or your local warehouse chain to see if they are offering any discounts on Disney World tickets for members. We have seen some big savings from Sam’s in the past, so it’s worth looking into before you go straight to the Disney site!
This has been especially true right after Disney releases price increases. So don’t snooze on your local stores, people!
Have One Member of Your Party Get an Annual Pass
NOTE: At this time, most Annual Pass sales have been paused.
Disney World Annual Passes come with some pretty sweet perks — apart from the whole year long admission thing! Passholders have access to exclusive discounts (including big hotel discounts) and merchandise, and even discounts on food at many sit-down restaurants. We can’t forget that great parking deal, too (FREE at the parks!).
Annual Passes are suuuuper expensive…but you don’t have to get one for everyone in your party. You have access to a lot of these deals even if only ONE person in your party is a Passholder! So if one person has an annual pass, they can be the one scanning their band to catch the whole party’s Splash Mountain photo (IF you buy the PhotoPass add-on), booking the hotel room to get the discount, the one snagging the latest Passholder magnet for the car, or picking up the tab with 10% off meals at table-service restaurants.
Unless you plan on visiting enough to justify the price for everyone in your party, it often makes more financial sense to just get one Annual Pass and share benefits among your family or group. Does your 5-year-old really need his or her own free parking pass? Probably not!
Depending on how long you are staying in Disney World, it may make sense to go ahead and buy an annual pass if you’re planning on buying several days of parking (if you’re staying off property), getting PhotoPass, or want to catch a passholder-exclusive hotel deal!
So after you have a pretty good idea about what you want your trip to look like, take a look at whether this hack best suits your trip!
Renting DVC Points
If you’re hoping to stay somewhere on Disney property with a little extra space and some fancier amenities, but you don’t quite have that budget, don’t worry — there’s still a way! Many self-proclaimed Disney experts are fans of renting DVC points to stay at Disney Vacation Club resorts at a discount.
Disney Vacation Club members are given a set number of points to use each year, and sometimes if they can’t use all their points, they’ll “rent” them at a discount on sites like David’s DVC Rentals. (That’s who we recommend for this service!) Then, non-DVC members can use those points that they’ve rented to book rooms at much cheaper prices. And if it’s a DVC room, you could snag a villa with multiple bedrooms or stay in a studio with a kitchenette!
There are some great perks that you could enjoy, and it might be a great way to stay at one of Disney World’s fancier hotels for a lot less than what you’d expect to pay.
Feel like a Disney pro yet? We know we do! Stay tuned here at DFB for the latest tips and trips to help hack your Disney vacation like an expert!
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What are some of your favorite Disney vacation hacks? Let us know in the comments!