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!
Get Money Back on Your Resort Stay
Yes, we’re serious. You can earn a little extra Disney spending money with the [free] program, Service Your Way. You can opt in to this program while checking in to your Disney Resort hotel! Opting in means you agree to decline standard housekeeping during your stay in exchange for a Disney Gift Card eGift.
“Standard Housekeeping” includes making beds, vacuuming, removing trash, and changing linens. You’ll get a $10 credit for each night you stay on property, minus the first night. So if you stay 10 nights, you could get $90 to spend at any Disney-owned location!
As of now, it’s only available at value resorts (like the All-Stars, Art of Animation, the Campsites at Fort Wilderness or Pop Century Resort) or moderate resorts (Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, Port Orleans, and the Cabins at Fort Wilderness).
We have still been able to request fresh towels and sheets on this program, but just know you’ll have to make the bed and pick up after yourself! 🙂
Arrive Early for Ticketed Events in the Parks
We get it, After Hours events like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Villains After Hours are an added expense to your trip. But these events give you access to a night 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 get party exclusive entertainment, merchandise, and food! Which brings us to our next tip: you can typically get into the parks early with a ticket to these events.
We’ve typically had luck getting into the parks 3 hours before the scheduled start of the event with our After Hours ticket! Disney World may change this up on us in the future, so always check with guest services to see what time your ticket will be active. But extra hours in Disney? May as well get more than you paid for!
Oh, and even BETTER? You can use your hard ticket to book FastPasses for those hours you’re allowed in the parks! So you can skip a day of park tickets if you like and get even more value out of that special event ticket.
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
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, PhotoPass included in the ticket price, and significant discounts on food and merch at many locations in Disney World. We can’t forget that great parking deal, too (FREE at the parks!).
Annual Passes are crazy 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, 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!
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!
What are some of your favorite Disney vacation hacks? Let us know in the comments!