The Ultimate Guide to Disney World: How to Make Your Trip the Best One Yet

If you’re anything like me, you’re obsessed with Disney World. I mean, what’s not to love? Rides, characters, shows, junk food; they’ve got everything! Visiting Disney World takes me back to a time when I had no responsibility and believed Cinderella was a real person. I might be a little extreme, but after going to Disney World eleven times since last summer I have become a self-proclaimed expert on all things Disney World. For that reason, if you’re planning on going to Disney World anytime soon, my Disney obsession is here to help. Here are some tips and tricks to navigating my all-time favorite theme-park.

Get Your Tickets Cheap

Tickets to Disney World are not cheap and, if you’re a college student like me, you’re probably on a budget. Here are a couple of things that I do to avoid breaking the bank when I’m buying my park tickets: First and foremost if you’re in college, your university might have a discount on Disney tickets. You can find this potential discount on studentguest.com. Another noteworthy potential discount might be from your employer (if you have one). For example, Starbucks offers discounts on Disney tickets, as well as other things, for its employees. If you work for a major corporation like this one, it is certainly worthwhile to research any discounts your company might have. If you don’t happen to be a perky barista, no worries. You can still check on the Disney website for any deals that might be going on at that time. Florida residents always get a discount so be sure to take advantage of that if it applies to you!

Download the App!

Once you’ve got your tickets, be sure to download the Walt Disney World cell-phone app. This has been a lifesaver for me during my trips to Disney. The app allows you to view showtimes, make reservations for your favorite restaurants, get Fast Passes, check wait times, and much more. You can even order food in advance and skip those long Disney lines. Overall, this makes doing almost anything at Disney wildly more convenient, especially if you don’t know your way around the parks. You can find maps for each of the four parks on the app (which saves trees, since you don’t have to use paper maps). The app also includes a handy G.P.S. that takes you to any given location in that park. 

 

 

Courtesy: Disney

 

Skip Lines!

In addition to being able to reserve your Fast Passes on the app, as mentioned earlier, you can also find this feature on the Walt Disney World website: websitedisneyworld.disney.go.com. Regardless of how you get them, they are a must. Fast Passes allow you to cut up to three lines a day throughout the park. In my experience, if you fail to book Fast Passes before the day of your trip, or even up to a few days before your trip, you will be unable to get Fast Passes for most, if not any, rides. Instead, you’ll be left with Fast Pass options for attractions that don’t have much of a line in the first place (I’m looking at you, People Mover). 

Plan Ahead!

When you do get your Fast Passes, be sure to get them for times in which you will be in that part of the park. For instance, you’re spending a day in Magic Kingdom. It would not make sense for you to walk across the entire park multiple times. Instead, you want to plan to go on the rides in the order in which you are walking. This prevents excess walking and enables you to move from each attraction with ease, instead of walking a mile every time you or your friends decide on what you want to do next. Mapping out what you’re going to do and when allows you to get the most out of your Disney trip. A day in Disney without Fast Passes is a sad, cramped and frustrating excuse for what is supposed to be a magic-filled day. So, don’t waste your money! Make the most of your experience by getting Fast Passes in advance.

Celebrating a Birthday?

If you’re planning on spending your birthday at Disney World, you’re in luck! Two words: free food. Many restaurants in both Disney World and Disney Springs will provide you dessert, free of charge, just as long as you’re wearing your certified Disney Birthday pin (at some restaurants, you might even get a free entrée!). Not only will this pin get you delicious desserts from places such as Sprinkles or Ghirardelli, but it will also enable cast members (Disney employees) to identify you and give you an even better Disney experience than you might have had minus the pin. This might be by giving you free stickers or even a birthday card from Mickey Mouse. These little things enhance the experience and make it even more magical!

Embrace the Experience!

I find that I have the best time on my Disney trip when I embrace the experience. Rain or shine, it’s important to focus on the positive! Of course, there will be long lines, it might be hot, it might be raining (pro tip: bring a poncho), but you’re still at Disney and you’ve likely paid a lot of money to be there. Don’t let the crowds or the weather ruin your trip. Instead, focus on the childhood magic.

I am invested in going to Disney. When I’m on my way there I play Disney Soundtracks and sing along at the top of my lungs. You don’t have to do this, but just take my advice and embrace the nostalgia! And if you want even more nostalgia, plan your Disney Trip around a holiday, such as Halloween or in December. The parks will be decorated from head to toe! The festiveness is adorable and will make for some cute Instagram posts.

 

 

Courtesy: Kelsey Garcia

 

Whether you’re a Disney rookie or expert, budgeting and planning make for a fantastic Disney experience. Researching deals and planning your days beforehand is not only highly recommended but it also just prevents you from getting lost in the park or stuck in those infinitely long lines. Take it from a Disney aficionado like myself, these tips will save you time and money on your vacation to Disney World.