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Over years of planning Walt Disney World vacations, we’ve discovered the most interesting and useful vacation planning resources out there. We’ve linked to them throughout this page to help you get the most fun out of your trip to WDW. That’s why we want you to leave via the links below. (And then come back.)
A smart phone loaded with Walt Disney World Apps will save you time and increase your fun.
The Official Walt Disney World App – See wait times for rides and attractions. Find restaurants with open tables. Character greeting locations and hours. Times guide for fireworks and shows. GPS-enabled park maps. FastPass info. This is by the most important App to have. And its free.
Hundreds of machines scattered throughout The World will turn 51 cents into flat piece of copper imprinted with a character or logo. With over 500 designs available, its a cheap way to combine the fun of a scavenger hunt with the enjoyment of collecting Disney World souvenirs.
Walt Disney World Maps – Maps for all 4 theme parks and both water parks. Plus maps for the on-property resorts and Downtown Disney.
Touring Plans – Minimize your wait by visiting attractions in a certain order.
When To Go
Pirates is a great ride. But its a much better ride when you wait 5 minutes for it, rather then 75. If you have the luxury of choosing the dates of your vacation, do your research. The time of year you go to Disney World will have the biggest impact on the quality – and the cost – of your vacation. Even moving your dates by as little as one week can alter the crowd levels – and prices – for your trip.
Love it or hate it, its is a force to be reckoned with. For those of you new to the world, the Disney Dining Plan provides prepaid meals, snacks and drinks throughout the resorts and parks. Often offered for free during value season, it is available as an add on for those purchasing a Magic Your Way vacation package. For some its a must have, for others an overpriced, complicated headache.
You’ll spend the bulk of your time in WDW either on rides or waiting in line for them. A little research can help you discover the rides you’ll like the most and help identify the ones that aren’t worth it.
Use Fastpass - Don’t feel like waiting in a 2 hour line for a 3 minute ride? Use Disney’s free fastpass system. It allows you to return later at a preset time and board the ride after just a short wait.
Several times a year, discounts will be offered for Disney vacation packages or for room only bookings. Using one of these specials is the best way to save money on a WDW vacation without giving something up.
When asked why he got into the theme park business, Walt Disney replied that he wanted there to be a place where parents and children could just have fun together. If you can manage to look past the crowds, the cost, the must-do and must-sees, and just focus on having fun together, you’ll find WDW perfectly engineered to fulfill Walt’s dream.
How to Child Swap – If you’ve got a kid that can’t ride, Child Swap allows Mom and Dad to take turns riding, without doubling the wait. Plus the big kids get to get right back on with the second parent. Best combined with fastpass.
Once you get to WDW, you have to get around WDW. Its like a small city. To get from your room to the parks, you’ll need a car or will have to depend on Disney’s public transportation system. The extensive bus system as well as the monorail are free of charge. If you are staying off site, many Orlando hotels have a shuttle that will take you to the park entrance.
For many of us, planning our Disney trip is half the fun of it! But for others it can be off putting or too time consuming. Because of this, many travel agents specialize in planning WDW vacations. All are free to use, as Disney pays them a commission out of what your package costs. A good agent will get you the lowest cost possible for the type of trip you want, and can save you hours of planning and research.
Disney doesn’t have hotels, they have resorts. Often overshadowed by the parks, the resorts in WDW are destinations in and of themselves. Beyond the rooms you’ll find over-the-top pools, entertainment, multiple dining options, extensive theming and beautiful grounds. Make sure to build time into your vacation to explore and enjoy your resort.
Not everyone stays at the resorts. There are dozens of hotels within a reasonable drive to the parks and many private homes and condos for rent as well. Staying off property is often cheaper, provides more living space, and can come with amenities such as kitchens and washing machines.
Dollar for dollar, a good guide book is the best money you can spend towards your vacation. For less then 1% of the cost of your trip, it will save you both time and money, plus you’ll enjoy countless hours reading about the little details that make WDW so much fun to visit.
Disney World creates fanatics, and some channel that passion into an eBook. These self published works of love often drill down into splendid detail for just a buck or two, and are sometimes free. These can be an enjoyable addition to planning a Disney World vacation.
Walt Disney World is full of your favorite characters walking around in real life. Most can be talked to, posed with and hugged.
Character Meet and Greet – The Meet and Greets have grown in popularity. Often the lines get long and fastpasses are even available for some.
Character Dining – Several restaurants have characters present during meal time. They’ll stop by your table and pose for pictures and sometimes clown around. Its one of the best uses of a table service credit if you’re on the Disney dining plan.
Autograph Books – Disney Characters love to sign. A cheap way to get personal, memorable souvenirs.