Every child dreams about going to meet Mickey Mouse.
But as every parent knows, a trip to the big castle means big money and even bigger crowds.
However, there are ways to score the perfect Disney vacation without having to pay like you’re royalty.
With some careful planning and strategic navigation, you can beat the Disney rush—and won’t have to dip into the kids’ college funds!
Plan Your Trip Now
Going to Disney World in the winter months is incredibly favorable. With temperatures averaging in the mid-70s during the day, the weather is perfect. You won’t feel like you’re going to have a heat stroke, but you won’t have to lug around those bulky parkas either.
Plus there won’t be hordes of people shoving you out of the way to the front of the line, or those obnoxious large family reunions that always seem to end up at your favorite restaurant.
Of course, there are several travel sites that sell tickets or packages at a discount if you’re visiting the parks for several days, but their prices for one day admission will be the same as on Disney World’s official site, which is much more secure.
Your budget is going to dictate whether you go to Disney World for one day or a whole week. But don’t worry, if only one day is in the cards, it’s still well worth the visit.
And going to a single park in one day is usually all that those little minds—and exhausted parents—can handle! Your pillow will never feel so wonderful than after a long day of riding ‘The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh’ twelve times.
Pick A Park
Walt Disney World is a lot more park than most people think—Disney World features four theme parks and two water parks. That’s six amusement parks total!
Epcot highlights the history, food, and cultures of different countries, as well as the technological advances they’ve achieved.
Magic Kingdom is arguably the most famous, where the iconic Cinderella Castle resides and six different Disney-themed lands feature some of your favorite classic Disney characters.
Animal Kingdom is like going to the zoo on steroids. Take a tour of the African Savanna and see giraffes and other wild animals. Afterwards, learn about exotic creatures from Rafiki himself, Simba’s trusted baboon.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the last Disney theme park and features memorable rides based on your favorite Disney films. Feel what it’s like to be a toy in the giant Toy Story Land, then go face-to-face with a Storm Trooper at Star Wars Land.
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park is located at Walt Disney Resort and features the longest amusement ride in Disney’s history, Miss Adventure Falls. You won’t want to miss this thrilling voyage on the high seas!
Disney’s Blizzard Beach has all the perks of a typical water park, but prides itself with one of the world’s longest and fastest waterslides, Mount Gushmore.
However, while Florida’s temperatures during the winter months are great for roller coasters and standing in line, they may be a little too cool for the water parks. Planning to visit one of the four themed parks may be the safest option—and don’t worry, your kids won’t miss the water parks once they go on their first ride.
Each park has something unique and exciting to offer, so don’t stress too much on which park to visit first, because you will enjoy them all.
Bring The Whole Family
You may think that having small children will limit your fun at Disney World, but you will be surprised how many rides have no age limit. Many rides even allow you to carry a baby onboard!
Older children won’t be left out either, they will be thoroughly entertained by the parades and bigger roller coasters, forgetting they’re supposed to be acting “cool” as they smile ear to ear.
Buy Your Tickets
Once you have decided on a park, go ahead and purchase tickets in advance. This has a two-fold advantage.
One, you will bypass the lines to pay admission at the park, which is torture for everyone when you can see and hear the endless fun right in front of you, but can’t get to it yet.
Two, you will want to sort out your Fast-Pass schedule ahead of time to optimize your Disney experience.
Fast-Passes are free with every ticket and allow you to choose a specific time for up to three rides. This will ensure a shorter line for all those who picked that specific time-slot with their Fast-Pass.
Each time you use Fast-Pass, you can refill it for a different ride. Planning your visit around the park effectively will allow you to use your Fast-Pass for every ride, giving you more time to meet Mickey.
Snacks are allowed in the parks, but not full meals. There is a bag-check at all the parks and they will take your ribeye and baked potato, so opt for some granola bars and Gatorade instead.
Don’t forget sunscreen and ponchos or an umbrella. While the sun will most likely be shining, Florida is known for the occasional spontaneous rainfall, especially in the mid-afternoon.
Strollers are also permissible, but must not be too big. While there’s no one standing with a tape measure at the gate, if you bring a quad stroller or a behemoth structure on wheels, they will turn you away.
If you have little ones, don’t debate over whether to bring the stroller or not, just do it. Because you will regret having to carry a cranky, over-stimulated child all around the park. Plus, they’ll have a place to pass out for a couple of hours while you rehydrate and massage the feeling back into your feet.
Also, be aware that just about every child will be wearing a pair of the infamous Mickey Mouse ears (that start at $25 bucks a pop!) or carrying some sort of Disney gear (think glowing necklaces, blinking wands, shiny streamers and spinning bubble makers).
As soon as you enter the park, you will be bombarded with plenty of kiosks and stores to purchase this Disney apparel—but you will pay an arm and a leg for it… or at least a limb.
So, being the smart traveler, purchase these items for your family prior to entering the park so no child feels left out. Many online sites or party stores sell Disney apparel at much more affordable prices. Then you can smirk at all the other parents around you, knowing you paid half the amount they did for the same stuff.
Walt Disney World is a once in a lifetime experience for every family, whether you go for a day or a week. Witnessing the squeals of pure joy and excitement coming from your children will make you feel like dreams really do come true!
So this winter, plan a trip to Disney World. You’ll get all the perks, with none of the downsides.
Book your trip now and watch your kids have the time of their lives.