Hey friends! After last week was crazy busy, I’m excited to be getting back to the blog and sharing more content with you all! It doesn’t hurt that today I’m talking about one of my very favorite topics. This time last year, Graham and I were returning home from an amazing week long vacation at Walt Disney World in Orlando. This was a bucket list item for us. During our engagement, we dreamt about how fun it would be to take a trip to Disney together before we have kids. I’m so glad we made it happen! Since my nostalgia and longing to go back is at an all time high right now (thanks Timehop!), I want to share my top Disney tips for a magical trip for adults!
However, if you’re planning a trip to Disney with kids, don’t feel left out! There’s plenty of general wisdom for anyone planning a trip, especially if you’re hoping to make it (somewhat) budget friendly! Read on to see what we learned!
Disney Tips: All About Planning
Plan as much as you can, but leave some room for spontaneity. When it comes to a trip to Disney, even the most enthusiastic planners can get overwhelmed with the amount of decisions to make. Between rooming options, dining plans, fast passes, and attempting to avoid crowds, it’s easy to go overboard and try to have every moment of the week planned out. But even though I love planning, I think it’s best to leave some margin for spontaneous decisions. We had five days in the parks, and we left one day completely unplanned and waited until we were there to decide which park to visit on our last day. This keeps things flexible, when it’s very easy to feel over scheduled.
If you’re financially able, consider purchasing Park Hopper passes for increased flexibility. Since it was our first trip to Disney together, skipped this option, because we weren’t sure if we would really want this add-on. Looking back, it’s the only thing I really wish we could have changed about our trip.
Find a resort with a good bus route. Since we were trying to stay as budget friendly as possible, we kept our rooming options contained to the “Value” resorts. We heard that the All-Star resorts often share busses in the slower months, which can increase wait time to get to the parks. Because of this, we chose to stay at Pop Century. We loved this decision! Looking into transportation options helps save time and sanity throughout the week!
Schedule Fast Passes with intention. Our general game plan for visiting each park was to arrive before the doors open (they often let you in at least a couple minutes early). As soon as we could, we walked swiftly (no running!) to the most popular ride in each park. This helped us knock out the busiest rides with little to no wait time. We typically scheduled our Fast Passes for mid morning through early afternoon to use them during peak crowd hours.
Take advantage of single rider lines. Since we didn’t have kids to keep up with, it was an easy decision to bypass the line and split up as single riders. We did this on Test Track at Epcot and Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom. There may be other single rider lines available! Research which rides have them in advance so you don’t have to waste a fast pass on them.
Disney Tips: Dining
This post is supposed to be about keeping things somewhat budget friendly. (I know, I know). But bottom line, it’s worth it to save up and splurge on a few great meals. We literally still talk about some of the meals we had at the parks (Ohana and Frontera, I’m looking at you).
But, it’s easy to save on food elsewhere! We packed snacks and grab and go breakfast items with us, as well as ziplock bags. On our first night in the resort, we portioned all of our snacks into the bags, and grabbed a few each morning before we left. This was an easy way to fight cravings and the temptation to buy that $10 Mickey shaped rice crispy treat.
Finally, it helps to do some research on the best quick service meal options. We cannot speak highly enough of Yak and Yeti Local Foods Cafe in Animal Kingdom. I ordered chicken fried rice for only $5! That’s a huge steal for a meal at Disney. I love this post from the Mouse Savers for tips on the best value meals at each park!
Disney Tips: Relaxing While You’re There
(Or alternatively titled: help for feeling like you’re getting your money’s worth without becoming completely exhausted)
It’s so easy to come home from Disney feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation. But there are plenty of budget friendly things you can do that can make your trip a bit more relaxing. One of my favorite things to do was visit Disney Springs. Formerly known as Downtown Disney, this shopping and entertainment center has been completely revamped in the last couple of years. The atmosphere is incredible, and it’s a nice change of pace to leisurely walk through shops instead of fighting non-stop crowds at the parks.
Don’t miss out on resort hopping! While the pools are reserved for guests of each resort, there is still so much to explore at each of the different locations. Disney’s theming is incredible, and many of the best restaurants are located within the resorts. Our favorites that we were able to see on our last trip were Polynesian Resort, The Grand Floridian, The Contemporary, and Art of Animation.
Speaking of pools, plan an afternoon of relaxing at your resort! We didn’t spend a ton of time at our resort, other than a quick trip for coffee in the morning and sleeping at night. We did spend one afternoon by the pool, and it was a great way to switch things up and avoid the craziest times for crowds at the parks.
If you can’t tell, I am a little bit Disney crazy. It’s safe to say I’m already dreaming of the next time we can go back. I hope these Disney tips help spark some ideas for ways to make your next trip the best ever! Do you love Disney? What are your favorite tips that I missed? Comment below so that I can know for next time!