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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Disney Tips

We had a blast at Disney World! I know some of you are planning a trip to Disney World soon, and others may go sometime in the future. I did a GREAT deal of research before our trip in order to save our family money (does that surprise you?!).

Yes, Disney World can be expensive, but there are many ways to dramatically cut your spending and do Disney on a budget. I'll share some of my favorite tips, and please, if you have more specific questions, leave them in the comments or email me and I will try my best to help. I'm all about helping people save money! :-)

  • Tickets--I bought our tickets through through a special that was run by and got them at a great discount. I got 6 days at the parks for less than Disney's price of 4 days. Skip the ParkHopper option--there's plenty to do at each park to keep you busy for the whole day.
  • Be "in the know"-- Several months before your trip, sign up for the newsletters at and These often give insider ticket deals, people write in all sorts of tips that are helpful, and they have updated lists of scheduled ride closures.
  • Food--Bring PLENTY of snacks into the parks. The kids were hungry about every 5 minutes! We realized it was because they were doing SO much more walking than normal and expending a lot of energy. (FYI-You ARE allowed to bring food and drinks into the parks--they do search bags, but it's not to avoid you bringing food in, it's for safety.) We ate breakfast at our hotel and also packed lunches for every day, which saved us A LOT of money.
  • Leashes--I brought "leashes" or child harnesses because I was paranoid about the crowds and losing a kid (we had 7 kids age 5 and under). I used them most of the first day (which was the Saturday after Thanksgiving and it was pretty busy), but after that, we only used one on M (the 2 year old who likes to wander), and only occasionally.
  • Colored shirts--I thought these were EXTREMELY helpful in finding each other quickly. You don't have to go with tye-dye (my siblings weren't big on the tye-dye, but they humored me for a couple of the days), but this was a cheap way to make a large amount of coordinating shirts. They were $2 each for the t-shirts and $20 for the tye-dye kit which dyed more than 30 shirts.
  • Pre-buy souvenirs--This is one of my favorite tips! You can find Disney merchandise just about anywhere for A LOT cheaper than in the parks. I found several of our sovenirs (including our autograph books) in the dollar spot at Target. My brother bought everyone Christmas ornaments (a family tradition) at Walmart before our trip. Contrary to popular belief, it IS possible to avoid the gift shops! Just be busy going on rides and having fun! If they ask for something, tell them you have a surprise waiting back at the hotel.
  • Have a plan.....--You likely won't see half as much if you don't have a plan of the top attractions you want to visit. My favorite guide book was Walt Disney World with Kids by Kim Wright Wiley, which gives information about every ride in the parks. She also gives suggestions on which ones to ride first thing and which ones to get fastpasses to ride later.
  • ...but be flexible--One thing we learned was that everything at Disney World takes a lot longer than you might think, even in the off-season. Even traveling to and from the hotel (we stayed off-site, though close) took a lot of time because the Disney property is HUGE. We found we had to allow at least 45 minutes to get from our hotel to the ticket gates each day (though MapQuest said it'd be a 20 minute trip). One day in the Magic Kingdom, I realized we forgot our camera in the car. Though we were in the front of the park on Main Street, it took me 40 minutes to get to the car and back because I had to walk out of the park, ride the monorail, ride the tram, get the camera, back on the tram, back on the monorail, and walk back into the park!
I have pages and pages of tips that I compiled before our trip. What to pack, resources, cheap things to do, attractions not to miss, and more. I'm happy to share these things with you, so just let me know if you want more information! I also have one unused adult ticket to sell--email me for information.


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