8) Stay on Disney property
Sometimes when I hear of people really trying to save money and budget for a Disney trip, they assume that staying off property is the better deal because “Disney hotels are so expensive.” Regardless of the price, I would still recommend staying on property. If money is an issue, check for special offers and discounts on Disney’s website, and stay at a value resort. While a value resort might be slightly more than staying off site, you’re still getting the convenience of being closer to everything, and you’ll be able to take advantage of the perks that Disney has for resort guests such as complimentary transportation and Extra Magic Hours.
7) Hit the parks early
I know sleeping in can sound really appealing, especially when you’re on vacation and you don’t need to get up for school or work, however I highly recommend going to the parks earlier before the crowds roll in. For the first couple of hours that the parks are open, most of the lines will be really short. By getting there early, you can get some of the big attractions done while there are hardly any wait times, and you’ll technically be getting more value for your tickets.
6) Stay in the parks late
This tip follows the same premise as the previous one. If you stay in the parks late, especially during Extra Magic Hours when non-resort guests are all leaving, the crowds will have thinned out. This gives you time to experience all the attractions you might have missed earlier in the day, or re-experience some of your favorites.
5) Take a break
While I do think that it is best to be in the parks right after they open, and later on after the crowds thin out again, I would recommend taking a break in the middle of the day, especially if you have small children with you. Kids can get worn out and tired a lot easier than you can from simply walking around a theme park. If you take a break in the middle of the day and head back to your resort, you’ll be avoiding the busiest and most crowded times in the park, and you’ll be able to get some rest before you head back out for the evening.
4) Make dining reservations in advance
This tip is especially important if there are certain restaurants that you really want to eat at, or if you’re visiting the resort during a really busy time of year. Some of the more popular restaurants will become completely booked up, and you won’t find yourself having much luck showing up without a reservation. To prevent this from happening, make sure you reserve your favorites in advance.
3) Save your Fastpasses for the rides
Unless you’re really not going to go on ANY rides (which I would find hard to believe) you should be using your Fastpasses for rides rather than shows, parades, or fireworks. The benefit for using on a ride (having little or no wait time) is greater than the benefit for using them on a show, parade, or fireworks viewing (being let in early to get a spot that you could have gotten by showing up at the same time anyway.) During particularly busy times of year, it might be helpful to have a Fastpass for a show, if you really want to guarantee that you get in, but you need to make sure that you show up during the beginning of your Fastpass window to get the full advantage of it.
2) Don’t worry about the little things
Disney can be overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the parks, so some members of your party (especially tired kids) are bound to become stressed at some point or have a meltdown. Most kids who have meltdowns do so because they’re tired. Just take things slow and enjoy yourself, it’s better to take things slow and have the trip be enjoyable than to rush around and be exhausted. Likewise, don’t sweat it if a ride is temporarily down, or the monorail is crowded, these are really small problems when you should be enjoying yourself and having fun on vacation.
1) Do your research!
One of the major reasons why guests become stressed out is simply because they didn’t do enough (or any) research prior to their trip. While Disney cast members are a great resource, and they’re happy to help you with whatever you need, they’re not going to be able to make up for the months of research and planning you could have been doing for a vacation. And besides, wouldn’t you rather spend your time in the parks doing whatever it is you want to do instead of researching then and there what you might want to do? Read up on the parks ahead of time, and your trip will go much more smoothly.