Things to do in Kauai- Kauai Grand Hyatt View

If you’re looking for some ideas on things to do in Kauai, you’ve come to the right place. There is no shortage of things to do on Kauai, whether you’re seeking activities or attractions. From exploring the beautiful pristine beaches to checking out the fantastic scenery, there’s something for everyone on this garden island.

This post will highlight some of the best things to do in Kauai, aka the Garden Isle, so that you can make the most of your visit. So if you’re planning a trip to this fantastic destination, read on!

Explore Kauai from Above with a Helicopter Tour

Things to do in Kauai- Na Pali Coast

A helicopter tour should definitely be at the top of your list. Kauai is known for its incredible natural beauty, dramatic cliffs, and stunning waterfalls. There’s no better way to see them than from the air.

A helicopter ride will give you a bird’s-eye view of the island’s natural wonders, and it’s a must-do activity for any visitor to Kauai.

I’ve been on a helicopter, and it was absolutely incredible. We flew over the mountains and valleys, and I got to see parts of Kauai that I would never have seen otherwise.

The views were breathtaking, and I recommend going on a helicopter if you’re visiting Kauai.

Kauai is the perfect place for a helicopter ride, and plenty of operators offer flights around the island.

I highly recommend the Doors Off Air Kauai Helicopter Tour! You’ll get stunning views and pictures, especially since the doors are off!

If you’re looking for a private tour, you should definitely experience the Private Kauai Helicopter Tours with no middle seats. This tour is also doors off; every seat is a window seat, hence no middle seats. This is crucial, especially since some helicopter rides seat six people, so you might have to sit in the middle seat, where you won’t be able to enjoy the view. It’s well worth spending the extra money on a private tour!

The Entire Kauai Island Air Tour is an excellent tour for those looking for a less expensive option.

So if you’re looking for an unforgettable experience, be sure to check out a helicopter tour in Kauai.

Zipline Through the Natural Scenery

Ziplining in Kauai is an activity that should not be missed. Several companies offer ziplining tours, and the views from the zip lines are spectacular.

You can see the mountains, the valleys, and the coastline from up high, and it is an exhilarating experience.

Most zipline tours also include a hike through the rainforest, which is a great way to see some of Kauai’s beautiful scenery. Just don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes!

A zipline company I recommend is Koloa Zipline. You’ll be able to soar over the Waita Reservoir and through the lush forests. The tour has eight ziplines and is said to be one of the longest ziplines in Kauai. The guides will make you feel safe and comfortable, even if it’s your first time ziplining.

Cruise on the Na Pali Coast

Cruising on the Na Pali Coast is a must-do activity when visiting Kauai. When you join a cruise on the Na Pali Coast, you’ll be able to explore some of the most beautiful and inaccessible coastlines in all of Hawaii.

The cruise will take you through the dramatic sea cliffs, lush greenery, and crystal-clear waters of the stunning Napali Coast.

You’ll also get to see some of Hawaii’s most exciting wildlife, including dolphins, green sea turtles, and humpback whales.

There are a few different cruise options available, so be sure to research ahead of time to find the right one for you.

On the Deluxe Na Pali Morning Snorkel Tour, you can cruise on the coast and swim and snorkel over tropical reefs.

The Deluxe Na Pali Sunset Tour is great for those looking for a cruise without the snorkeling option. You’ll see some of the most stunning views on the island, and you’ll also get to witness the incredible sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

Cruises along the Napali Coast are unforgettable experiences you don’t want to miss.

Visit the Kalalau Valley

Things to do in Kauai- Valley

The Kalalau Valley is one of Hawaii’s most beautiful and secluded places. It’s located on Kauai, the oldest and northernmost of the main Hawaiian Islands.

The valley can only be accessed by taking a boat or hiking the Kalalau trail, making it a popular destination for adventurers and nature lovers.

The 11 miles long Kalalau trail leads from Ke’e Beach to Kalalau Beach. You’ll need a permit to hike the entire Kalalau trail. For more information about permits, check here. Be prepared and wear proper hiking shoes, as the course can be rugged. If you’re traveling with kids, I would skip the Kalalau trail.

You can also drive to the Pu’u O Kila lookout or Kalalau lookout, which is the closest you’ll be able to get to the valley by car.

Both the Kalalau lookout and Pu’u O Kila lookout offer visitors panoramic views of the valley and the ocean.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable and unique Hawaiian experience, be sure to visit the Kalalau Valley. It’s definitely worth the effort to get there!

Visit the Kauai Coffee Company

Things to do in Kauai- Kauai Coffee Company Outside
Things to do in Kauai- KCC Inside store
Things to do in Kauai- KCC inside store souvenirs

The Kauai Coffee Company is a must-visit attraction on the island of Kauai. Not only can you sample some of the world’s best coffee, but you can also take a tour of the plantation and learn about the coffee-making process.

I tasted several of their varieties, and they were so delicious that I decided to purchase several of them to take home!

The cafe also has a great choice of beverages, including coffee (duh!), cookies, and ice cream as well!

Watch a Luau Show

A luau show is definitely a must-see! A luau show is a great way to learn about Hawaiian culture.

Kauai has some of the best luau shows in the state and offers a unique and authentic Hawaiian experience.

Most luau shows on Kauai feature traditional Polynesian dances, music, and costumes. You can typically expect to see hula dancers, flame twirlers, and drummers.

Many luaus also include a buffet dinner with authentic Hawaiian cuisine.

If you’re looking for a luau show, I highly recommend Luau Kalamaku. It’s one of the best luaus I’ve been to on Kauai, and the entertainment is top-notch.

They offer a Buffet Dinner & Show as well as a Plantation Owner’s Dinner & Show. Both offer transportation to and from Luau Kalamaku from most hotels in Kauai.

The Buffet Dinner and Show offer a Plantation Train Ride upgrade option where you can ride through the Kilohana Plantation.

If buffet dinner styles are not for you, choose the Plantation Owner’s Dinner & Show, where you’ll be able to enjoy a four-course meal at the Gaylord’s Restaurant.

If you’re looking for an exciting and memorable night out, check out a Kauai luau show!

Eat Shave Ice

Shave ice is a popular Hawaiian treat that can be found all over the islands. Kauai is no exception; there are a few places to get your shave ice fix.

One of the most popular spots is Wailua Shave Ice, which is located in Kapa’a. This local favorite serves up some of the best shave ice on the island, with various flavors to choose from. The shop is located in the charming town of Wailua, and it’s worth a stop during your visit.

Another great place is Wishing Well Shave Ice, located in Hanalei.

If you’re looking for shave ice in the Poipu area, visit Waikomo Shave Ice.

Extra: Eat Ice Cream at Lappert’s Hawaii

Not a shave ice fan? Visit Lappert’s Hawaii, a popular spot for tourists and locals alike to enjoy some delicious ice cream. They have a wide variety of flavors, including traditional favorites like vanilla and chocolate and more unique options like lilikoi and white chocolate macadamia nut ice cream.

In addition to their fantastic ice cream, Lappert’s also offers coffee and smoothies.

If you’re looking for a sweet treat in Kauai, check out Lappert’s Hawaii!

Eat at Food Trucks

Things to do in Kauai- Plate Lunch

Check out the food truck scene! Kauai is home to some of the best food trucks in the country.

Food trucks are a fun and affordable way to try foods without breaking the bank.

Most food trucks have menus with several options, so you can mix and match until you find something you love. Plus, who doesn’t love food that’s served on the go?

A favorite of mine is Hanalei Taro & Juice Co. It’s a local favorite, and for a good reason. They embody the “farm to table” concept and thus have menus changing with the seasons. Their Kalua Pork and smoothies are amazing!

Plus, they have a great selection of taro products, a Hawaiian cuisine staple. If you’re looking for a taste of authentic Hawaii, be sure to check out Hanalei Taro & Juice Co.

Another popular food truck is the Kauai Poke Co. Food Truck. This truck serves up fresh and delicious poke bowls.

If you’re looking for a delicious breakfast or lunch option, the Small Town Coffee food truck is worth checking out. This truck is located in the town of Koloa and offers a wide variety of coffee drinks and food items.

Visit The Musubi Truck if you’re looking for some excellent spam musubi! (Spam musubi is a popular Hawaiian dish made from spam and rice wrapped in seaweed. It’s usually served as a snack or light meal.)

Learn How to Snorkel

Snorkeling is one of the best things to do in Kauai! The clear blue waters are perfect for exploring, and you can see a variety of fish and coral up close.

I enjoyed a wonderful morning snorkeling trip to Kauai with my family. The coral and fish were beautiful; we even saw a sea turtle!

The Kauai’s Ultimate Guided Shore (No Boat) Snorkeling Adventure is a great snorkeling tour I’d recommend for beginners! You can snorkel in a small group and avoid crowds. Plus, you won’t have to ride a boat (for those that are prone to motion sickness).

The Raft Adventure- Na Pali 1/2 Day Snorkel is excellent for those looking for an adventure-filled experience. Unlike the Na Pali cruises, these rafts will take you into sea caves and under waterfalls!

Beach Hop Kauai’s North Shore

Things to do in Kauai- North Shore Beaches

Kauai’s north shore is home to some of the island’s most popular and picturesque beaches, making it perfect for beach hopping. Whether you’re looking for a quiet spot to relax or an action-packed beach with plenty of activities to keep you busy, you’ll find what you’re looking for on Kauai’s north shore.

Some of the most popular beaches on the north shore include Hanalei Bay, Ke’e Beach, Anini Beach, Tunnels Beach, and Kauapea Beach. These beaches are beautiful and worth a visit, but each has its unique charm and personality.

Hanalei Bay

Hanalei Bay is a wide crescent-shaped bay that is one of the most photographed spots on Kauai. With its white sand beaches and dramatic mountains in the background, it’s easy to see why.

Learn how to surf from professionals with these Kauai Learn to Surf lessons.

An excursion I recommend is the Hanalei Bay Kayak & Snorkel Tour. With this tour, you can enjoy snorkeling in Hanalei Bay and kayaking along the Hanalei River.

Hanalei Bay is also a great place to relax on the beach. The lush surroundings and beautiful bay were a perfect backdrop for a day of relaxation.

Ke’e Beach

This beach is located at the end of the Napali Coast Trail and is known for its dramatic cliffs and stunning ocean views. The beach offers spectacular views of the Napali Coast and chances to see dolphins, sea turtles, and monk seals.

Anini Beach

Anini Beach is one of the most beautiful and secluded beaches on Kauai’s north shore. The reef at Anini Beach is one of the longest/widest in the Hawaiian islands.

It’s perfect for a relaxing day in the sun or a peaceful swim, and there’s plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the views.

Tunnels Beach

Tunnels Beach is a must-visit spot when in Kauai. This beautiful beach in Haena is known for its clear turquoise waters and dramatic coastline.

Tunnels Beach got its name from the giant lava tubes that run beneath the beach. These tubes make for great swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving and are a popular spot for marine life sightings.

Kauapea Beach

Kauapea Beach, also known as Secret Beach, is a secluded white sand beach located on the north shore of Kauai.

This secret beach can only be accessed by a short and steep trail, which makes it one of the most secluded beaches on the island. You can also see the Kilauea Lighthouse from the beach.

Visit the Kilauea Lighthouse

Things to do in Kauai- Kilauea Lighthouse

The Kilauea Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse that’s located in the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. It’s known for being the oldest lighthouse in Hawaii, and it was also one of the first lighthouses to be built in the United States.

The lighthouse is open to visitors, and it offers incredible views of the coastline and inland areas.

Visit the Queen’s Bath

Queen’s Bath is a natural tide pool located on the Kauai coastline. The bathtub-shaped pool is surrounded by black lava rocks.

It’s a popular tourist attraction but can be dangerous due to the strong current and changing depths.

Please be careful and assess the water conditions when visiting this location.

It’s crucial to never turn your back to the ocean at Queen’s Bath because you never know when a large wave will hit.

I recommend wearing hiking shoes and not sandals to protect yourself.

Explore Waimea Canyon (“Grand Canyon of the Pacific”)

Things to do in Kauai- Waimea Canyon

The Waimea Canyon is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

The canyon was formed by the Waimea River over 10,000 years ago and is more than 10 miles long, 3,000 feet wide, and a depth of over 1,000 feet. Visitors can enjoy biking and hike through the canyon.

The Waimea Canyon offers some of the most spectacular views on Kauai. The Waimea Canyon is a must-see for anyone visiting Kauai.

There are several lookouts and viewpoints along the canyon- Waimea Canyon lookout, Pu’u Hinahina lookout, and Pu’u Ka Pele lookout. The lookouts offer stunning panoramic views of the river valleys and canyon walls.

The lookout at Waipo’o Falls provides a view of the waterfall plunging into the canyon.

The Kukui Trail, a trail down the west side of the canyon, provides access to some of the best viewpoints in Waimea Canyon.

Beach Hop Kauai’s South Shore

Things to do in Kauai- Poipu Beach Sea Turtle

Kauai’s south coast is a great place to beach hop because it offers a variety of beautiful beaches with different features.

Poipu Beach Park

One of my favorite beaches on the south coast is Poipu Beach.

Poipu Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the island of Kauai.

It’s known for its beautiful scenery and for being an excellent spot for swimming, sunbathing, boogie boarding, surfing, and snorkeling.

You might see some Hawaiian monk seals or sea turtles resting on the sandy beaches.

Shipwreck Beach

Shipwreck beach is a beautiful beach located in the Poipu area of Kauai. This is one of the most popular beaches on the island and is known for its dramatic cliffs, stunning views, and excellent snorkeling.

The beach got its name from the shipwreck that sits offshore, and it’s worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Baby Beach

Baby Beach is a beautiful place to relax and have some fun in the sun. It’s located on the south side of Kauai, perfect for families with small children. The water is calm and shallow, making it an excellent place for kids to play.

Hike along the Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail

If you’re looking for a scenic hiking experience on the south shore of Kauai, be sure to check out the Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail.

This 2-mile trail runs along the coastal landscape that’s full of natural wonders. You’ll see beautiful beaches, rugged cliffs, and a variety of wildlife along the way.

Visit the Spouting Horn

Things to do in Kauai- Spouting Horn

The Spouting Horn is a natural geyser located on the south shore of Kauai. It’s one of the island’s most popular attractions, and for a good reason – the sight of the water blasting high into the air is truly unique.

There are also several picnic tables and benches in the park, so it’s the perfect spot to relax and take in the natural beauty of Kauai. The horn is beautiful to watch and an experience you won’t want to miss.

Go See the Wailua Falls

Things to do in Kauai- Wailua Falls

Wailua Falls is a stunning waterfall located in Kauai. You can access these falls without hiking. A viewing platform at the top of the falls offers a perfect view of the rushing water plummeting over the cliff.

Visit the Beaches on the East Shore

Things to do in Kauai- East Shore Beaches

The beaches along the east coast of Kauai are easily accessible, as many resorts and vacation rentals are located nearby. Here are some beach recommendations along the eastern shore.

Kalapaki Beach

Kalapaki Beach is a must-see spot in Kauai. It’s an excellent spot for surfing, swimming, and body boarding. The waves here are perfect for beginners and experienced surfers alike all year round, and the scenery is unbeatable.

Make sure to catch the nightly show as the sun dips below the horizon; it’s an unforgettable experience.

Lydgate Beach Park

Lydgate Beach Park is Kauai’s most popular beach park, and for a good reason- it has something for everyone.

The park is a great place to swim, sunbathe, picnic, or relax and take in the view.

There are two large pavilions with picnic tables, restrooms, and showers.

The calm waters make it kid-friendly and perfect for swimming and snorkeling.

The Lydgate Beach Park also has a large playground, the Kamalani Playground. You’ll want to visit there if you’re traveling with younger children!

Lydgate Beach is located near the mouth of the Wailua River and is easily accessible.

Kealia Beach

Kealia Beach is one of the most popular beaches on Kauai’s south shore. The wide, sandy beach stretches for over half a mile and is excellent for swimming, sunbathing, surfing, and bodyboarding. It’s also a great place to watch the sunrise. Kealia Beach is located just past Kapaa Town.

Take a Boat Trip to Fern Grotto

Things to do in Kauai- Fern Grotto

Fern Grotto is a naturally-formed lava cave on the Wailua River. Ferns have taken root in the nooks and crannies of the grotto, giving it its name.

This natural wonder is located on the Wailua River and is renowned for its exquisite beauty. The grotto is filled with hanging and tropical plants. It’s a magical place that will take your breath away.

It’s said that the upper part of the Wailua River was a sanctuary spot where only Hawaiian royalty and nobility were allowed to enter. In particular, the Fern Grotto was a special place where royal weddings were held.

The grotto is only accessible by riding a boat up the Wailua River, so visitors can take a guided tour or rent a kayak or canoe. I would recommend purchasing a ticket for the boat tour with Smith’s Kauai. You can enjoy a guided tour with live music and a hula inside the boat! The greenery and rushing water are a sight to behold, and it’s one of the most peaceful places on Kauai.

Note: The cave is currently inaccessible due to safety reasons, so you are only able to see the cave from the observation deck.

Play Golf

Things to do in Kauai- Poipu Bay Golf Course

Kauai is home to some of the most spectacular golf courses in the world. Play amidst lush, green rainforests and sparkling ocean views for an unforgettable golfing experience.

There are many golf courses in Kauai, and they offer a variety of challenging and scenic holes. If you’re looking for a breathtaking golf experience, look no further than Puakea Golf Course in Kauai. This course, located near the Lihue Airport, weaves its way through the natural beauty of the island, providing stunning views of the ocean at every turn.

The Poipu Bay Golf Course is one of the most popular golf courses on the island. It’s an 18-hole course that offers stunning ocean views backed by lush mountains. The course was also home to the annual PGA Grand Slam of Golf from 1994 to 2006.

Other popular golf courses in Kauai include the Kiahuna Golf Club and the Wailua Golf Course.

You can absolutely bring your own golf clubs, but most golf courses on Kauai have rental clubs for visitors who don’t bring their own.

Not a golf player? Play miniature golf at Kauai Miniature Golf and Botanical Garden.

Kauai Miniature Golf and Botanical Garden is a great place to go if you’re looking for something fun to do. There are two 18-hole miniature golf courses, as well as a variety of plants and flowers to enjoy. You can learn some Hawaiian history and culture through the signs placed throughout the course. After the 18 holes, you can enjoy some shaved ice! I highly recommend this place to everyone.

Go on a Kauai Highlights Tour

I would recommend signing up for a Kauai Highlights Sightseeing Tour because you will be able to see all of the best attractions on the island without having to worry about anything. The tour guides know all of the best spots to take pictures and will make sure that you have an enjoyable experience. These tours are great if you have limited time.

Kauai Travel Tips

Things to do in Kauai- Beach in Kauai

Make Car Rental Reservations in Advance

When you rent a car in Kauai, you’ll have the freedom to explore all that this beautiful island has to offer. From historic towns and stunning beaches to lush rain forests and dramatic waterfalls, there’s something for everyone here. With your own vehicle, you can quickly get to all the best spots and make the most of your vacation. Although some tours will pick you up from the hotel you’re staying at, most will ask you to meet up at a specific location.

In addition, Kauai is home to some of the best restaurants on the island, and without a car, it would be difficult to get around to try them all. So if you’re looking for an unforgettable Hawaiian adventure, be sure to rent a car in Kauai!

The best way to ensure that you get the car you want is to make your reservations well in advance. I know some friends that were unable to find rental cars and had to cancel all of their activities/tours.

Discover Cars

I recommend renting cars from Discover Cars because they have the best prices and an easy booking system. I’ve used them for trips and have been very happy with the experience. You can easily compare prices and cars from different suppliers like Hertz, Avis, Alamo, etc. I would recommend them to anyone looking for a great deal on a rental car!

Make Reservations for Kauai Activities and Attractions in Advance

Most of the popular Kauai attractions and activities require reservations made in advance. This is because there is a limited number of each activity available each day. Once they are booked, no more reservations can be made. Similar to rental cars, great Kauai activities sell out quickly. So if you want to go on a hiking tour, zip line through the valleys, go whale watching on a boat trip, or take a helicopter ride over the island, be sure to book your spot well in advance!

Plan a Day to Relax at Where You’re Staying

I would recommend planning at least one day where you do nothing but relax. This will allow your body and mind to recharge so you can enjoy the rest of your trip. Kauai is a fantastic place, and there’s so much to see and do, so it’s best not to try to fit it all in!

Be Prepared for the Rain

Kauai is known for its lush greenery, and while this makes for a beautiful landscape, it also means that it rains frequently. But don’t worry; usually, the clouds will clear up after a while. Don’t forget to pack some sunscreen and sunglasses too – even when it’s cloudy, the sun can be pretty intense.

Stock Up on Food/Drinks at Costco

Things to do in Kauai- Kauai Costco

Eating out every day can get pricey. If you want to save some money, I would recommend buying food/drinks at Costco. There’s a wide variety of food available, including local cuisines such as pokes! Costco is located near Lihue Airport, so I would recommend buying food and beverages before heading to your hotel.

Where to Stay In Kauai

Things to do in Kauai- Hyatt Kauai

There are many different places to stay in Kauai, each with its own unique charm. You can find upscale resorts, hotels, and vacation rentals. No matter where you stay, you’re sure to have a fantastic time exploring all that Kauai has to offer. Here are some of my recommendations!


Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort

Things to do in Kauai- Hyatt Kauai

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort is a world-class resort that offers guests the ultimate Hawaiian experience. From its breathtaking location on the beach to its luxurious accommodations and amenities, the resort provides you with everything you need to enjoy your vacation.

The resort’s guest rooms and suites are spacious and feature stunning views of the Pacific Ocean or the lush gardens and mountains of Kauai. Guests can relax in a private lanai or soak up the sun in one of the outdoor pools. The resort also offers a variety of dining options; restaurants, bars, and lounges. They even have outdoor event areas where you can watch the luau show (reservations required). The resort also offers a variety of activities for adults and children!

With its idyllic setting, luxurious accommodations, and endless activities and attractions, Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort is the perfect place to stay while exploring all that beautiful Kauai has to offer.

Koa Kea Hotel & Resort

The luxurious Koa Kea Hotel on the island of Kauai is a perfect choice for those looking for a secluded and tranquil Hawaiian vacation experience. Situated on the beach in Poipu, this exquisite property offers guests stunning ocean views, first-class amenities, and spacious accommodations. The hotel’s lush gardens and impeccable service only add to its allure. So if you’re looking for an unforgettable Hawaiian getaway, be sure to consider Koa Kea Hotel.

Sheraton Kauai Resort

If you want to enjoy the ocean to the fullest, consider staying at the Sheraton Kauai Resort. The resort is located on Poipu Beach! Sheraton Kauai Resort was designed to blend in with Kauai’s natural beauty.

The Sheraton Kauai Resort offers guests several amenities and services, including a swimming pool, spa, and fitness center. The resort also offers weekly sunset luaus by the ocean (reservation recommended)!

This resort is great for larger parties because more than half of the rooms can be connected to each other.

Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas 

The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas is an excellent place to stay on the island of Kauai. The villas are spacious and have beautiful views of the ocean since it’s situated on the cliffside. The Princeville Resort offers a variety of activities, such as swimming, horseback riding, hiking, and golfing. There is also a fantastic spa on site. The staff is hospitable and helpful, and the location can’t be beaten.

Hotels and Condos

Kauai Shores

If you’re looking for a casual beachfront hotel, Kauai Shores Resort is a great place to stay. It has fantastic amenities, including an on-site restaurant, outdoor yoga classes, and pools. Plus, it’s located near the airport, making it easy to find places to shop and eat!

Kiahuna Plantation & Beach Bungalows

If you’re looking for a unique and relaxing Kauai condominium, consider Kiahuna Plantation & Beach Bungalows. This resort condominium features spacious guest rooms and bungalows surrounded by swaying palms and tropical gardens. You’ll be able to receive hotel-like services at Kiahuna Plantation!

What Next

Things to do in Kauai- Roosters
(You’ll see a lot of roosters in Kauai!)

Kauai is a beautiful place with plenty to do and see. I hope this list of activities and attractions helps you plan your trip. Be sure to save and share this post with friends, and check out our other related travel posts below for more.

Things to Do in Kauai Pinterest Pin
Disney World on a Budget- Magic Kingdom Castle

If you’re looking to save money on your Disney World vacation, you’ve come to the right place! If so, you’re in luck! This post will share tips and tricks to help you save money while still having a magical experience. So get ready to take your family to Disney World on a budget!


Airline Tips

Tampa International Airport

Choose Nearby Airports

Before booking your Disney vacation, check the airports nearby Orlando International Airport for cheaper flight options.

Flying into a smaller airport may save you a lot of money compared to flying into Orlando or Miami. For example, the Tampa International Airport is only about an hour from Disney World, and flights into Tampa are often much cheaper than flights into Orlando.

Note: Check to see if you’ll save more by calculating the total cost, including airport transportations, rental car, and parking fees.

Aim for Non-Peak Season

There are a few reasons why you should book flights during non-peak season. For starters, the crowds will be smaller, and you’ll have more space to move about the airport and on the plane.

Flight prices will also be lower since there is less demand, so you can save significant money on your travel costs. Additionally, there can be long airport security lines. During peak seasons, wait times can be up to 2 hours long.

Car Tips

Entrance of Walt Disney World - Disney World on a Budget

Drive to Walt Disney World

I have personally driven to Disney World on numerous occasions, and I can say without a doubt that it is one of the best ways to go.

Not only does it save you money on airfare, but it also allows you to take your time and enjoy the scenery along the way. I have made many beautiful memories while driving to Disney World, and I highly recommend it.

Plus, you’ll have your vehicle to use when you get there, which will come in handy for touring the parks. You’ll also be able to avoid the hassle and expense of airport parking and shuttle services.

Airport Transportation

Disney hotel guests now have to find a way to get to Disney World from the airport now that Disney’s Magical Express Bus service has been discontinued. 

I would recommend using shuttle services such as Mears Connect and Sunshine Flyer or rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft.

Before choosing either method, you should always calculate the total cost of each transportation method to save you the most money. The total cost will vary depending on how many people you’re traveling with.

Shuttle services will charge for each person, while rideshare services don’t charge per person. Go to the Mears Connect or Sunshine Flyer page to see how much it costs for each person. Check Uber and Lyft’s fare estimates to get an idea of how much their ride will cost.

Hotel/Resort Accommodations

Stay at a Value Disney Resort

Disney's Pop Century Resort - Disney World on a Budget

Staying at Disney value resorts is a great way to save on your Disney World vacation if you’re looking to stay at a Disney hotel on a budget. Rooms at a Disney value resort are smaller than in other resorts. However, they still offer all the amenities you expect from a Disney resort, including free transportation to and from the parks and early park entry.

Book Early

There are many reasons why you should book early for hotel rooms. One reason is that you can get a better price if you book early. Prices tend to go up as the date of your stay gets closer, so the earlier you book, the better price you’ll likely get.

Another reason is that hotels/resorts often fill up quickly, especially during busy seasons like holidays and weekends. So if you wait until the last minute to book, you might not be able to find a room that meets your needs and fits your budget.

By booking early, you’ll have plenty of choices to choose from and can get the best deal possible!

Stay Off-Site

Walt Disney World Dolphin - Disney World on a Budget

Disney World is a vast and fantastic place, and it’s definitely worth a visit. However, if you’re like most people and don’t want to spend your entire vacation in the park, there are many other great things to do in the area. One of the best options is to stay at an off-site hotel.

There are a few reasons why this is a good idea. First of all, off-site hotels tend to be a lot cheaper than Disney resorts. This can save you a lot of money, especially if you’re traveling with a large group.

Additionally, off-site hotel rooms are often much bigger than Disney hotels, so they can accommodate more people. They also offer amenities, such as pools, restaurants, and shops.

Overall, staying at an off-site hotel is a great way to get the most out of your Disney World trip.

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin

I highly recommend staying at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort for a few reasons. These two hotels offer great value for your money, especially compared to other Disney World resorts. They’re located right on Disney property, meaning you can easily access all the theme parks. You can even walk to EPCOT or Hollywood Studios (a 10 to 15-minute walk)!

They offer free transportation to and from each theme park, so you can skip the rental car. I do have to warn you that buses can get a bit crowded during peak times (park opening and closing times).

Tip: If you see a long line for bus transportation, you can always walk to Disney’s Yacht club or Boardwalk Inn located right next door and hop onto the buses there.

Another big reason is that you can take advantage of Early Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours. The Early Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours perks are critical to getting the most out of your Disney World trip.

Early Theme Park Entry allows guests to get into the theme parks 30 minutes before the public, which means you can get on some of the most popular rides without waiting in line.

Extended Evening Hours allow you to stay in the parks on select days for two hours after they close to the public, giving you more time to experience all that Disney World offers. With these two perks, you can maximize your time at Disney World!

Book a Room Using a Third Party Website

Although I tend to prefer booking Disney Resorts directly through the official Walt Disney World Resort website, I must admit that opting for third-party sites can have its own set of advantages.

Third-party websites offer great deals on rooms at Disney resorts and good neighbor hotels. You can often save money by booking through a third-party website rather than directly through Disney or off-site hotel website. This will, of course, depend on the season for when you’re going and whether or not the hotel/resort has special offers.

For Disney Hotels, waiting for Disney discounts can be a gamble, especially when you have to reserve a room early before Disney posts its special offers. Several times, I’ve regretted reserving through the official Disney website, wishing that I had booked with a different booking site, which could’ve saved so much more money.

The best way to snag a great deal is to use Tripadvisor! Tripadvisor allows you to compare prices from various travel booking sites.

I know many families that book through Tripadvisor for Disney hotels and have not had any problems!

Last time, I was able to book an off-site hotel room at Walt Disney World Swan for almost half the price from Tripadvisor!

Note: Remember, booking through third-party websites has its benefits, but it also comes with risks. To ensure a smooth experience, make sure to do your research and check everything before confirming your reservations.

Extra: Rent DVC Points

So this trick is more for those planning on booking a Disney Deluxe Villa room, hence extra.

Disney Vacation Club is a timeshare service where members buy points they can use yearly to stay at Disney. Sometimes members cannot use up their points and look to rent them out to others. Sites like David’s Vacation Club Rentals allow you to rent DVC points from members! The great part is that you don’t have to be a DVC member to rent them!

Renting points can be an amazing way to get access to some of the more luxurious resorts on Walt Disney World property for less. These Deluxe Villa rooms tend to have amenities such as a kitchen, washer, and dryer. These rooms can be great if you’re traveling with a large group. You’ll get all the benefits of being a Disney resort guest, including free Disney transportation, early theme park admission, and extended evening hours.

So if you’re looking for an affordable way to stay in a deluxe resort or want to experience some of the more luxurious resorts on Walt Disney World property, renting points from the Disney Vacation Club is a great option!

Park Tickets

Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios - Disney World on a Budget

Buy from Third-Party Sites

Disney park tickets can be expensive, but you can often save money by buying them from a third-party site. These sites have special deals and discounts you can’t get by buying Disney tickets directly from Disney. So, if you’re looking to save some money on your next trip to Disney World, check out a third-party ticket site first! I strongly recommend purchasing from Undercover Tourist, an authorized Disney Ticket Seller.

If you’re a AAA member I highly recommend checking their ticket website for discounted Disney World Tickets!

Note: Avoid buying park tickets sold on eBay or Craigslist. You may risk buying non-valid park tickets.

Avoid Holidays, Events, and School Breaks

Peak season is the most expensive time to visit Disney World. The parks are busier, and the prices for hotel rooms and theme park tickets are higher. You’ll save a lot of money if you avoid traveling to Disney during 3-day weekends, holidays, Disney events (such as the Disney marathon), spring break, and summer.

Skip the Park-Hopper tickets

Disney offers a variety of ticket options, and the park hopper ticket is the most expensive. If you’re only going for a few days, spending the extra money on the park hopper ticket is probably not worth it. Instead, opt for the regular one-park ticket and plan your days accordingly. Traveling to other Disney parks takes time and can get exhausting. You can always use the park hopper to hop from park to park if you need to, but chances are you’ll be just fine sticking to one theme park.

Credit Card

Use Credit Card Rewards

When it comes to budget-friendly Disney vacations, exchanging your credit card rewards for Disney gift cards is a great way to go. Most credit card companies offer points or miles for every dollar you spend, which can be redeemed for gift cards or other merchandise. For example, if you have a card that offers 1 point per dollar, you could trade in $100 worth of rewards for a $100 Disney gift card. This can come in handy if you’re trying to stick to a budget while still enjoying all the magic that Disney has to offer.

Check your credit card reward system to see what kind of options you have.

Sign Up For a Disney Credit Card

If your credit card company doesn’t offer an option to redeem points as Disney gift cards, sign up for a Disney credit card!

Disney credit cards are a great way to get discounts on your next Disney trip. You’ll get a 10% discount on select merchandise purchases of $50 or more at select locations within the resorts. This includes purchases made at Disney Store locations and You’ll also get 10% off select dining locations within the parks on non-blackout days. Plus, you can earn rewards points from your everyday purchases that can be redeemed for free Disney vacations.

So if you’re planning a trip to Disney World, check out the Disney credit card.

Discounted Disney Gift Cards

Star Wars Bottle at Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World - Disney World on a Budget

You can buy discounted Disney gift cards at Sam’s Club, BJ’s, Costco, and Target. You can also purchase them at your local grocery store that offers fuel points. Use these for anything you want- hotel stays or meals! Just make sure to hold on to your gift cards just in case you have to cancel or return an item.

Drinks and Foods

Order or Buy Groceries

Ordering groceries can be a great way to save on food expenses. Eating park foods, even at quick service restaurants, and snacks can get pretty expensive.

By ordering groceries, you can pack your own food and snack to eat at the parks. Have your groceries delivered to your resort using services such as AmazonFresh, Walmart+, and Instacart.

If you’re renting a car, stop by one of the local grocery stores to purchase food and snacks.

Note: Contact the hotel you’ll be staying at if they allow grocery delivery service.

Order Kid’s Meal

When you go to Disney World, order from the kid’s meal. This way, you can get a smaller portion of food that’s still very tasty. I order from a kid’s meal whenever I’m not really hungry.

Note: Some table service restaurants will charge you adult prices so check with the waiter beforehand!

Buy a Refillable Popcorn Bucket on Your First Day

Popcorn Bucket Walt Disney World - Disney World on a Budget

If you love eating popcorn, buy a refillable popcorn bucket on your first day at the parks! It’s a great deal. A regular refillable bucket costs around $13; refills are just around $2. Plus, these buckets are souvenir-worthy!

Bring a Water Bottle

Bring your own water bottle to avoid spending money on drinks! Bottled water/soda is expensive inside the park. It’s hot in Orlando, and you’ll want to stay hydrated. There are refill stations throughout the parks where you can refill your bottle. You can also get water for free at quick and table service restaurants. A reusable water bottle will save you money in the long run.

If you don’t like the taste of water or want something different, I recommend bringing a packet of drink mix like Crystal Light to change the flavor!

Join Loyalty Programs or Subscribe for E-mails

An easy way to save on food expenses on your trip is to join the restaurant’s loyalty programs. These programs offer discounts/rewards and other benefits, such as priority seating and free meals.

Some loyalty programs include the Levy Restaurants Loyalty ProgramLandry’s Loyalty Program, and Earl of Sandwich Royalty Club. Subscribe to e-mails from the Patina Restaurant Group to receive special offers and coupons. Joining/subscribing is easy, and the benefits are well worth it.

Buy Disney Gear Beforehand

If you purchase Disney gear before your trip, you’ll be able to save money while still enjoying the magic of Disney. Most Disney merchandise is expensive in the parks, so it’s best to buy beforehand.

If you want official Disney merchandise, buy from shopDisney! They usually have special discounts and deals throughout the year.

Another place I recommend looking for is thredUP.

ThredUP is a consignment shop for clothes and accessories, and they have a pretty large selection of Disney clothing. Plus, you can save up to 90% off the original price when you buy Disney clothing from thredUP!

If you’re looking for unique, cheap Disney gear? Go to Etsy. You can find all sorts of handmade and vintage Disney-themed items there. Plus, buying things from Etsy helps support small businesses and artists, so you can feel good about your purchase!

Note: Want a fun, creative option? Create your own Disney ears or shirts! You can buy supplies from Amazon or craft stores such as JOANN!


Disney Springs Shopping - Disney World on a Budget

Check ShopDisney

There’s no need to break the bank when it comes to Disney souvenirs. In fact, you can buy some great items right on shopDisney.

ShopDisney has a fantastic selection of souvenirs, from t-shirts and hats to figurines and mugs. You’re sure to find something perfect for everyone on your list.

Also, Disney souvenirs can be a bit pricey in the parks, but on shop Disney, you’ll find great deals on all kinds of items. You might be able to buy park items for cheaper!

Shopping for Disney souvenirs online is the easiest way to get what you need. Just browse, select, and check out – it’s that simple! Plus, you won’t have to worry about fitting your souvenirs into your luggage!

If you are looking for a special gift or just some extra magic for your collection, head to shopDisney and take advantage of their great prices and selection!

Visit Disney’s Character Warehouse

Disney’s Character Warehouse is a great place to visit if you are on a budget. They have all sorts of Disney items for a fraction of the cost of the parks. Disney’s Character Warehouse is located inside Orlando International Premium Outlets, a great place to visit on your non-park day.

Disney Park Map

Park maps are the perfect souvenirs. They’re a great way to remember your time at Disney World. You can keep it in a folder or frame it on your wall/desk.

Pressed Penny

Pennies are a great way to remember your visit to Disney World. They’re affordable, small, and come in a variety of designs. You can usually find pressed penny machines at Disney parks, Disney Resorts, as well as in Disney Springs.


Magic Kingdom Castle - Disney World on a Budget

Rent Strollers or ECVs Off Parks

When you’re visiting Disney parks, there are many things to consider when it comes to budgeting. One considerable expense can be renting a stroller or wheelchair.

A great money-saving tip for stroller rentals and ECVs is to rent them off the parks. A few different companies offer this service, which can save you a lot of money.

Plus, when your kid falls asleep at the end of the day, it can be hard to carry them around. Renting a stroller off parks is an excellent option so you can easily head back to the hotel and avoid waking them up.

Skip the Memory Maker

It’s tempting to buy the Memory Maker, but I would resist the urge if you’re going there on a budget. The PhotoPass service is expensive; a total of $169 for all your photos and videos from your vacation.

You can always ask the photographer/cast member at the PhotoPass Service area to take a picture with your own camera or phone!

Pack For the Unexpected

Predicting what might happen during your Disney trip is never really possible. That’s why it’s always a good idea to pack for the unexpected, just in case something comes up. You never know when you might need an extra pair of clothes, some sunscreen, bandages, or medication.

Also, Florida weather can sometimes be unpredictable. Pack some rain ponchos or umbrellas. Of course, you can buy these items at Disney, but they tend to be pricier than from your local grocery/drug store.

So be sure to pack everything you might need, just in case!

Plan a “Non-Park” Day

Disney's Art of Animation Resort Pool - Disney World on a Budget

When it comes to Disney, there are a lot of options to consider when it comes to budgeting. You can choose to do a Disney World vacation on a budget by planning ahead and making wise choices. One way to save money is to plan a “non-park” day. There are plenty of other things to do and see at Disney World that don’t cost as much.

Visit Disney Springs

If you’re looking to visit Disney on a budget, then you should definitely check out Disney Springs. There are tons of great shops and restaurants there that are affordable and family-friendly. You can find everything from souvenirs to dinner there, and you’ll be able to save some money compared to the prices at the theme parks. So if you’re looking for a fun, affordable day out at Disney, Disney Springs is the place to go!

Visit Swimming Pools

Visiting the swimming pools at Disney World on a budget is a great way to save money and still have a lot of fun. The pools offer plenty of space to swim and play, plus there are plenty of chairs and umbrellas available for relaxing in the sun. There are also several poolside bars where you can buy drinks and snacks, so you can enjoy a day at the pool without spending a lot of money.

Enjoy Free Activities at Disney Resort

Savannahs at Animal Kingdom Lodge - Disney World on a Budget

If you’re looking to visit Walt Disney World on a budget, there are plenty of free activities available at the resorts. You can enjoy campfires, movies under the stars, and live entertainment without spending a dime.

You can also head to Animal Kingdom Lodge to watch animals roam free on the expansive Savannahs.

Watch the Magic Kingdom Fireworks

If you’re looking to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks without spending a dime, watch them from outside the park—from a nearby resort, for example. My favorite place is to watch the fireworks from the beach at Disney’s Polynesian Resort.

Play Mini Golf

If you’re looking for a fun and inexpensive way to spend your day at Disney World, head to the mini golf course! You can play mini golf at Disney World for just $14 per adult and $12 per child. There are two miniature golf locations, and both are Disney-themed!

Extra: Visit Deluxe Resorts for Christmas Season

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort Gingerbread House - Disney World on a Budget

The deluxe resorts are some of the most beautiful resorts on Disney property. They’re also home to some of the most extravagant Christmas decorations. During the holiday season, these resorts are decked out in garlands, lights, and ornaments. There’s usually a Christmas tree in the lobby and gingerbread decorations!

The Grand Floridian Resort is one of the best places to visit for Christmas decorations. Not only does the resort have a life-sized gingerbread house, but it also has a huge Christmas tree and festive lights throughout the property.

It’s a really magical experience for kids and adults alike!

What Next?

So there you have it! Top tips and tricks for visiting Disney world on a budget. I hope you find this information helpful and that it allows you to enjoy your Disney vacation experience even more. Be sure to save and share this post with your friends, and check out our other Disney-related posts below. Have a magical day!

Travel Hacks- Airplane Window 1

Do you have any upcoming travel plans? If so, then you should check these travel hacks. These are hacks that I’ve learned after traveling for more than 15 years and from other fellow pro travelers. I hope these travel hacks come in handy on your next vacation or trip!

1. Book An Early Morning Flight

You’ll have to wake up earlier, but morning flights are less likely to experience delays. An early morning flight also means you’ll have a better chance of rescheduling to the next flight if it gets canceled. 

2. Compare Flight Prices

Google Flights is a great website to compare flight prices for your next trip. You can easily see which airlines have the best deals and find the best flight times.

Plus, you can set up flight alerts to ensure you get the best flight deal possible. Here are some extra tips when it comes to purchasing airline tickets.

Calculate Total Price for Budget Airlines

If you want to save money on your trip, consider budget airlines. However, be aware that these airlines may be more expensive if you factor in luggage fees. For example, one budget airline charges $25 for the first bag and $50 for the second bag.

So, if you’re planning to bring more than one suitcase, it’s worth shopping around and comparing the total prices. You may find that a traditional airline is cheaper in the end.

Buy Refundable Tickets

If you’re planning a trip, you might want to purchase a refundable airline ticket instead of a nonrefundable ticket. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that you can always get your money back if something goes wrong.

3. Choose The Best Seat

Travel Hacks - Airplane Window 2

Seatguru is an excellent resource for choosing the best seat on an airplane. The website has detailed information about every plane model, including which seats have the best and worst legroom, recline, and views.

Checking Seatguru can help you choose the best seat for your needs and avoid uncomfortable situations during your flight.

4. Book The Aisle And Window Seats

Are you traveling with another person? Book the aisle and window seat! People often avoid booking a seat in the middle (unless it’s a full flight). 

5. Create A Frequent Flyer Account 

Do you like to fly with a specific airline? Sign up for a frequent flyer account to earn miles and other perks. Not only do you get perks like priority boarding, but you can also earn miles that can be redeemed for upgrades or other rewards. Additional bonuses may include the usage of airport lounges or free check-in baggage.

6. Subscribe To The Airline Mailing List

If you have an airline that you frequently fly with, sign up for their newsletter.

By subscribing to the list, you’ll be notified of flight deals, discounts, and special offers available only to mailing list subscribers.

7. Use Cashback Service/Extension when Booking

When booking your vacation, it’s vital to use every possible tool to save money. One simple and easy way to do that is by using a cashback service. Cashback services can save you significant money on your trip by giving you a percentage of your purchase price back.

My favorite Cashback website is Rakuten. I’ve been using Rakuten for quite a while now, and I have to say that I’m thrilled with the results. I’ve already received $50+ checks (or even more) every season!

I’ve managed to save quite a bit of money not only on my travel purchases but for most of my online shopping by using Rakuten, and I would recommend it to anyone.

The process is really simple – all you need to do is sign up and download the Rakuten extension. It’s effortless to do, and you can save a lot of money in the process. I highly recommend giving it a try! The best part is that it’s free! You can download it from the link below to earn a free $10 welcome bonus.

Join Rakuten now and earn a $10 welcome bonus!

8. Book in Advance

Plan and book your travel as far in advance as possible. The earlier you book, the more likely you will get a good deal.

Compare prices between different travel websites. Sometimes, it’s worth booking through a third-party site to get a better deal and save money.

9. Use VPN to Find Cheap Flights!

Travel Hacks- VPN phone screen

VPNs can help you find cheap flights in a few different ways. They can help you hide your identity and location. This is important as airlines often tailor prices based on location and personal data.

VPNs can also change your virtual location so you can find the cheapest rates. I like to set the server location to the destination country or the home country of the airline company.

And finally, VPNs encrypt your online traffic so no one can see what you’re doing. This helps stop airlines from targeting you with higher prices because of your past browsing history.

I was struggling to find a good, reliable VPN service that worked with all my devices. I needed one that would keep my data safe while traveling, but I also didn’t want to spend much money on it. After doing some research, I found NordVPN.

It’s affordable, has excellent reviews, and works with all my devices. I haven’t had any problems using them. I’m so glad I chose NordVPN, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a VPN service.

NordVPN has a 30-day-money-back guarantee, so you can always try it out and see if it works for you!

10. Use AirHelp When Your Flight Is Delayed Or Canceled

Need to file a claim for flight delays or flight cancellations? AirHelp are experts when it comes to air passenger rights. They will help make the claiming process a breeze. 

Yes, they charge a fee if you get paid, but it’s worth it. I’ve tried claiming by myself once, which was so stressful and time-consuming! My friend used AirHelp when their flight was canceled and got total compensation! I wish I had known about AirHelp earlier. 

11. Inform Your Credit Card Company Before Traveling

Make sure to inform your credit card company that you’ll be traveling to prevent having your card declined. Notify them, especially if you don’t travel often. 

12. Use A Travel-Friendly Credit Card (No Foreign Transaction Fees & Added Perks)

Travel Hacks - Credit Card Black

If you travel often, I would recommend getting a travel credit card. These cards can cut costs on your vacation. You might even be able to go on a free vacation for your future trips using points. 

Here are some things to look for when choosing a travel credit card:

No Foreign Transaction Fee

Ensure the card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, so you don’t have to pay an additional fee when making a purchase overseas. These fees can add up quickly if you’re traveling abroad.


Choose a card that offers rewards that match your spending habits, such as airline miles or hotel points.

Statement credit for TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, or CLEAR

Some credit cards will offer you a statement credit covering these programs. 

Sign-up Bonus

A good sign-up bonus. Look for a card with a good bonus, such as 50,000 points or miles.


Some cards provide added benefits like travel insurance or rental car protection.

Most credit cards offer a travel insurance that can cover you in the event of canceled flights, lost luggage, and other travel mishaps. However, each card’s coverage varies, so check the terms and conditions before you book your trip.

Airport Lounge Access/Priority Pass

The benefits of using airport lounges are many. They include private areas to relax in, free food and drinks, and often WiFi and other amenities. Lounges can provide a much-needed respite from the busy airport environment. They can also be a great place to work or get some rest before a flight.

13. Purchase Travel Insurance

When something unexpected happens, having travel insurance will give you peace of mind. 

I always purchase them for my trips. I’ve used it a few times, and it’s been a lifesaver.

I once had to use it because my flight was canceled, and I needed to be refunded for my tickets. Without the insurance, I would have been out a lot of money. I also used it when I had to cancel my trip at the last minute. It’s saved me a lot of money in the past, so I always recommend that others do the same.

I recommend purchasing from This website helps you look for insurance to fit your specific needs and compare various insurance company policies side by side.

Note: Some credit card perks cover travel protections such as trip delay or lost baggage but most often do not cover medical insurance. Check what kind of insurance your credit card offers before purchasing one.

Add “Cancel For Any Reason” Policy

When it comes to canceling your trip for any reason, travel insurance can be a lifesaver. Some insurers offer a “cancel for any reason” option, which will reimburse you for part of your total travel costs if you have to cancel your trip last minute.

This can be a great option if you’re worried about unforeseen events ruining your travel plans. Most insurers reimburse 75% of the total trip cost!

However, not all policies offer this option, and reimbursement rates will differ for each insurance. So, if this is important to you, be sure to check and make your policy includes it. And, if it doesn’t, you may want to consider looking for a policy that does.

14. Check If The City You’re Traveling To Has A City Travel Card/Pass

Travel Hacks- Paris City View

A city pass will help you save money on activities/attractions. City cards/passes are a great option if you plan on visiting several attractions. Some city passes allow you to skip queues, saving you time.

You can search and buy city passes from Get Your Guide or Viator.

15. Purchase Skip-The-Line Entry Tickets Beforehand For Popular Attractions

Save time by purchasing skip-the-line tickets for attractions. I recommend checking if there are any skip-the-line tickets for attractions you want to go to.

I like buying tickets directly through the attraction’s official website or third-party sites such as Get Your Guide and Viator (a TripAdvisor Company).

The thing I like about Get Your Guide and Viator is that they have so many options you can choose from. For example, you can purchase the entry ticket or add a guided tour (both include the skip-the-line perk).  

16. Use Travel Compression Packing Cubes 

Does your airline only allow carry-on luggage? Are you an over-packer? These travel compression packing cubes are such a lifesaver! You’ll save so much space using these for packing clothes.

I love these compression packing cubes from Aceton because you can separate your clean and dirty laundry into different compartments! 

Packing cubes are also helpful in keeping your luggage clean from unexpected liquid spillage inside the bags. I’ve had my lotion spill everywhere in my luggage and was so thankful I used these! 

17. Use Press’n Seal To Store Jewelry

Travel Hacks- Jewelry

Have you ever opened your jewelry case only to discover that all your necklaces are tangled? To avoid this, I use Press’n Seal to pack! I’ve used regular plastic wrap, but my accessories kept slipping out. 

Note: You can also use a straw to keep your necklace from tangling! 

18. Use a Shower Cap or Plastic Bag to Pack Shoes

You don’t need to buy travel shoe cases. Just place your shoes in a shower cap or a plastic bag to pack. Not only does this keep them together, but it also prevents other items in your luggage from getting dirty.

19. Use Oven Mitts To Store Warm Hair Iron

Don’t have a hair iron case but want to use it before your flight? Use an oven mitt to store your hot hair tools. Padded oven mitts will also prevent your hair tools from getting damaged. 

20. Pack A Pillowcase

Pillowcases are great for those that don’t like to use airplane or hotel pillows. Just stuff your clothes or puffy jacket inside. 

I know some people stuff clothes into their empty pillowcases to avoid paying for extra baggage fees!

21. Place An AirTag Inside Your Luggage

AirTags are a fantastic way to track your bags. I don’t know about you, but I get a little nervous checking in my luggage. I’ve had my luggage misplaced in the past, and it took a long time for the airline to find my bag. Apparently, my bag went to a different airport.

AirTags now offer me peace of mind knowing I can locate my bag if it somehow gets misplaced. 

22. Pack A Portable Battery Charger

portable battery charger is a must-have, especially when you’re traveling. You’ll probably use your phone for your airline e-ticket, map, and more!

A portable charger is handy when you need to charge your phone on the go. Some airlines don’t have a phone charger port on their aircraft. 

23. Bring An Extension Cable/Power Strip

Pack a power strip if you’re bringing multiple electronics. Some hotel rooms won’t have enough power outlets for all of your electronics! A power strip/extension cable allows you to plug many gadgets into a single socket. 

24. Pack An Empty Water Bottle

You can purchase bottled water after airport security, but they’re costly! Fill up your water bottle at a water fountain. Don’t overpay for water. 

25. Pack Some Clothes/Underwear On Your Carry-On Bag

Travel Hack- Suitcase

I like to pack extra clothes/underwear just in case my check-in luggage gets lost. You never know what can happen, so it’s best to be prepared.  

26. Purchase A Travel Anti-Theft Bag 

I’ve had my wallet stolen while traveling. It was the worst experience ever. Having to notify the bank, call credit card companies, and so on. Needless to say, my whole trip ended in disaster. 

To prevent this, I decided to invest in an anti-theft backpack. Most anti-theft bags will have slash guards and RFID protection. 

Pacsafe and Travelon are two brands that I recommend that sell anti-theft bags. 

27. Bring A USB-A Cable 

Most airplanes/hotel rooms don’t have USB-C ports. Don’t forget to pack a USB-A cable if you have a newer iPhone.

28. Pack Your Liquids In A Ziploc Bag 

You can easily switch out your bag with Ziploc bags if spillage occurs. It also makes TSA security checks easier!

29. Pack Washing Detergent 

I like to pack a travel-sized bottle of washing detergent if I need to hand wash dirty items. It’s handy at times when you accidentally spill something on your clothes. 

30. Pack A Dryer Sheet Inside Your Luggage

Dryer sheets will help eliminate odors and help keep your clothes smelling fresh and clean throughout your trip. I like to pack some extra dryer sheets in a Ziploc bag so that I can replace them once they lose effect.

31. Make Your Check-In Luggage Stand Out

Suitcases can look similar. I’ve had someone accidentally take my luggage because we had the same exact bag!

Some easy ways to make your luggage stand out are by wrapping ribbons around the handle or sticking caution tape on the back of your bag.

32. Don’t Completely Fill Out Your Luggage Tag

Only write your phone number/email address and name. Robbers will know you’re not home just by looking at the tag.  

Also, pick a luggage tag with a flap to hide sensitive information. 

33. Mark Your Bag Fragile

Travel hack- Fragile sticker

Ask for a “fragile” sticker when checking in your bag at the airline counter. Although it’s not 100% guaranteed, baggage with a fragile sticker tends to come out faster at the baggage claim carousel. 

34. Go To The Left For Airport Security

Travel Hacks- Airport

People tend to head toward the right. Some say it’s because most of the world’s population is right-handed. Either way, head to the security lane on the left, which tends to be less crowded! 

35. Skip The Long Traditional Airport Security Line 

If you’re like most people, you hate waiting in long airport security lines. And if you’re traveling during busy times, you may find yourself waiting for hours. There are many ways to get through airport security more quickly. The three ways to cut wait times are: 

Enroll in TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, or CLEAR. 

Note: TSA PreCheck is included for NEXUS (entry into the U.S. from Canada) and Sentri (entry into the U.S. from Canada and Mexico) members 

Reserve a spot in the airport security line for free

The airport security line reservation service allows you to reserve a spot in the security line to bypass the wait.

To use the service, go to the airport’s website and select the “reserve a spot” link. You’ll be able to choose the date and time of your flight. Then, enter your name and contact information, and you’re all set!

Note: This service is only available for select airports. Check to see which airports offer reservations.

Purchase an upgraded ticket or earn elite status for an airline

If you have an upgraded ticket or elite status with an airline, you may be able to get through airport security faster by using a priority lane. Check to see if the airline you’re traveling with offers this service!

36. Order A Special Meal If You Have Any Specific Dietary Needs 

Travel Hack- airline meal

Do you have any dietary requirements? Request a special meal before your flight. Most airlines provide special meals such as vegan, gluten-free, etc. 

Go to your airline reservation page or contact your airline to request your special meal. 

37. Wear Compression Socks For Long-Haul Flights

Ever had your legs swelled up after a long-haul flight? Wear compression socks to prevent this. Compression socks promote blood circulation, preventing blood clots as well! 

Note: For long flights, stretch your legs and walk up and down the aisle a few times!

38. Get A Bluetooth Adapter

Want to use your AirPods or Bluetooth headphones to watch airline entertainment? Rather than buying new headphones, get a Bluetooth adapter! Just plug the adapter into the audio jack. I love using AirFly adapters because I don’t have to worry about my headphone wires getting tangled.

Another great thing about AirFly is that you can share audio for up to 2 headphones which are great for kids when you only have one iPad or entertainment device.  

39. Download Movies Offline For A Personal Airline Entertainment

Most airlines will have aircraft entertainment available, but choices can be minimal. Download your favorite TV shows or movies offline before your flight. Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney Plus, and Hulu are some streaming services that allow you to download for offline views. 

40. Use A Flight Phone Mount

No inflight entertainment on your aircraft or want to watch movies/TV from your phone? This flight phone mount will attach almost anywhere. You can watch entertainment without having to hold your phone the whole time. 

41. Pack An Electrolyte Drink Mix 

Electrolyte drink mixes are great to keep you hydrated on the plane without needing to drink multiple glasses of water. Of course, you can buy Gatorade or Vitamin Water at the shops outside the gates, but you’ll save much more money with these! 

42. Bring Blankets For Long Flights 

A long flight can be a very uncomfortable experience, especially if you don’t have a blanket to keep you warm. It can get freezing inside the aircraft. Bringing your blanket is a great way to ensure you’re comfortable during your flight.

Not only will it keep you warm, but it can also provide some additional comfort and support. Some flights may not give out blankets, so it’s good to have one, just in case.

43. Wear Glasses For Long Flights

travel hack- glasses

If you usually wear contact lenses, wear glasses for long flights. The dry air can cause eye irritation. 

If you want to wear contact lenses, pack eye drops to avoid dry eyes and irritation. 

44. Invest In A Pair Of Noise-Canceling Headphones

A noise-canceling headphone will help shut out aircraft noise and help you relax. These headphones also allow you to hear sounds clearer without increasing volume. 

45. Pack Baby Wipes For Long-Haul Flights 

One of the best things about baby wipes is that they’re incredibly versatile. They can be used to clean everything from your hands and face to dirty surfaces and even clothes. This makes them a must-have when traveling, especially when you’re not sure what kind of cleaning supplies are available in the area you’re visiting. Baby wipes are also an excellent way to freshen up quickly, especially after a long flight.

46. Use A Sheet Mask For Long Flights 

Skincare is a must for long flights. The low humidity on the aircraft can cause dry skin. Avoid “airplane skin” by using sheet masks! Make sure to sanitize your hand and remove makeup with makeup wipes before using a sheet mask. 

Tip: If you don’t want others to see you wear a facial mask, wear a hoodie! People will think that you’re sleeping. 

47. Invest In An Air Pillow

An air pillow can help you sleep better on flights. I’ve tried a lot of travel pillows, and my favorites are the Cabeau Evolution S3 Travel Pillow and Inflatable Neck Air Pillow by Kimiandy

However, not one size fits all. Try around some air pillows to find the one that’s best for you!

48. Bring Your Eye Mask 

Eyemasks will help you get good sleep when traveling. I usually don’t wear eye masks at home, but I always pack one on my trip. 

My favorite is the MZOO Sleep Eye Mask. They’re so soft and don’t press up on my eyes.

49. Minimize Jet Lag

You can do a few things to help minimize jet lag on your next plane trip.

First, avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine before and during the flight. Both of these substances can make it more difficult to sleep and adjust to new time zones.

Also, try to get some rest before your flight. If possible, slowly adjust your sleep time to the time zone of the destination you’ll be traveling to.

Finally, when you get to your destination, spend some time outside in the daylight. This will help your body adjust more quickly to the new time zone.

50. Take Advantage of Long Layovers

travel hack- city tour

There are many benefits of having a long layover. For one, you can explore the city you are in and see all it offers.

Additionally, you can save money by not having to book a hotel room. I sometimes purposefully choose flights with 15+ hour layovers to explore the city.

51. Screenshot The Address Of Where You’re Staying 

Most customs forms will ask you to write the address of where you will stay. Take a screenshot of the hotel’s/vacation rental address you’ll be staying at before your flight. 

52. Keep A Pen In Your Bag! 

travel hacks- pen

Have a pen ready if you need to fill out papers on the airplane (such as customs). Some airlines don’t hand out pens. Flight attendants will ask you to borrow from another passenger. 

53. Email A Photocopy Of Your Passport

It’s best to have a photocopy of your passport in case it gets lost or stolen. You can keep a photocopy with you, but it becomes pointless if your entire bag/wallet gets stolen. Password-protect the file before emailing for extra protection!  

54. Use Mobile Passport Control(MPC) For Customs

Did you know that you can avoid long lines for U.S. customs? Some airports and seaports will have an MPC lane where you can skip the APC kiosk!

Download the Mobile Passport Control app and submit your passport and customs information, and you’ll be good to go. This service is free! 

Note: This service is only available for U.S. citizens and Canadian B1/B2 visitors at select airports and seaports. 

55. Avoid Hotels Near City Center

Travel Hacks- Akihabara Japan

Booking hotels away from the city center can often lead to significant savings. Additionally, opting for a hotel located further away from the hustle and bustle of the city can often provide a more peaceful and relaxing stay.

56. Consider Hotels That Offer Free Meals

Travel hack - saving money by booking room with free meal

If you want to cut down on meal expenses, consider booking a room/hotel that offers free meals, such as complimentary breakfast.

57. Book a Vacation Package

When you book a vacation package, you get access to discounts and deals you can’t get when you book everything separately.

Vacation packages are also convenient because all of your travel arrangements are taken care of for you. This means that you don’t have to worry about booking flights, hotels, or car rentals separately. I recommend booking vacation packages from Costco Travel (if you’re a Costco member) and Expedia!

58. Book A Vacation Rental For A Local Experience

A vacation rental can make you feel like you’re at a second home. Use vacation rental booking sites such as Vrbo.

I just returned from a trip to Orlando and used Vrbo to book my vacation rental. I got to compare prices and options for different types of properties, and I was able to book the perfect place for my family. We had a great time, and it was so much cheaper than staying in a hotel.

Looking for a high-quality vacation rental? Book with Plum Guide. Plum Guide reviews each and every home and only lists properties that pass its rigorous test. You’ll never have to worry about quality with Plum Guide, which can be essential when choosing a vacation rental.

59. Look for Hotel Rooms/Vacation Rentals with a Kitchen

When traveling, especially on a budget, find a room with a kitchen. A kitchen in your room can save you money on food costs since you can cook some of your own meals.

It also gives you more control over your diet and what you eat. If you’re traveling with children, having a kitchen can also be a bonus since it allows you to prepare snacks and meals.

60. Ask For An Upgrade At Hotels

Travel Hacks- Lagoon Hawaii

Depending on the room availability, you may be able to get an upgrade on your room. Make sure to join their loyalty/membership program before your trip. 

61. Use The TV To Charge Your Electronics

Forgot your wall charger for your phone? Not enough power outlets? Charge your electronics using the TV. Most TVs will have a USB port on the back. Plug in your device and start charging. 

62. Don’t Exchange Money At The Airport

travel hack- foreign currency

Avoid exchanging at the airport if possible. Often times they charge a high transaction fee! Go to a local bank or ATM for the best exchange rates. 

63. Use Public Transport

Travel Hacks- Train station

Using public transportation such as buses and trains will help save you money on transportation fees when traveling.

Some countries will have transport passes or multi-ride train tickets, allowing unlimited rides. Search “travel pass” + the country you plan on visiting. 

Note: This travel hack will depend on the public safety level of the country you’re visiting. Check the travel advisory for the country you plan to visit. 

64. Download Google Maps Offline

Travel Hacks- Passport, Camera, Map

Google Maps are great for navigating. Save an offline map of the location you intend to visit. This will help you browse the map without an internet connection, saving your phone data and battery life. 

An easy way to download Google Maps offline is to type “ok map” into the search box and hit enter. It will ask if you want to download the map. If it looks ok, press download, and it’ll automatically start downloading. 

65. Download Languages On Google Translate App

Travel Hacks- Phone

Google Translate is a must-have if you’re traveling to a non-English-speaking country. Yes, I know the translations are not 100% perfect, but it has helped me on several occasions! Make sure to download languages to your device. This allows you to use the app without an internet connection. 

66. Buy Food and Souvenirs From The Local Grocery Store

Travel Hacks- Fruits from Grocery Store

Are you looking for a way to cut meal expenses on your trip? Try going to the local grocery store. You might even find great souvenirs at the grocery store! 

67. Use Foursquare And GoWifi App To Access Free WiFi 

Travel Hacks- WiFi Sign

Need a WiFi connection? Foursquare City Guide and GoWifi (iOS) app will help you find any shared WiFi around your location and find WiFi passwords/login information so you can connect.  

Note: Always be careful when using public or free WiFi! I always avoid logging into emails or bank accounts and use a VPN when browsing the internet. 

68. Use VPN When Connecting To Public WiFi

This doesn’t just apply to traveling, but I highly recommend using a VPN when connecting to public WiFi. A VPN will encrypt your data, which helps keep your information private. 

As mentioned in an earlier travel hack, I’ve been using NordVPN for years and haven’t had any problems.

69. Get A Portable Global Hotspot For WiFi

A portable WiFi hotspot is a must-have when traveling. Some cities won’t have much public WiFi readily available. 

Additionally, international data roaming can get expensive. I remember traveling using the international roaming service only to be surprised by a massive bill from my cell company. After that incident, I looked for personal hotspot devices I could easily carry with me and found Solis. What I like about Solis is that there’s no contract or sim needed. You create an account, select a data plan before traveling, and you’re ready to go.

70. Search on Social Media for Itinerary Inspiration

Travel Hacks- Mykonos
Travel Hacks- Singapore
Travel Hacks- Venice

When planning a trip, it can be helpful to look for inspiration online. Social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest can be excellent sources for finding ideas for things to do and see on your trip. You can search by location or topic to find posts from other travelers that might include travel ideas you hadn’t thought of.

What Next?

Those were 50+ travel hacks to help make your next trip even better. I hope you found these travel hacks helpful. Check the related posts below for more travel tips! And don’t forget to save/share this post!

When planning a vacation to Disney World, one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make is where to stay. Deciding which resort on Disney property is best for your next Disney vacation can be challenging.

In this post, I’ll cover some of the features of each Disney resort and who it’s best for. I’ve compiled this list using my own experiences, other Disney fans’ experiences, and extensive research.

So whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned pro, read on for the best Disney World hotels recommendation!

*In this article, I’ll interchangeably use the words hotel and resort, but keep in mind that I am talking about the same thing!

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is a great place to stay for families. The resort has four separate areas themed around popular Disney movies: The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Cars, and Finding Nemo.

Each area/wing has larger-than-life Disney character sculptures and landscapes that will make you feel like you’re in the movie.

The family suites at Disney’s Art of Animation resort are spacious and decorated with vibrant colors and cartoon Disney characters from the movies. The rooms can accommodate up to six people! These suites also have two bathrooms which can be very important for larger groups.

The pool located in the Nemo wing at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is the largest hotel pool in Disney World! There are several smaller pools situated in the other wings.

And there’s a food court with several stations serving everything, which is great for picky eaters.

Best Disney World Hotels- Art of Animation Lion King
Best Disney World Hotels- Art of Animation cars

Category: Value Resort Hotel

Best for families with small children.


  • Disney movie-themed rooms and areas
  • Skyliner transportation (access to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios)
  • 3 pools
  • Dog-friendly rooms available
  • Kitchenette in family suites (refrigerator, microwave, sink, and coffee maker)


  • Cost more than other value resorts
  • No table service restaurant
  • Some rooms are further away from the main building (especially the Little Mermaid area)

Tips: Book a Nemo family suite if you want to be close to the main building or Skyliner.

Disney’s Pop Century Resort

Disney’s Pop Century Resort is a value resort that celebrates popular culture from the 1950s to the 1990s. Each wing of the resort is themed after a different decade. And there are plenty of activities and amenities for guests to enjoy.

There’s a big pool area, a playground, a food court, and a shop.

The Pop Century Resort is a value resort, meaning the prices are more affordable than other Disney resorts on property.

The Skyliner transportation makes Pop Century stand out from other value resorts like Disney’s All-Star Resorts. The Skyliner gondolas will make it easier for you to get to two of Walt Disney World theme parks; Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT.

Best Disney World Hotels- Pop Century Building
Best Disney World Hotels- Pop Century Figure

Category: Value Resort Hotel

Best for those looking for budget-friendly rooms or planning on visiting the Disney World theme parks throughout the day.


  • Budget-friendly
  • Skyliner transportation (access to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios)
  • 3 pools


  • No table service restaurant
  • Theming may not be appealing to everyone
  • Extensive grounds (longer walks to the main building for some rooms)

Tips: Book a preferred room to stay close to the main building.

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is a resort with a unique blend of Mexican, Spanish, and Southwest American cultures. This mix of cultures makes it feel unique and different from any other resort on Disney property.

The buildings’ architecture, decor, and lakeside view are beautiful. In addition, the pool area is impressive.

The Dig Site pool has a beautiful waterfall on a Mayan-style pyramid and a 123-foot-long waterslide.

This resort is more of a convention resort with a large conference room and business center.

Coronado Springs Resort might fit your needs if you’re looking for a luxurious resort with subtle Disney-theming.

Category: Moderate Resort Hotel

Best for adults and families with older children looking for a luxurious moderate resort.


  • Variety of dining options (quick-service restaurants, table service restaurants, multiple bars, and lounge)
  • 4 pools
  • Spa service


  • Less Disney theming
  • Only bus transportation (no other transportation methods available)
  • Large grounds

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort- French Quarter

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort- French Quarter is one of the resorts in the moderate tier. This resort is themed after the lively and vibrant culture of New Orleans (Mardi Gras vibe), with architecture and décor that reflect the city’s unique style.

Guests at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort- French Quarter can enjoy various recreational activities. These activities include swimming in the resort’s pool, riding a horse-drawn carriage, or renting a bicycle to explore the area.

The resort also offers a variety of dining options, including a quick-service restaurant, a café/lounge, and a poolside bar.

The mickey beignets served at Scat Cat’s Club are so delicious that I always stop by the French Quarter even if I’m not staying there. They also play some live jazz music on select evenings at the club.

If you’re looking for other dining options, you can hop onto the ferryboat that will take you to Disney Springs.

Best Disney World Hotels- French Quarter Outside View
Best Disney World Hotels- French Quarter Beignets

Category: Moderate Resort Hotel

Best for adults and families looking for a quieter resort.


  • Boat transportation to Disney Springs
  • 5 pools
  • Mickey beignets (yes, I had to include this one)
  • Smaller resort compared to others (easy to navigate)


  • Bus transportation to all parks (sometimes uses the same route as Port Orleans Resort- Riverside)
  • No table-service restaurant
  • Fewer amenities compared to other moderate resorts

Disney’s Riviera Resort

Disney’s Riviera Resort is a luxurious and elegant resort that captures the magic of Europe. From the moment you walk into the gleaming white lobby, you’ll feel like you’re in a special place.

The resort is designed with beautiful archways, entrances, and towers that evoke the feeling of Europe and the Mediterranean.

The resort has rooms ranging from studios to one-, two-, and three-bedroom villas. The Tower Studios are the smallest rooms with pull-down queen Murphy beds and mini-kitchenettes.

The largest rooms are the three-bedroom suites which have full kitchens and in-room washers and dryers.

There are also three restaurants on-site, ranging from character dining at Topolino’s Terrace to quick service at Primo Piatto and Bar Riva. Le Petite Café offers delicious pastries, coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages (later in the evening).

Disney’s Riviera Resort is perfect for adults or families looking for a luxurious getaway.

Best Disney World Hotels- Riviera Resort Rooftop
Best Disney World Hotels- Riviera Resort 1 bedroom villa

Category: Deluxe Villas

Best for adults and families with older children looking for a luxurious upscale resort.


  • Skyliner transportation (access to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios)
  • Variety of dining options (cafe, pool bar, quick-service restaurant, and table-service restaurant)
  • Character Dining at Toppolino’s Terrace (morning hours only)
  • Able to see Magic Kingdom and EPCOT fireworks from some rooms
  • Extended Evening Theme Park Hours


  • Very pricey
  • Subtle Disney theming

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is a Disney resort hotel near Animal Kingdom park.

The hotel resembles an African lodge and contains extensive wildlife habitats.

It’s home to over 200 animals and birds, including zebras and giraffes! Guests staying in a savannah view room can view the animals from their balconies.

The dining at this Walt Disney World resort is top-notch. Several restaurants are on-site, including Boma – Flavors of Africa, Jiko – The Cooking Place, and Sanaa.

My personal favorite is Sanaa, which serves up African and Indian cuisine. The food is terrific, and the view of the savannah from the restaurant is breathtaking.

Best Disney World Hotels- Animal Kingdom Lodge Lobby
Best Disney World Hotels- Animal Kingdom Lodge Savannah

Category: Deluxe Resort Hotel

Best for families looking for a unique African experience or who love animals.


  • 3 Savannas on property
  • Award-winning restaurants
  • Variety of dining options (quick service restaurants, table service restaurants, bars, and lounges)
  • 2 Pools
  • Extended Evening Theme Park Hours


  • Only offers bus transportation
  • Furthest away from Magic Kingdom
  • Some rooms are further away from the lobby, and bus stops

Disney’s Beach Club Resort

Disney’s Beach Club Resort is a deluxe resort with an early 20th-century New England beach style. It offers guests excellent amenities, including a beach area with sand, a water park area, tennis court, motorboat rental, volleyball court, and so much more! The large water park area at the Beach Club Resort, Stormalong Bay, has one of the highest water slides at Disney World Resort.

Disney’s Beach Club Resort is personally one of my favorite places to eat. You can eat New England-inspired dishes at Cape May Cafe (character dining returning on October 4, 2022) or grab a quick meal at the Beach Club Marketplace. Beaches & Cream Soda Shop, themed after a 50’s style beachside diner, is a must-visit if you love ice cream!

If you’re looking for more dining options, you could just head to the Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, or Disney’s Boardwalk across Crescent Lake.

The Beach Club is within walking distance of the Skyliner and EPCOT, making it the perfect spot for parkgoers.

Best Disney World Hotels- Beach Club entrance
Best Disney World Hotels- Beach Club Pool
Best Disney World Hotels- Beach Club Beaches & Cream Soda Shop

Category: Deluxe Resort Hotel

Best for families with younger children that loves swimming or playing at a water park area.


  • Skyliner transportation
  • Close to EPCOT and Disney’s Boardwalk
  • Character Dining (returning October 4, 2022)
  • Water park area within the resort
  • Extended Evening Theme Park Hours


  • It may be pricier than other deluxe resort
  • Bus service sometimes shares stops with other EPCOT resorts
  • Water taxi to Disney’s Hollywood Studios crowded

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is a beautiful resort that sits on the shores of Bay Lake in the Walt Disney World Resort.

This resort is themed after the American National Park lodges from the early 20th century, and it features rustic architecture, intricate woodwork, and stunning natural surroundings.

Being at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge makes you forget that you’re at Walt Disney World (in a good way) and feel like you’re in the wilderness!

Some of the highlights of this resort include its towering lobby fireplace, a creek running inside the lobby, a beautiful main pool, and its delicious restaurants.

My family and I absolutely love staying at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, and we always have a wonderful time!

Best Disney World Hotels- Wilderness Lodge lobby

Category: Deluxe Resort Hotel

Best for families and adults that want to experience a luxurious National Park lodge.


  • Boat transportation to Magic Kingdom
  • Theming
  • Character Dining (Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White)


  • Bus transportation stops at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort (transportation to Disney parks can take a while)
  • Small and limited menu at quick service restaurant

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Disney’s Contemporary Resort is a sleek, modern hotel that overlooks the Magic Kingdom, the Seven Seas Lagoon, and Bay Lake. The resort has a fitness center, a pool, basketball/volleyball/tennis courts, and so much more!

One of the advantages of Disney’s Contemporary Resort is its location. It’s next to the Magic Kingdom so you can walk to the park from your room. You can easily go back to the resort for a quick break or nap before heading out to one of the Disney parks.

Multiple restaurants are located on-site, including the popular California Grill restaurant, which offers panoramic views of the Magic Kingdom Park and Seven Seas Lagoon.

Contemporary Resort underwent a significant refurbishment in 2021; a redesigned lobby, a new restaurant (Steakhouse 71), and re-themed guest rooms.

All the guest rooms in the main tower building were recently refurbished to an Incredibles-themed design.

Best Disney World Hotels- Contemporary Resort Lobby
Best Disney World Hotels- Contemporary Resort California Grill Fireworks View

Category: Deluxe Resort Hotel

Best for adults and families with older children.


  • Close to Magic Kingdom
  • Monorail transportation
  • Magic Kingdom fireworks views (from fireworks view rooms and observation deck at California Grill)
  • Award-winning restaurant
  • Character Dining at Chef Mickey’s
  • Extended Evening Theme Park Hours


  • Theming in rooms may not be for everyone (Incredibles-themed)
  • Pricey
  • Noisy for some rooms (noise from monorail and Chef Mickeys restaurant)

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is a deluxe-tier hotel with a laid-back vibe. It’s themed to reflect the South Pacific style. It has a rich tropical color palette and a warm sense of hospitality.

The theming continues throughout the resort grounds with white sand beaches, torch-lit walkways, lush landscaping, a pool featuring a volcano, and waterfalls.

You can view the nightly fireworks at Magic Kingdom from the beach located along the Seven Seas Lagoon.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is one of Disney World’s popular bars, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. The atmosphere, special effects, and interactive elements make it a must-visit bar.

The rooms at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort have recently been remodeled with a Moana-inspired design. You can spot some of the characters from the film around the space.

Best Disney World Hotels- Polynesian Village Statue

Category: Deluxe Resort Hotel

Best for families or adults looking for an island vibe resort.


  • Monorail transportation
  • Polynesian theming
  • Character Dining
  • Water play area
  • Fireworks view from the beach
  • Variety of food options (quick service restaurants, lounge, bar, table service restaurants, and cafe)
  • Dole whip!
  • Extended Evening Theme Park Hours


  • Hear construction from some rooms
  • Rooms tend to book up quickly
  • Pricey

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is one of the luxurious resorts at Walt Disney World. This deluxe resort is themed after a Victorian-era hotel.

The Grand Floridian Resort is home to some of the best dining options at Walt Disney World. Victoria and Albert’s is an award-winning restaurant that serves Fine Dining cuisine. And if you’re looking for something quick and convenient, the Gasparilla Island Grill has sandwiches, salads, pizzas, and more.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort also has some of the best amenities at Walt Disney World. There’s a full-service spa where you can enjoy a massage, facial treatment, manicures, pedicures, or hair services.

And if you’re looking for something to do in the evening, there’s always something to do at the Grand Floridian Resort. Whether it’s listening to live music, watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks show, or heading to the Beauty and the Beast-inspired bar Enchanted Rose.

Best Disney World Hotels- Grand Floridian Entrance
Best Disney World Hotels- Grand Floridian Gingerbread House

Category: Deluxe Resort Hotel

Best for adults looking for a luxurious stay.


  • Close to Magic Kingdom
  • Monorail transportation
  • Beautiful Christmas decorations
  • Award-winning restaurant
  • Full-service spa
  • Extended Evening Theme Park Hours


  • Pricey
  • Outdated rooms

Tips for Booking a Walt Disney World Resort

There are several tips and tricks that I’ve learned from past Disney vacations as well as from fellow Disney experts. These tips and tricks may help you decide on your Disney World accommodations, especially if the price is one of the critical factors!

Book whenever there’s a Discount

Never pay the full price when booking a hotel! Check the official Disney World website to see whether they have special offers.

Are you booking a Disney World vacation for next year? You can add offers to your reservations later if a discount comes up.

Book using a third-party site

While my personal preference leans toward booking resorts directly through the official Walt Disney World Resort website, I must admit, opting for third-party sites can come with its own set of perks.

Disney usually doesn’t have promotions during a holiday, and special offers will vary yearly. Third-party sites usually automatically apply discounts, allowing you to save some money if no discounts are available on the official Disney World website.

Another merit is that you may be able to find rooms that are sold out on the official Disney World website! If you’re booking last minute, using a third-party site may allow you to snag a room from one of the Disney hotels you planned on booking.

The third-party sites I recommend are Undercover Tourist and Tripadvisor.

On Tripadvisor you’ll be able to compare prices from multiple hotel booking sites.

If you don’t have a preference, I recommend booking from Undercover Tourist. Undercover Tourist is an authorized Walt Disney World ticket seller, and you’ll also be able to purchase discounted tickets for Disney theme parks along with your hotel reservations.

Note: Check the modify/cancellation policy when booking through a 3rd party site and always remember the risk of booking through a third-party website!

Book from a Disney Vacation Club points rental site

Are you planning on staying at one of the Deluxe resorts like Disney’s Riviera Resort on the list? Rent Disney Vacation Club (DVC) points.

DVC is a timeshare company owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company.

Not a DVC member? No worries, you can rent DVC points from DVC members! My favorite site for DVC rentals is David’s Vacation Club Rentals. My group saved over a thousand dollars when we booked using David’s Vacation Club Rentals! Check to see how much you can save using the Cost Calculator on their website.

Note: One of the significant disadvantages of renting DVC points is that the cost is non-refundable. This is an important factor to keep in mind when renting DVC points.

Book a split stay

Can’t decide between two Disney resort hotels? Or want to splurge in a Deluxe Resort without breaking the bank? Consider splitting your stay at multiple Disney World resorts! The resort will transfer your luggage to the next resort when you take it down to Bell services and tell them that you’re transferring resorts!

What Next?

So, there you have it! A list of some of the best Disney World hotels and some tips and tricks when booking one. Of course, the “best” Walt Disney World hotel will vary depending on your group’s interests and budget. Still, I think you’ll find a hotel on this list that will make your stay in Walt Disney World unforgettable.

And don’t forget to save and share this post with your friends – they’ll want to know about these amazing options for their next trip to Disney World.

Figured out which hotel you want to stay at but don’t know what to do next? Check my Ultimate Guide for Planning a Trip to Disney World post to plan your next vacation!

Check out some of my other posts below for more tips and advice for planning your magical Disney World vacation.

Travel Gadget-picture with GoPro, Drone, Camera, and iPhone

I’ve tried hundreds of travel gadgets throughout the years, some were amazing, and some went straight into the trash can or to my garage sale box. 

Here are 15+ must-have travel gadgets for your next trip.

Essential Travel Gadgets

Anker Portable Charger

My anxious mind starts to panic when my phone battery is less than 10%. I’m sure most of you have experienced that before. I always have my portable charger with me whenever I’m traveling or even on days when I know I’ll be outside all day. This Anker Portable Charger is one of my favorites because it’s sleek, lightweight, and easily fits into any bag or pocket. 

EPICKA Universal Travel Adapter

Make sure to bring a travel adapter when traveling overseas. The EPICKA Universal Travel Adapter is just the perfect travel plug because of its versatility and ease of use!

If you’re planning on using your own hair iron, curling iron, or hair dryer, please make sure that the hair appliance supports dual voltage! When I traveled to Europe, I didn’t think much and plugged in my hairdryer… Yep both the travel adapter and hairdryer stopped working.)

Belkin Power Strip

Ever had to go on a scavenger hunt to find an open wall plug? You might not have problems with newer hotels, but it’s convenient to have a power strip to charge all your electronics.

I love the Belkin Power Strip because it has a surge protector, and it’s so compact. The only downside is that I’m unable to plug in larger adapters like my MacBook power adapter. The whole unit falls down because it’s too heavy. Other than that, it works perfectly fine! If you have a larger family or use a lot of electronics, consider buying 2.

Hydro Flask

Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! It’s easy to forget about drinking fluids when you’re traveling. The Hydro Flask is a great water bottle for traveling (and for every day) because it has a handle, doesn’t sweat, and you’re able to pop in ice without any trouble to keep your drinks cold. Plus, there are so many colors to choose from! 

Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Backpack

Nothing is worse than getting pick-pocketed or having your bag stolen during travel. I remember having my wallet stolen from my bag in London years ago. After that incident, I bought the Anti-Theft Classic Backpack from Travelon and have not encountered any pick-pocketing since. The backpack is slash-resistant, blocks RFID (prevents hackers from hacking into your credit card or passports), and has locking zippers. Travelon has fashionable bags in different shapes and sizes, so I’m sure you’ll find a style that you’ll love. 

Organization Travel Gadgets


Wish there was an easy way to pack and unpack your clothes? The stow-n-go luggage organizer is such a time saver. Pack your clothes and shoes on the shelf, put them in your suitcase, take them out, and voila, you’re done! I love how I could just hang it in a closet and not have to use the hotel room drawers, especially with COVID-19. 

Aceton Compression Packing Cubes 

I like to pack my clothes in Aceton compression packing cubes whenever I go on a weekend trip where I don’t need as many clothes. They take up less space than the stow-n-go and can easily fit inside my backpack. Plus, you can separate your clean and dirty clothes because they have two sides! 

Tech Travel Gadgets


You can do anything with an iPad: use it as an e-book reader, use it as a computer with a keyboard attachment, watch a movie, and so on. I love how I could just pack my iPad and don’t need to take my laptop and gigantic adapter with me when traveling. 

Bose QuietComfort 35 II Headphones

I always travel with my Bose QuietComfort 35 II. These noise-canceling headphones make long-distance flight trips bearable. Yes, some airlines hand out headphones, but they’re just so uncomfortable, and the noise cancelation function just doesn’t even come close to these headphones. 

Bose recently released a newer headphone, Bose QuietComfort 45. The new headphone added an ambient aware mode (similar to transparency mode) to hear noises from your surroundings while listening to music. You won’t have to take off your headphones whenever the flight attendant comes down the aisle with the trolley cart. 

Photos and Video Travel Gadgets

DJI Osmo Mobile 3 Gimbal

Ever take videos on your trip and find out that your video is all shaky? The DJI Osmo Mobile 3 helps stabilize your videos and photos big time. I also love using the ActiveTrack feature, which follows objects or people by itself. Cool right? Be sure to get the combo set if you want the tripod accessory.

*DJI is no longer producing Osmo Mobile 3, so buy one on Amazon before it sells out! Also, DJI announced a new gimbal, DJI OM5, which has a built-in extension rod, so make sure to check that one and the older version DJI OM4

(For those traveling to Disneyland or Disney World, DJI OM5 is prohibited as it has a built-in extension rod, so be sure to buy the DJI Osmo Mobile 3 or DJI OM4!)

Action Camera (GoPro HERO9 or Insta360 One X2)

Going to snorkel? Ski? Bike? Hike? You’ll get fantastic footage with a GoPro HERO9! The GoPro is durable for any kind of trip. I personally like how small and light it is. I could just put this in my pocket and get it right out whenever I want to take a video. 

*GoPro recently announced a new GoPro HERO10, so if you are willing to invest, go for it! But the GoPro Hero 9 is still a fantastic action camera (in my opinion) so choose whichever fits your needs best.

Another action camera to consider is the Insta360 One X2. I love the invisible stick feature where it’ll automatically hide the selfie stick, so it doesn’t appear in your photos or videos. If you want 360 degrees shots or amazing bullet-time shots, I would definitely consider this one as well. 

Hygiene and Health Travel Gadgets

GENIANI Portable Small Cool Mist Humidifier

I have terrible allergies all year long, and a humidifier is a must-have for me. This portable humidifier by Geniani is compact and so quiet that you won’t even notice that it’s there. I would recommend those with bad allergies or dry skin pack a portable humidifier. 

Cadence Travel Containers

These travel containers from cadence are just superb. Yes, I’ve tried those 4-in-1 travel bottles and silicone travel bottles before, but they just didn’t work out for me (pump breaks or lotion dries up). They’re made from recycled plastic, and the magnets help keep the containers organized together. I know they are pricey, but they last forever. I am still hesitant to put my toothpaste inside these bottles. Other than that, I put all my skincare, haircare, and pills inside these containers. Plus, you can put labels on the containers so you don’t mix them up.

Comfort Travel Gadgets

Cabeau Evolution S3 Travel Pillow

I’ve tried multiple travel pillows and finally found the perfect travel pillow for flights, the Cabeau Evolution S3 Travel Pillow. You can actually get some sleep on the plane with these on! What sets this apart from other pillows is that it helps keep your neck in place by attaching the straps to the airplane seat, ensuring that your head doesn’t roll forward or to the side. 

Sleep Headphones

I can’t fall asleep unless it’s quiet. This is definitely not a problem when traveling alone, but when I travel with others… that snore? Yep, that’s when the trouble arises. These sleep headphones are so comfortable to sleep with, unlike traditional ones, especially for side sleepers. You’re able to wash the fabric headband, and you can use them as an eye mask as well! I don’t know if I’d be able to sleep without these when traveling. 

What Next?

So that’s a list of 15+ best must-have travel gadgets. These travel gadgets can also be a great Christmas gift for friends that love to travel. For more travel articles, check the related posts below!

Planning a Trip to Hawaii- Diamond Head Waikiki

It’s no secret that Hawaii is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. With its stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and dynamic cities, there’s something for everyone in paradise.

So how do I plan a trip to Hawaii? Well, this blog post is for you! There are many things to consider, from when to visit and where to stay. This post will give you Hawaii travel tips and information to start planning your future Hawaii trip.

Choose Which Island You Want to Visit 

You can visit six major islands in Hawaii- Oahu, Kauai, Maui, Lanai, Molokai, and the Island of Hawaii. Each Hawaii island offers a different type of experience. No matter which Hawaiian island you visit, you will have a fantastic time in Hawaii. Here are the islands and some of their must-visit attractions. 

1. Oahu

If you plan on visiting Hawaii, you can’t miss Oahu. Oahu, a.k.a. The Gathering Place, is one of the most visited islands in Hawaii. It’s home to Honolulu – the state’s largest city – and Waikiki Beach, one of the most popular beaches in the world. There’s plenty to do on Oahu, from exploring its natural beauty to checking out its vibrant nightlife scene.

Must-Visit Attractions

  • Kailua Beach Park
  • Kaneohe Sandbar
  • Diamond Head
  • North Shore
  • Lanikai Beach

2. Kauai

Kauai is the second-oldest and northernmost of the main Hawaiian Islands. This Hawaiian island is known for its rugged coastline, Opaeka’a Falls, and Waimea Canyon. The island, also known as the “Garden Isle,” is also home to dozens of beaches, including Hanalei Bay Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Must-Visit Attractions

  • Waimea Canyon State Park 
  • Na Pali Coast State Park
  • Poipu Beach Park
  • Spouting Horn
  • Wailua Falls

3. Maui

Maui, or the “Valley Isle,” is one of the most popular islands in Hawaii. With its stunning beaches, gorgeous scenery, and an array of activities, Maui is a favorite destination for visitors. There are plenty of activities to experience on Maui, from snorkeling to hiking to zip lining. In addition, Maui is also home to some of the best restaurants in Hawaii. If you’re looking for a Hawaiian vacation that has it all, Maui is the island for you.

Must Visit Attractions

  • Hana Highway
  • Ka’anapali Beach
  • Whale Watching 
  • Haleakala Crater
  • Wai’anapanapa State Park

4. Molokai

Planning a Trip to Hawaii- Molokai

Molokai is the fourth largest island in Hawaii, known as the “Friendly Isle.” It’s one of the most beautiful islands, with lush valleys, pristine white-sand beaches, and towering waterfalls. Molokai is worth a visit if you’re looking for a quiet, uncrowded getaway.

Must Visit Attractions

  • Halawa Valley
  • Kalaupapa National Historical Park
  • Papohaku Beach Park
  • Kaunakakai 
  • Pala’au State Park

5. Lanai

Consider Lanai if you’re looking for a getaway off the beaten path. Lanai is the smallest of the major Hawaiian Islands but still offers plenty of things to do. This small island, known as the “Pineapple Isle,” is located just off the coast of Maui and is known for its rugged beauty and secluded beaches. Lanai is a great place to unplug and relax. There are plenty of outdoor activities, from hiking and biking to snorkeling and diving.

Must Visit

  • Hulopoe Beach
  • Garden of the Gods
  • Shipwreck Beach
  • Lanai Cat Sanctuary
  • Lanai Culture & Heritage Center

6. Big Island

The Big Island is the largest of all the Hawaiian islands, hence the nickname Big Island. It’s known for its active volcanoes and lush rainforests. It’s also one of the most diverse islands, known for its active volcanoes and lush rainforests. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, you can find it on the Big Island.

Must Visit

  • Mauna Kea Summit
  • Akaka Falls State Park
  • Pololu Valley Lookout
  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
  • Waipi’o Valley
  • Punaluʻu Beach (one of the Black Sand Beaches)

Each Hawaiian island has something different to offer visitors, so choosing which island to visit depends on what you’re looking for in a vacation.

If you want to explore the history and culture of Hawaii, then Oahu or Kauai might be a better choice. Maui or the Big Island might be a better option if you’re looking for stunning beaches and natural beauty. Molokai and Lanai are great options if you’re looking for a more rural and authentic Hawaiian experience.

Note: There are direct flights to Oahu, Kauai, and Maui islands from the U.S. mainland. You’ll have to get on an inter-island flight to visit the Big Island, Molokai, and Lanai.

Should I Visit More Than One Hawaiian Island?

If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii, it’s worth considering whether you should visit more than one island. The Hawaiian Islands are an incredible place to visit, with each Hawaiian island offering its own unique experiences.

When deciding how many islands to visit, you must consider how long you’ll stay on each island. It’ll be challenging to visit all the islands in one trip. There are no ferries or roads that connect all of the Hawaiian islands. You’ll have to take inter-island flights to island hop.

If you’re only visiting one island, you can stay for as long as you’d like. However, if you plan to visit multiple islands, stay for more than one week per island. This will give you plenty of time to explore what each island offers. Also, be sure to take into consideration airport transportation time and flight duration if you’re traveling to other islands.

Decide How Long to Stay

Planning a Trip to Hawaii- Oahu Beach

How long to stay depends on what you want to do and see while you’re there. If you’re looking to just relax on the beach, then a few days may be all you need. But if you want to explore the islands and do some sightseeing, you’ll probably want to stay for a week or two.

I recommend planning to stay at least for a week if you’re visiting just one island, considering the time zone change. The longer, the better. Depending on where you live, it can take a whole day to get to Hawaii. It takes approximately 6 hours from the west coast (Los Angeles International Airport) to Honolulu International Airport. As mentioned earlier, schedule one week per island you plan on visiting if you’re visiting more than one island.

When is the Best Time to Visit? 

Planning a Trip to Hawaii- Aloha sign visit Hawaii

Hawaii is a great destination to visit any time of year. The temperatures are mild all year round, so you can travel anytime without feeling too hot or cold.

When to visit will significantly depend on when you can schedule a vacation. The peak season, such as summer break and the holiday season, will be more crowded and expensive. You’ll find it less crowded during the shoulder season, from March to May and September to October. However, suppose you’re looking for the best deals on airfare and hotel rooms. In that case, it’s best to visit during the off-season, from January to March.

Are you planning on whale watching?

Hawaii is a great place to whale watch all year round, but the best time to go is in January or February when the humpback whales are migrating. Numerous tour operators offer whale-watching tours, so it’s easy to find one that fits your schedule and budget. Make sure to dress warmly, as the weather can be chilly on the open water.

Book Flight 

Planning a Trip to Hawaii- airplane  Hawaiian Airline

When planning a trip to Hawaii, booking your flight is one of the most important steps. You’ll want to find a flight that fits your schedule and budget. Many different airlines offer flights to Hawaii, so do your research and compare prices. I like to use Google Flights to compare airline prices.

If you’re already a mileage member of a particular airline, choose that airline and book a flight!

Airport Parking

Are you getting to the airport from home by car? Don’t forget to reserve airport parking! You don’t want to miss your flight looking for somewhere to park your vehicle. 

My favorite place to reserve airport parking is ParkSleepFly. This site compares prices from several parking services! Select a service and reserve parking.

Book Hotel, Resort, or Vacation Rental

There are many options you can choose from when it comes to accommodation. You can stay in a luxurious resort, hotel, or vacation rental! Hotels offer a more traditional hotel experience, while resorts provide a more luxurious and all-inclusive experience. No matter your budget or style, there’s undoubtedly an accommodation option perfect for you in Hawaii.


Planning a Trip to Hawaii- Aulani Resort

Are you considering a luxury Hawaii vacation? Look into resorts! Resorts offer a variety of amenities that can make your vacation more enjoyable.

Luxury resorts typically include several on-site restaurants, bars, a spa, and a large pool area.

Additionally, resorts often offer activities like yoga classes, snorkeling tours, and meditation sessions that can help you make the most of your time in Hawaii.

Some resorts may even offer culture classes like lei-making, programs for kids, and luau shows. 

I recommend staying at a resort if you plan to use these amenities or sign up for activities.

By staying at a resort, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy all that Hawaii has to offer without having to worry about where you’re going to eat or what you’re going to do next.


Planning a Trip to Hawaii- Waikiki Hotel

If you plan to sightsee and sign up for off-site activities, consider staying at a hotel.

Hotels are typically more affordable than resorts. You’ll still get the basic amenities and services like a regular hotel.

If you’re planning on traveling with kids, you might want to see if they have a pool area. 

I love to book hotels/resorts for my trip from Priceline. Search on Priceline to see a list of amenities, reviews, and photos of hotels and resorts. 

The best part about Priceline is that they have the best price guarantee. They’ll refund the difference if you find a better deal elsewhere. You can become a Priceline VIP member just by signing up. (It’s free!) The more you book with Priceline, the higher the VIP level you qualify for! Check the Priceline website for more information about Priceline VIP and its perks. 

Vacation Rental

Vacation rentals come in all shapes and sizes, from small condos to large villas. Choose whichever fits your budget.

They also offer a variety of amenities, such as laundry facilities, which can save you money on your trip. Most vacation rentals will include a kitchen allowing you to prepare your own meals, saving you a lot of money! Reserve through sites such as Vrbo.

Another advantage of staying in a vacation rental is that you will have more space than you would in a hotel room. This is especially important if you are traveling with family or friends. You will also have more privacy than you would in a hotel.

Finally, by staying in a vacation rental, you will get to know the local community better. I like to stay in rentals as they can feel like you’re a Hawaii resident. You can explore all the little neighborhoods and find the best places to eat and shop.

Tip: Stay in the area where you’ll most likely spend the most time. Take into account the locations of any attractions you want to visit or activities you plan on doing. 

How to Get Around the Island

Planning a Trip to Hawaii- Rental Cars

I highly recommend renting a car when visiting Hawaii unless you’re staying in Waikiki. A rental car will make transportation so much easier. 

Make a reservation ASAP. I have friends who couldn’t find a rental car for their Hawaii trip. They eventually had to cancel all their activity reservations because they couldn’t drive to the meet-up location. 

Discover Cars is my go-to when it comes to a rental car. The website compares rental car prices for different car rental brands. All you have to do is to select a car and reserve it. 

Note: Some places/activities require a 4WD such as Mauna Kea Summit. Check if there are any requirements for the attractions you plan to explore. 

Waikiki Area Transportation:

Many locations in Waikiki are within walking distance, so you may not need to rent a car. 

If you plan on visiting the North Shore or Ko Olina area, you might want to use a car for transportation. Other than that, it’s best to skip the rental cars if you’re staying in the Waikiki area.

Here are some of the transportation methods I recommend using in the Waikiki area. 

Public Transportation

Waikiki Trolley 

The Waikiki Trolley will take you to over 30 locations, where you can hop on and off at any stop. You can even visit the Diamond Head with the trolley. Buy a trolley pass on the Waikiki Trolley page beforehand. 


TheBus is the public bus service in Hawaii. Using the public bus will help minimize your transportation cost if you’re on a budget. 

Rideshare Service

There are plenty of rideshare cars in Waikiki. You won’t have to worry about not catching a ride. Download the Lyft or Uber app an account before your Hawaii trip if you don’t already have one. 


Planning a Trip to Hawaii- Biki Bicycle

Biki is an affordable bike rental service that’s available in Honolulu. Just purchase a subscription at a Biki station or online from the Biki website and check out a bike. You can return the bike to any Biki station. 

Note: Most activity tours include shuttle services, but check before deciding to rent a car. 

Create Your Hawaii Itinerary

Planning a Trip to Hawaii- snorkeling tour sea turtles

Now you can start planning what you want to do on the island. Talk with your family or friends you plan on taking a vacation with. 

Hawaii is a beautiful tropical state that offers visitors plenty of activities and attractions. Some popular things to do in Hawaii include swimming, surfing, sunbathing, hiking, and sightseeing.

When creating your Hawaiian vacation, culture is one of the most important things to experience. There are many activities and events that offer a glimpse into Hawaiian culture, from music and dance performances to traditional luaus.

Search for activities and attractions on TripAdvisor and GetYourGuide. Take note of where these activities are located and if they offer any transportation services from your hotel. 

There are also many lovely beaches and parks to explore, as well as shops and restaurants.

Don’t pack your entire day with activities! You’ll want to schedule some free time, especially if you’re traveling with your kids. They may get exhausted and feel tired throughout the day. Schedule a relaxing day to take a break to recharge.

When creating your vacation itinerary, it’s also important to be aware of some things that could affect your vacation. For example, the weather can be unpredictable, so it’s a good idea to have a backup plan in case of bad weather.

Keep in mind that it’s impossible to do everything in one trip!

Make Activities/Attraction Reservations (If Needed) 

Planning a Trip to Hawaii- Surfboards

Once you’ve figured out where to go, make reservations for activities. Popular activities such as snorkeling, hiking, and exploring the island can often fill up quickly, so it’s best to have a plan before heading out.

Also, some famous sightseeing spots require you to book tickets, so always check before heading out.

Make Dining Reservations

Planning a Trip to Hawaii- Roy's Lunch

Yes. This one may come as a surprise. If there’s a restaurant you want to eat at, you must absolutely make a reservation beforehand. 

When I visited Hawaii recently, all the restaurants I walked up to were fully booked! Check the restaurant’s Yelp page or OpenTable to see if you can make a reservation beforehand. 

Consider Purchasing a Travel Insurance

Planning a Trip to Hawaii- natural landscape hiking trail in Hawaii

Even if you don’t usually purchase travel insurance, I highly recommend purchasing one. 

Most travel insurances will cover stolen/damaged/lost baggage, medical emergencies, and delay or cancellation of your trip for covered reasons. 

Travel insurance also usually covers natural disasters such as storms and hurricanes. Also, note that there are some active volcanoes in Hawaii! 

Some insurance offers additional options such as “cancel for any reason” (CAFR) that will allow you to receive some reimbursement for your trip costs. Although reimbursement rates will differ for each insurance agency, most CAFR coverage will reimburse 75% of your trip cost.

Purchasing insurance is crucial if you’re planning outdoor activities such as surfing, scuba diving, etc. is a great site to find insurance that best fits your vacation. In just minutes, you can compare quotes and buy travel insurance from top-rated insurers, including AIG, AXA, Travelex, and more.

Insurances will help you give peace of mind knowing that it’ll be okay even if something unexpected happens.

Note: If you’re planning any activities, make sure that they’re included in the insurance. Contact the insurance company to check!

When To Start Planning for Hawaii Trip

Planning a Trip to Hawaii- Nalu

Planning a trip to the Hawaiian islands can be a lot of fun, but starting planning well in advance is essential to get the best deals and ensure you have everything booked.

Generally, you’ll want to start planning at least six months in advance, especially if you’re looking for a specific time of year to go or want to stay in a particular location.

However, there are some things you can do up to a year in advance, so don’t wait too long!

How to Save Money on a Hawaii Vacation

Planning a Trip to Hawaii- Pineapples

Hawaii is a popular travel destination, and for a good reason. The Hawaiian islands offer something for everyone, from stunning beaches to lush rainforests. However, a trip to Hawaii can be expensive.

Some factors contributing to the cost of a Hawaii trip include airfare, hotel costs, and car rental.

Here are several ways to save money on your Hawaii vacation.

Find Package Deals

There are a few reasons why vacation packages are the best way to book your hotel when traveling.

First, vacation packages are usually cheaper than booking your hotel room and flights separately. You can also find some fantastic deals on vacation packages, especially if you book them early.

Another reason to book your hotel with a vacation package is that you can often get extras included in your deal. For example, many packages include breakfast or dinner at the hotel restaurant. This can be a great way to save money on your Hawaii trip and try out some local cuisine at the same time. Other packages may offer in-resort credit that can be used for purchases made in the resort.

Finally, booking your hotel with a vacation package can make your trip less stressful. You don’t have to worry about figuring out where to stay or how to book it – the package deal takes care of everything for you. So if you’re looking for an easy and affordable way to book your next hotel room, consider booking a vacation package.

There are many places to book vacation packages, but some of the best deals can be found online. Some reputable websites that offer package deals include Expedia, Travelocity, and Priceline. If you have a Costco membership, check Costco Travel to see what vacation deals they offer. You can also check with your favorite airline or travel agency to see if they have any package deals available.

Book Offseason

Planning a Trip to Hawaii- Kauai Beach

Vacation prices will vary depending on the time of year you visit, with peak season costing more than the off-season. A way to save is by booking your Hawaii trip during the offseason. Generally, the offseason is from January to March.

Choose Accommodations Wisely

Planning a Trip to Hawaii- Kauai

One of the most expensive factors of a Hawaii vacation besides airline fees would be accommodation fees. Choosing less costly accommodations will significantly decrease the cost of your Hawaii vacation.

If you’re planning to visit Hawaii with a large group, I recommend staying in a hotel together with your friends or family. This way, you can save money by sharing a room!

Cook Your Own Meal or Buy Food From A Grocery Store

Planning a Trip to Hawaii- Costco Poke

Another excellent option for saving money on food is to buy groceries at Costco. Not only is it cheaper than buying food at restaurants, but you’ll also have the option of cooking your own meals. This can be a great way to save money and enjoy some home-cooked meals during your Hawaii trip.

Use a Travel Credit Card

Using a travel credit card can provide many benefits when planning a vacation. Travel credit cards typically offer rewards such as airline miles or points that can be redeemed for hotel stays, car rentals, or other types of travel-related expenses.

By using a travel credit card, you can earn rewards while you’re on your trip, which can help offset the cost of your vacation. They also often come with other perks like free checked bags or airport lounge access.

In addition, many credit cards offer travel insurance, which can provide coverage for canceled trips, lost luggage, and other travel mishaps. Additionally, if something goes wrong while you’re away, having insurance can help to minimize the financial impact.

So if you’re planning a vacation in the near future, consider using a travel credit card to take advantage of its many benefits.

What to Pack for your Hawaii Vacation

Planning a Trip to Hawaii- Waikiki Boat

A Hawaii vacation is a dream come true for many people. The sun, the sand, and the waves are some of the reasons why people love to go to Hawaii. If you are planning to go to Hawaii, make sure that you pack the right things.

Passport or Driver’s License and Insurance Cards

While traveling domestically, it is important to remember to bring your important documents with you. This includes your driver’s license, passport, and insurance cards. If you are in an accident or need to show identification, it’s helpful to have these documents on hand. Additionally, if you are traveling with children, be sure to bring their passports as well. You can ensure a smooth and safe trip by being prepared with your important documents. Check to ensure that all your important documents are valid and not expired.


You will want to pack sunscreen and a hat to protect your skin from the sun. Make sure that the sunscreen is reef-safe. Unfortunately, many sunscreens contain chemicals that can harm coral reefs. Look for one that doesn’t contain octinoxate and oxybenzone.


Another thing that you will need is a good pair of shoes. You will be doing a lot of walking, so make sure you pack something comfortable. If you are going to be hiking, make sure to bring a good pair of sneakers.


You will also want to pack clothes for different occasions. Make sure to pack something casual for hanging out on the beach and something dressier for going out to dinner.

Another thing to consider when packing a trip to Hawaii is the weather. The islands have a tropical climate, which means the weather can vary depending on the time of year you visit. It’s a good idea to check the forecast before you leave, so you can pack accordingly. You may want to pack a light jacket or sweater, as it can get chilly at night.


Finally, make sure to bring your camera! You will want to capture all of the memories of your fantastic trip to Hawaii.

GoPro is the perfect lightweight/small action camera that can capture your Hawaii vacation’s thrills. GoPros are tough and waterproof, so you can take them on any adventure without worrying about them getting damaged. They also have a wide-angle lens, which means you can fit more into your shots, even when you’re swimming, surfing, or snorkeling.

Plus, they’re easy to use, so you can quickly capture your trip’s highlights without fussing with complicated settings!

For International Travelers

There are a few things that you will need to travel to Hawaii.


The first is a valid passport, as Hawaii is a foreign country. Make sure to check your passport expiration date before traveling!

Visa or ESTA

Depending on your nationality, you may also be required to obtain a visa.

A Visa Waiver Program is available for some participating countries. This program will allow you to travel to the U.S. without a visa for stays less than 90 days. The Electronic System for Travel Authorization or ESTA is an automated system that will help determine the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the program.

It’s easy to apply for ESTA online, and most applicants receive a response within minutes.

For more information, check the embassy or consulate of the United States in your country.

WiFi Portable Hotspot

If you’re planning a vacation to Hawaii, one of the most important things to consider is how you’ll stay connected to the internet. While there are some restaurants and cafes that offer free WiFi, it’s not always reliable or accessible. A portable WiFi hotspot is a great solution for staying connected on the go.

Here are some reasons why you should buy a portable WiFi hotspot for your Hawaii vacation:

1. The hotspot will allow you to stay connected to the internet wherever you go, whether you’re in Waikiki or on a remote beach.

2. You can use the hotspot to access email, social media, and other online resources while you’re away from home.

3. The hotspot can be used to download maps, find directions, and book activities on the go.

4. Having a WiFi hotspot will save you money on data roaming charges while you’re in Hawaii.

Solis Lite Hotspot is an excellent Global WiFi Hotspot device that will keep you connected to the web anywhere in the world without a sim card. You can connect up to 10 devices at once, and it has a long battery life of 16 hours! All you need is an account, a hotspot device, and sign up for one of the data plans they offer. This WiFi hotspot is perfect for travelers who want to stay connected while abroad. I know several friends that use this WiFi hotspot in their everyday life!

COVID Restrictions

According to the Hawaii State Department of Health, “there are no COVID-related entry requirements for domestic travelers.” Travelers do not have to complete the Safe Travels application to enter Hawaii. 

International Travelers 

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required for non-U.S. citizens to enter the U.S. Visit the CDC website for more information.

Learn Some Hawaiian Words

When planning a trip to Hawaii, it can be fun to learn some of the Hawaiian languages. This will help you to enjoy your trip better and get a taste of the culture. Many online resources can help you learn some basic Hawaiian words. By learning a little bit of the Hawaiian language, you’ll be able to communicate with locals and get a deeper understanding of the culture.

What Next?

Mahalo for reading! I hope this post has inspired you and provided you with helpful Hawaii travel tips to start planning your dream trip to Hawaii. Hawaii vacation planning can take a lot of work. Still, it’s worth it to experience the fantastic beaches and scenery. With a little bit of preparation, you can ensure that your trip is as smooth and enjoyable as possible. Be sure to check out our other travel-related posts below and save this article for future reference.

Universal Orlando Secrets- Hogwarts Castle Side View

Do you want to know some of the secrets and hidden gems that make Universal Orlando Resort so special? Well, you’re in luck! Today, I’m going to share some of my favorite Universal Orlando secrets for making the most out of your visit.

From secret spots to free behind-the-scenes tours, there’s something for everyone. So get ready to discover some secrets that Universal insiders know about!

Park Secrets

Visit New York Street

Universal Orlando Secrets- New York Street

Looking for photogenic spots? Head inside the alley located in the New York area. Walking through this alley will make you feel like you’re in New York. 

Look At Manhole Covers

There are several manhole covers throughout Universal Orlando Resort that are actually quite interesting. Some of the maintenance hole coverings are styled after the city it’s located in. 

It’s a fun little detail for guests to find.

Look For Phones And Call Boxes Throughout Marvel Super-Hero Island

So many people just walk past these. Pick up any of the phones or press buttons for a surprise message! 

Look For Hidden Autographs Of Adam Kubert

Adam Kubert is the Marvel comic artist responsible for the character drawings/cutouts you’ll see around Marvel Super Hero Island. Looking closely at the characters, you’ll see his first name hidden in his artwork. 

Squirt Water On Passengers Riding The Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges For Free

Universal Orlando Secrets- Me Ship, The Olive

Use the water blasters on Me Ship, The Olive, to squirt water for free. There are water blasters near the Popeye ride, but they cost money. 

Wizarding World of Harry Potter Secrets

Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter is an amazing place to visit for Harry Potter fans. You can walk through the streets of Hogsmeade/Diagon Alley, enter the Hogwarts Express, and explore the many magical shops and attractions. The attention to detail is incredible, and you really feel like you’ve been transported to the wizarding world.

Universal Orlando Secrets- Gringotts Dragon

Diagon Alley

Universal Orlando Resort- Diagon Alley Entrance

Check the Windows of 12 Grimmauld Place

Universal Orlando Secrets- Kreacher

See Kreacher, the house elf peeking out the windows at 12 Grimmauld Place (the home of Sirius Black). Kreacher, a character from the Harry Potter series, is the house elf who formerly belonged to the Black family.

Call The Ministry Of Magic

Dial MAGIC (62442) inside the red phone booth in front of the Kings Cross Station. You can hear a message from the Ministry! 

Visit Knockturn Alley

Knockturn Alley is a dark and twisty alley located in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort. It’s the perfect place to go if you’re looking to buy Dark Arts artifacts, or if you’re just looking for a spooky place to hang out.

There are plenty of shops and restaurants in Knockturn Alley, so it’s a great place to spend an afternoon or evening. And, of course, it’s home to the infamous Borgin and Burkes!

It’s easy to miss this place, especially on your first trip. I wouldn’t have noticed this place if I didn’t see people enter this alleyway. Enter the dark alley right next to the Leaky Cauldron. 

You’ll find dark magic merchandise there.

Knockturn Alley is also a great place to take cover when it rains outside. 

Note: Some little ones may feel uncomfortable going into Knockturn Alley because the whole area is pretty dark. 

Mirror At Madam Malkin’s Robes For All Occasions

Try on a robe and step in front of the magical mirror inside the store. The talking mirror will start to compliment or critique your outfit!

Sign at Leaky Cauldron

While it’s not exactly a secret, the Leaky Cauldron is one of the most popular spots in Universal Orlando. Located in the heart of Diagon Alley, this pub offers Butterbeer for guests to enjoy.

If you look closely at the sign with a witch stirring her cauldron located outside the pub, you’ll see that there’s water dripping from the crack of the witch’s cauldron.

Watch The Dragon Breathe Fire 

There’s an awesome fire-breathing dragon on top of Gringotts bank at Universal Orlando Resort, and it’s an amazing sight to see! The dragon will usually breathe fire every 10 to 15 minutes. 

Secret Mystery Spell Locations

Some wand spells are not on the spell map you receive with your interactive wand. Visit the window of Scribbulus Writing Implements and Slugs and Jiggers Apothecary for secret spells.

Tip: If the spell doesn’t work, try a smaller motion with your wand.  

Gringotts Money Exchange

If you’re looking to trade in your muggle money for Gringotts bank notes, Gringotts is the place to go. Located inside Universal Orlando’s Diagon Alley, Gringotts is the only place in the world where you can make this exchange. You can change your wizard money back to muggle money at Guest Services.


Universal Orlando Secrets- Hogsmeade

Use The Owl Post

Send a postcard or letter from the Owl Post in Hogsmeade. You’ll get a Hogsmeade postmark stamped.

You can buy everything from authentic wizarding World postcards to personalized stationary, from stamps to notebooks.

If you’re looking for a unique souvenir from your trip to Universal Orlando Resort, be sure to check out Owl Post.

Tip: If you want to save money, prepare a postcard or letter beforehand and get a Hogsmeade postmark for free!

Visit Restroom In Hogsmeade 

You can hear Moaning Myrtle in Hogsmeade both in the men’s and women’s restrooms, Public Convenience. Visitors can hear her moaning and wailing in a sad voice. Don’t be startled by her voice as I did!

Nighttime Lights At Hogwarts Castle 

If you’re looking for a truly magical experience at Universal Orlando, be sure to check out the nighttime lights show at Hogwarts Castle. The show is absolutely stunning, and it’s a must-see for any Harry Potter fan.

You’ll be mesmerized by the beauty of the castle lit up against the night sky, and the music is sure to put you in a festive mood. So be sure to catch the show on your next visit to Universal Orlando! Check the app for showtimes or ask a team member at Universal.

Visit Alleyway Between Honeydukes And Three Broomsticks

Universal Orlando Secrets- Honeydukes

There’s an alleyway between Honeydukes and Three Broomsticks that many people don’t know about. You can watch the dishes being cleaned from the window of the Three Broomsticks!

Ride Secrets

Universal Orlando Secrets- Jimmy Fallon

Play Secret Songs On Rip Ride Rocket 

There’s a hidden list of songs for Rip Ride Rocket. Hold the logo for 10 seconds until you see a number keypad. Enter a number, and you’re good to go.

For numbers, search for “rip ride rocket secret song,” and you’ll find a list of songs and their numbers on the secret playlist of tracks. 

Note #1: Remember the numbers before going on the ride because you cannot bring your phone. Also, memorize the numbers for a couple of songs just in case your primary choice doesn’t work.  

Note #2: You can’t purchase a ride video if you choose a secret song. 

Look For Stan Lee During The Amazing Adventures Of Spider-Man Ride 

For those who are not familiar with Stan Lee, he is the co-creator of Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, Black Widow, and many more iconic superheroes. He has frequently made cameos in most of the Marvel movies to date.

Stan Lee appears in multiple scenes of the attraction. Try to find him when riding the Spider-Man attraction.

This is a must-do for any Marvel fan visiting Universal Orlando.

Try Opening Doors During MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack Queue 

Some doors (such as the “Oxygen Free Zone” door)in the MIB queue are interactive. Pull the handle on the door and see if anything happens.

Find Real Banana Trees at Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem Queue

Universal Orlando Resort- Despicable Me Minion

If you’ve ever watched the Despicable Me series, you’ll know that the Minions absolutely love bananas!

You can find actual banana trees growing outside the queue for the Minion ride at Universal Orlando!

Ask For A Free Tour

Some rides may offer a behind-the-scenes tour. Ask the ride attendant if they offer any free tours for the ride!

Here are some of the locations:

  • MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack-Immigration Tour
  • Race Through New York Jimmy Fallon- Studio Tour  
  • Revenge of the Mummy- Production Tour
  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster-Gamma Tour 
  • Skull Island Reign of Kong- Temple Tour 
  • Jurassic World Velocicoaster -Facility Tour
  • Doctor Doom’s Fearfall- Villains Tour 

Please note that these tours may sometimes be unavailable, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

CityWalk Secrets

Universal Orlando Secrets- CityWalk

Berlin Wall

Did you know that you can find a historical piece in Universal Orlando? If you take the path that leads to the back of Hard Rock Cafe, you’ll find a part of the Berlin Wall on display. 

Note: You don’t need to eat at Hard Rock Cafe to see the display. 

Join Landry’s Select Club

The Landry’s Select Club is a loyalty program where you can earn points for dining at one of the participating restaurants. It costs $25 to join, with no annual fee. You’ll receive a $25 welcome reward, so basically, you can actually join for free. 

Some of the perks of being a member besides earning redeemable points include priority seating and a $25 birthday reward. This priority seating perk may help you get your table faster. 

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. in CityWalk is one of the participating restaurants. (P.S. Yak & Yeti, T-Rex Cafe, and Rainforest Cafe at Disney World are also participating restaurants) 

Check Landry’s Select Club website and see if there are any participating restaurants in your local area. If there are, I would highly recommend joining the club! 

What Next?

So there you have it! These are just some of the best secrets and hidden easter eggs that many people don’t know about at Universal Orlando Resort. Feel free to share this post with your friends – they might find it helpful too! And if you’re planning a trip to Universal soon, be sure to check out my other post, 20+ Universal Orlando Tips. Happy travels!

Universal Orlando Tips- Universal Globe

So you’re going to Universal Orlando? Excellent choice! Whether this is your first time or you’re a seasoned pro, there are some tips that everyone should know before heading to the parks. That’s what we’re talking about in today’s post – 20+ Universal Orlando tips to make your visit as awesome as possible. Here are tips and tricks that I certainly wish I had known before visiting Universal Orlando. No matter what you’re looking for, we’ve got you covered! So without further ado, let’s dive in.

Planning Tips 

Universal Orlando Tips- Comic Strip Cafe

Choose Less Crowded Dates

As with most theme parks, the peak season at Universal Orlando means long lines, expensive tickets, and a generally less enjoyable experience. To get the most out of your visit, try going during less crowded times.

Check out a Universal Orlando crowd calendar before choosing dates. The park tends to be crowded on days when students are out of school. This would include spring break, summer break, and winter vacations. Keep in mind that the park tends to be less crowded on weekdays than on weekends. 

If you can’t avoid visiting during peak season, consider purchasing Universal Express passes which allow you to skip the lines on select rides and attractions.

Visit During Special Events

Universal Orlando Tips- Snowman

Visiting during special events can make your trip extra special. Universal Orlando offers special events throughout the year that are not to be missed! The events range from holidays like Halloween and Christmas to special celebrations like Mardi Gras and the Fourth of July. There is always something going on at Universal Orlando Resort, so be sure to check out the event calendar before your visit. You won’t want to miss out on all the fun!

Universal Orlando offers special events throughout the year that are not to be missed! The events range from holidays like Halloween and Christmas to special celebrations like Mardi Gras and the Fourth of July. There is always something going on at Universal Orlando Resort, so be sure to check out the event calendar before your visit. You won’t want to miss out on all the fun!

Note: You need to purchase a separate ticket for Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Night. 

Have A Plan

When you’re planning your visit to Universal Orlando, there are a few things you’ll want to make sure you do. First, map out your route and make sure to check the showtimes for each of the attractions you want to visit. If you want to watch shows, look at the showtimes beforehand and plan your day around them. You’ll also want to account for meal times, as the park can be quite overwhelming if you’re trying to eat on the go. Be sure to take advantage of the Universal Express Passes if you’re willing to pay a little extra, as they can save you a lot of time in line.

No, you don’t need an hour-by-hour schedule. Talk about must-dos with your party/family before heading out. 

Note: Check ride height requirements if you’re planning to go with younger children. 

Download The Official Universal Orlando App Beforehand

This app will be your friend at Universal. With the app, you can do anything from mobile food/drink ordering to buying/managing tickets. The interactive map will help you check wait times/showtimes and join Virtual Line for select rides.

You can also make contactless purchases using Universal Pay. Just add your credit card to your account and use the QR code from Universal Pay to pay for items throughout the park.

Be sure to turn on notifications to get the latest updates on any schedule changes when in the park. 

Note: Download the app for Universal Orlando Resort and not Universal Studios Hollywood!

Ticket And Add-On Tips

Universal Orlando Tips- Rides

Buy Discounted Tickets, Express Pass, VIP Experience

You can save money by purchasing discounted tickets and Express Pass. Just make sure that they are authorized resellers. Here are some of my recommendations:

Purchase An Universal Express Pass

The Universal Express Pass (UE) is a time-saving ticket that allows guests to skip the regular lines at participating rides and attractions at both Universal Orlando Resort™ theme parks- Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. This can be such a time-saver allowing you to ride as many rides as possible in a day. 

Just show your pass to the attendant at the ride entrance and you’re on your way! Guests who do not have a pass must wait in the regular line, which can often be quite long.

You can purchase the pass online or at the ticket gates.

Note: Some rides, such as Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, are excluded from the Express Pass. Check to see which rides are included before purchasing. 

Express Pass Vs. Express Unlimited Pass

There are two types of Express Pass- Express Pass and Express Unlimited Pass. 

Express Unlimited Pass will allow you to re-ride attractions, while the regular Express Pass allows you to use it once per ride. 

I recommend purchasing the express pass if you’re planning on visiting two parks in one day. It’s tough to re-ride attractions in such a limited amount of time. 

Extra Tip: You’ll receive a free Express Unlimited Pass if you stay at a Premier Category hotel at Universal Orlando.

Consider The VIP Experience

VIP. The word itself may sound expensive, but if you’re looking to make the most of your time at Universal Orlando, I highly recommend purchasing the VIP Tour. It’s an excellent way to maximize your fun while minimizing your wait time!

The VIP Experience allows you to have front-of-the-line access to every attraction. You can get exclusive behind-the-scenes experiences, complimentary meals (breakfast and lunch), and complimentary valet parking. 

There are two types of VIP tours- VIP Experience and Private VIP Experience. If you sign up for the VIP Experience, you have to share the tour with other guests. Private VIP Experience is a private tour only for your group with a customizable itinerary, which is much more expensive. 

Note: You will need to purchase either a 1-day 2-park experience or a 1-day 1-park experience ticket. The duration of the tour will depend on the type of ticket you buy. Park tickets are not included in the VIP Experience. 

Print And Take A Picture Of Your Tickets

There’s nothing worse than not being able to enter the parks because your phone glitches. Just as an extra precaution, print out your tickets and take a screenshot. If you have a screenshot of your tickets on your phone, you’ll be able to easily show them at the gate. Plus, if something happens to your phone or the battery dies, you’ll still have your tickets with you. Better safe than sorry. 

Resort Tips

Stay At An Official Universal Orlando Resort Hotels

Did you know that there are so many perks to staying at a Universal Resort (on-site hotel)? The following are some of the benefits of staying at on-site hotels.

Early Park Admission

Early Park Admission is great for Universal Orlando because you can get to the parks before they open and avoid the crowds! This gives you more time to enjoy the rides, shows, and attractions. Plus, you can ride some of your favorite rides twice since there is usually a shorter line in the morning!

This will also allow you to take pictures of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter when it’s less crowded.

Free Transportation

Although many of the hotels are within walking distance of the theme park, you can use free transportation such as water taxis and shuttles to get to the park, hotel, and other areas of the resort. This makes it easy to get around and enjoy your stay.

Package Delivery To Your Hotel

Hotel guests can have their purchases delivered to their hotel free of charge. 

Package delivery is a great way to get your hands on those coveted Harry Potter souvenirs without having to carry them around all day.

Note: The package will arrive the next day at the luggage services or the front desk of your hotel.

Charge Your Purchases With Your Room Key

If you’re staying at a Universal Resort, you can charge your park purchases to your room.

Tip: Charging purchases to your hotel room can be great for some credit cards. All purchases will be considered hotel charges. For example, Sapphire preferred credit card awards 2x total points on travel purchases.

Stay at a Premier Hotel Category Hotel

If you’re looking for an extra special Universal Orlando experience, staying at one of the premier category hotels is a great way to go. These hotels offer exclusive benefits and amenities that can make your vacation even more enjoyable.

The Premier category hotel at Universal Orlando Resort is the perfect place to stay if you want to be close to all the action. Hotels in this category include the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, the Hard Rock Hotel, and the Loews Royal Pacific Resort. Here are some perks of staying at a premier hotel.

Free Universal Express Unlimited Ride Access

If you’re a Premier guest at one of Universal Orlando’s deluxe hotels, you’ll get complimentary unlimited universal express privileges. This pass allows guests to skip the regular lines. Unlimited access will enable you to re-ride rides an unlimited number of times! 

Purchasing passes for all of the members of your party can certainly add up! If you’re thinking of staying at an official Universal hotel free express passes could be an important factor to consider when deciding where to stay at.

Priority Seating

Universal Orlando Tips- Lombard's Seafood Grille

When visiting Universal Orlando Resort, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to make the most of your visit. One of those is priority seating at the restaurants in the parks. If you’re a guest at one of the Premier Category hotels, you have access to a reserved seating area at some of the restaurants in theme parks, Universal Citywalk, and hotels. This includes places like Lombard’s Seafood Grille in Universal Studios Florida and Mythos at Islands of Adventure. Just be sure to show your room key when you arrive at the restaurant and let the host know you’re with the Premier Category hotel group.

Even with priority seating, you may find that some of the more popular places fill up quickly. Make your reservations through the Universal website or by calling (407) 224-FOOD (3663).

Packing Tips

Universal Orlando Tips- Street

Bring Your Own Stroller Or Rent Strollers/Wheelchairs From An Off-Site Vendor

Renting strollers or wheelchairs at the park can be expensive. If you’re going to stay in Orlando for a while, consider bringing your own stroller or renting one from an outside company to save money. Just make sure that your stroller’s size meets the Universal Orlando rule. 

There are a few reasons why renting a stroller from an off-site vendor might be a better option than using the ones provided by Universal Orlando.

First, off-site vendors typically have a wider selection of strollers to choose from, including double strollers and jogging strollers.

Second, they often offer lower rates than the on-site vendors. However, this can vary on the number of days you’ll be visiting the theme parks. Calculate an estimated price to see which option could save you the most.

Third, Volcano Bay does not offer stroller or ECV rentals. (Volcano Bay is the water park at Universal Orlando Resort.) If you’re planning on visiting Volcano Bay you’ll want to rent strollers off-site or bring your own!

And finally, renting a stroller allows you to continue using the stroller even after your child falls asleep when leaving the theme park. This is a great convenience, especially if you are touring the park for an extended period of time.

An off-site stroller rental company I recommend is Orlando Stroller Rental. You can have the stroller delivered to the hotel or pick-up at Orlando International Airport at the pickup and return counter.

An off-site ECV/wheelchair rental company I recommend is Buena Vista Rentals, the preferred Loews Universal Hotels ECV Provider. They have a wide variety of ECVs with scooter accessory options such as a cup holder, cane/crutch holder, and rear basket. They also offer stroller rentals as well!

Pack Small And Light

I certainly wish I knew this before going to the Universal Orlando parks! Some of the rides will require you to store all of your belongings in a locker. These rides will have lockers near the ride entrance.

Some rides require you to go through the metal detector, so keeping your phone in your pocket is not an option for rides that require you to put your belongings in a locker!

The standard-size lockers are free under a specific time limit. This time limit takes into account the wait time, ride duration as well as a few extra minutes. You won’t have to worry about paying extra if you pick up your belongings soon after you exit the ride. 

They do have larger lockers, but it requires an additional fee. 

I couldn’t fit my backpack into the standard-size locker, so I had to empty some of my stuff into another locker so that it would fit for every ride. Also, be careful before buying popcorn buckets because they won’t fit inside these lockers. 

Standard-size lockers are 14 in x 5.5 in x 16.9 inches. Measure if your bag would fit before your trip! 

Bring A Refillable Bottle

Universal Orlando Tips- Seuss Shop

It’s essential to stay hydrated at the park! You can refill water at the freestyle machines or drinking fountains located throughout the park.

Water can be expensive at Universal, and a bottle of water can set you back nearly $3. This is a great way to save money and avoid having to buy bottled water every time you get thirsty.

Pack Flip Flops And Ponchos For Water Rides 

Universal Orlando Tips- Water Ride

When you are packing for your trip to Universal Orlando, it is important to make sure you bring along some essentials. Besides sunscreen and water bottles, you will also want to pack ponchos and flip-flops.

Ponchos can come in handy during rainy days. It is always good to be prepared for when the weather takes a turn for the worse.

If you plan on visiting Volcano Bay or riding the water attractions at Universal Studios Orlando, such as the Jurassic Park River Adventure, flip-flops are a must-have! You don’t want to walk in soaking shoes like I had to. I also recommend packing some extra clothes if you don’t want to wear ponchos for the water attractions!

You can buy ponchos and flip-flops at the park, but they will be more expensive than if you purchase them beforehand. Save yourself some money by packing them in your suitcase!

If you don’t want to carry them around all day, you can always store them in all-day lockers.

Prepare For Motion Sickness

Universal Orlando Tips- Hogwarts Castle

Universal Orlando is a great place to visit, but for some guests, the motion of the rides can cause motion sickness. My friend, who is usually not prone to motion sickness, had to rest for a while after riding the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. 

Here are a few tips to help you prepare for and avoid motion sickness at Universal Orlando.

– Prepare motion sickness medicine, sea bands, ginger chews, or mint. These remedies may help to alleviate your symptoms.

– Drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration can worsen symptoms of motion sickness.

– Avoid eating greasy or spicy foods. These types of food can make you feel sicker faster.

Park Tips – Universal Studios Florida and Island of Adventure

Universal Orlando Tips- Water View

Connect To Park Wi-Fi

Universal Orlando has complimentary Wi-Fi. Connect to the park Wi-Fi as soon as you get there to save phone data and battery. Your phone will be your friend, especially when using the Universal Orlando Resort app for checking ride wait times and joining the virtual queue (explained later). The WiFi network is available in all of the parks and resorts at Universal Orlando.

Use The Virtual Line Experience

Note: Universal Orlando has stopped using the virtual line experience for most rides and is only currently offering it for The Grinch Meet & Greet at Honk Honkers and rides at Volcano Bay (check for updates on the official Universal Orlando app). The reservation system is supposed to open at park opening time, but many guests report that it opens a few minutes later. I would recommend refreshing the app until the system opens.

You can reserve a ride time for your party for specific rides. This is a free service for all park guests on the Universal Orlando app. 

There are a few things you need to know about the virtual line experience. First of all, you can’t just show up and expect to get right on one of the popular rides. You’ll need to download the official Universal Orlando app and create an account. Then, you can select the ride you want to go on and add it to your virtual queue.

However, you have to be on the Universal property to reserve a virtual line. Once you’re on the property on the day of, immediately open up the app and reserve a ride! 

Once you’ve done that, you can head to the ride and scan your phone at the entrance. This will automatically add you to the virtual queue and show you how long the wait is. If the wait is too long, you can always cancel your place in line and try again later.

The virtual line system is definitely a lot more efficient than waiting in line for hours on end, so be sure to use it! The availability of the virtual line experience depends on the day, so check the app throughout the day.

I recommend using it for Hagrid’s Ride, one of the rides you can’t use Express Pass.

Universal Orlando Tips- Revenge of the Mummy

Single Rider Line

Take advantage of the single-rider lane to get on rides faster than the regular line. 

This line is typically much shorter than the regular line, and since you’ll be splitting up your party, it’s perfect for those who don’t mind being split up. Just be sure to let your group know where you’re going!

I recommend using the single rider lane if you have already been on the ride before because some standby queues are attractions themselves. For example, you do not want to skip the queues for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Escape from Gringotts.

Use The Child Swap

Child swap allows one adult to stay with a younger child who’s unable to ride or doesn’t want to ride. Once the rest of your group gets off the ride, the remaining adult can swap places with the other without having to wait in the regular line. 

Always ask the ride attendant before hopping into line.

Ride Popular Rides After 4 PM

This tip will depend on the date, but the park usually calms down after 4 PM. Consider riding popular rides towards the end of your day for fewer wait times.

Use Mobile Food And Drink Ordering In The Universal Orlando App

Universal Orlando Tips- CityWalk Voodoo doughnut

There are a few reasons you should use mobile food ordering while at Universal Orlando. First, it’s super convenient – you can place your order right from your phone. Simply choose the restaurant you want to eat at and place your order on the app. Once you’re near or at the restaurant, tap the “prepare my order” button. It’s that simple.

It’s also great way to save time – with mobile food ordering, you can avoid the lines altogether and get your food faster.

Use the Package Pick-Up Service

As mentioned earlier, the package pick-up service at Universal Orlando is a great way to avoid carrying all of your souvenirs throughout the day. This service is free for all park guests and allows you to pick up your packages on your way out of the parks.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter Tips

Universal Orlando Tips- Knitting Magic Diagon Alley

Ride The Hogwarts Express

Universal Orlando Tips- Hogwarts Express

Harry Potter fan? You need to ride the Hogwarts Express. This train takes you on a journey from King’s Cross Station near Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade Station near Hogwarts. You can even ride the train both ways, so be sure to plan your trip accordingly! Each train ride is different, so make sure to ride it twice.

There are a few things to keep in mind when riding the Hogwarts Express. You’ll need a valid park admission ticket for both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure – a Park-to-Park ticket or Annual Pass. A park-to-park ticket is a 1-day, 2-park ticket where you can enter both parks on the same day.

Buy An Interactive Wand At Ollivanders

Universal Orlando Tips- Ollivanders Wand Shop
Universal Orlando Tips- Interactive Wand Spell Location

Get your own wand if you want the complete Harry Potter experience. 

These wands are a lot of fun and can be used to interact with certain parts of the parks. You’ll be able to cast spells throughout both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. Each wand will come with a map that shows spell locations.

Look for the special symbols that are located throughout the parks. These symbols indicate that you can use your wand to interact with that spot. There are also some hidden interactive wand locations throughout the theme parks!

Hold your wand up to the symbol and make sure to cast the spell.

An important tip is to use small motions when casting the spell!

Be prepared to have a lot of fun! The interactive wands are a great way to add an extra bit of excitement to your visit to Universal Orlando.

Buy Harry Potter Goods Beforehand

Universal Orlando Tips- Knight bus

It’s just soo tempting to buy Harry Potter outfits in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. 

(Maybe there’s a spell cast throughout the Harry Potter area). 

Buying Hogwarts gear at Universal Orlando can be pretty expensive. 

You’ll be able to buy them at a lower price on Amazon.

Here are some of my recommendations:

© Etsy

Looking for something more subtle to wear? These Harry Potter-themed headbands are great!

Tour Inside The Hogwarts Castle Without Riding The Attraction 

Ask the ride attendant, and they’ll help you guide you to a non-rider path.

This way, you could take time walking through the castle, unlike the regular line.

Universal Orlando Tips- The Adventure Begins

What Next?

I hope you enjoyed my favorite Universal Orlando tips! If you’re planning a trip to Universal soon, be sure to check out my other posts on Universal Orlando Secrets and Hidden Gems. And if you found this post helpful, please save and share – I would really appreciate it! Thanks for reading!

Universal Orlando Tips Pinterest Pin
Universal Orlando Tips Pinterest Pin
Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Guide- Avatar Flight of Passage
Avatar Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom

What is this new Disney Genie service? Here’s a guide to Disney Genie+ (Disney Genie Plus) and Individual Lightning Lane at Walt Disney World, along with some frequently asked questions. 

Click HERE for Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Tips at Disney World.

Disney Genie

What is Disney Genie?

Disney Genie is a planning service that helps create a personalized itinerary for your trip. It recommends attractions, experiences, and dining according to your party’s preference. 

The Disney Genie also displays attraction status, standby wait times, showtimes, dining availability, and much more. 

How much does Disney Genie cost?

It’s free! 

How does Genie work?

This service will be helpful for those that are more of a “go with the flow” type planner. The Disney Genie will do all the planning for you and automatically update you throughout the day. 

Disney Genie+

Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Guide- Festival of Fantasy Parade
Festival of Fantasy Parade at Magic Kingdom

What is Disney Genie+?

Disney Genie+ is an add-on service in addition to the regular Disney Genie. You may skip the standby lane and access Lightning Lane at specific attractions/experiences. This service pretty much replaces fast passes. 

In addition, purchasing Genie+ allows you to access Augmented Reality (AR) Disney-themed photo lenses and listen to audio tales (fun facts and behind-the-scenes).

How much does Disney Genie+ cost?

Update: As of October 11, 2022, Disney announced that Genie+ pricing will vary on the date you visit the parks.

Disney Genie plus will cost $15 or more per person, depending on the date you’re visiting. Similar to theme park tickets, prices will be higher during the busy season such as the holidays.

When can I purchase Genie+?

Update: As of June 8, 2022, Disney announced that guests could not purchase Disney Genie+ in advance as an add-on to new park tickets. You’ll only be able to purchase Genie+ from midnight on the day you plan to visit the park.

You can purchase Genie+ starting at midnight on the day you plan to visit the park via the My Disney Experience app.

How does Genie+ work?

Beginning at 7 AM, guests can pick return times for experiences included in the Genie+ service – one at a time.

You can make your second selection at any of the following times:

  • When you redeem your first selection.
  • When the arrival window for the first selection has expired.
  • When 120 minutes have passed since your first selection (or 120 minutes after park opening).

For example, suppose you booked for Pirates of the Caribbean at 10 AM with a return time of 2 PM. In that case, you can make your following selection at midnight (or 120 minutes after you made your previous reservation). You don’t have to wait until 2 PM to make your following selection. 

Suppose you booked for Pirates of the Caribbean at 7 AM (before the park opens). In that case, you could make your following selection 120 minutes after the park opens. If the park opens at 9 AM, you can make your second selection at 11 AM.

The 120-minute rule allows you to have more than one Lightning Lane at a time.

*Note: Disney Genie+ added a new feature that will tell you when you can book your next attraction! You’ll find a “when you can book” banner near the top of your Disney Genie Service Tip board.

Individual Lightning Lane

Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Guide- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Hollywood Studios

What is Individual Lightning Lane?

Individual Lightning Lane is a pay-per-ride service at Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom.

Guests can use the lightning lane at certain attractions. Attractions include popular rides not included in the list of rides for Genie+. 

How much does Individual Lightning Lane cost?

Price will vary date by date. They range from $10to $25 per attraction, but prices can increase in the future. 

When can I buy Individual Lightning Lane? 

Guests staying at Disney Resorts, The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, and Shades of Green Resort can purchase Individual Lightning Lane starting at 7 AM. All other guests can buy them when the park opens.

How does Individual Lightning Lane work?

You can purchase them for up to 2 different rides per day, one at a time.

Like Genie+, hop into the Lightning Lane at your reservation time and skip the standby queue. 

What rides/experiences are included in Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane?

Here’s the full list of rides/experiences that offer lightning lanes for each Disney World theme park.

*Note: Please check the official WDW homepage for the newest ride/experience list.

Magic Kingdom


  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle
  • Haunted Mansion
  • “it’s a small world”
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Meet Ariel at Her Grotto
  • Meet Cinderella and a Visiting Princess at Princess Fairytale Hall
  • Meet Mickey at Town Square Theater
  • Meet Princess Tiana and a Visiting Princess at Princess Fairytale Hall
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Space Mountain
  • The Barnstormer
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid

Individual Lightning Lane

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • TRON Lightcycle / Run

Hollywood Studios


  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage
  • Disney Junior Play & Dance!
  • For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
  • Meet Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • Muppet*Vision 3D
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™
  • Toy Story Mania!

Individual Lightning Lane

  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Animal Kingdom


  • Festival of the Lion King
  • Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
  • Feathered Friends in Flight!
  • Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond!
  • It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
  • Kali River Rapids
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost
  • Naʻvi River Journey
  • The Animation Experience at Conservation Station

Individual Lightning Lane

  • Avatar Flight of Passage



  • Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival
  • Frozen Ever After
  • Journey into Imagination with Figment
  • Living with the Land
  • Mission: SPACE – Green
  • Mission: SPACE – Orange
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • Spaceship Earth
  • Test Track
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends
  • Turtle Talk with Crush

Individual Lightning Lane

  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind


Can I cancel Genie+/Individual Lightning Lane?

Update: Now you can modify a Genie+ reservation without canceling your existing reservation. Just tap on your existing reservation on the app and choose “modify plan” to change your reservation. However, this change only applies to Genie+ and NOT Individual Lightning Lane selections.

You can cancel a Genie+ reservation and replace it with a new reservation. If you want to change the time, you must cancel your existing reservation and make a new one.

You will NOT be able to cancel or modify your reservations for Individual Lightning Lanes. There are no refunds even if you don’t show up for the ride during your arrival time. Refunds are available only when the attraction closes due to technical difficulties or weather.

Can You Use Rider Swap?

Yes, you can rider swap as long as everyone who will be riding the attraction has Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lane.

Can you Re-ride Attractions with Genie+?

No, you can only ride once per ride reserved on Genie+. If you want to ride the attraction again, you must wait in the standby lane. 

What do I have to do at what time?

Here’s a general timeline for those considering purchasing Genie+ and/or Individual Lightning Lane.

Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Guide- Timeline for Genie+ Individual Lightning Lane Virtual Queue

Is Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane worth it?

Ultimately it all comes down to this question. There is no cookie-cutter answer, as this will depend on your party. 

Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane are great for those that:

  • Don’t like waiting in line
  • Want to ride as many attractions as possible
  • Plan to visit during holidays when the park is crowded
  • Want to meet characters without the wait

You can enjoy Disney World without purchasing Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lane. Talk with your party and see what would work best for your group. 

Thinking of buying Disney Genie+ and/or Individual Lightning Lane? Click HERE for Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Tips at Disney World.

Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Tips- Star Wars Galaxy Edge
Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios

Are you thinking of purchasing Genie+ and/or Individual Lightning Lane for your next Disney World trip? Check out these important Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane tips before heading out.

If you don’t quite understand Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lane, check the Disney Genie+ and Individual Lighting Lane guide before reading further. 

General Tips

Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Tips- Pinocchio Fab 50 Statue
Pinocchio Fab 50 Statue (50th Anniversary) at Magic Kingdom


Download the My Disney Experience app (Walt Disney World) and sign in to your account. Check that your travel party is linked to the park tickets and hotel reservations. 

Pack a Phone Charger

Be sure to bring a phone charger, especially if you purchase Genie+!

I remember having to buy a charger from the Disney kiosk, which is pretty expensive considering its quality. 

My favorite is the Anker Portable Charger. It recharges my phone quickly and fits into my pockets very easily.

Research Attractions and Experiences

Talk about must-do attractions or experiences with your party beforehand. See which rides are included in Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane. Choose the parks you think would benefit your party the most! 

Check the My Disney Experience App

Before heading out on your trip, open the My Disney Experience app and check the Tip Board and My Day in the Disney Genie Service section. You’ll see the return times for each ride and the price for Individual Lightning Lane for that day. Being familiar with the app can be a game changer, especially if you plan to reserve popular rides. 

Reserve ASAP

Reserve your Individual Lightning Lane at 7 AM if you’re staying at Disney Resort or The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. Don’t wait till later to reserve. Popular attractions sell out very quickly.  

On the other hand, Genie+ attractions may run out temporarily and come back later in the day. Book early to get the ideal return time if you’re planning on watching night-time shows or have dining reservations.

Keep Refreshing the Page

Refresh and look for Genie+ reservations to pop up throughout the day. I’ve been able to book rides that sold out in the morning a couple of times. So don’t be discouraged when you see “not currently offered” for the attraction you were hoping to get a reservation for. 

Be Prepared for Price Increase for Individual Lighting Lane

As mentioned earlier, prices will vary daily, so be prepared to pay more than expected. 

Stay at a Disney Resort or The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

Staying at a Disney Resort or The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort will allow you to reserve Individual Lightning Lane at 7 AM.

Popular rides such as Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind book up very quickly. Star Wars Rise of the Resistance sold out by 7:30 AM on my last trip (non-crowded day). There’s a high chance that you might not be able to book either of the attraction if you’re staying at other hotels. 

Use Early Theme Park Entry and/or Extended Evening Hours 

Early Theme Park entry allows guests staying at Disney Resorts and selected hotels to enter 30 minutes before the park opens every day.

Extended Evening Hours allow guests to stay after the park closes on select evenings in select parks (EPCOT and Magic Kingdom). 

Check whether your resort is included in the list of hotels for Early Theme Park Entry and/or Extended Evening Hours. 

You may be able to ride a popular attraction before the park opens. You may not need to purchase Individual Lightning Lane if you use Early Theme Park Entry and/or Extended Evening Hours. 

Note: Guardian’s of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT uses a virtual queue system and has no standby lane. 

Tips by Theme Park

Magic Kingdom

Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Tips- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom is one of the parks I highly recommend purchasing Genie+. There are so many rides/experiences to choose from.

Genie+ is excellent for those that want to ride many rides or want to take pictures with characters at character meet and greets. Also, with Genie+, you can watch the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade from a reserved viewing area.

Which experiences should I book first?

Book these experiences first:

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Individual Lightning Lane) or TRON Lightcycle/Run (Individual Lightning Lane)
  • Peter Pan’s Flight (Genie+) or Jungle Cruise (Genie+)

Hollywood Studios

Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Tips- Tower of Terror
Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios

Purchasing Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane can be helpful in Hollywood Studios, but note that reservations sell out quickly because of the limited amount of available rides on Genie+.  

Which experiences should I book first?

Book these experiences first:

  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (Individual Lightning Lane)
  • Slinky Dog Dash (Genie+) and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (Genie+)


Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Tips- Remy's Ratatouille Adventure
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT

Epcot is one of the parks where you may be able to ride many attractions without Genie+, especially if you’re thinking of spending the entire day at EPCOT. 

However, I would highly recommend purchasing Individual Lightning Lane for Guardian’s of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind if that is one of your must-do attractions. The only other way to ride this attraction is to get a boarding pass via a virtual queue. There is no regular standby lane for this attraction. Boarding passes fill out very quickly for this ride.

Which experiences should I book first?

Book these experiences first: 

  • Guardian’s of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (Individual Lightning Lane)
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure (Genie+) or Frozen Ever After (Genie+) or Test Track (Genie+)

Animal Kingdom

Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Tips- Expedition Everest
Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom

Like EPCOT, if you’re staying at Animal Kingdom for the whole day, you might not need Genie+. Animal Kingdom doesn’t have as many rides as other parks do.

Which experiences should I book first?

Book these experiences first:

  • Avatar Flight of Passage (Individual Lightning Lane)
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris (Genie+) or Na’vi River Journey

What Next?

Hopefully, these Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane tips will help you on your next Disney World vacation. 

The Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane options offer a fantastic way to enhance your Disney World adventure. They not only minimize wait times but also allow you to tailor your experience to your preferences, ensuring every moment at the park is well spent. I hope you have a happy Disney adventure!

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