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 shopDisney.com. 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!

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.

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!

Check the related articles below for more Disney-related information.

Are you visiting Disney World anytime soon? After planning and going on multiple vacations to Disney World, here are some tips and tricks I learned along the way and wished I knew before visiting Disney World. These top Disney World tips and tricks will help make your Disney World vacations more magical.

Walt Disney World Planning Tips

Disney World Tips- Magic Kingdom Castle
Partners Statue (Magic Kingdom)

Create A Vacation Plan!

Planning is crucial for a Disney World trip. There are several things you want to plan out before your trip:

  • Checking which parks you want to visit
  • Make a list of must-do attractions
  • List shows/parades/fireworks you want to watch
  • Choosing where you want to eat
  • Decide whether to purchase Genie+ and/or Individual Lightning Lane Selections.

Without a plan, you’ll likely miss out on some of the best things Disney World has to offer. A Disney vacation can be expensive, so making the most of your time and money is essential. Having a plan will help you do just that.

There’s so much to plan before going to Disney World but trust me; it makes a real difference.

Plan A Day To Enjoy the Resort or Sleep In

One of the best parts about staying at a resort is that there’s always something to do. However, sometimes it can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the parks and forget to take advantage of all the amenities your resort offers.

That’s why I recommend taking a day to explore all the resort has to offer without leaving the property.

Start by checking out the swimming pools—many resorts have multiple pools with different features, from waterslides to relaxing hot tubs.

Afterward, head to the front desk and ask about any activities or recreation that might be happening during your stay. From movies under the stars to campfire sing-alongs, there’s bound to be something that will pique your interest. So go ahead and take a break from the parks—you might just find that you enjoy your resort just as much (if not more!).

A Disney vacation is just different from any other kind of vacation. It’s also crucial to plan a day where you can sleep in and relax after walking and standing for hours in the park.

Choose Least Crowded Dates For Trip If Possible

Disney World Tips- EPCOT UK pavillion
United Kingdom Pavillion (EPCOT)

Check out a crowd calendar before choosing your dates. If you have flexible dates, try to select the least-crowded dates. Walt Disney World can get busy during holidays, special events, and spring/summer breaks. The Disney parks are usually the least crowded from January to February and September. Watch out for 3-day weekends, school breaks, and special events (such as Epcot festivals and Disney marathons). 

Make Park Reservations

Update: Starting December 8th, 2022 Disney is implementing “park-specific pricing” for single-day tickets (1-day, 1-park).

This means that a theme park reservation will automatically be made when you purchase a ticket. So you won’t need to make park pass reservations! Here is the approximate price breakdown for tickets when this new system comes into effect on December 8, 2022:

  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom $109 – $159
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios $124 – $179
  • EPCOT $114 – $179
  • Magic Kingdom $124 – $189

For dates before January 9, 2024, Park Pass Reservations are needed if you are purchasing date-based tickets. No reservations are needed for trips on or after January 9, 2024. Click here for more information.

Already purchased a ticket? Great, but there’s just one more step to do. You have to make a park reservation to enter the park. Park reservations will fill out fast. Figure out which dates you want to go to beforehand, and make those reservations ASAP!

Download the My Disney Experience App Beforehand

Download the My Disney Experience app before you visit Disney World. This app will be your friend throughout your entire trip. Log into your Disney Experience account and play around with the app; look at the park maps, see how mobile ordering works, see My Genie, etc.

Skip the Park Hopper

If you’re staying in Walt Disney World for more than 4 days, I usually don’t recommend buying park hopper tickets. Of course, this will differ for every group and how crowded the parks are. If you’re debating on whether or not to buy a park hopper, you can always upgrade your tickets later on at guest services or from the My Disney Experience app!

Consider Purchasing Genie+ And/Or Individual Lightning Lane Selections

Walt Disney World Tips- Lightning Lane
Lightning Lane Sign for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Magic Kingdom)

The FastPass+ service is now replaced with this Genie+ Service and Individual Lightning Lane Selections. Although it will cost you money, you’ll be able to get on the rides faster and skip those regular lines. 

Click HERE for more information about Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane.

Protect Your Vacation with Travel Insurance

Disney vacations are a magical experience, but they can also be expensive. Protecting your Disney trip with travel insurance is a smart way to ensure that you’re covered in case of an emergency. Travel insurance can help you recover the cost of your trip if something unexpected happens, such as illness or cancellation. Disney does offer a travel protection plan, but I recommend buying insurance from a third-party source. One of the merits of using a third-party insurance provider is that certain insurance companies will allow you to add a “cancel for any reason” option.

This type of insurance can help to reimburse you for costs incurred if you need to cancel your trip. There are many different reasons why someone might need to cancel their trip. Having insurance can help reduce some of the stress that comes with canceling a vacation.

I recommend using TravelInsurance.com. This site allows you to compare plans and prices of multiple travel insurance companies. You’ll be able to compare benefits with ease using TravelInsurance.com.

Book With A Travel Agent

First time visiting Walt Disney World and/or want someone else to handle the reservations? Book with a travel agent! Travel Agents can hold a hotel reservation for you and automatically add any discounts that come out later. Some even help with booking restaurants in advance! The best part is that these travel agents are free! The Walt Disney Company pays these travel agents commissions from their sales.

Note: Be sure to book with authorized Disney Vacation Planners! Here are some of my recommendations:

Packing Tips

Disney World Tips - Entrance
Walt Disney World Entrance

Pack 2 Or 3 Pairs Of Comfortable Shoes To Walk In

You will walk A LOT at Disney World, and it’s super important to have comfortable walking shoes.

Well, why bring an extra pair of shoes? You never know what could happen. Your shoes may become soaking wet from the sudden rain and may not dry out. Or you could get blisters from the shoes you wore that day, and you might want to swap your shoes.

Bring A Portable Battery Charger!

You will use your phone a lot in the park, from making mobile orders to checking the wait times for attractions. You will find FuelRod (portable phone charger) kiosks around Disney World, but you’ll find better quality battery chargers on Amazon.

One that I recommend is the Anker Portable Charger. It’s helped me through multiple days in Disney World.

Bring A Portable Hand Sanitizer Or Disinfectant Wipes With You

You want to make sure that you and your family are staying safe. Disney has hand sanitizer stations/restrooms throughout the parks and resorts, but they may not always be immediately around you, or you may not like the smell or texture of those hand sanitizers or soap. So make sure to bring your hand sanitizer. I usually clip my hand sanitizer to my bag for easy access. 

Prepare for Any Kind of Weather

It’s essential to be prepared for any weather when visiting Disney World. The Florida climate can be unpredictable, so it’s always best to prepare for rain, sun, or cold. That means packing sunscreen, hats, umbrellas, or jackets just in case.

Prepare For The Summer Heat

If you’re visiting in summer, cooling items are a must-have! It will feel 10 degrees warmer than it actually is because of the humidity. Make sure to drink plenty of water and wear sunscreen. I recommend taking breaks inside buildings or returning to the resort for a short nap.

In addition, you do not want to wait in line in the sun outside unprepared. Some items that I recommend are Frogg Togg Chilly Pads and Mickey or Minnie Misting Fan

Pack A Poncho, Umbrella, Or Rain Jacket

Be ready for the rain. Disney sells umbrellas and ponchos when it rains, but it’s costly, so buy a poncho or rain jacket from Amazon or Dollar Tree before your trip!

Pack a Blanket

If you’re traveling to Disney with young kids, pack a blanket (or two!). It can get chilly at night, and a blanket is great for nighttime shows and parades.

Plus, if you’re renting a wheelchair, the seats can get pretty uncomfortable after sitting for long periods of time. Blankets make great cushions! So toss one in your bag, and you’ll be all set.

Walt Disney World Resort Tips

Disney World Tips - Disney's Art of Animation Resort-Cars
Disney’s Art of Animation Cars Building

Don’t Wait For Hotel Discounts To Reserve

Hotel reservations fill up quickly, so make sure to book that Disney hotel before it fills up. You’ll be able to add discounts even after you book online or by calling.

Consider Staying At Disney Deluxe Resorts Or Deluxe Villa Resorts

Guests staying at one of the Disney Deluxe Resorts or Deluxe Villa Resorts can enjoy Extended Evening Theme Park Hours on top of Early Theme Park Entry. You’ll be able to stay in select parks longer on select days. 

Stay at One of the Monorail Resorts

If you’re looking for an extra-special Disney vacation, consider staying at one of the monorail resorts. The monorail resorts include Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

These resorts are located right on the monorail line, making it easy to get around the Disney World parks. Plus, they offer some of the best views of Disney’s Magic Kingdom park.

I highly recommend staying at these monorail resorts if you’re traveling with a small child. You can quickly head back to your hotel room during the day to take a short nap and head out to a Disney park.

Skip the Rental Car

You won’t need a rental car since Walt Disney World resorts offer free Disney transportation services to the theme parks and Disney Springs. All resorts typically charge for overnight parking. I recommend using an Uber, Lyft, Minnie Van, or Mears Shuttle Service for Orlando airport transportation!

Note: Starting from January 10, 2023, you can stay at a Disney resort hotel with complimentary overnight self-parking!

Request Rooms Near Transportation Locations

Disney World Tips - Transportation Bus
Disney World Transportation Bus

Some rooms at Disney resort hotels can be farther away from transportation locations.

For large resorts like Caribbean Beach Resort, you might want to request a room that’s near the Disney Skyliner (gondola lift system) or transportation buses.

Before booking a room, check the resort map to see if there are particular rooms you can book near Disney transportation (e.g., Finding Nemo Family Suites at Art of Animation Resort).

Pick Up A Celebration Button

Is this going to be your first time visiting Walt Disney World? Are you celebrating a birthday or anniversary? Ask for a complimentary celebration button at your Disney hotel (or at guest services). It’s a great piece of souvenir to remember your trip, and some cast members may give you a little shout-out!

Buy The Refillable Mug On The First Day You Arrive At The Resort

By purchasing a refillable mug, you’ll be able to get unlimited free refills on fountain drinks, tea, and coffee from various Disney hotels (not theme parks) for the length of your stay. 

If you’re staying at Disney for over three days, buy the refillable mug!

Get A Wake-Up Call From A Disney Character!

Have a Disney character wake you up! This is a great way to start your day and get excited for all the fun that awaits you at the parks.

Call the front desk of your hotel or press the wake-up call button on the phone inside your hotel room.

Watch The Electrical Water Pageant

This small nighttime show is always fun to watch. You can watch it from the Polynesian Village Resort, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, and Contemporary Resort. Ask one of the cast members at the resort hotel about what time the water pageant will likely arrive. 

Have Bell Services Store Your Luggage

Have extra time before check-in or after check-out? Bell service will hold onto your luggage. Use that time to head into the parks or check out Disney Springs!

Money-Saving Tips

Disney World Tips - Dolphin Resort
Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort

Rent A Stroller Or ECV Off Parks Or Bring Your Own

Strollers and ECV rentals inside Disney Parks are more expensive than renting from a local Orlando company.

Consider these companies to save money:

If you’re bringing your own stroller, check the official Disney World website to see if your stroller size is within the guidelines.

Make Your Stroller Easy To Find

There’s nothing worse than not knowing which stroller is yours. Make sure to tie a ribbon or tag to the handle or drape a bright towel over to find your stroller quickly.

© Etsy

My favorite are these personalizable Disney World Stroller Tags

Rent DVC Points

Disney World Tips - Riviera Resort
Disney’s Riviera Resort (1 Bedroom Villa)

DVC, or Disney Vacation Club, is a points-based timeshare program. Disney Vacation Club members have points distributed based on the real estate interest they purchase. Members can use those points to stay at a Disney Resort. 

You can rent points even if you are not a DVC member.

One of my favorite places to rent DVC points would have to be David’s DVC Rental.

You can save hundreds or, in our case, thousands of dollars just by renting out points. Besides saving money staying at a Deluxe Villa Resort, you’ll also be able to enjoy Early Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Theme Park Hours.

Check the “cost calculator” tab to see how much you can save by renting out points for a Deluxe Villa Resort instead of booking directly from Disney.

Buy Discounted Disney Gift Cards

Buy discounted Disney gift cards from Sam’s Club, BJ’s, Costco, and Target (using the RedCard). Or purchase at your local grocery store that offers fuel points.

You can use these gift cards for anything from hotels, tickets, souvenirs, dining, and so on. You can also buy separate Disney gift cards for the kids to use for souvenirs and snacks.

Make sure to hold on to your gift cards in case you have to cancel or return an item.

Have Groceries Delivered To Your Resort

Order snacks and bring your own food into the parks for you and your kids to nibble on throughout the day. If you’re staying in a room with a full kitchen, consider cooking a meal in your room to save money!

And for those of you that love to drink Dr. Pepper or Pepsi, make sure to order them because you won’t be able to find those in Walt Disney World.

You can pick them up in the Resort Lobby at no charge, or $6 will be charged to your room if you have your groceries brought to your room.

Always check with your hotel before ordering, as some resorts may not offer this service.

For grocery shopping, try out the following:

Check Off-Site Hotels

Disney World Tips- Swan Resort
Walt Disney World Swan

If it’s your first time going to Disney, I would highly recommend staying at one of the Walt Disney World Resorts but definitely check out the Walt Disney World Swan, Dolphin, and Swan Reserve Hotel (Marriott Bonvoy Hotels). Yes, there are other off-site hotels, but you can enjoy Early Park Entry and Extended Evening Theme Park Hours if you stay at these three hotels. Plus, they’re so close to the BoardWalk!

Check the three Marriott Bonvey hotels if you’re a AAA member or a Marriott Bonvoy member.

Buy Discounted Disney Park Tickets

You can save money by buying discounted Disney World Theme Park tickets. 

Are you a AAA member? Check the AAA Discounts Rewards. You’ll be able to purchase discounted park tickets online!

Other recommendations for discounted park tickets include:

Charge Your Purchases to Your Room using MagicBand

If you’re staying at a Disney hotel, you can easily charge your park purchases to your room using a MagicBand.

This can be great for some credit cards because all purchases will be considered hotel charges. For example, the Sapphire Preferred card from Chase offers 2x total points on travel purchases.

So if you’re planning to spend a lot at the parks, charging to your room could help you earn some extra points. Just be sure to pay off your balance in full before the due date to avoid any interest charges.

Visit Disney’s Character Warehouse

Head over to Disney’s Character Warehouse located in Orlando Vineland Premium Outlet or Orlando International Premium Outlet to find discounted Disney merchandise! You’ll save so much more money than buying souvenirs inside the parks.

Buy A Popcorn Bucket On The First Day You Visit The Park

If your family loves eating popcorn, buy that popcorn bucket on the first day you’re in the park because refills are much cheaper than regular popcorn. 

Buy Disney Merchandise Before your Disney World Trip

If you’re looking to make your Walt Disney World vacation a bit more magical, then I suggest purchasing some Disney merchandise before your trip.

By buying some Disney gear before your trip, you’ll save time and money once you’re in Disney World.

You can buy Disney merchandise from shopDisney, the official Disney Merchandise store, or get a unique, one-of-a-kind item from Etsy.

These are some items I highly recommend buying!!

Disney Shirts

Disney shirts are a great way to get into the Disney spirit. In fact, you’ll see so many people wearing them!

Glitter Minnie Castle Shirt

Disney Family Shirts

Mickey Ear Hats and Headbands

Mickey ear hats and headbands are popular items to wear at Disney World. They are fun, festive, and can help you stand out in the crowd.

Personalized Disney Hat

Jungle Cruise Inspired Skipper Bucket Ear Hat

Minnie Mouse Rose Gold Ears

Custom Ears 

Disney Jewelry

There are many different pieces of Disney jewelry to choose from, including necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. Disney jewelry is perfect for Disney fans of all ages.

Disney Necklace

Minion Mickey Mouse Small Hoop Earrings

Three Dangle Mickey Mouse Bracelet

Note: Heading out to Walt Disney World soon and don’t have time for shipping? Head to Disney Springs. You can buy exclusive Disney products at the UNIQLO store located in Disney Springs.

Consider becoming a Disney Visa Card Member

If you’re a Disney fan, you’ll want to consider becoming a Disney Visa Card member. There are plenty of perks that come with the card, including the ability to earn Disney Rewards Dollars that cardmembers can use for future vacations at Disney World, Disneyland, or Disney Cruise Line. In addition, there are discounts available at select restaurants and shops.

Cardmembers also get to enjoy an exclusive character experience, as well as digital photo-ops.

Disney offers two Visa Credit Cards – a Disney Premier Visa Card (with an annual fee) and a Disney Visa Card (with no annual fee). So it’s worth looking to see which card would benefit you the most.

Dining Tips 

Disney World Tips - Toy Story Land Woody's Lunch Box
Woody’s Lunch Box at Toy Story Land (Hollywood Studios)

Make Dining Reservations In Advance

If you have a table service restaurant you want to go to, you want to make that reservation before your trip. Some Disney restaurants have standby lines, but you’ll often have to wait 1 hour or more.

You can make advance dining reservations up to 60 days in advance. If you’re staying at a Disney resort, you can reserve 60 days in advance for your entire stay. 

You can book them online on the Disney official website or from the My Disney Experience app from 6 AM EST. If you prefer calling, reservation phone lines start from 7 AM EST.

Book Character Dining For Breakfast

Disney World Tips- Garden Grill
Mickey at Garden Grill (EPCOT)

Lunch and dinner can be pricier, so consider eating breakfast at character meals to save money.

Note: Some restaurants, such as Toppolino Terrace, only offer character dining during breakfast.

Book A Pre-Park Opening Breakfast Or After-Park Dinner

This is one of the tips that I absolutely love. A few restaurants will allow you to make a reservation before the park opens or after the park closes.

This means that you’ll be able to walk through Main Street in Magic Kingdom before the crowd arrives or after the crowd leaves. 

If you book a pre-park opening breakfast, you may be able to line up for those big rides even before guests enter at rope-drop. Just make sure you have the transportation figured out! Ask at the front desk of your resort to know when the first or last bus/Skyliner/boat is. Call a Lyft, Uber, or Minnie Van if they don’t have buses running.

Note: Only a few restaurants offer pre-park opening breakfast and after-park dinner. I would recommend booking a dinner reservation close to the park closing hour.

Keep Checking Back For Dining Reservations 

Update: Disney has changed it’s Dining Reservation cancellation rules and guests can now cancel their reservations 2 hours before their reservation without any cancellation fee!

Couldn’t book the restaurant you really wanted to go to? Keep checking the app and Disney World website!

Disney allows guests to cancel their dining reservations up to 24 hours before their reservation, so be sure to check every day for any cancellations. Many people tend to cancel their dining reservations the day before. 

The lobby concierge at the resort you’re staying at can also help you find reservations and recommend where to visit!

Check That Your Dining Reservations Match With Your Park Tickets And Hotel Reservation Before Your Trip

There’s nothing worse than finding out that you’ve made reservations for the wrong dates/park. Be sure to double-check those reservations!

Learn How To Use Mobile Ordering Beforehand

Mobile Ordering is a time saver, and you’ll want to learn how to use it before your trip.

You can practice ordering food from the My Disney Experience app before the trip. Just make sure not to click purchase!

Order Your Food Early With Mobile Ordering

Disney World Tips- Orange Bird MK
Orange Bird Mural (Magic Kingdom)

Make sure to order your food early to get the time slot you want when using Mobile Ordering (especially lunch and dinner).

I tried to order lunch at 11:30 AM and the next available time slot was 3:00 PM! So make sure to plan out what you want for lunch and dinner early if you are eating at a quick-service restaurant. You do not want any “hangry” family members!

Order Kids Menu

Not so hungry? Order off the kid’s menu at a quick-service dining location and save some money!

However, this tip may not work at table service restaurants. You can order from a kids menu, but they will most often give you an adult-sized portion at an adult price. Always ask the cast member before ordering and see what they can do.

Check OpenTable

Can’t find a reservation on the My Disney Experience App for Disney Springs restaurants? Try checking OpenTable, and you might find an opening there. 

Park Tips

Disney World Tips - Partner's Statue Mickey
Partners Statue Mickey (Magic Kingdom)

Take A Screenshot Of Your Plans

You never know when the app may freeze up on your phone. Make sure to have screenshots of dining reservations and scheduled rides (made with Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lane Selections).

Get A MagicBand Or MagicBand+

All right, MagicBands are not required, but they are so handy.

MagicBands become your hotel key (for Disney hotel guests), park pass, PhotoPass, and you’ll be able to charge merchandise and food to your room (for Disney Hotel guests).

Although MagicBands are no longer complementary to resort guests, you can buy them at a discounted price if staying at a Disney Resort. These should come up as an option when booking your hotel. If you already have a MagicBand from your previous trip, make sure to bring that with you!

Note: Disney now offers MagicBand+, a newer version of MagicBand. MagicBand+ will include all of the features of the MagicBand plus interactive features that guests can enjoy throughout the park.  

Check For Current Disney Policies

Disney is changing its policies frequently, so it’s best to keep up to date with those changes.

Use Early Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours Wisely

Entrance of Animal Kingdom

As any savvy Disney fan knows, one of the best benefits of staying at a Disney hotel is early park entry. Guests staying at select Disney resorts can enter the parks 30 minutes early, giving them a head start on the crowds.

And on select days, select Disney resort hotel guests can also stay in the parks later for extended evening hours. So if you’re planning a trip to Disney, be sure to take advantage of these extra perks! 

Early park entry is an excellent opportunity to enjoy some of the less crowded rides and attractions. So check which rides are available during early park entry hours and plan accordingly.

Take advantage of early park entry and extended evening hours. You can make the most of your time at the parks with a bit of planning!

Extra Tip: Try arriving at the parks before early park entry begins. Most of the time, you’ll be able to enter the park and head straight to your ride without waiting in line. Doing this may help you ride two attractions before the park opens!

Connect To The Park Wi-Fi

Connecting to the Wi-Fi will help save your phone battery, so make sure to join once you’re in the park.

Head Towards The Left Or Start Your Day From The Back Of The Park

People tend to naturally go to the right when they enter the park and ride to the attraction closest to the entrance. You’ll find fewer crowds if you go left or start at the back of the park.

Get A Free Cup Of Water In The Parks

Make sure that you are not dehydrated, especially in the summer.

You can always ask for a cup of water at a counter service restaurant or find water filling stations near some restrooms. 

Bring some lemonade drink mix or water drop with you if you are picky about water taste.

Ask Cast Members To Take Pictures Of Your Party With Your Own Camera

You do not have to pay for a PhotoPass to take a picture. Just ask a cast member, and they’ll take a photo with your own camera!

Be Prepared To Wait In Line A Lot

Avatar Flight of Passage Queue (Animal Kingdom)
Avatar Flight of Passage Queue

With FastPasses gone, expect to wait longer in lines if you’re not buying the Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lane Selections.

Prepare games for your kids (and adults!) to play while waiting in line. Download some game apps or movies on your phone or iPad.

If you prefer less screen time, play a scavenger hunt card game like Skillmatics Card Game: Found It! in line.

Another tip is to bring your own food or snack for a recharge.

You can also plan for your next meal and mobile order before the reservation time slot fills up.

Use The Single Rider Line

Disney World Tips- TestTrack
Test Track (EPCOT)

The Disney World single rider lines can be a great way to save time and avoid some of the crowds. If you’re traveling with a group and don’t mind being separated for a bit, using the single-rider line can be a great way to get on some of the popular rides faster. Lining up in the Single Rider line will significantly reduce your wait time and create time for another ride!

Get In Line For Popular Attractions At The Last Minute

Hop in line 10-15 minutes before the park closes, and you’ll be able to ride that attraction even if the wait time is 60 minutes or even more. This is an excellent tip for those “big rides” like Avatar Flight of Passage, Star Wars: Millennium Falcon – Smugglers Run, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and more.

Buy The Merchandise If You Like It

Disney World Tips- Pooh EPCOT
United Kingdom Pavillion Shop (EPCOT)

Some merchandise is only available at that location or can sell out quickly. When in doubt, purchase the item and return it later.

Take Breaks In Between

Disney World Tips- AK Lodge Giraffe
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney’s Yacht Club

There are so many things to do at the park you might forget to take a break in between.

Go to rest spots, watch a show, or book a table service restaurant to sit down.

Great shows to watch in Magic Kingdom are:

  • Carousel of Progress
  • the Enchanted Tiki Room
  • Hall of Presidents

If you want to take a break without the crowd, head on over to a nearby resort. Take the monorail to one of the monorail Disney resorts if you’re at Magic Kingdom.

If you’re at EPCOT, you can walk to one of the Disney resorts from the International Gateway Entrance to Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, Disney’s Beach Club, or Disney’s Yacht Club.

Visit the Animal Kingdom Lodge, where you can watch animals from one of the on-property savannahs.

Taking a quick break at one of these Disney hotels will help you escape the busy Disney parks.

Don’t Overplan

Disney World is a place where magic can happen at any moment. While having a plan is essential, it’s also important to be flexible and go with the flow. Don’t over-plan your Disney World vacation, and you’ll be able to enjoy all the magic that Disney has to offer.

It’s nearly impossible to ride all the attractions and watch all the shows in just one day. Just pick a few must-do attractions and shows with your family.

Make Sure That Your Kids Are Tall Enough For The Rides They Want To Ride On

Disney World Tips- Dinosaur AK
TriceraTop Spin (Animal Kingdom)

If you’re headed to Disney World with kids, it’s important to know the height requirements for the attractions.

You do not want your kid to be hyped up about going on the ride, only to find out they aren’t tall enough to ride it at the last moment.

You can find a list of Disney World’s height requirements on their website.

Review The Rides Beforehand With Your Kids

Reviewing the rides is optional but if your child gets frightened with sudden movements/sounds/lights, watch the ride-on POV of the attraction with your child. This is a great way to make sure they feel comfortable riding it. This tip also goes for adults with anxiety. Knowing beforehand can make a real difference. 

Skip the Fireworks

If you’re not a fan of fireworks, there’s no need to stay glued to your spot on the ground during the show. Instead, take advantage of the shorter standby queues at the rides and enjoy the attraction! You might be surprised at how many attractions you can squeeze in during that time.

Fully Explore the Parks

Disney World Tips- Donald Duck Signature HS
Donald Duck Signature at Hollywood Yard of Fame (Hollywood Studios)
Disney Tips - Tangled Rest Area MK
Tangled Rest Area (Magic Kingdom)
Tree of Life AK
Tree of Life (Animal Kingdom)

When you visit a theme park, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the rides and attractions. But don’t forget to take some time to enjoy the more minor details of the park as well. If you take the time to look around, there’s a lot to discover, from hidden Mickeys to themed objects.

If you’re planning to visit during the holiday season, the parks are filled with Christmas decorations!

And who knows, you might find something you would never have noticed otherwise. So the next time you’re at a theme park, take a few minutes to slow down and explore your surroundings. You never know what you might find.

Magic Kingdom Tips

Cinderella Castle (Magic Kingdom)

Take A Photo From The Side Or Behind The Cinderella Castle

Back of Castle (Magic Kingdom)

If there is a crowd in front of the castle, try taking a photo from behind the castle. You might be able to take pictures without the crowd.

Ride Astro Orbiter, Dumbo The Flying Elephant, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad At Night

The dramatic lights of big thunder make the ride more thrilling, and you’ll be able to enjoy stunning views of the park when riding the Dumbo and Astro Orbiter at night.


Fireworks Contemporary Resort
Fireworks from the California Grill and Lounge (Disney’s Contemporary Resort)

Where can I watch the fireworks?

If you don’t mind staking out 45 minutes to an hour before the show, I would recommend watching the fireworks from the following area:

  • Center view right in front of the Cinderella Castle (“seated spot”)
  • Behind the Partners Statue
  • Main Street, U.S.A.

Don’t want to wait and don’t mind having an obstructed view? Check out the following locations:

  • Swiss Family Treehouse
  • Back of the Cinderella Castle
  • Dumbo The Flying Elephant Ride
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover

Want to watch from outside the park?

  • The TTC dock and beach at the Polynesian Resort are great places to watch. 
  • If you have a DVC member in your party, you can watch the fireworks from the Top of the World Lounge in the Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Don’t mind spending money?

  • Dessert Parties
  • Depending on which dessert party you choose, you’ll be able to watch the fireworks from inside the park at the Plaza Garden or the Tomorrowland Terrace patio.
  • Fireworks Cruise and Dessert Cruise
  • You’ll be able to watch fireworks from the water!
  • California Grill and Lounge at the Contemporary Resort 
  • If you’re planning on dining there, dine during the fireworks show. You’ll be able to watch the fireworks while sitting down at a table! Note: California Grill released a 50th Anniversary Celebration Menu that offers a 3-course menu that allows you to watch the Disney Enchantment nighttime show at Magic Kingdom from the 15th floor. (Dress Code Required)
  • Celebration at the Top: 50th Flavors & Fireworks Cocktail Party at the Contemporary Resort
  • At this cocktail party, you’ll be able to watch the fireworks from a private observation deck reserved for event guests at $129 per person. (Dress Code Required)

Stay For The Kiss Goodnight

Stay around Magic Kingdom for 30 minutes after the park closes. You’ll be able to watch Kiss Goodnight at Cinderella Castle.

The Kiss Goodnight at Disney’s Magic Kingdom is a lovely way to end your day at the park. The castle is lit up, and the music is beautiful as you say goodbye to the park for the night.

Hollywood Studios Tips

Tower of Terror
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (Hollywood Studios)
Nighttime Show (Hollywood Studios)

Make Reservations For Droid Depot And Savi’s Workshop

Droid Depot
Droid Depot (Hollywood Studios)

Love Star Wars? Make a reservation for Droid Depot, where you can build your own droid. Or Savi’s Workshop, where you can create your own lightsaber. Or even both at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! Make a reservation beforehand because walk-ins may not be accepted. Reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance, just like dining reservations.

Keep Checking If Star Wars: Rise Of The Resistance Virtual Queue Comes Back

Disney World has announced that they are pausing virtual queues for the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Ride at Hollywood Studios and now switching to a standby queue. Great! But note that they are “pausing,” meaning that virtual queues may return, so keep an eye out for any updates.

If it’s a must-do attraction for your family, consider purchasing the Individual Lightning Lane Selections. 


EPCOT spaceship earth
Spaceship Earth (EPCOT)

Visit The Kidcot Fun Stops

Kidcot is a fun activity where you collect activity cards at each country throughout the World Showcase. Each fun stop is different and exciting, so if your kids love scavenger hunt activities, definitely check it out. You’ll find a Kidcot Fun Stop at every international pavilion.

Visit the Sea Base

The Seas Nemo
The Seas (EPCOT)
Sea Base EPCOT
Sea Base (EPCOT)

Need to take a quick break at EPCOT? The Sea Base is a great indoor area filled with large aquariums. It’s home to many marine lives, from fish to sharks! 

The Sea Base is located in the World Nature section. You can access the Sea Base without riding the Seas with Nemo & Friends attraction. Just enter through the gift shop located in the building, and you’ll find the Sea Base ahead.

Keep Checking If Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure Virtual Queue Comes Back

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure (EPCOT)

Disney World has announced that they are pausing virtual queues for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and switching to a standby queue for now, just like the Rise of the Resistance Ride in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Note that they are “pausing,” meaning that virtual queues may return, so keep an eye out for any updates.

If it’s a must-do attraction for your family, consider purchasing the Individual Lightning Lane Selections. 

Review How The Virtual Queue Works For Guardian’s Of The Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind Ride

If you’re planning to ride the Guardian’s of the Galaxy, be sure to review how the virtual queue system works before heading to the park, as there are no standby queues for this ride.

Consider purchasing the Individual Lightning Lane Selections if Guardian’s of the Galaxy is a must-do attraction for your party.

Fireworks/Nighttime Show

Harmonious Spectacular
EPCOT Harmonious Spectacular (EPCOT)

Watch from the World Showcase

You’ll pretty much be able to see it from any country at the world showcase, but there are a few places that I would recommend watching from:

  • The World Showcase Plaza (or from behind either store of Port of Entry or Disney Traders)
  • From the sides of the American Gardens Theatre
  • The second floor of the Mitsukoshi Department Store in the Japan Pavilion
  • The bridge between France and the United Kingdom
  • In between Norway and Mexico

Watch from a Restaurant

  • La Hacienda de San Angel at Mexico Pavilion
  • Tokyo Dining at Japan Pavilion

Book a Dining Package or Dessert Party (when it becomes available)

  • Rose & Crown Fireworks Dining Package 
  • Spice Road Table Fireworks Dining Package
  • Frozen Ever After Dessert Party (currently unavailable)

Watch from Outside the Park

  • Bridge between Beach Club and Boardwalk Inn
  • Rooftop Toppolino’s Terrace at Riviera Resort
  • Rooftop Restaurant at Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort

Animal Kingdom Tips

tree of life
Tree of Life (Animal Kingdom)

Visit Kilimanjaro Safari In The Morning

Want to see lots of animals? Line up for Kilimanjaro Safari during the morning hours. The animals are usually more awake at this time because they typically feed in the morning.

Visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Sanaa (Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge)

Animal Kingdom Lodge is a beautiful resort home to many exotic animals. I recommend taking a quick break at this lodge when visiting Animal Kingdom.

The lodge is also home to some of the best Disney restaurants, including Boma, Jiko, and Sanaa.

Visit Pandora At Night

Pandora is so beautiful at night with its glowing lights and sounds of drums, waterfall, and night creatures. Make sure to visit before leaving the park. 

Bonus Tip: Bring some glow-in-the-dark face paint or items for your children! Everything glows at Pandora and these glow-in-the-dark items look amazing!

Have FUN!

Mickey at Town Square
Mickey at Town Square Theater (Magic Kingdom)

This is the last and most important tip that I will give you! There will be times when something doesn’t go right during your Disney trip. Be flexible for changes. In the end, it’s all about having fun during your trip. 

What Next?

Well, that’s a list of my favorite Disney World tips and tricks I certainly wish I had known before my first Walt Disney World Vacation. 

Thank you so much for reading this post.

Don’t forget to share this post with your friends – they may find it helpful on their next Disney trip!

If you’re looking for more information about Disney, check out our other posts below.

I hope you and your family will have a fantastic time at Disney World!

Planning a trip to Disney World can seem overwhelming. Well, it was for me, especially on my first trip. Here’s a planning guide I came up with after planning multiple trips to Disney World for my friends, families, and myself! Feel free to skip or change some steps to best fit for your Disney World vacation!  

Important Updates:

  • Disney’s Magical Express now discontinued (no free transportation options between the airport and Disney Resort)
  • FastPass+ replaced with Genie+
  • Extra Magic Hours replaced with Early Theme Park Entry (Disney Resort hotel guests and select other hotel guests can enter the parks 30 minutes early)
  • Extended Evening Theme Park Hours available for onsight guests at Deluxe and Deluxe Villa resorts
  • Now selling “park-specific pricing” for single-day tickets (1-day, 1-park), which does not require any Park Pass Reservations.
  • Park Pass Reservations are needed for date-based tickets, Annual Pass, and Florida Resident Ticket for trips before January 9, 2024
  • Disney After Hours Events returned
  • Park Hopping hours start after 2 PM
  • Advanced Dining Reservations are available 60 days in advance (180 days before the update)
  • Disney Dining Plan returning on January 9, 2024

1. When to Go

Partners Statue (Magic Kingdom)- Planning a Trip to Disney World
Partners Statue (Magic Kingdom)

So when should I plan to visit Disney World? 

This really depends on how flexible your schedule is. 

If you can only go on federal holidays, see if you can add some extra days before or after those dates. 

If your dates are flexible, here are some factors to keep in mind to narrow down your choices.


Are there any special events that you want to go to?

Here are some events to take into consideration:

  • EPCOT Festivals (four in total)
    • International Festival of the Arts
    • International Flower & Garden Festival
    • International Food & Wine Festival
    • International Festival of the Holidays
  • Halloween at Disney World
    • Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (additional ticket purchase required)
  • Christmas Holiday at Disney World
    • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (additional ticket purchase required)


It’s best to consult a crowd calendar when choosing dates.

As a general idea, Disney is least crowded during: 

  • January ~ February
  • September
    • be sure to watch out for 3-day weekends and special events (such as Epcot festivals and Disney marathons)
  • December (before the holidays)

Remember that the higher the crowd, the higher the price.

Check Park Pass Reservation

Update: Starting December 8th, 2022 Disney is implementing “park-specific pricing” for single-day tickets (1-day, 1-park). This means that you’ll need to check if they still have tickets available for the park that you plan on going to.

Park Pass Reservations are needed for date-based tickets, Annual Pass, and Florida Resident Ticket for trips before January 9, 2024

Disney World currently uses a Park Pass Reservation System where guests must make a reservation in advance for each park they are planning on visiting. Make sure that the park passes are available for the dates you are planning to go. 

2. Choose Where to Stay 

Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort -Planning a Trip to Disney World
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort

Disney Resort or Off-Site Hotel (non-Disney Resort)

First, ask yourself whether you want to stay at a Disney Resort or an off-site hotel (non-Disney Resort).

Benefits of staying at a Disney Resort include:

  • Free transportation to and from parks and Disney Springs
  • More time in the parks
    • Early Park Entry – Enter any theme park 30 minutes early.
    • Extended Evening Hours (for Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts) – Stay in select parks longer on certain days.
  • Early access to dining reservations
  • MagicBands and MagicBand+
    • You can purchase certain MagicBands at a discounted price, use the MagicBand as a room key, enter parks, and purchase merchandise and food.
  • Free Parking for theme parks and resorts!
    • Note: You will have to pay for resort parking.  Starting from January 10, 2023, you can stay at a Disney resort hotel with complimentary overnight self-parking!
  • Disney-themed resort
  • Dining Plan (available after January 9, 2024)

Benefits of staying at an Off-Site Hotel include:

  • Less expensive 
  • More room space 
  • Loyalty rewards
    • Earn points if you’re a member. 
    • Use your points to stay at the hotel.  
  • Early Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours for select off-site hotels 

Obviously, the benefits will differ for each off-site hotel, such as complimentary continental breakfast, so check those benefits beforehand. 

Off-site hotels are often cheaper than Disney Resorts, but you may not save as much, especially if you’re considering renting a car (rental fee, parking fee, gas fee). So make sure to compare the total cost before deciding. 

Questions to Ask 

With so many resorts to choose from, it can be hard to determine which one is right for you. The “best resort” will differ for every person.  

Here are some questions to consider when choosing:

  • What’s your budget?
    • Disney categorizes its resorts into four: value, moderate, deluxe, and deluxe villas. If you have a lower budget, consider a Disney value resort or an off-site hotel.
    • Have a tight budget but want to stay at one of the luxurious Disney Resorts? Consider renting Disney Vacation Club points to stay at a deluxe villa.
      • Disney Vacation Club or DVC is a points-based timeshare program where members purchase points yearly and use those points to stay at a Disney Resort. At David’s DVC rental, you’re able to rent points even if you’re not a DVC member! Check the “cost calculator” tab and see how much you can save.
  • How many people are you going with?
    • If you’re traveling with a larger group, consider a Disney Deluxe Villa Resort, a suite-type room for an off-site hotel, or Airbnb/Vacation Home Rental
  • Are you going with the kids? If so, how old are they?
    • A Disney Resort might be a better choice if you’re traveling with kids because of its Disney theme. Younger kids might like the “cartoony” Disney theme at value resorts more than the subtle Disney theme at moderate and deluxe resorts.
  • How long are you staying?/Will you spend a lot of time at the hotel?
    • If you’re only going to be there for a short time or at the parks the whole stay, you probably won’t need to care about the hotel amenities. 
    • If you plan to go to the resort pool, remember that Disney Value Resorts doesn’t have waterslides. 
  • Which transportation do you want to use?
    • There are many different transportation options for Disney Resort guests; buses, boats, Disney Skyliner (gondola system), and monorails. See what type of transportation is available for each Disney Resort. 
    • If you’re also looking at an off-site hotel, see what type of transportation the hotel offers. 
  • Which park are you going to visit the most?
    • If you plan on visiting Epcot or Hollywood Studios more than once, consider a resort near the Boardwalk where you can walk to the park or use a water taxi. Or consider a resort that offers the Skyliner service.

3. How to Get There

Airplane - Planning a Trip to Disney World

There are many ways to get to Disney World; by car, train or plane. 

If you are considering a road trip, add some extra days to rest when planning your Disney World vacation!

4. Where You Want to Go

Slinky Dog Dash- Planning a Trip to Disney World
Slinky Dog Dash (Hollywood Studios)

At this point, you want to have a general idea of where you want to go each day. Which parks do you want to visit? Visiting any water parks? If you only have two days to go to the parks, figure out which parks you want to go to or if you want to do all the parks by park hopping. 

Any Harry Potter fans? Schedule a day at Universal Studios during your Disney World vacation. Remember, there’s more to explore in Orlando. 

4a. Attractions/Shows/Characters

Look through the available rides and shows with your family and determine which theme parks you want to go to. Are there any characters your family wants to see? 

5. Check Park Hours

Park Hours are different for each park every day, so be sure to look at the park hours to schedule a rough idea of what dates you want to go for each park. 

*Note: If you’re staying at a Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resort, be sure to check when those Extended Evening Hours are. 

6. Book a Hotel

Lion King Family Suite (Disney's Art of Animation Resort)- Planning a Trip to Disney World
Lion King Family Suite (Disney’s Art of Animation Resort)

Now that you have finished researching, it’s time to book the hotel you wish to stay in. 

If you decide to stay at an off-site hotel, reserve from their website.

For Disney Resorts, I recommend booking from their official website or booking a hotel through a Disney-authorized travel agent. 

Reserving from the Official Walt Disney World Website

If you plan on staying at one of the Disney Resorts you’ll either need to make a “room only” reservation or buy a Disney World vacation package, which bundles your hotel room and park tickets.

I recommend reserving for the “room only” if there are no special offers such as discounts or free dining (currently unavailable). Most often times you’ll be able to buy cheaper park tickets from other third-party sites, which I’ll mention later on.

Also note that, room-only reservations allow you to cancel 5 days prior to the arrival date (6 days for online booking) while vacation packages will require you to cancel 30 days prior to your arrival date to receive a full refund. For detailed information make sure to check the refund policy on the official Disney World website!

Reserving through a Travel Agent

Well, why reserve through a travel agent? There are so many benefits, and some of them include:

  • Disney pros
    • Disney-authorized travel agents are pretty much Disney experts! You can directly ask them questions you have when planning.
  • Save Money
    • Travel agents will change your vacation package when better discounts are released for you! You won’t have to do a single thing.
  • No additional cost
    • Travel agents earn commissions from Disney, so you won’t have to pay anything extra! 

Some travel agents I recommend are:

7. Purchase Park Tickets 

Update: Starting December 8th, 2022 Disney is implementing “park-specific pricing” for single-day tickets (1-day, 1-park).

This means that a theme park reservation will automatically be made when you purchase a ticket. So you won’t need to make additional park pass reservations! Here is the approximate pricing breakdown for tickets when this new system comes into effect on December 8, 2022:

  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom $109 – $159
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios $124 – $179
  • EPCOT $114 – $179
  • Magic Kingdom $124 – $189

For dates before January 9, 2024, Park Pass Reservations are needed if you are purchasing date-based tickets. No reservations are needed for trips on or after January 9, 2024. Click here for more information.

Time to purchase those park tickets!

Make sure to check the Park Pass Reservation system to see if the dates are available.

I recommend buying them from a third-party authorized seller to save some money.

Some recommendations include:

After purchasing park tickets immediately make those park pass reservations! You don’t want to wait until the last minute only to find out that there are no park pass reservations available!

8. Book Transportation

Book Flight/Train tickets

Book for any transportation you will need to get to and from Disney World; plane or train.

Airport Transportation To/From Disney Resort

Disney Resorts no longer offer their Magical Express complimentary airport shuttle, so make sure to figure out how you will get to your resort from the airport if you’re flying to Orlando.

Here are some of the options you have:

Car Rental

If you’re planning on renting a car in Orlando, make sure to make a reservation.

My Car Rental Service Recommendations:

9. Purchase a MagicBand or MagicBand+

I highly recommend purchasing a MagicBand or MagicBand+ if you’re staying at a Disney Resort. MagicBands are waterproof wristbands that can be used as a room key (if staying at Disney Resort), park pass, PhotoPass, and charge food and merchandise purchases to your room (if staying at a Disney Resort). 

Disney Resort guests can buy select MagicBands at a discounted price. If you don’t see a design you like, you could always buy them in the parks, Disney Springs, or on ShopDisney.

MagicMobile is a service where you can use your phone instead of the MagicBands. So if you’re not staying at a Disney Resort, I would definitely check out that service. 

Note: Disney announced that MagicBand+ would be launching on July 27, 2022. MagicBand+ will include all of the features of the MagicBand plus interactive features that guests can enjoy throughout the park.  

10. Make Dining Reservations

Garden Grill- Planning a Trip to Disney World
Garden Grill (Epcot)

Make your dining reservations!!! I know some friends who didn’t make any reservations thinking that they’d be able to dine without any reservations. Needless to say, they were unable to eat at places they wanted to and had to wait for hours at table service restaurants. 

You can start booking dining reservations 60 days in advance. If you’re staying at a Disney Resort, you’ll be able to book 60 days in advance of your vacation arrival date for the whole stay. 

Plan out which restaurants you want to eat at ahead of time and what day and time you would like to go.

Tips: I would recommend booking only one or two restaurants a day. I remember making three reservations in one day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and was worrying in the attraction standby line if we’d make it on time. My family was pretty much running to all of our reservations. 

11. Genie+ and Individual Attraction Selection

Disney has replaced FastPass with Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Selections.

Note that these two services are not free

The Genie+ costs from $15 per guest per day at Disney World, similar to FastPass+, which allows you to skip the regular line and instead use the “Lightning Lane” for certain rides. You can only make one reservation at a time and choose the next ride after you tap in and ride the attraction or after 120 minutes. 

Individual Lightning Lane Selections lets you use the “Lightning Lane” for up to 2 popular rides like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (Hollywood Studios) and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Magic Kingdom).

So there are three options available

Option #1: Purchase Genie+

Option #2: Purchase Individual Lightning Lane Selections

Option #3: Purchase both Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Selections

Purchasing or not depends on your budget, if your must-do rides are on the list for Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lane Selections, and/or how much time you have at the parks. 

Click HERE for more information about Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane.

12. Make a Daily Itinerary

I’m not saying to schedule every hour of your day. Just have a general idea of what you want to do for each day at the parks:

  • Must-do rides (1~3 rides)
  • Must-do shows/fireworks
  • Dining reservations 
  • Characters to See

Tips: Don’t over plan! It’s just impossible to do everything in one day. Ask the whole family or whoever you’re going with your top 3 must-dos for the day at the park, and if you complete that list, great! If not, that can be one of your to-dos for your next future Disney World vacation.

13. Download and Learn How to Use the My Disney Experience App

The My Disney Experience App is going to be your friend, from checking wait times for rides, mobile ordering, making Genie+ ride selections, joining the virtual queue for rides, and more! 

Download the app and familiarize yourself with the app and its features before your vacation.

14. Link your MagicBand to your Disney Account

If you decide to purchase a MagicBand, you’ll need to set up your MagicBand. Sign in to your Disney account and link your MagicBand.

15. Start Packing

Make your own packing list, and start packing for your Disney World vacation!

Be sure to include the following Disney World essentials:

  • MagicBands/Tickets
  • Resort/Dining Confirmation (screenshots/paper)
  • Portable Battery Charger
  • Any of Your Disney Planning Materials

16. Adding Some Extra “Magic” 

Fireworks at Magic Kingdom - Planning a Trip to Disney World

The following are some extras that can make your vacation more “magical”:

Memory Maker

Disney offers a photo package that allows you to download all of the Disney photos taken by PhotoPass photographers and photos from rides.  

Dessert Parties

This private event allows guests to view fireworks and nighttime shows from a semi-private area and enjoy delicious treats!

Dessert Parties:

  • Magic Kingdom
    • Magic Kingdom 50th Fireworks Dessert Parties: Disney Enchantment Pre-Party or After Party
    • Magic Kingdom 50th Fireworks Dessert Parties: Disney Enchantment Treats & Seats 
  • Hollywood Studios
    • Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party (Look for Updates)
    • Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Dessert Party (Look for Updates)
    • Fantasmic! Dessert & VIP Viewing Experience (Look for Updates)

Dining Packages

Dining Packages allow guests to dine at select restaurants and view the nighttime show or event from a reserved area. 

Dining Packages:

  • Hollywood Studios
    • Fantasmic! Dining Package
  • Epcot
    • Rose & Crown Fireworks Dining Package
    • Spice Road Table Fireworks Dining Package
    • EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival – Garden Rocks Dining Packages
    • EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival – Eat to the Beat Dining Packages
    • EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays – Candlelight Processional Dining Packages
    • EPCOT International Festival of the Arts – Disney on Broadway Dining Packages

Fireworks Cruises

Guests can watch those fireworks from the water without the crowd!


  • Specialty Cruises
  • Ferrytale Fireworks: A Sparkling Dessert Cruise

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

Any princesses or princes between the ages of 3 and 12 in the party? Consider reserving a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique experience for them. Fairy Godmother’s Apprentices will sprinkle magic to transform them into a Disney princess or prince.

The boutique at Magic Kingdom reopened on August 25, 2022, while boutiques in the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney Springs will remain temporarily closed (look for updates).

Star Wars Extras 

Any Star Wars fan in the party? You can create your own droid at Droid Depot and/or lightsaber at Savi’s Workshop in Hollywood Studios. Reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance for both.

VIP Tours

Want an unforgettable Disney World vacation? Book a VIP Tour. With a VIP Tour, you’ll be able to enjoy the perfect Disney World itinerary for your group; ride all the rides without the wait and snag the best seats for rides and shows. You can visit multiple parks during the VIP tour and shorten your stay. 

VIP tours may seem costly at first, but because you can shorten your vacation by visiting multiple parks, you might save a little bit of money because Disney resorts can be expensive. 

Calculate the total cost of your entire trip with and without the VIP tour, and see if you might actually save money. 

Note: Park tickets are not included in the price of the VIP tour.

Magic At Your Door

Want to have unique Disney merchandise sent to your door before heading out on your vacation? Check out Magic At Your Door and order a Disney Magic Box Subscription or a One Time Disney Magic Box to get your family excited for the trip and pack those merchandise with you! 

What Next? 

Hopefully, I have made the planning part for your Disney World vacation a little bit easier by breaking it into steps. Remember to talk with your family or whoever you’re going with and have fun during the process! 

Be sure to check out Disney World Tips before heading out on your vacation.