Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Disney World Trip Tips and Tricks

Today's post is all about what we learned on our first Disney trip without family and just us! We learned a lot from transportation to dining plans, to lines. So if that interests you keep on reading! 



1. Where to Stay



I figured we would start off with talking about where to stay when you go to Disney. We stayed at Disney's All-Star Music, this is one of their value resorts which means that it is cheaper than most of the other hotels. Disney offers value, moderate, and deluxe resorts which all have different amenities. One thing I will say about the deluxe resorts is that you are typically closer to the parks and you have easier access to the monorail from MOST of them! 

We chose a value resort because it was just the two of us and we wanted to save money on this vacation wherever we could. I was very impressed with this resort and we did not have any issues at all everything went great from check in to check out! The buses were easy to get too and we never waited longer than 5 minutes for a bus or an Uber from our hotel!

If you are debating staying on or off Disney property I definitely recommend staying on. There are a few amenities that you just won't get staying off of Disney property. One of those is extra magic hours. These are hours either before the park opens or after it closes where the park is open only to those staying on Disney property. A different park will have extra magic hours each day and some will be the morning hours and some will be the night hours, you can check that on their website. These extra magic hours are my favorite because they usually mean smaller crowds, which is always nice. The extra magic hours after the park closes are by far my favorite. Dalton and I spent two hours just running around like we were crazy to get from ride to ride and it was awesome. This is amenities that you will not get staying off property. 

The other benefit of staying on property is early access to fast passes. When you stay on property you can book your fast passes up to 60 days before your trip! This means that you can get the fast passes to those brand new rides so that hopefully you won't have to wait in line as long for! If you stay off of Disney property you can only book fast passes 30 days out. That leaves you with the possibility of A LOT of those in demand fast passes will be gone! 

The last thing I will mention about staying on or off Disney property is that when you stay on Disney property you never have to leave the Disney "bubble" you always feel like everything is right there and like you are in another world. When you stay off property you leave the "bubble" and some of that "magic" seems like it goes away. With that being said, some enjoy leaving that "bubble" and escaping everything for a little while, if that sounds like you I would recommend staying off property! 

2. Transportation to and from the Parks:



When you stay on Disney property you have ultimate access to all of the Disney transportation: boats, buses, monorails, the whole nine, you never have to drive if you don't want too! You can use all of these modes even if you stay off property you will just have to drive to park somewhere to get to them. While the buses are nice and convenient because they are everywhere and they can take you everywhere we typically avoided them and took Uber. We did this because we discovered that Uber was MUCH faster than the buses were and we weren't surrounded and smashed by a bunch of sweaty people. 

Disney does have their own version of Uber called Minnie Vans, these are super cute and come with a car seat, they do come with a hefty price tag though. Also, if you go on the Uber app and scroll to the left when it asks what kind of car you need you will find the option that has a car seat if you need it, which will still be cheaper than the Minnie Vans.

We mainly took Uber over the buses when we were super tired and wanted to get somewhere fast. I think the most that we paid for one Uber was $12 and that was from Epcot to Disney Springs. Most of our trips were under $8. This is totally a personal preference of what you want to do. We personally enjoyed taking the Ubers because they always had air, we found that a lot of the buses were broken when it came to having air. If you don't mind spending a little extra $$ I highly recommend going through with Uber! 

3. Dining Plans and How to Eat Cheap in the Parks: 



Disney likes to advertise their dining plans as one of the most amazing parts of your stay, what they don't advertise is that it can also be one of the most expensive. One of my biggest tips when it comes to dining plans is to really do your research for YOUR family and see what will work best for you! 

You don't always need a dining plan, we did not get one because it would have been $800 more than we would have spent on all of the food it came with. The way we figured this out was that we looked at what park we would be in on which day and we picked a dining plan that we think would work for us. Then we went through that park and looked at the restaurants and chose the ones we would want to eat at. We then chose what we would probably eat based on the dining plan we chose and we did that for each park each day we were there. Once you do all that add it all up and compare it to the cost of the dining plan. If the dining plan is more than what you would be spending on the food, don't do it you will be losing money. If the cost of the dining plan is less than what you would be paying for all of the food do it! You don't want to be losing money, so it's important to figure out what would work best for your family. We worked with a Disney travel agent and she helped us to figure all of this out! The dining plans often work better when you have 4 or more people. We only had 2 and for us, it would not have been worth it! 


We also figured out on the first night that two quick service meals for two people are too expensive and way too much food. We typically got the chicken nugget meal everywhere we went that was quick service because it was easy and we split that and ordered an extra drink. It really is the perfect amount of food for two people and if you get hungry later in the day it is super easy to find a snack in the parks (I recommend the cinnamon roll from Starbucks in all of the parks). This trick saved us a lot of money each meal and I feel like it is something that a lot of people don't realize until it's already too late. While we are on this topic I also recommend doing the Mobile Order feature on the My Disney Experience App (more about this in a second) because the lines are virtually non-existent meaning you can eat faster! All you have to do is click the + sign at the bottom middle and it will bring you to this screen! Simply click order food and go from there! 

4. How to Ride Everything You Want Too: 



The first step to be able to ride all of the rides you want too is to download the My Disney Experience app, it's free and you can literally do everything within the app. The app lets you check wait times for all of the rides in the parks and you can also book your fast passes here (we will talk all about these next!) Since you're able to check the wait times right from your phone you can prevent yourself from walking allllll the way across the park to a ride that has an hour and a half wait time. Whenever we wanted to go ride a ride we would jump on the app and check the wait times and decide if we would want to head over there. The way that we did it is that we typically wouldn't go to any ride that had longer than a 45 min wait. You don't want to spend your entire day in the park just waiting in lines, you want to be able to maximize your time. 

The absolute best time to ride some of the big rides with the long wait times is during the fireworks show. That is assuming that you are okay with missing the fireworks show. We were there for five nights and saw the fireworks show once and we were good with that! The other nights that we were in the Magic Kingdom we were riding big outdoor rides. Big Thunder Mountain definitely gives you some of the coolest views of the Magic Kingdom fireworks! We skipped the other parks fireworks and late shows because we prefer riding on rides instead! One night we saw Epcot's fireworks at dinner and that was super cool! If you have little ones this may not be possible for you because I know how much the kiddos love the fireworks, but if they don't or maybe you don't mind skipping them I totally recommend going to jump on those long wait rides!

I also recommend getting fast passes for the rides with the longest wait times. If you have not been to Disney before and have no idea where to start with this I recommend downloading the app and checking the wait times for everything throughout the days and then the ones with the longest times are probably the ones you're going to want to get fast passes for! 

5. Fast Passes:




Last but definitely not least I want to talk to you guys all about fast passes and why they are so amazing. I will also share what we got fast passes for in each of the parks and if we regret any of our choices to hopefully serve as a guide for you guys! 

If you are unfamiliar with what a fast pass is it is a scheduled hour for you to jump on a ride, essentially saving your place in line. You will enter through a different line than stand-by (which should be right next to stand by) and that line will be MUCH shorter and you will get on the ride faster! You have an hour from when your fast pass starts to scan into the line if you miss your time your fast pass will be gone! It's important to keep up and check your fast pass times. You can book 3 fast passes in advance a day for one park a day! Once you go through those 3 fast passes you can book more, just one at a time until the park closes! We did this a few times just to see what was available and it was super fun! 

If you are staying on Disney property you have access to book your fast passes 60 days in advance before your trip, if you're staying off property you have 30 days in advance to book them. Like I said I recommend looking at wait times on the app before and checking what rides have the longest ones and booking fast passes for those! What you book will depend on you and your group and what you like! Since Dalton and I are older we booked our fast passes for a lot of the roller coasters. If you have younger kids you will probably be booking your fast passes for more slower rides or even character meet and greets. I actually booked a fast pass for a character meet and greet and it was awesome! It only took like 5 minutes in line when normally you would wait for at least 40! 

Below I am going to share the main 3 fast passes that we booked for each park for each day! Hopefully, this will serve as a type of guide for those of you who feel a little lost in where to begin! 

Magic Kingdom: Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Epcot: Soaring, Frozen Ever After, Spaceship Earth
Animal Kingdom: Flight of Passage, Expedition Everest, Dinosaur 
Hollywood Studios: Rock'n Rollercoaster, Slinky Dog Dash, Toy Story Mania

I could sit here and share Disney tips with you guys all day but for now, those are all I got! I hope that these helped you guys and helped you plan your future Disney trip! As usual, if you guys ever have any questions either leave a comment below or just DM me on Instagram and I will be happy to help! I will see you guys on Thursday with all of my Disney outfits that I wore throughout the week!



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