Time is money. How do you save time, at “the happiest place on earth,” and still have a fun?
Do you like waking up at 7am on your vacation? Do you french braid your hair and slip into a character themed outfit?
Do you coordinate your drive through the grand entrance of MK whilst simultaneously blaring “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes” through your car speakers? Or are you normal?
After entering the park, you next spend approximately 10-20 minutes following the hand signals of the park attendants to a spot. This also includes getting out of the car, and double checking you have every spare coin you can conjure up.
Yes, I agree, it is a lovely, joyous occasion when you see your BFF, or sibling say their vows and live happily ever after. Have you taken someone to Disney for their first time? Hands down, one of my top 5 favorite Disney vacation moments. If you love Disney as much as I do, you probably lost track of how many times you visited.
Putting aside those sappy, wonderful moments, Disney can get expensive. For many, this makes Disney less than the “happiest place on earth” and more of the “money sucking vortex.”
While their Annual Pass is a pretty sweet deal, not all of us can afford to splurge on one, let alone two! Just one park admission ticket can feel...golden.
So, how do we live la vida loca?!? I don’t know about you, but when I go to Disney, I want it all! The rides, the food, a plush animal, sparkly Minnie ears, a Mickey Mouse Dream Bar, and new coffee mugs. Then to top it off I want to go to Disney Springs, eat all the things, drink the Princess themed drinks, and buy enough Disney Candy for the next century.
How can we have it all?
Five Ways I Make The Most From My Trip
1. Don’t wait in lines
I can’t believe people are still doing this. Until I went with a friend recently, I had not stood in a line in over 10 years. I hate wasting my time, in every aspect of my life, but especially on vacations where I know my time is limited. You need to book a fast pass in advance. Quick Fast Pass myth buster: fast passes do not cost extra money. It’s a matter of “the early bird gets the worm.” Unless you have a killer connection at Disney, you must plan ahead. Download My Disney Experience app, download more than 3 fast passes per day and frequently check wait times on your phone once you’re inside the park. Seriously, why are you waiting 125 minutes for a ride? Do not wait in lines unless you have to.
Disclaimer: the “Avatar Flight of Passage” ride at Animal Kingdom is definitely worth all 125 minutes I waited in line for. I know people who can attest to this with their tears.
2. Order food on your phone
You could stand in a long line of people, and become increasingly angry and sweaty, because everyone got hungry at the same time. Or download the My Disney Experience app, where you can order food straight from your phone, by the time you get to the destination it’ll be ready.
Chugging an overpriced bottle of Dasani in under 60 seconds hurts my soul. However, heat exhaustion and dehydration are nothing to mess around with. What do you do? Bring a refillable bottle, or get free tap water.
As long as it’s not in a glass container, and you don’t use a straw (harmful to wildlife) you are good to go.
4. Travel During Off Season
If at all possible try to plan your Disney trip in September, the beginning of October or the first week in December. Or plan to go mid-week instead of the weekend. Fantastic reasons why: significantly less crowded, less brutal temperatures, less expensive. Disney Parks are more expensive during the months of May, June and July. You can do a lot more, when there are less people.
Plus, did you notice it’s not 110 degrees?
5. Schedule a Nap
I’m dead serious, it’s no fun being at a Disney park for 10 + hours, if you don’t have Disney park stamina. Did you know you can leave the park and come back? If you woke up super early, and theme parked hard core all morning, you might need a break. There is no shame in going to your hotel to eat, nap and recharge. I can think of multiple reasons to do this depending on your family structure or who you are traveling with. Consider these:
- It’s 3pm, you are done with rides and attractions, and all that’s left on the list are the parade and fireworks.
- You’ve been wearing the same clothes all day, and you have a double date with Beauty & The Beast.
Personally I have way more energy and a better attitude if I plan the morning at a park, take a nap mid-day, and change clothes for my dinner plans.
This way I feel refreshed and photo -that I’ll forget to take- ready.
Lastly, a bonus hack: RELAX. It's Disney, it's full of families, you might even be with your family. Some times things go wrong, this isn't the place to spazz out. Laugh it off, and grab a Dole Whip.
Remember it's "the happiest place on earth."