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Save Time and Money with these Disney Hacks

girl at disney world

Are you planning your trip to Disney World and looking for Disney hacks to save money and time? You’ve come to the right place. I did so much research leading up to my trip I combined all of it here to help others plan their trip.

Before we dive into the Disney hacks let’s get the number one question out of the way. Should we stay in a Disney resort or not?

This all depends on how many are in your group and what your budget is like. I will have another post on this soon but for a short answer if you are going with a large group of 5 or more I would stay off resort.

When you stay on resort each party has to get a room (the suites are very expensive and hard to book) whereas if you book an Airbnb you can all share one house with multiple rooms.

The Airbnbs in Orlando are very close to the park and most have pools, hot tubs, and pool tables. They run around $100 to $200 a night. They all have a full kitchen, washers, and dryers, and all of the amenities that home can offer. A hotel room is not going to have that.

If you are going with a group with multiple families you can still all hangout once back from the parks or on your days off together instead of in separate rooms.

family at disney world Floridia

Staying on Resort

You do get extended hours for staying at the park and the magic bands are free. Also, you do not have to pay for parking or transportation. Magic brands are not a must they are just extra easy instead of using the card they supply you with.

Parking is $25 per day, and you will have to Uber or get a rental car if you choose to stay off resort. The resorts do shuttle you for free from the airport as well.

We took days off to hang by the pool and explore the area and loved having the rental car which we used for grocery and Target runs (they are within miles too).

The meal plans are expensive and are not completely all-inclusive you will still have to buy food and snacks. All in all, staying off resort for us was cheaper. We had 5 adults and 3 children in our group. Each trip will be different and ultimately it is up to you.

This post does contain affiliate links and I may earn a small commission if you choose to make a purchase.

girl at disney with gold sparkle ears

Best Disney Hacks

Disney World can be very overwhelming for first-timers or groups with a lot of kids. These Disney hacks will help your trip go extra smooth. Trust me planning ahead of time will help tremendously.

Go Left

When you head into the parks it has been proven that the lines are shorter on the left side. Disney knows most people go right and place the main attractions there. So to avoid longer lines head left!

The first example you will find is right at the turnstiles at park opening time. The lines on the left-hand side are almost always half as long as those found on the right. After entering the Magic Kingdom, you will see that a huge majority of the guests head to the right after hitting the hub. Granted, many of them are going to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or to meet Anna and Elsa, but this concept has held true many years before those attractions opened. Unless you specifically need to get to Fantasyland or Tomorrowland at that time, I highly suggest making the left turn toward Adventureland.

Tour Guide Tuesday

Refillable Cup

Disney offers a cup that you can refill with fountain drinks for free. You can bring water into the park but it will be nice to have a soda or tea as well. Buy the cup your first day and reuse throughout your visits. Even split the cost and share the cup!

Rain Gear

It rains a lot in Florida and a lot of people say to pack ponchos. Save the room in your bag and only buy the poncho if you have to at Disney. They are only $10 there and can be a souvenir too. If you do a quick search on Amazon they are all around $10 o might as well only get one if you need it and get a Disney one.

disney world castle

Free Fast Passes

Make sure you are extra nice to all of the cast members they can hand out free fast passes! I mean you should be really nice to them any way its the happiest place on Earth but just keep it in mind.

Costco for Tickets

This hack I cannot say I used myself but while doing my research I came across it quite often. Look into it before you buy elsewhere!

disney hacks shoe organizer on stroller filled with refillable cups

Stroller Organizer

This is just plain genius! You know some really cool mom probably came up with this because kids need so much stuff and she was tired of grabbing stuff from the bottom of the stroller. I recommend this, shoe organizer for the stroller from Amazon because it has hooks and you don’t need zip ties like the one in the photo.

And look they have the refillable cups! Two of my favorite Disney hacks!

Booking Fast Passes Time

When you stay on resort you can book fast passes 60 days in advance. Off resort is 30 days. I learned to set my alarm and book at 7m on those days for best results.

Fast Passes After Noon

I have read over a dozen times to only use the fast passes in the afternoon when the lines are longer. So don’t book them till afternoon.

Portable Phone Charger

Since you will be using your phone to take photos, use the Disney app, and schedule fast passes peoples phones die fast. I recommend using a portable phone charger like this one. That one does multiple devices at once and multiple phone types.

Dessert

If you want to sit down and enjoy the character restaurants but don’t want to pay for the whole meal just have dessert. That way you can sit, take a break, and enjoy the characters without spending a lot on the meal.

Scavenger Hunt

This Disney hack is one of my favorites. I only came across it a couple of times in my research so I don’t think it’s very common. Disney has a fun interactive scavenger hunt call Treasures of the 7 Seas.

Captain Jack Needs Your Help

Head over to The Crow’s Nest and pick up a talisman that magically allows you to read a secret treasure map. Then it’s all hands on deck as you fend off enemies, evade capture and hunt for treasure.

From Disney.com:

Captain Jack Needs Your Help

Head over to The Crow’s Nest and pick up a talisman that magically allows you to read a secret treasure map. Then it’s all hands on deck as you fend off enemies, evade capture and hunt for treasure.

When you complete each mission, you’ll receive a very special treasure finder card. After you collect all 5, you’ll get your hands on the sixth and final card—signed by Captain Jack Sparrow himself.

Calling all marauders: get ready to raid the Treasures of the Seven Seas!

Know Before Ye Go

  • There is no fee to participate.
  • You may start your adventure up until 30 minutes before Adventureland closes.  
  • Use your MagicBand or card or pick up a magic talisman—a special card for this attraction—at The Crow’s Nest in Adventureland.
  • Each of the 5 missions takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.
  • Missions have no time limit. In addition, you can stop and restart each raid at your convenience throughout the day.
beautiful photo of disney world castle

Wilderness Explorer at Animal Kingdom

Another really fun interactive adventure! From Disney:

The Wilderness Must Be Explored!

Set out on a series of fun, nature-themed challenges on your way to becoming an official Wilderness Explorer.

Self-guided activities range from animal observation to learning important wilderness skills. Collect over 25 badges and earn the right to echo the Wilderness Explorer call: Caw! Caw! Roar!

Complete the activities on your own, or take on each task as a group.

Get ready to experience Disney’s Animal Kingdom park in a wild new way!

Start Exploring

To begin, pick up a Wilderness Explorer handbook from headquarters—located on the bridge between the Oasis and Discovery Island—or drop by Wilderness Explorer Troop Leader locations in Africa, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Asia, Dinoland U.S.A. and Pandora – The World of Avatar.

Become a Prince or Princess

Another rare gem that Disney offers is becoming a prince or princess by pulling out the sword. It used to be a whole show but now they have it set up where an alarm rings when someone tries to pull it out. Then a cast member will come out with a crown and make you into a prince or princess.

Pixie Dust

There are many ways to gain magic from pixie dust. One being by stoping at the Barbershop at the Magic Kingdom and asking the Fairy Godmother to sprinkle some pixie dust (aka glitter) on your kid’s hair. They do it for free, and if you time it right you might even get serenaded by the Barber Shop Quartet.

Another way to get the pixie dust in a cast member will surprise you with it. Throughout the day certain cast members will surprise visitors with the magic dust. You may get lucky!

 Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom

A card game that you play while waiting in the FastPass+ line. Pick up the pack of cards at the Firehouse on Main Street USA (right next to the Barber Shop) and the cast members will tell you how to play.

From Disney:

Hades has an evil plan to make Magic Kingdom park his new summer home. He’s enlisted a brigade of Disney baddies—Cruella, Scar, Jafar, Maleficent, Ursula, Yzma, Ratcliffe and Dr. Facilier—to help track down 4 enchanted crystal shards, which are hidden throughout the park. It’s up to you to foil their plans and save the day.

Get ready for spellbinding adventures at every turn!

How to Play: Stop by the Firehouse on Main Street, U.S.A. to sign up and receive your Sorcerer Key Card, Merlin’s mystical map and spell cards.

Study the clues on Merlin’s map to locate 20 Magic Portals situated throughout the park and use your cards to battle Hades’ henchmen—and eventually come spell-to-spell with Hades himself.

Be on the lookout for limited time offering cards sometimes available during park special events.

Know Before You Go

  • Players will receive one map and pack of spell cards per day.
  • Missions last from 20 to 30 minutes, sometimes longer depending on degree of difficulty.
  • Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is included in your theme park admission.

Free Water

Never, ever buy water in the park! Bring your own bottles. You can bring in refillable water bottles that you can refill anywhere. Any quick service place will give it to you for free as well.  You can also ask for a cup of ice, which my kids love too.

Disney World Outfits

Because I am a mom of girls and love to dress up myself here are some fun Disney World outfits and inspo!

How to Plan Disney World Trip

I hope this post helped you plan your next trip to Disney World. I know these hacks will come in handy for you and make your trip even better. Please comment below if you have tried any of these hacks before and tag me in your pictures on Instagram I would love to see them! @hudsonfarmhouse

pinterest graphic for disney world

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