17 Tips for a Stress-Free Disney Vacation from 17 Tips for a Stress-Free Disney Vacation

17 Tips for a Stress-Free Disney Vacation

How do you do Disney without losing your mind? The short answer is “anywhere else.” However, this is not an option when you want to make your children smile and have fun. You can do Disney World ehile staying sane at the same time. You just need some help.

Don’t wait to buy tickets at the gate

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As is the case with most purchases – the sooner you buy tickets, the better. You are not likely to find good deals or a lot of discounts if you purchase your passes three days before you actually get to Disney. It’ll be even worse if you plan to buy them at the gate. Also, Disney usually raises prices every year so purchasing them way ahead of time can help you avoid the hike. 

Use FastPass for popular attractions

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Jump the line at your favorite attractions. Each person can book three FastPasses ahead of time per day. Some of the most popular rides which your kids will definitely want to be on are Peter Pan’s Flight, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, the Kilimanjaro Safari Expedition, and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.  

Budget your money

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Write every expense you’re foreseeing down and set a limit. This includes meal costs, gas prices, snacks, parking, drinks, and passes. Seeing what you are about to spend in black and white will help you decide where you can cut down so you don’t ever go over budget. Paying cash also helps keep track of how much money you’ve spent so far.

Use a map

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Make sure you scope out the park and look at a park map before you go. The last thing you want is to find yourself walking the entire length of the park five times with the kids because you missed an attraction. Check out a map before you go to help plan and organize your day.

Bring snacks

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Hungry kids are cranky kids and no fun. All that walking, waiting, and riding will tire them out. Feed them before they throw a tantrum. Either make some easy snacks or buy a few before you enter the park. This way you’ll save money and time wondering where to go for a quick pick-me-up. You are allowed to bring in food. You can save a lot by avoiding eating meals at the on-site restaurants or vendors.

Don’t wait in line to buy souvenirs

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Why waste time waiting in more long lines? You can buy Disney trinkets almost anywhere and all of those places will be selling them for a lot less than the actual theme park. Bring souvenirs from home to give to your kids to run with around the park. Target and Amazon sell many of them for a lot less. Photos are great souvenirs because they are personal.

Don’t go during school holidays

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Don’t go when the kids are out of school around Christmas. Check out the crowd charts before you start planning a trip. Bonus: Non-peak times at resort hotels are usually around 20 percent cheaper. You can save even more because Disney offers free transportation to and from their on-site hotels.

Take a mid-day break for the kids

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Get out of the heat for an hour or two. Go back to the hotel for a power nap and come back energized for the evening festivities. Otherwise you risk running out of fuel just before they begin; your choices are going home then because you’re too tired and missing them completely or staying but being cranky because your feet hurt or you have no energy to even keep your eyes open.

Separate the kids

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This is one way to make sure that everyone in the family gets entertained. The kids may have different preferences in terms of rides and attractions. Splitting them up and having, for example, the older ones with you for rides, and the little ones with another adult for the Dumbo, will also ensure that they won’t have to compromise. This is especially helpful when crowds are huge and the wait lines are very, very long.

Start the adventure early

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There is no way around it – go as early as you can if you want to get on Space Mountain or the Pirates of the Caribbean without waiting. If you want to see some castles and their princesses, go there first before the crowds pile up. Get to the park about half an hour before it opens; keep in mind that parking and getting to the gates will take time as well. If you booked a character breakfast, you’ll be let into the park before it opens to get to the restaurant.

Have a plan

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Not all attractions are equal. A roller coaster ride is probably more entertaining than a carousel, at least for teenagers. Do your research in advance and mark down all the attractions you absolutely want to experience. Do those first and then spend some time, if you have any left, on everything else. Do you want to ride or have dinner with Disney characters more? The Magic Kingdom will probably take a full day; but half a day may be enough for other places such as the Animal Kingdom.

Go during the week

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Weekends are a bad idea. Prices are higher and crowds are enormous. Stay Monday through Thursday if you can. Don’t put in for days off from work before you book your vacation at Disney. Be flexible with the dates you can visit so you can make the most of any discounts being offered. 

Make lunch reservations

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Skip the lines, but make sure you’re on time. Many people are waiting to eat with their favorite characters and if you’re not there, somebody else will take your spot. Also, your credit card will be charged if you don’t show up. Tip: Dinners cost more at any eatery. If you absolutely must have a sit-down meal at a Disney restaurant, save money by booking lunch instead of dinner. Book a meal during non-peak eating times and the characters will visit your table more often.

Get a small stroller

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Your kids may be 5 years old or older and prefer to walk than to be pushed in a stroller, but they will quickly change their minds in the park. Don’t underestimate how much walking you’ll be doing, even if you take the tram or other transportation from one park to another. Add the sun and warm temperature to your walk, and wheels suddenly become a great idea. You can rent a stroller at Disney, but play it safe and bring your own.

Download useful apps

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Save time wondering around and getting lost looking for your next adventure. There are tons of free apps you can download to help you during your trip. They show maps, schedules and even wait times for rides. Use the park’s free Wi-Fi to save your data.

Bring toys for waiting in lines

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It’s no secret that kids get bored very easily. You have to entertain them somehow if you expect them to wait in line for an hour or so to ride their favorite rollercoaster. Take their favorite small toys, stickers, bibles, colored markers…anything they like to do and that fits in the stroller.

Don’t expect to do everything

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It’s unrealistic to believe you can experience everything at this mega-park in one trip. Make a time chart of which rides are a priority to you and your kids. This will save you time looking for them while being distracted by other attractions that can cost you extra.