There are very few destinations that require the kind of extensive planning that a Disney World vacation does. As you are formulating your plans, consider these five things that you may not know. These will help you make the most out of your trip and save you money along the way.
You are better off skipping Extra Magic Hours.
When you are a guest at an on-site Disney hotel, one of the perks is being able to attend extended hours at the parks. These extended hours – called Extra Magic Hours – sometimes occur before the parks open and sometimes occur after the parks close. The availability of Extra Magic Hours varies throughout the week so one of the parks may have early Extra Magic Hours on a Tuesday and another park will have Extra Magic Hours late on Wednesday. The parks that have the extended hours available are almost always the busiest park of the day. Many of the people visiting those parks don’t even make it to the parks when the extended hours are available because they’ll oversleep or get tired early and go back to their hotel. These guests still attend the parks with the Extra Magic Hours because that’s what they had planned to do and they don’t adjust their plans even if they’ve slept too late to take advantage.
Your best bet is to plan to visit a park the day after that park has had extended hours. Most visitors will have been there the day before and won’t return two days in a row.
Be in the parks for the first hour they are open.
For those that are willing to get up a little earlier on vacation, there are many benefits to being at the parks when they open.
First, the parks are less busy since people just aren’t awake and at the parks yet. You should plan to visit the most popular rides first since the lines will be the shortest. You can often ride more in the first hour than you can the rest of the day.
Secondly, the temperatures are cooler. Florida is hot for most of the year but the mornings are usually really mild. During really hot times of the year, it is advisable to spend the mornings and evenings in the parks with a break in the afternoon to get out of the sun.
Lastly, there are opening ceremonies at the parks that you can only see if you are there before the park opens. Families are often chosen to help out with the process and it’s a fun way to kick off the day.
You can put a Disney World trip on layaway.
Layaways have started to make a comeback in retail stores recently but they used to be very commonplace. For many years, Disney has been allowing vacationers to book trips and make payments online which can make paying for the trip seem much easier. There is a deadline for the balance to be paid so you’ll need to make sure to meet that deadline.
Use secret codes to help you save money.
Disney periodically sends out codes to people who have signed up on their various mailing lists. There is no known formula for predicting who will receive these codes but your best bet is to sign up for anything you can find. There’s a list to receive a free Disney World vacation planning DVD, for example, that not only gets you a DVD to watch but adds your name to their mailing list and should increase the chances of you receiving a discount code.
PhotoPass photographers are a good thing.
You know the aggressive photographers that always want to take your picture as you enter a theme park? Disney World has photographers but they are not aggressive and they are a really great resource for vacationers. The first time you approach one of the photographers, they’ll give you a PhotoPass card that you can then hand to all other photographers you encounter. At the end of your vacation, you can go online and type in your card info and all of your pictures will be loaded into your account to view and order.
If you don’t want them to take your picture with their cameras, the photographers are also glad to take your camera and take a picture for you as well.
Taking advantage of the photographers is a great way to make sure your entire group is included in pictures without excluding anyone. Most people don’t do much planning before heading out on their Disney World vacation but by just doing a few things beforehand to help prepare, you’ll be ahead of most other visitors and have a fantastic vacation.