Disney World Resort and Hotel Tips
If it's your birthday, be sure to wear your complimentary birthday button around the parks and resorts! You can get them at Guest Services at each park, or ask the front desk at your hotel to see if they have any birthday buttons. At the very least, cast members will give you a nice birthday greeting throughout the day, but you can sometimes get special treatment, like a free dessert or FastPass. This might also work for special occasions like anniversaries. Want more Disney World freebies? Check out our list of the Best Walt Disney World Freebies. Thanks to David for this tip!
If you're anxious about beating the crowds at the end of the day to get your bus back to your WDW hotel- don't! The buses run up to an hour after the park officially closes. Relax, take your time, and then get the bus after the crowds have dissipated. This isn't the best for small children who may be exhausted, but for older families, couples, etc. - this is a really good option! And you get a slightly calmer Walt Disney World. Thanks to Margaret for this tip!
Magic Kingdom’s fireworks are spectacular, but did you know that there are ways to see them outside of the park? The Contemporary’s California Grill offers its diners an amazing view from the top of the Contemporary, which is a definite bonus to getting a great meal. What about a couple of options that don’t require you to pay any money? The beach at the Polynesian offers a great view over the water of the fireworks, and, like the California Grill, they will play the music from the fireworks. Lastly, the by the ferry docks at the Transportation and Ticket Center is actually a great place to see the fireworks, and this option has the fewest crowds. If you time it right, you could even watch the fireworks while riding a ferry. All of these options offer something slightly different, so try out one of them next time you go to Disney World!
We were lucky enough to get the Disney Dining Plan included in our booking, this was a great bonus it saved us a fortune. Disney has done this promotion several times over the last few years. If you can get the free Disney Dining Plan during your trip to Disney World, I definitely would say get it! It's a great value!!! Thanks to Steve for this tip!
Since we fly down to Orlando, it is not feasible to pack any great amount of food, and we never rent a car since Disney provides ample transportation to the parks. So, to get groceries we send ourselves a care package of non perishable snacks like juice boxes, bottled water (an expensive Disney World commodity), crackers, cookies, and gum (you can't buy gum in Disney World). I call the resort in advance and ask what I need to do to mail myself a package there and we have it delivered to our room upon check in. It works out great for those poolside snacks at the hotel. Just make sure you send the heavy stuff separate from the chips! We tried packing them together but the chips get crushed. (However, Pringles work well). Thanks to Johnny for this tip!
When using the Walt Disney World transportation system (mainly the buses from the resorts to the parks), make sure you catch the right bus. Ask the driver where he/she is going and what stops if any there are: you may be farther away from your goal then you think. Be careful if a bus pulls up and the scrolling destination in the window changes. Ask the driver where he/she is going. Don't EVER assume a bus is going somewhere, you may be taking a long ride. Finally, during really busy seasons, try to get to the bus before the park closes...jockeying for a seat with 100 other tired, sunburned guests as everyone leaves can be a nightmare...this is especially true if you have small kids. Leave the park early and it is much smoother. Thanks to Jason for this tip!
Some great tips for Walt Disney World transportation.
Not everything at Disney World has to cost you lots of money. If you would like a great activity that is inexpensive, try Resort-hopping! If you stay on property, then you have unlimited access to all the Disney resorts. All the resorts are unique, and it's worth checking out each hotel's lobby. Take the time to Resort-hop and scope where your next stay might be. You might have some fun along the way! Thanks to Sarah K for this tip!
If you’re thinking about buying a timeshare at one of the Disney resorts, look into purchasing on the resale market. Becoming a Disney Vacation Club member can save you a lot in the long-haul, but when you purchase directly from the resort the upfront expense is quite costly. A Disney timeshare resale can cost 65 percent less, which translates to thousands of dollars in savings.
I recently booked a 10 day trip to WDW for our July visit. I made reservations at the Caribbean Beach through Disney directly. With a little prodding I was upgraded to the Polynesian for almost the same price as the Caribbean Beach (I'm paying about $25.00 more per night). The nice WDW representative said that you have to ask if invitational upgrades are available, they won't offer it to you unless asked. These "invitations" aren't always available, but if they are they'll bump you up one class of Resort: Value to moderate or moderate to deluxe. It never hurts to ask! Thanks to Bruce for this tip!
Don't be afraid to ASK for something. We recently stayed three nights at Animal Kingdom Lodge but had booked a room overlooking the pool (about $70/night less than a Savannah room, overlooking the animals). When we arrived we asked the very polite person behind the counter if we could get an upgrade to a Savannah room. She looked into and said yes. We saved $200 by asking that question AND had a much better room for three nights! Thanks to Jerry for this tip!
We just got back from a trip to WDW. We drove from North Carolina to Orlando, so we had packed a small cooler in the car for the drive down. We took sodas, bottled water and some snacks. I had heard about people renting refrigerators for their room, but there is an ice vending machine on each floor. We just kept changing out the ice each morning or evening when it had melted and kept things cold. We stayed at the Wilderness Lodge, so we went to the Mercantile and bought pints of milk every other day or so, some small boxes of cereal and some other "breakfast" foods and just kept ice in the cooler. We kept the milk cold and didn't have to buy breakfast everyday. We also had cold water and sodas for whenever. So, I would recommend packing a small cooler and just keeping ice in it. Save your money on a fridge for souvenirs! Thanks to Karen for this tip!
We booked a room at Wilderness Lodge for $197 per night with AAA discount. I then bought an Annual Pass (just one) and it knocked me down to $155 per night plus I was eligible for the DDE card. You don't need an Annual Pass for everyone in your party, you just need one to get the discount. Thanks to Frank for this tip!
Take advantage of Annual Pass discounts when booking hotel rooms.
The Disney Dining Plan can save you a lot of hassle and planning while you're at Disney World. Plus, if you get it as part of a Disney resort package, you can pay for it in increments before you arrive. Guide2WDW reader Kim writes, "Could my family eat a lot cheaper than what I pay for the Dining plan? Sure. But with the dining plan, we get more character breakfasts and more themed dining than what I would pay for when we got there. Not to mention, when I get there, my entire vacation is paid for and I didn't have to charge anything or worry about trying to save the money to pay for it when I arrive." Thanks to Kim for this tip!