Mickey Mouse - WDW Merchandise

Don't lug your merchandise all around the parks all day. If you are staying at a Disney World or Disneyland Resort, you can have merchandise you purchase from the gift shops shipped to your resort free of charge. You will be able to pick up your items from your hotel's store.

Celebration Buttons - Magic Kingdom - Disney World Free-Stuff

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.

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.

Fireworks over Magic Kingdom

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!

Monorail - Walt Disney World

When everyone is leaving the Magic Kingdom, the monorails tend to get very crowded. Most people head toward the Transportation and Ticket Center monorail, which is the first monorail to the right. It is always crowded. Just past that is the Resort Monorail. Use the resort monorail! This takes you to the Contemporary but stay on and you'll get to the Transportation and Ticket Center a lot faster, and without dealing with all the crowds.

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). Note: Some hotels will have a small fee for a package delivery. Just check to make sure before sending, as it still might be worth the money to have these essentials.

Epcot dining tip: If you don't mind leaving the park for a little while, head out the World Showcase entrance (between UK and France) and go to the Boardwalk. There are many great dining options, including the Boardwalk Bakery, one of our favorites!

If you are spending time in another park and want to watch the fireworks from Illuminations in Epcot, drive or take the bus to the Boardwalk. Park in the visitor parking area and walk to the World Showcase entrance. (Don't worry, it's a pretty short walk). When you get into the park, head for the Bridge near France. Even if you don't get a spot on the railing, you can see most of the show because you are slightly elevated. When the fireworks are over, head back to the Boardwalk and you will beat all the crowds heading back to the Epcot parking lot and monorail. Grab a snack on the Boardwalk. The Beach Club has a great Ice Cream Shop called "Beaches and Cream." Awesome!!! Try the Kitchen Sink or the Reese's Pieces Sundae.

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.

To save time in the morning, I brought my own cereal, bowls and spoons. My husband went to the food court to buy milk for the kids' breakfast and coffee for us. We would take turns in the shower while the others ate. This took us about one hour each morning, and we'd be ready to head into the parks. It sure beats sitting at a table waiting to place orders and get fed. The kids thought it was fun too. We also brought along snacks (zip-lock baggies with trail mix) so that during the day we weren't spending a lot of money on junk food. We usually skipped a sit down lunch and opted only for a sit down dinner. It worked great!

Grand Floridian Lobby - Walt Disney World

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!

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!

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!

Premiere Annual Pass

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.

Lamb Chop - Be Our Guest - Walt Disney World-Dining

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."

My fiancée and I have been to Disney World a total of 5 times since 2000 and it was really just last year that we started to take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours benefit offered to guests of Walt Disney World Resorts. What a difference going a bit early or staying a bit late makes in terms of waiting in lines! First of all, it’s much cooler than in the middle of the day when the sun is its warmest. Second of all, the waits for rides are cut in half!! There aren’t as many people around at these hours, especially at night, so a normal wait for Splash Mountain might take 2 hours, but at night you might only wait ten minutes. I understand that staying late might be difficult for families with young children, but if you can manage it, then I highly suggest you do it.

Contemporary Resort - Bay Lake Tower

If you're thinking about buying a DVC 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. Just be aware that you might not be eligible for certain DVC perks if you buy from the reselling market.

Tip: A small cooler can be a Disney World essential. 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. Not every hotel room will have a fridge. 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!