November 21, 2015

November 21, 2015
10 Disney World Hacks That Will Make
Your Trip Even More Magical

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Saturday and I hope you are having a beary safe and great weekend so far. Dab the AIDS Bear is back on the road again this weekend so stay tuned for more new pictures soon.

Want to avoid the long Walt Disney World lines in the sweltering heat of a Florida Summer or winter's chill? We can help with that. Here are some tips and tricks for making your trip to Disney World even more magical and more economical, too. These hacks will help you navigate the parks, find the best deals, and make the most of the happiest place on the planet.

1. Work with a Disney-certified travel agent.
I can't stress this enough: they're no cost to you and they will provide you a wealth of up-to-date knowledge and recommendations! My wife and I worked with Mouse Fan Travel last time we went to WDW, and I recommend them highly. Your travel agent can give you suggestions on everything from where to stay to what to eat, and can help you make advance dining reservations.

2. Make Advance Dining Reservations where you want to eat.
Disney's dining system is based on Advance Dining Reservations (ADRs). The window for ADRs opens 180 days prior to the beginning of your trip, so if you're going this spring or summer, you may have a hard time getting into the most popular meals (Cinderella's Royal Table, Be Our Guest Restaurant, Akershus breakfast with the princesses), but there's still plenty to eat there even if you can't get advance dining reservations (ADRs).

3. Use a Crowd Calendar to find out the busiest park times.
If minimizing wait times is your key priority, you should wait until the kids are back in school. Summers are the busiest time at the Kingdom.

4. Use discount websites and travel companies to help you save and plan.
Check out Mouse Savers for discounts and offers. Call the Walt Disney Travel Company for assistance with planning. If you give them your goals and budget parameters, they will absolutely work with you to help create the best stay possible. They can help you work through pros ands cons of different hotels, ticket packages, and the various rates associated with different times of year.

5. Subscribe to the Touring Plans website.
Touring Plans provides day-by-day recommendations for which parks to see to minimize crowds and waits in line... Touring Plans is a company founded by a guy named Len Testa, whose team tracks wait times and crowd levels, and reviews restaurants, hotels, and attractions on property. Testa's staff creates touring plans, or step-by-step suggestions for where to go in the parks that are designed specifically to minimize your wait in line. On the busiest days, they claim that their plans can save you three to four hours of waiting. You can either use their pre-planned outlines or design your own, and you can re-optimize them throughout the day based on what you've experienced and what the crowds are like. Touring Plans can also walk you through Fastpass+ recommendations.

6. Buy Disney gift cards at Target.
If you have a Target Red card, go to Target and buy up a bunch of Disney gift cards you'll get 5 percent off with your Red Card since Target classifies these as entertainment cards, not gift cards. Thus, if you can afford to stock up on Disney gift cards, you can save 5 percent on as much as you'd want.

7. For your first time at Walt Disney World, stay on site.
Disney's resorts come in several tiers/price points, so you can stay there for reasonable prices (Value), decent but not great prices (Moderate), or somewhat obscene prices (Deluxe). It's worth splurging on a nicer hotel if you can afford it, but you'll still get Disney magic at a Value resort! With small children, you're likely to spend a decent amount of time at the Magic Kingdom, so consider the Polynesian Resort.

8. Save yourself the trouble and the cost, and ship essentials to your hotel.
Any essentials that aren't easy to pack and will cost a fortune on-site? Buy it on Amazon before your trip and ship it to your hotel. It'll all be waiting there for you, without having to lug it through the airport, check a bag, or pay a fortune for it on-site.

9. Buy a Disney World guidebook.
Buy The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2015. The Guide will answer all of your questions about the World.

10. If you're staying on site, take Disney's Magical Express.
Disney will take your checked bags to your resort for you, and you'll be shuttled there on a comfortably-air conditioned bus. If you arrive during the day, you're likely to experience minimal waiting time for the bus, too.

Check back tomorrow for more great ideas and have a beary safe and great weekend.

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab