Honestly, no matter what you do in Disney you’re probably going to have a great time. That said, there’s no reason not to make a good thing even better, right? Of course right! Luckily for you, there are hundreds of ways to add a little extra magic to a Disney World trip—and no, not all of them cost money. In fact, the vast majority of Disney World hacks bring extra fun for free or a very small investment. Wondering what you can do to improve upon the already amazing trip you have planned? Here are our top 13 little hacks to make your Disney World vacation even more magical. Try a few during your next trip. You’ll be glad you did!
1. Buy Souvenirs in Advance
Souvenirs in Disney World are pricey, and your kids are sure to want every little thing they see. Satisfy their “I wants” with souvenirs purchased before the trip even begins. You can almost always find Disney products on clearance somewhere, and purchasing them to dole out during the trip saves money while also adding a bit of magic. For an extra fun addition to your trip, try putting out a few items each night for the kids to find the next day!
2. Bring Glow Sticks
Nighttime in the parks is amazing. Everything is lit up, giving off a super exciting vibe that is rarely found elsewhere. In order to let your kids add to this fun, consider packing some glow sticks for them to use. Glow bracelets, necklaces, and more can be found at the dollar store, and they really do add to the nighttime fun.
3. Plan for “Pixie Dust”
To make your glow stick fun even more thrilling, make sure to pack enough of them to “pixie dust” fellow guests with a few glow sticks of their own. This can also be done with other little trinkets, and the thrill of making someone else smile is a great way to brighten your day.
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4. Go on Your Birthday
The folks at Disney love celebrating birthdays. Therefore, we highly recommend visiting on yours if at all possible. Pick up a free birthday button at Guest Relations, and bask in the attention Cast Members give you. Be sure to note your celebration on dining reservations too, as you might just get a special surprise.
5. Find Free Refills
A select few quick-service restaurants in Disney have self-serve soda stations. Anywhere you find these stations, free refills are available, meaning you can get much more bang for your buck if you drink fountain beverages.
6. …or Make Your Own Sweet Drinks
Prefer other kinds of sweet drinks? Bring in some powdered drink mix packets to mix with the free water found at all counter-service locations. This results in a tasty beverage for a fraction of the cost of a soda in the parks.
7. Skip the Lines
Nobody likes waiting in long queues. Fortunately, if you play your cards right you’ll probably be able to avoid most long lines. Be sure to schedule your FastPasses ahead of time and grab times that are as early in the day as possible. Once those FastPasses are used, get a new pass, making sure to snag another new pass each time one is used. Rider Swap is another great service that should be put to use if you have a young child. Basically, one parent waits in line while the other sits with the little one. Once the first parent has ridden, the second parent will be allowed to skip the line in order to ride. Finally, if you are unable to obtain the FastPass you really want, try to avoid a long wait by arriving early in the morning. Fewer people are in the park right after opening, meaning short wait times.
8. Get Up Early
Besides giving you access to shorter lines, getting up early and hitting the parks right away is a great way to experience the magic of a nearly empty park. You’ll be able to stroll through the park with ease, and photos free of background people will be a snap to take (see what we did there?).
9. Watch for Discounted Gift Cards
Stocking up on gift cards before your trip is a great way to ensure you have plenty of spending money, something that makes all vacations a bit more enjoyable. Watch for discounted Disney gift cards at Sam’s Club and Costco, or pick some free ones up on sites such Swagbucks and Disney Movie Rewards. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for discounted Starbucks cards on sites like Groupon.
10. Have Essentials Delivered
Trying to juggle tons of stuff at the airport is a gigantic pain in the neck. Avoid this scenario by shipping things directly to the resort. For instance, if you know you’ll need a stroller but don’t want to lug it around the airport, order one on Amazon, have it shipped to your resort, and pass it on to another family at the end of your trip. You can also have groceries and other items delivered by Garden Grocers.
11. Go on Scavenger Hunts
Whether you choose to a) look for hidden Mickeys, b) pick up as many pressed pennies as possible, c) try a game like “Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom”, or d) join in the Wilderness Explorers fun, hunting for specific things in the parks definitely adds to the experience. Be sure to do some sort of hunt while you’re there!
12. Bring a Portable Charger
Having a phone in the parks is nearly essential. It allows you to take photos, check wait times, and schedule FastPasses. Therefore, having your phone die halfway through the day is never good. Bring along a portable charger so you never have to worry about this annoying issue.
13. Interact with Cast Members
Last, but probably most important of all, be sure to interact with Cast Members. The Disney employees want you to have fun! They’re friendly and happy to play games with the kids, chat with adults, or answer questions. Additionally, they will sometimes add magic to a person’s day with special FastPasses, treats, or something temple like a sticker. Pin trading is a great way to start a conversation with one of these individuals, but even just walking up to a Cast Member who is blowing bubbles will do the trick.