Thrifty Thursday: Saving More at Disney Than Money

There are plenty of ways to save while in Walt Disney World!  How about saving time and maybe some energy?  It’s frustrating to waste time on a vacation, and waiting in lines is one of the worse uses of your time in Disney.  I want to talk about saving you some time, not to mention a little energy, while in WDW.

Let’s face it, vacations in Disney are not known for their leisurely nature, there is usually nothing leisurely about it!  We always used to joke we need a vacation from our Disney vacation!  In other words, once people return from their amazing Disney trips, it is not uncommon to need a day or two to recuperate and rest.  The way we tour Disney doesn’t always cure that, but it certainly helps.

Here is how a typical Disney day goes for us.  We wake up early!  Let’s say the parks open at 9 am, but open for Disney guests at 8 am, we try to be at the entrance or the “rope drop” by 7:30.  Rope drop is the Disney way of saying “letting guests into the park.”  You will be able to get in through the turnstiles at a certain time, but the cast members will line the street of whichever park you are in and block the way.  Most of the time the cast members
will let guests in early, especially if you are there during the busy season.  Being here at rope drop will really pay off because the crowd level will be the lowest of the whole day!  So in this instance, we would be up and ready to get on the bus by 7.  Yes, that does sound early but you will be thankful, I promise!

The huge advantage to getting up and to the parks early is the lack of any line.  Even over
Christmas this past year, the longest we waited in a line in the morning was 15 minutes!  Our plan of action was to hurry over to the biggest attraction in each park and get a Fast Pass for later.  Then, we would make our way to the next most popular attraction and ride that.  If we have time before our Fast Pass entrance, we’ll ride something else, or a few something else’s.  In our opinion, the biggest attractions in each park are as follows: Magic Kingdom – Space Mountain; Animal Kingdom – Expedition to Everest; Hollywood Studios – Toy Story; Epcot – Soarin.  Some of the times we’ll get a Fast Pass AND
ride the attraction right then too.  Then we will go to all the other big attractions and come back.  We love to ride each of these more than once, and you can bet that later in the day the lines will be long.  On our last trip in December, we had ridden all of our favorite rides in the first hour or hour and a half of getting to the park.  When you have such an awesome
morning and get on most of the rides you enjoy, then you don’t mind the crowds and any lines you may have to endure later.

Getting Fast Passes is the best use of your time in Disney World.   I highly recommend
getting a Fast Pass for a ride, return right before your entrance time, and then as soon as you are done the right, head right to another attraction and get another Fast Pass.  You should always have one!  This will allow you to get on a popular attraction, no matter how bad the lines are, as long as there are FP’s still available.

Our next move in our daily tour is lunch.  We’ll ride attractions until we get hungry,
which is usually between 11 and 12 because we ate breakfast so early, and we’ll have lunch in whichever park we are in.  Then, we head back to the hotel for an afternoon break.  Statistically, the afternoon is the most crowded time in Disney, which means we want to not be there;)  We’ll go back to our resort from about noon to 3 or 4 pm.  We’ll swim for a long time, since it is the hottest part of the day, and then try to rest a little in our rooms.  This really helps us recuperate and refresh our bodies for whatever the evening holds for us.  You’ll find you have much more energy to stay up and out late and really have a great time.  When we return to the parks, all the tired families with cranky children
who have been out allllll day are leaving!

We usually choose a different a different park to visit in the evening.  Yes there are lines and crowds still, but we don’t mind waiting in these lines as much because we had
such a productive morning.  Plus, the way I set up our trips is we have at least one morning in each park while we are there – so we can take advantage of our morning touring routine in every park.  Oh and we still use those Fast Passes!  We’ll stay out until at least 9
pm – but that is what works for us.  We have a 12 year old so she can handle it, but if you have younger children you may decide to be done earlier. 

Our evening plans usually revolve more around our dinner reservations, rather than riding attractions.  I will try to plan our dinner around 5 pm.  We are usually hungry by this time, since we ate before we leave the parks earlier.  The majority of the time we’ll eat in a park so we can ride attractions too, but we do love some of the resort restaurants.  If we eat in a resort then we usually make our way over to the closet park, if we are feeling up to it.  Every now and then we skip parks in the evening and just do dinner, and explore the resort.  Sometimes we’ll head to a park to catch the fireworks.

That’s how we save time and energy in Disney.  I have found that my feet hurt less, that I
need less time to rest after the vacation, and that we are all much less cranky when we do this, which is great for our sanity;) A Disney vacation is like a marathon, but if you do it right, you really can relax and enjoy every moment.  You are on VACATION after all! 

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Tina works full time as a school counselor in an elementary school. She lives close to Baltimore, MD with her husband Dave and her 13 year old stepdaughter, Ashley. They also have a furry family member, a cat name Frodo, that keeps life interesting in their house! Tina began visiting Disney World as a child with her family, and now her, Dave & Ashley take a trip to the World every year. She considers herself a Disney “fanatic” and once her family is finished one trip, she is already planning their next one. Tina loves to find the best deals, even in the busy seasons (she can only go when schools are off!) and loves sharing those deals & tips with anyone and everyone! What Tina loves most is the magic of WDW, it makes her feel like a kid again. She hopes that every family has the opportunity go to the World and experience the magic for themselves because it has a way of reminding its visitors that dreams do indeed come true! Read more of Tina’s work on her blog A Not So Bland Life, where she writes about home decor, cooking, couponing, traveling, and and of course, Disney!

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