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Underdogs, I have made no secret in being dirt poor. So how did I end up in Disney World during the past few weeks? I was very lucky to have some family include me on the trip. I was still working as a caregiver during this trip, so this whole experience was highly meaningful. We were trying to pack in as much fun, and as much bargain as we could in order to make this whole experience count. I want to share with you a few things that I learned during this trip that may be either helpful, or could possibly save you money in the long run. It’s a long road to Disney, and I hope to return in another 4 years! Until then, here are some ways that can help you make the most of your trip. Things change at a rapid pace at Disney, so keep that in mind when reading this post at a later date. You may need to research to see if these things are still active.
- Download the app! There is a free app simply called Disney Experince that you can find in any app store. Even if you don’t think you need it, download it because it is so helpful to have. First, it is a map of the Magic Kingdom. They also keep a real time record of wait times for all rides and attractions. You can also find where characters are at for photo ops, and when shows start. This app will save you a lot of time and help you plan. You can decide if you want to wait in one line, or try another quicker option for a ride. The app also gives all dining options at Disney World. This will be very important in an upcoming point, but I recommend that you download this app at least 2 weeks before you leave and make yourself familiar with the features. I will tell you more about this app as we move along.
- Plan for the simple things that you will need to take the park with you. This mans that you should purchase a personalized bag from my Thirty One page (We took 7 cinch sacks and used 6 every single day!) Check out my website here https://www.mythirtyone.com/ltebrinke I strongly suggest that you bring the following items with you to the park, reusable water bottles (glass will not be allowed in the park) for every single person in your party, a cooler, thermals, backpacks, small general first aid kit, and any medication that you need. I also suggest bringing sunglasses, hats, phone chargers and batteries if necessary. I require that everyone bring sunscreen! It doesn’t matter how you feel about it, you will need it and they do not provide it for you. Yes, you can purchase sunscreen in their shops, but at a huge markup. Bring your own! What you don’t need to bring or purchase is rain ponchos or umbrellas. Yes, it will rain, but it is rare that it will ruin your day. However, anything can happen so if you feel like you need these items, purchase at a dollar store before you enter the park and bring it with you instead of paying for them at Disney.
- Think about food! It helps to know your plan of action for Disney World in advance in order to plan your food. For example, are you going to spend the entire day at the park? Are you hopping, or are you going to come during the morning and break for lunch, to be back for the night shows? Are you one of the people who gets to take advantage of the longer park hours? It is important to know this so you can have a realistic idea of your meal plans. I suggest to eat at the park but only when needed. It’s more realistic to eat one meal a day at the park, or pick out some park snacks to try instead of a meal. What we did was have a firm plan to eat breakfast every single day before we left for the park. Then, we had snacks packed in either the cinch sacks, back packs, or cooler depending on the day. A few of the days, we had a full lunch packed with us that included drinks and snacks. For the 4 days at the park, from open to close, we only ate 2 meals at the park, and I had one snack. However, I did spend money on coffee, which was harder for me to bring into the park. It’s not impossible, but hard. I will go over a full snack pack ideas for Disney in an upcoming post. This should go without saying, but you can’t bring any alcohol in to the park.
- Fast Pass It! It is worth the prices to purchase a fast pass. This is where you get a chance to “skip the line” in popular attractions, meet and greets or rides. You will get an assigned time to come and use your fast pass. This is cool for several reasons. One, you don’t have to wait in a long line. Two, you are linked with your party, so only one person has to scan their pass to get the time reserved. The other cool thing is that you can do this in advance through the app. I believe you can reserve your time for your 3 favorite or most wanted list up to a month in advance. This fun pass links to your magic card, or magic band which I suggest that you also invest in. This magic band has lots of features including being your ticket, your connection to your party, and in some situations your room key and your money. These all depend on the locations that you stay if those options are available to you . Get the magic bands if you go this route so you can take advantage of everything, including the photos that are taken by the park which are marked by your band, and uploaded on the app. Don’t go crazy and get the fancy magic bands, or the magic band buttons that you can put on them since this is something that you only will use during your visit to Disney World. My biggest problem is that these things didn’t double as a watch, which would be the only reason why I would recommend those items. Until then, don’t purchase any of these extras.
- Thinking of others! Want to bring back your friends and family something magically from Disney? Don’t limit yourself to the expense of the park since there are licensed Disney items all over the city! Keep in mind that Disney keeps this area running, so you will find great items at dollar stores or even Walmart. Many times, you will find the exact same items as you would at the park, but much cheaper. There are exceptions to this such as the Mickey ears and several specialty products. However, I was shocked at the amazing items you could find almost anywhere for a much better price. Share the magic by spreading it around as much as possible. This may mean that you don’t purchase a thing at the park, but instead, buy your souvenirs elsewhere. Here is a nice tip, if you want an autograph book for the characters to sign, get them at Walmart because there is no difference at what you can purchase at the park. Take the money you saved and purchase some sharpie pens since they are also at the park, but at a much higher cost!
This is going to be the end of my first part of my Disney World Tips. There will never be enough tips to cover this whole experience, but I feel these are all pretty universal. Next time, look for more tips on how to save some sanity, and some money! It’s hard to plan a trip like this, but with some helpful suggestions, you may be able to get through it less broke and come out the other side with a magical experience!