Violet Sky with Cinderella visiting Disney Springs at Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, FL

The magical land of Walt Disney World is an exciting place for people to visit no matter your age. Visiting the parks for some is a lifelong dream while others visit frequently. What exactly makes the parks so enchanting? Is it the chance to meet a princess? To shake hands (or paws) with some of Disney’s famous characters? Or maybe to catch a glimpse of the iconic Mickey Mouse himself?

Everyone has a different vision for their fascinating Disney vacation, but one thing in common for all those that visit is to remember that travel to these parks doesn’t have to be as costly and stressful as it sometimes may seem. Here are a few personal tips from my recent vacation to Walt Disney World that can make your next magical vacation that much more extraordinary.

While planning your trip use the following link to Walt Disney World’s park maps https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/maps/ or download the Walt Disney World app to find attractions you want to visit during your vacation.

Buying Tickets

When you decide to visit the land of Disney, buying tickets doesn’t have to be as expensive as it seems. There are many ways to get discounts when purchasing tickets that can save your piggy bank a lot of coins.

Residents of Florida get some of the best discounts! So if you have it, whip out that official identification from the Sunshine State and the mouse will show you some deals. At certain times of the year, the park has been known to sell Florida resident tickets for less than $50 a day! That’s over half off general daily admission!

If you are not a resident of Florida, there are still some wonderful savings you can find when purchasing tickets. Look online for coupons and bundles that may allow you to be able to combine your hotel, rentals and tickets into one price. Some hotels may even sell tickets or offer discounts. Purchasing tickets online will definitely help save on the cost of admission as well. Gate prices are usually always much more costly.

Attending the park for multiple days regardless of your residency can drastically lower that cost of admission per day. Each additional day you add on to your park ticket can decrease the price for daily admission. If you plan on visiting the park a lot in one year, maybe an annual pass is best for you. Comparing different annual pass costs will help you determine the optimal package for your needs.

To compare or buy tickets directly from Walt Disney World, use the following link https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/admission/.

Violet Sky at Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Parking

Parking at Walt Disney World Parks is $25 per day for regular automobiles if you are not staying at a park hotel. Over-sized vehicles such as RV’s can cost $30 per day. Preferred parking closer to the park entrance can start at $45 during non-peak times and increases during busier periods. Those staying at the park owned resorts qualify for free parking as well as shuttle service to and from parks. Annual pass holders also qualify for free parking.

Some off site hotels and resorts may offer a free shuttle to and from parks. Be sure to check where you are staying to verify that this is an option as parking costs can really start to tally up if attending multiple days. Also ask for a schedule for transit operating times.

Rates for parking at Walt Disney World Parks vary. Use this link https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/parking/ to find out how much current parking costs are.

Violet Sky at Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Park Hours and Peak Times

Getting to the park first thing in the morning is the best way to go. The earlier you are there, the better parking space you get without paying for preferred parking.

Also the earlier you arrive, the shorter the lines are so you won’t have to wait as long to ride and also save your fast passes (I’ll talk more about those time savers later). Lines at Disney can be anywhere from a few minutes to several hours depending on ride popularity and park attendance for the day.

Some parks have different operating hours. Compare park open to close hours to ensure that you are getting the best value out of your ticket for what works with your schedule.

Peak times can vary depending on times of year, events at parks and openings of new rides. Holidays and long weekends are always very busy as it allows time for family vacations. Different parks are busier different days of the week.

Violet Sky at Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Food

The awesome news is that you are allowed to bring your own food and beverages into Disney parks. Drinks cannot contain alcohol and both food and beverages cannot be in glass and can only be consumed by the party bringing the items.

As you can see in the photo above, I took my cooler purse and matching plastic water bottle (from Walmart $25) into the parks each day. It toted extra bottles of water while keeping them cool and stored food such as granola bars, fruit and trail mix for the whole family.

For more information about outside food rules please visit https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/faq/parks/outside-food-and-drink/.

Violet Sky at Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Park Events

Before you plan which days to attend the parks, be sure to check out when and where all park events are. For example, every day Magic Kingdom has a parade in the early afternoon and fireworks in the evening. Other parks offer fireworks, meet-and-greets, parades and street performances.

Some parks even offer live Broadway style shows such as The Lion King or Beauty and the Beast (shown below). Look to see what shows are being offered in the parks when you attend.

Keep up on that information online and in the Walt Disney World app as it will help organize your itinerary.

Also if you are looking for a more slow paced day to still enjoy Disney fun! Check out Disney Springs which is a free outdoor shopping mall!

Beauty and the Beast-Live on Stage, Hollywood Studios, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Fast Passes

Fast passes are a lifesaver for your feet, just saying. These passes will allow you to reserve a specified time slot to keep your wait times down. You get the first three fast passes free with each day of admission purchase. The soonest you can reserve your fast passes is 30 days in advance of your ticket date.

You can access your fast passes on the Walt Disney World app from your phone or online. Reserving your desired rides and performances will help cut down on the amount of time you have to wait in those lines. When you use up one of your fast passes you can add another on the app or at a kiosk in the parks. Be sure to utilize these fast passes during your trip.

To use your fast pass you can swipe your MagicBand or your Admission Card to enter the line at the entrance to each participating attraction.

Use this link https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/fastpass-plus/ to find more information about fast passes at Walt Disney World.

Violet Sky at Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Best Wishes and Have Fun

Thanks for reading, if you have any other questions about Walt Disney World or anything to mention, feel free to write a comment below. I encourage feedback!

As always, “Keep on truckin'”-Violet Sky

About the Author Violet Sky

Violet Sky has had a life long passion for adventure! Growing up in Michigan and spending time traveling to over 31 states on family vacations by her eighteenth birthday gave her an appreciation for the open road. After finding the most beautiful beach she has dedicated her home port to Panama City Beach, Florida.

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