11 Disney Hacks

If you are looking for tips and tricks to get the most out of your Disney vacation, you're in the right place.  Here I'm going to share my favorite Disney hacks that most people don't realize or think about. Use any of these to add a little extra pixie dust magic to your trip!

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  1. Refresh your Fastpass options (especially when you have already used up your three)

So we know Disney only allows three fastpasses per park guest per day, but as soon as you scan that third fastpass you become eligible to select another one on the My Disney Experience app. This is a great thing to do while you are in line waiting to board the ride. If you keep refreshing on the app, you'll often see different options pop up and sometimes you can snag some for one of the more popular attractions. My husband and I used to do this all the time when Flight of Passage was brand new. We'd be able to grab some last minute and actually get to bypass what was usually a two hour standby line!  This isn't always a guarantee, but sometimes you can get very lucky!

2. Ship souvenirs to your resort or to your home

Surprisingly a lot of people don't know this, but you can actually ship your merchandise from any store on Disney property to your hotel for FREE!  You can then pick it up from your resort gift shop after about a day. Another thing you can do is ship directly to your house so you don't have to worry about packing them. This is especially great if you saved your shopping for the final day of your trip. You do have to pay for the shipping of course, but its a huge time saver so you don't have to make extra space in your luggage.  

3.  Take advantage of the Shop Disney Parks app

Speaking of shopping, this is one of my favorite tips that I use all the time. I highly recommend downloading the Shop Disney Parks app on your phone because it has the inventory of every single store across property. So if you have something specific you are looking for, you can just search for it and it will tell you every store you'd be able to find it. You can also scan barcodes of any items you find in stores to save them to your wish list for later, and if you forget to go back for them you can purchase through the app itself and have it shipped to you. It just makes souvenir hunting so much easier!

4.  Don't feel the need to buy bottled water

Unless you really want to of course, but definitely do not use one of your dining plan snack credits on bottled water! Any quick service food location around Disney will give you a cup of water for free. Its so important to stay hydrated throughout the day so this way you can accomplish that and save a little extra money while you're at it. That said, if you do want to purchase a bottled water, you are able to use your annual pass or DVC discount (if you have them) when buying it from a merchandise location.  

5.  Prepay online for your stroller rentals

If you know what days you will be needing to rent a stroller from Disney parks, you can actually save some money buy prepaying and reserving them online. If you pay in the parks, a single stroller costs $15 and a double costs $31. Prepaying online brings the single down to $13 and the double to $27. This can be a big saver if you are needing strollers for multiple days in the parks!

6.  Collect pressed pennies as souvenirs

I have so many great memories of doing this as a kid! All you need are two quarters and one penny, and about 30 seconds of your time. There are well over 100 pressed penny machines around Disney World and each are themed to the area you find them in. This is a super fun activity for kids and makes for a cheap souvenir option! Plus they take up hardly any space so they won't weigh you down when walking around the parks! You can even buy a little pressed penny display booklet to keep them in and show off.

***Pixie dust pro tip: use those mini M&M tubes to fill one with quarters and one with pennies so you have them easily accessible and ready to go!  You'll find those pressed penny machines everywhere!

 

7.  Check for last minute dining reservations 24 hours before

If you missed out on booking one of your must-do Disney restaurants, don't give up just yet! Most of the cancellations end up happening the day before because this is the cut off for people to not get charged a cancellation fee. I know this for a fact because I worked in a couple of the Disney restaurants. A lot of times you can get lucky and snag a last minute reservation for places that are usually booked months and months in advance like Crystal Palace, Le Cellier, 'Ohana, or the Hollywood Brown Derby.

8.  Embrace the rainy days

There will be times that the skies open up to a torrential down pour that is so bad, you think the rest of your day is ruined for sure. That's Florida folks. This will drive so many people out of the park, and cut most wait times in half! So believe me and stick it out! Grab a snack, shop around, kill some time, and the park will empty out. Most of the time the storms clear up just as quickly as they showed up anyways. Seriously, give it like 15-20 minutes and you almost can't even tell it ever rained! Disney fun never has to stop just because it's raining. I've actually just walked on to Space Mountain after a rain storm when the wait was previously over an hour!

9.  Consider camping at Fort Wilderness

Fort Wilderness is a fantastic way to save some money on your trip while still getting the full Disney experience. The campgrounds have all the same benefits as the other resorts plus even more perks (ie. campfire s'mores nights) A friend of mine would take their family RV down to the Ft. Wilderness campgrounds every year and they always had a blast!

10.  Buy Disney "gift cards"

I highly recommend purchasing some Disney entertainment cards (aka gift cards) before your trip! It is extra worth it if you buy them from Target with a Target red card because then you can save 5%. These cards work at any restaurant or merchandise location on Disney property, so buying these ahead of time is a great way to budget by "prepaying" for your souvenirs, snacks, etc.

11.  Book Character dining for breakfast!

Last but certainly not least, another money-saving Disney hack that's always been a favorite of mine. Breakfast reservations are always cheaper than the lunch or dinner option. So booking your character dining meals for breakfast is a great way to get the best value AND experience. I recommend Akershus for seeing princesses, Crystal Palace for seeing Winnie the Pooh and friends, and Chef Mickeys to see Mickey and pals. Also, the Bon Voyage breakfast at Trattoria al Forno is PHENOMENOL and it is the only dining experience that feature princes as well as princesses (Flynn Rider and Prince Eric, along with Rapunzel and Ariel).  

I hope you found all of these hacks helpful and are able to implement them on your Disney vacation for some extra magic!