01 of 10
Arrive at Disney Early
Disney World vacation deals often save more than money. You want to save time and add as much value as possible for each dollar spent. Let's begin with the time of our arrival at the park.
The later you wait to start the day, the more overcrowded you'll find monorail cars and attraction lines. Those who arrive early leave the parking lots quickly and enter the parks with minimal delay. Just a few hours later, the same actions could take 30-40 minutes, and that's time you will not get back. On a recent visit, I arrived about an hour after the park opened and still found lines for the monorail and lines of moderate length already had formed at some of the popular attractions. Plan on being there when they open. You won't be sorry.Continue to 2 of 10 below.
02 of 10
Map Out a Disney Plan
Most of us are not interested in every attraction, and there are some you might not reach in the time you have to spend here. So decide before arrival on the "must see" attractions and also list a few that could be missed without any regrets. This is time well spent, because you will want to map out the best route to your preferred attractions, and dress accordingly for those that might splash you. Guidebooks such as The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World will give you strategy suggestions, but a visit to Walt Disney World theme parks and water parks web section should provide the information necessary to make these decisions. Your plan should also include sunscreen, rain gear and a note about where you parked.Continue to 3 of 10 below.
03 of 10
Visit Popular Disney Attractions First
Many people concentrate on the cost of a Disney World vacation. But there is another important factor to consider -- your time. Experienced visitors to the parks advise hitting the most popular attractions first. Save the places where lines are likely to be manageable for later in the day. It will take some discipline to walk past the near-empty areas, but your reward will be less time in line and more value for your travel dollar.Continue to 4 of 10 below.
04 of 10
Check Out Disney Single Rider LanesThis suggestion won't work for parents who have young children, but if you don't mind seeing your older kids take off in the car before you or the car after you, Disney's single rider lanes are a real time-saver. Essentially, by getting into this line you agree to let the park personnel at the front of the line assign you to any car where they need to fill a seat, even if that means splitting up your family and friends for the length of the ride. Many times, you'll find smaller groups stay together anyway. Single rider lines can cut your wait time in half -- sometimes by even more at peak wait times. Look for the option if you think your family situation will allow it.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
Consider a Disney Fast Pass
Remember in elementary school when you would ask a friend to save you a place in line? The Disney Fast Pass makes that proud tradition an official park policy -- for free! Here's how it works: You approach an attraction with a long line, but the sign at the top will give you a Fast Pass range of times when you could come back and skip most of the line. If that range is acceptable, you insert your park admission ticket into Fast Pass service machine and receive a time stamp. Then, simply come back within the time range, present your ticket to an attendant, and approach the front of the line. Others with Fast Passes might be ahead of you, so you won't necessarily go to the very front. Remember that everyone in your party must have the Fast Pass stamp, and it can only be used at selected attractions in the various parks. Look for the electronic sign, choose your time, and execute a Fast Pass.Continue to 6 of 10 below.
06 of 10
Stay Hydrated at DisneyExperienced Disney-goers avoid the intense heat of an Orlando summer. But many of us have little choice in when to visit. School schedules and work routines lead us to Central Florida in June, July or August. Standing in line and walking on hot pavement can sap the energy of the most hearty visitors. It is important that you stay hydrated. Naturally, vendors in the parks will sell you bottled water at premium prices. If you can't bring your own water, buy what they're offering and take small sips at regular intervals. Another favorite vendor item here is a squirt bottle with built-in fan ($8). Again, these are sometimes available in your local department store for several dollars less than what you'll pay at Disney.Continue to 7 of 10 below.
07 of 10
Use Disney Food Services SparinglySome people complain about Disney food, but it's possible to enjoy a very nicely prepared meal in many of the restaurants here. Epcot's France and Italy venues are blessed with some excellent restaurants for celebrating special occasions. Expect to pay $25-$30 per person at those places. Naturally, there are far less expensive venues that are similar to fast food restaurants. They serve chicken nuggets or hamburgers for several dollars more per person than you would expect to pay outside the parks. When you consider the expense of bringing in food and hiring people to serve large numbers of hungry visitors quickly, it is perhaps unfair to say Disney cuisine is overpriced. But there is no doubt you can eat food of similar quality for much less outside the parks. Eat a hearty breakfast at your hotel, snack at Disney and perhaps have a late dinner after you've left in the evening. It won't work for every itinerary, but it's worth considering.Continue to 8 of 10 below.
08 of 10
Look Into Disney Group Discounts
Group planning at Disney is a time-honored tradition. For years, the people here have catered to Grad Night couples, church groups and tours from every corner of the world. In terms of Disney accommodations, deluxe villas will sleep up to nine guests. Disney Group Getaways will make discounts and arrangements available to groups "of any size who book and occupy at least 10 guest rooms during one night of their stay." With a larger group, there can be added benefits to staying at Disney as opposed to finding less expensive accommodations off-site. The logistics of moving a large group are easier within Disney, where you get free transportation to the parks.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
Visit in the Off Season
We've established that Summer is not a good time to visit Disney World. Neither is Spring Break or the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. If you must visit during those times, be aware of the crowds or the added heat. If you have any flexibility whatsoever, opt for May or October, when lines will be shorter and the climate is apt to be more friendly, too. Strolling uncrowded sidewalks or boarding a half-full boat can make the Disney World experience far more enjoyable. True Floridians know this. Since they can make the trip more often, many buy seasonal passes that reward them for avoiding the busiest days and months.Continue to 10 of 10 below.
10 of 10
Plan for Disney Special Events and Discounts
Calculate the costs of bundling hotel and park admissions or park hopping. Keep in mind that the longer you stay, the cheaper your daily costs. If you can commit to an entire week, your daily costs over a one-day visit will be cut in half. There is also a Disney Dining Package in which you prepay for various kinds of meals and receive discounts of up to 30 percent. But these packages are designed to keep as much of your money inside their parks as possible, so be careful not to get too carried away with the promised discounts.