Category Archives: Disney World Resorts

Disney Pin Trading 101

Pin Trading at Disney World: An Overview

This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click on a link.

Probably the most popular Disney activity is Pin Trading. If you visit Disney World, you will see many guests walking around the parks with lanyards full on pins weighing them down. Each pin with a different story of how the guest got it. Disney Pin trading started in the 1990s, and while it’s not an official disney activity it has become the most popular. It is also one that Disney supports having many cast members trading pins with guests.

The great thing about Pin trading is that you can make it what you want. Disney has so many different pins for you to collect and you can go about collecting them however you desire. If you are a fan of Star Wars, Disney Princesses, Lion King there are plenty of pins for you to collect. You can go about building your collection by simply buying the pins you want. Or you can make it a little more interesting and trade pins with other people to get your desired pins.

What is it

Pin Trading is what the name implies. You take a Disney Pin you have and trade it with another person for a pin they have that you want.   It’s really as simple as that. However it can get complicated when you are trying to decide what Pin you want to give away or what pin you are looking for. There are so many types of pins you can collect. You can collect different series of pins, favorite characters, limited edition pins, the list could go on. 

How to get started Pin Trading

In order to get started with trading, you must first have a pin you are willing to trade. The best way to get started with pin trading it so purchase a starter pack of pins. This pack will include 3-5 pins and a lanyard for you to place them on. You can either keep these pins for yourself or use them to trade for ones you see with somebody else. 

In addition to getting a starter pack, buying mystery packs are another great way to start your pin collection. In these packs you will usually get two pins. You can keep one and trade one. Once you have purchased several boxes of the same mystery set you will begin to get duplicate pins. These are the pins you want to trade.

Where to get pins

If you are looking to purchase Disney Trading Pins, you can get them almost anywhere at Disney. Most of the stores will have Disney Pins for sale. There are also designed Pin stands at the parks and Disney Springs dedicated to Pins. You can also find Pins at the Disney Outlets in Orlando and the Disney store in the Orlando Airport. 

It is possible to find Disney Pins online for purchase. If you decide to purchase them online be very careful, especially if you are wanting to use these pins for trading with other people. Without going into a lot of details about it, as it is an article in itself, many pins that you see on Amazon or EBay in large sets are almost always fake or scrapper pins.

How to trade

So how that you have your pins that you are willing to trade. You know what pins you want to add to your collection. Let the Pin Trading begin.

How does trading work. Pin Trading is very simple, just walk around the parks, resorts and even Disney Springs and look at other people wearing lanyards with Pins. If you see a person wearing a lanyard with Pins, there’s a good chance they are willing to trade them. Walk up to the person and politely ask them if they are wiling to trade pins with you. If they say yes, awesome you are off to a great start. Tell them which pin of yours you would like and show them which pins you are willing to give up. 

When trading trading with another guest you want to let them pick the pin from your collection they want. There could be a chance you have one they want. Or if they are a serious collector they will want one of equal value. There are differences between Pin Trading with guests and cast members, we will break them down in the next section. 

One important thing to remember when trading pins, is to make sure you are polite with the other person. There is no need to get upset if they don’t want to give away a particular pin.

It is good practice to make sure you have authentic pins that you are trading. If you walk up to a serious trader they will look over your pin very carefully and may reject if if they don’t find it to be authentic. With so many pins out in circulation, there is always a chance you may end up with a fake Disney Pin.

Pin Trading with Cast Members vs. Guests

There are two groups of people you can trade pins with Cast Members and Guests. Each group has different standards for trading pins.

Cast Members

Cast members throughout the parks wear lanyards with Disney pins. Certain cast members will have a pin board set up somewhere which a bunch of pins to trade with guests throughout the day. You are allowed to trade up to two pins with a cast member per day. Tell the cast member which pin of theirs you would like, they will take it off for you. Meanwhile you can take the pin you are willing to give them. Then just swap pins. Cast members normally do not inspect the pins you are giving them.

Guest

While its relatively easy to trade pins with a cast member, trading Disney pins with other guests can get complicated. While its relatively easy to walk up to a cast member, walking up to a complete stranger may be harder. Most people that are wearing the Disney lanyard with Pins on them willing to trade them. So if you see a guest with a large stash of pins on their lanyard they are probably pin traders.

Walk up to them and simply ask them if they are a pin trader and tell them you would like to trade a pin with them. Here are some rules to remember when trading pins with other guests

Disney Pins

Don’t assume they are willing to trade any pin. Tell them what Pin you are interested in and show them what pins you have to offer. There is a lot of though that can go into which pin a person is willing to accept from you in return for the pin they are giving you.  The two biggest things are what the collector is collecting and the value of the pin. A serious trader won’t accept an $9 pin for a $30 pin.

Rules of Pin trading with other Guests

  • Don’t touch their pin without asking for permission.
  • If they aren’t willing to trade, simply walk away don’t force it.
  • Understand everybody’s time is precious. 
  • Strike up a conversation about the pins, it may help make the trade easy.
  • Enjoy trading pins. 

(Insert sample Dialogue)

My recommendation is to put the pins you are willing to trade on one lanyard and your collection on another lanyard or another display. 

Cast Member Pin Board locations

You need a good eye to spot a pin on a lanyard of person walking around Disney World. However there are Cast Members throughout Disney World who have pin boards with a large variety of pins. If you are new to trading and looking for new pins, these are a great way to get some exposer trading pins.

Easiest place to find these Pin Boards are the resorts.

How to display pins

Now that you are growing your collection, you can initially display them on a lanyard. Unfortunately overtime your lanyard will run out of room and become very heavy. At some point you will have to find another way to display your amazing collection of Pins.

If you are displaying your Pins on a lanyard. I recommend you get locking back for them. You would hate to lose your favorite one.

The most common way pin traders display their pins are in Pin binders. These binders consists of heavy duty page inserts which hold your pins and allows you to carry them around. 

You can create unique display boards to hang on the wall. Pinterest has a ton of ideas on how you can display your Pin.

Costs of Pin Trading

Probably the one bugging question you have as you start your collection is how much will it cost me. The answer lies within how you want to collect pins and how large you plan to grow your collection. If you are starting out, I would tell you to expect to pay somewhere around $50 to really get started. 

Disney Pins at the Character Warehouse

A Pin Starter set will run you approximately $30 dollars and you will get a lanyard with 3-5 pins. This unfortunately isn’t enough to really begin trading. You will need to purchase some more pins. The standard pins you see around the parks will run you between $8.99 to $15.99. Speciality and limited edition pins can easy double these prices. 

One way to save some money on pins you want to trade is to purchase pins from the Disney Character Warehouses in Orlando. Here you can get guanine pins from a fraction of the price at the Parks. 

Ring in 202 at Disney World

Ring in 2020 Disney Style

2020 is quickly approaching. Have you made plans to ring in the new year? If you are looking for a spectacular way to bring in 2020, you should consider checking out some of the events planned around Disney World.

Each park will have their own unique celebrations along with many parties at the resorts.

Rooftop Celebrations

If you are looking for a great evening dinner and Firework show make sure you book your reservations at one of these 3 rooftop restaurants. Reserve early as these are great locations to watch fireworks. New Years eve fireworks at Disney will of course be over the top.

Bienvenidos 2020!

Dance the night away in Spanish flare. Enjoy a traditional Spanish cava toast as you countdown to Midnight. Savory Spanish food will be served all evening around the rooftop. At Midnight ring in 2020 with the Hollywood Studios Firework show from atop the Gran Destino Tower.

The event will run from 8:30 PM to 12:30 AM and will cost you $400 plus tax and gratuity.

Mezzanotte at Topolino’s

Enjoy a European flar New Year’s Eve celebration at the Topolino’s Terrance on top of Disney’s Riviera Resort. This will be an elegant affair complete with a champagne toasts as guests ring in the new year. Guests will enjoy views of both the Epcot fireworks show and the Hollywood Studios fireworks.

For the low cost of $550 you can enjoy this evening celebration including food and drinks.

Elegant Evening Under the Stars

Enjoy elegant entertainment and food from the California Grill on top of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Ring in the new year with a glass of champagne while watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks.

This New Years Eve treat will set you back $675 tax and gratitudes included

Pixar Party

Are you looking for a party that’s a little more family and kid friendly. You will not want to miss the Pixar Party at the Contemporary. Meet many of our favorite Pixar characters including Woody and Buzz lightyear. Enjoy some music from some of the favorite Radio Disney Hits. There will be a large family friendly buffet for the entire family to enjoy.


Fear not, if you can’t or do not want to fork out a ton of money for one of these over the top events to ring in 2020. Disney World has numerous other events and New Year’s Eve activities going on.

Ring in 2020 at each of the parks with their own unique celebrations.

Hang out at Disney’s Animal Kingdom as DJ’s keep you moving around Discovery Island and at midnight watch the Tree of Life light up.

Or you can head over to the American Garden Theater in Epcot for some live entertainment and a special New Year’s Eve fireworks show after the nightly Epcot Forever Show.

Dance the night away at Magic Kingdom with DJs throwing dance parties in Frontierland and Fantasyland. As the clock strikes midnight, look up towards the sky as Magic Kingdom lights up with a spectacular firework show.

If you are not looking to head to the parks either for New Year’s Eve. Many of the resorts will be ringing in 2020 with special celebrations.

Disney’s Boardwalk Inn. If you have ever visited the the Boardwalk you know it is a popular place to be and of course New Year’s Eve is no difference. Enjoy delicacies and drinks while you ring in 2020.

No matter what kind of celebration you are looking to have for New Year’s Eve, Disney World has festivities for you. .

Disney World Fun Facts

Fun Facts of Disney World

There is so much more to Disney World than Cinderella’s Castle and Magic Kingdom. Unfortunately there is still a large number of people who don’t know that there is a lot more to Disney World than Magic Kingdom. It’s amazing the number of people who will show up to Disney World, still thinking its just the one park. There are 100s of Disney World Facts. Here are the top 12 fun facts you will want to know before your next vacation

Walt Disney World in Orlando consist of 4 theme parks, (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom), 2 water parks, (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon), Disney Springs, 2 miniature golf courses, 4 golf courses, ESPN Wide World of Sports and 25 plus resorts.

With all that Disney has to offer there are a lot of things to know and learn about Disney World. Here are 12 fun facts that help you realize how large Disney World in Orlando is.

1. Disney World Size

Photo showing all of Disney Worlds property

Disney World Orlando covers approximately 40 square miles, with a 1/3 of the land being designated as conservation land. When you look at a large scale map of the property you can see all the empty land around the parks and resorts. Because, Disney World was built on wetlands, Disney had to take extra care to preserve the wetlands.

2. Disney Wilderness Preserve

This is an 11,000 acre nature preserve located in Kissimmee Florida approximately 25 miles southeast of Disney. The wilderness preserve is not included in the 40 square miles classified as Disney World. There are roughly 7 miles of trails and a lot of wildlife for you to explore out here.

3. Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the largest of the parks at Disney, covering approximately 500 acres of land. This is large for an amusement park, but still a small portion of Disney World. It only covers a little over 1% of Disney’s Property. Kilimanjaro Safari takes up the majority of Animal Kingdom cover approximately 110 area.

Photo showing the size of Animal Kingdom

4. Disney has its own Cities

Walt Disney World created two new cities in Florida, Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista to which it has built all of its attractions on.

5. The Ready Creek Improvement District (RCID)

RCID was developed by Walt Disney World to avoid the headaches of having to deal with two different counties during the construction. The RCID created the Epcot Builidng code, which has been known to be some of the strictest building standards in Florida.

6. No structure is taller than 200 feet.

The tallest structure at Disney is Mount Everest which is inches shy of the 200 ft mark. Any structures taller than 200ft are required to have an aviation red beacon. We all know how hard Disney works at hard preserving the look and feel of every aspect of Disney World, and having red aviation beacons all over the park would definitely take away from the look and feel Disney has and wants for many of their attractions at night.

Mount Everest

7. The Magic Kingdom parking lot

Also know as the Ticket and Transportation Center is the 4th largest parking lot in the world with approximately 11,000 parking spots. Better make sure you write down what row you are in. It will be easy to forget at the end of a long day at the parks.

Magic Kingdom Parking Lot

8. Disney’s Transportation

Disney has the 3rd largest bus fleet in Florida with more than 350 buses. Jacksonville and Miami are the only two fleets that are larger than Disney. In additional to a large bus fleet, Disney has a large fleet of boats, monorails, trams and gondolas to transport people around Walt Disney World. The best part, its all free for guests traveling around Disney World

9. Epcot Aquarium

The aquarium in Epcot has over 5.7 million gallons of water, making it the 2nd largest aquarium in the U.S. The aquarium is home to The Seas with Nemo and Friends

10. Number of Attractions

10. Between the 4 parks there are over 40 rides and many other attractions and experiences for guests to enjoy while at Disney World.

11. Celebration Disney’s Residential City

Walt Disney had a residential city known as Celebration developed just south of Disney World. The Walt Disney company is still the largest landowner entity in Celebration.

12. Disney hardly ever closes

In the 50 years Disney has been around, they have only ever closed for a full day 5 times.

  • Sept 15, 1999 hurricanes Floyd
  • Aug 14, 2004 hurricanes Charley *Not all parks where closed
  • Sept 26, 2004 hurricane Jeanne
  • Oct 7, 2016- hurricane Matthew
  • Sept 10 and 11, 2017- hurricane Irma.

What is your favorite fun facts about Disney World?

Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click on a link.

Address/Phone:
2901/3701 Osceola Parkway
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Phone: (407) 938-3000

Check-in: 4pm
Check-out: 11am
Resort Area: Animal Kingdom
Category: Delux Villa


Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is a Disney Vacation Club Resort. The resort is divided into two areas, Kidani Village and Jambo House The resort sits on its own 40+ acre reserve, which is home to over 30 species of wildlife. You will have sweeping views of the wildlife from every part of the resort.

Jambo House is the first area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge guest will encounter after passing through the security gates for the resort. The Jambo House consists of your standard hotel style rooms, club level concierge rooms and handful “Villa” style rooms.

The Kidani Village adjacent to the Jambo House with its own entrance boast homelike features, which include a kitchen, living and dining areas. Which makes them a great option for larger families or guests looking to spend more time in their hotel room. Wait why would you do that?


Recreation at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

OK, you may want to spend time at the resort because of all the recreation activities that are available to the guests. Guests will have access to two large swimming pools, a community center and a nice arcade.

Uzima Springs Pool. The Uzima Springs pool is a gorgeous 11,000sqft tropical oasis facing the Savanna. Located at the Jambo Housee. The pool includes a gentle sloping entrance and a 67 foot long water slide. Additionally, a lounge and bar nearby offer snacks and drinks.

Samawati Springs Pool. The Samawati Springs Pool, located near Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani!, features a 128- too waterslide dropping guests into an 118,000 gallon pool.

Uwanja Camp is included in this area, which offers a water playground for kids of all ages to play in.

Community Hall. One of the few resorts to have a community Hall. Guests staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge have access to a community hall which is a fun-filled space to relax and unwind.

Activities in these halls include games such as fooseball, air hockey, pool, ping pong, darts, etc. There are also craft stations and dvd’s for rent.

Safari So Good Arcade. Do you love video games, then you must check out the Arcade and challenge your friends to a game of basketball. You can find an arcade at the Jambo House and the Kidani Village.

Movies Under the Stars. Check the current movie schedule.


Dining

Jiko $$$($35 to $99 per adult)
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
African Cuisine
Signature Dining

Boma- Flavors of Africa $$ ($15 to $34.99 per adult)
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
African, American Cuisine
Buffet Style, Themed Dining

The Mara $($14.99 and under per adult)
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
African, American Cuisine
Quick Service

Maji Pool Bar $($14.99 and under per adult)
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas- Kidani Village
African, American Cuisine
Quick Service, Pool Bar

Sanaa $$($15 to 34.99 per adult)
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas- Kidani Village
African, Indian Cuisine
Themed Dining
Enjoy views of the safari, while your family dines on African and Indian inspired cuisine.

Sanaa Lounge $($14.00 ad under)
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas- Kidani Village
African, Indian Cuisine


Amenities

Disney’s Animal Kindgom Lodge has a large number of onsite amenities. All designed to help make your stay more magical.

  • In room Celebrations
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi Internet
  • Parking
  • Online Check-in
  • Resort Airline Check-in
  • Childcare Services
  • Mail Services
  • Merchandise Delivery and Pickup
  • Bus Transportation
  • Disney’s Magical Express
  • Disney Minnie Van Service
  • Laundry and Dry Cleaning Services
  • Locker Rentals
  • Disney Signature Services
  • Spa & Fitness
  • Resort Conierge

Have you ever stayed at the Villas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge? What was your favorite part of the resort?

Reviews of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

We recently stayed at the Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge- Jambo House. This was a spur of the moment adjustment to our trip after our schedules would not allow us the time to head to Ft. Wilderness Campground. We booked a standard view room in the Jambo House for my birthday. Our day started at the parks while waiting for the room, once we got the room notification we knew that our room was upgraded. Always a plus. But we were not expecting the amazing service that we received when we entered the resort. We were met at main entrance by a concierge and taken up to the concierge floor to be checked-in. Now we had already done online check-in, had magicbands and our room number; so we could have easily ignored her and headed straight to our room.

We were given a club level savanna view room for the night. An upgrade worth almost $300. This alone may have spoiled us, with the concierge club amenities ad the view. Having club access is definitely a plus, we didn’t spend nearly as much as we normally do on food and drinks because of this.

This visit we didn’t spend nearly as much time as we should have at the Resort, there is so much to do at the resorts in Disney World. Overall this was an excellent stay for us.

Must have Disney Apps

Must have Apps for Disney World

This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click on a link.

Everywhere you walk today you always see people with their heads down looking at their phone screens playing on some sort of app. Not paying attention to what’s going on around them. This gets very annoying when trying to navigate the crowds at Disney World. It amazes me how many people will be walking around the parks but will have their head down staring at their phone’s screen.

However there are excellent excuses to be looking at your phone while at Disney World, but it shouldn’t be constantly. You do not want to miss out on a magical moment your child will have while at Disney World.

There are hundreds of apps to make your trip at Disney World more magical. These apps will help you plan your trip, navigate around everywhere, take photos, keep notes, etc. No need to pull out the spiral notebook to plan out your entire trip.

If you are preparing for your next adventure to Disney World and are packing your smartphone, we have several apps that will help you plan your vacation, navigate the parks and keep the kids entertained while standing in line to meet Mickey and Minnie.

We know that storage and memory on your phone is always at a premium so we will tell you which apps you need before and during your stay, so you can maintain plenty of storage for all those photos you want to take while at Disney.

If you happen to be worried about using your data, don’t worry you can get access to free WiFi’s all over Walt Disney World.

6 Must Have Apps

1. MyDisneyExperience App

Official Disney App. Available on Apple and Android

This is the must have app for anyone going to Disney World. Over the years, Disney has done an excellent improving and expanding this app and now eliminates the need for several other apps.

Once you have booked and paid for your vacation. The My Disney Experience app will become your best friend. With this app you can check-in for your resort, book dining reservations, FastPasses, purchase park and special event tickets, order food, check out attraction wait times, view MemoryMaker. About the only thing you can’t do with this app is book your resort rooms.

The My Disney Experience App is only for Walt Disney World Orlando. If you are going to any of the other Properties you will need their app.

2. Disney Countdown Apps

You have just booked your Magical Vacation and the countdown has begun. Why not download and have an app that tracks how many days, hours and minutes left until your vacation.

There are various countdown apps available on Apple and Android that you can download. Two of our favorites are:

Countdown for Disney by Bit3 Computing

DIO Countdown by IMRlabs

Once you get to Disney for your vacation, you can delete this app and free up the space on your phone.

3. Play Disney Parks

Play Disney

Official Disney App. Available on Apple and Android.

The Play Disney app is an excellent app to have for waiting in those long lines to get on the attractions. Many of the attractions have games that your kids can play on while waiting for the rides.

Download this App once you get to your resort or park for your vacation to save room on your phone.

4. Shop Disney

Official Disney App. Available of Apple and Android

Looking to purchase some Disney merchandise before, during or after your trip then you will need the Shop Disney App. In this app you can purchase all sorts of merchandise including Park specific merchandise.

The one downside we have noticed with this app is not having the ability to find where merchandise is located at in the Parks. Before Disney World upgraded this app early this year, They also had an app known as Shop Disney Parks, which would allow you to search for merchandise and find out where it is located at around Disney.

If you plan to do a lot of shopping at Disney World, download this app. Otherwise you may be able to get away without it.

5. Magic Guides

Non-Official Disney App. Available on Apple of Android

While the MyDisneyExperience has almost everything you would need during your magical vacation, many people will download and use other third-party apps. Out of these various apps this one is my favorite due to the simplicity. If you haven’t been able to mess around with the MyDisneyExperience App, it can be a little confusing.

The Magic Guides uses a very simple list interface which provides wait times, show times, dining and park hours. If you purchase their premium app you can get access to a bathroom finder at Disney World.

You can wait and download this app once you arrive at Disney World for you vacation.

6. Disney World Lines (TP)

Non official Disney App. Available on Apple and Android.

This app has many of the same features as other apps. The features include wait times and park hours. We like this app because it offers a crowd level estimate. For people that visit Disney a lot knowing the crowd levels is important.

These are the 6 must have apps any guest visiting Disney World will need to have to make their trip more enjoyable. What is your must have app for your trip to Disney?


Other great apps to make your trip easier.

Weather Apps

While at Disney you will want to be able to check on the weather during your stay. This will help you better plan your visit. There are hundreds of various downloadable weather apps from free apps to paid apps.

Our family uses the Weather Channel app and Storm Radar to keep an eye on the weather.

Waze

If you are driving down for your vacation. Waze is an excellent traffic and GPS app you should use for your drive down to Disney. Orlando is a busy city navigate through and the roads and signs are sometimes confusing. Waze will help you easily navigate to your destination and help avoid traffic jams.

Lyft

If you are staying on property you will have access to all of Disneys transportation at no cost to you. Sometimes the wait for a bus or monorail can take a while and you may be cramped in the bus for the 30 minute ride back to your hotel. If you don’t want to wait around for the Bus to get to your dinner reservations, you can use Disney’s Minnie Van Service.

Disney has partnered with Lyft and created the Minnie Van service, which provides Lyft service between select Disney resorts and other attractions around Disney World. The best part of the Minnie Van’s is they are operated by Disney Castmembers, so you know you will be getting a well maintained vehicle and professional driver.

I personally feel that the quality of drivers for Lyft are better than Uber. Whenever I need a ride, Lyft seems to almost always have some sort of deal going on.

Friend Tracker

Keeping track of a large party can be difficult when you choose to divide and conquer the parks and/or resorts. A friend tracking app comes in handy for checking in on everyone’s location (especially those teens who never text you back). A little bit of time before heading to the parks to make sure everyone is sharing their locations within the app is helpful. 


Disney+

Disney+ App

Official Disney App. Available on Apple and Android.

This is the newest must have Disney App. With the release on Disney+ back on Nov 12th. You can now have access to a ton of Disney related movies and TV shows.

Radio Disney

Radio Disney

Official Disney App. Available on Apple and Android. Cost: Free.

Who doesn’t enjoy listening to music? When Disney music is mentioned most people will think of songs such as “Let it Go” or “Circle of Life.” However with Disney’s reach, their collection on music stretches much farther than you may think. Check out Radio Disney to listen to all the greatest songs.

Radio stations on Radio Disney

Sorcerer Radio

Sorcerer Radio

Available on Apple and Android. Cost: Free

Do you enjoy the music that is played around Disney World? The Sorcerer Radio app is an excellent choice. While the app doesn’t have a lot of flexibility in terms of selecting the music choices. It does play through a wide variety of the music around the parks and resorts.

Hidden Mickey

Hidden Mickey Challenge

Non-Official Disney App. Available on Apple and Android. Cost $7.99

If you enjoy searching Disney World for Hidden Mickey’s this app is a must for you. While it doesn’t give away the exact location of every hidden mickey around Disney World. The app does help narrow down their location and help you keep track of which hidden mickey’s you have found.

WDW Today Channel

Available on Apple and Android. Cost: Free

WDW Today Channel

Have you stayed at Disney? The WDW Today Channel has become our son’s favorite channel while staying on property at Disney World. In the resorts the Today Channel, gives guests details of all the daily resort activities and park activities. Unfortunately, the app won’t give you resort specific details. the App will play the wonderful background music and give you the daily activities of the parks.


There are 100s of potentially great apps to use for your next magical vacation to Disney World. These are our go to Disney apps and ones that we always seem to go back to and use for every trip to Disney World. What is your favorite app to use while at Disney World?

New Attractions coming to Disney World

New Attractions at Disney World

This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click on a link.

Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary is coming up on October 1, 2021. Disney has been getting busy preparing for this event. Disney is always updating and adjusting our experiences at Disney World. We will see a lot of new attractions when the 50th Anniversary in October 2021 occurs. Epcot will probaby see the most changes. If it has been a while since you have visited, expect the parks to be a lot different than what you remember.

We are excited for all these changes coming to Disney World. Disney will be introducing new attractions, restaurants and experiences for guests of all ages. There are currently over 20 new attractions and/or attraction renovations in preparation for the 50th anniversary. Who knows how many other renovations will be accomplished before October 20212. 

Hollywood Studios recently added Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge. Magic Kingdom is finishing up some large renovations of the moat around Cinderella’s castle. Animal Kingdom’s Rafiki’s Planet Watch reopened during the summer of 2019 after being closed for renovations. 

Below is the current list of construction projects that we know about happening around Walt Disney World. It seems to be that Disney World is currently focusing the majority of their renovations on Epcot presently. However, the 50th Anniversary is still 2 years away, so they can easily add other projects. 

Magic Kingdom

New Attractions Disney World
  • Tron Coaster- (Magic Kingdom, Opening 2021)- This attraction is based on a park favorite Tron Lightcycle Power Run at the Shanghai Park. Guest will ride a two-wheeled Lightcycle in a thrilling race. 

Epcot

  • Epcot Forever (Epcot World Showcase Set to debut on October 1, 2019 at 9p. This nighttime spectacular will replace Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, while Imagineers work on the newest firework show at the World’s showcase. Epcot Forever will take viewers through the story of Epcot and its journey. The show will lead us through an epic night time journey of everything we love about Epcot and everything that is coming of Epcot. 
  • Space 2020 (Epcot, Opening Winter 2019)- The Mission Space pavilion is getting a new culinary experience, which will transport guests from earth to 220 miles into space. A special elevator will transport you up to the space station for dinner. Along the way you will be able to enjoy daytime and nighttime views of earth from 220 miles up. 
  • Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue (Epcot, Opening Late 2019/Spring 2020). This new location is going to be a modern smokehouse, giving BBQ lovers all the familiar sights and smells they love when they think of BBQ. Regal Eagle Smokehouse will replace the Liberty Inn Restaurant. 
  • Land’s Pavilion’s film “Awesome Planet”- (Epcot, Opening January 17, 2020)- A new film which will feature a dynastic story of our planet.
  • Beauty and the Beast Sing-along (Epcot World Showcase, Opening January 17, 2020). This is the first of many new attractions heading to the World showcase, this is the first of 3 new attractions heading to the France Pavilion.
  • Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360 (Epcot World Showcase, Opening January 17, 2020). Not a lot of details have been released regarding this show. However, it will replace the current Canada show. 
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventures- (Epcot World Showcase, Opening Summer 2020)- Is expected to be very similar to the one at Disneyland. Where guests shrink down to the size of Chef Remy and race through Gusteau’s restaurant on a wild adventure.
  • Le Creperie de Paris restaurant- (Epcot World Showcase, Opening Summer 2020)- This new Restaurant in the French pavilion of the world showcase will offer table and quick service featuring menu from chef Jerome Bocuse.
  • HarmonioUS- (Epcot World Showcase, Late 2020/Spring 2021). When HarmonioUS debuts at the World Showcase it will be the largest nighttime spectacular ever created. Celebrate how the music of Disney inspires people of the world. The show will feature massive floating set pieces, custom-built LED panels, choreographed moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics, lasers and more.
  • Journey of Water, inspired by “Moana” (Epcot, Opening 2021) This experience is the first experience inspired by Walt Disney Animation Studio film in which guests will be able to interact with the living water in an inspiring setting. 
  • Guardian of Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind- (Epcot, Opening Summer 2021). When this attraction opens in the Summer of 2021, it will be one of the largest fully enclosed roller coasters and will be Disney’s first reverse launch roller coaster.
  • Play Pavilion (Epcot, Opening Fall 2021)- This new pavilion is taking a note out of the original concept for Epcot. The Play Pavilion will be a space devoted to features that you would expect to see in an innovative city. The pavilion’s city will be a digital metropolis, be an interactive city with games, activities and experiences that connect with beloved Disney characters. The Play Pavilion will be repacking the the Wonder of Life pavilion. 
  • Mary Poppinn inspired attraction (Epcot World Showcase, Opening Unknown). Cherry Tree lane will join the United Kingdom Pavilion, as a new neighborhood. Take a step down Cherry Tree Lane past Admiral Boom’s House, Enter house #17 where the adventure begins.
  • Spaceship earth (Epcot, Opening Unknown)- new narration and new musical score moments and ideas that define our story. 
  • Dreamers Point (Epcot, Opening Unknown). As you exit Spaceship earth, guests will discover breathtaking views of World Showcase.
  • New Event Pavilion (Epcot, Opening Unknown). The new pavilion will be constructed where the current World Showcase Plaza is located. This new pavilion will be the new home base for all of Epcot’s signature festivals. This pavilion will be a three story structure and is said to provide stunning views of the World Showcase.

Hollywood Studios

  • Star Wars: Rise of Resistance (Hollywood Studios, Opening Dec 5, 2019). With the recent opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Disney is putting the finishing touches on the 2nd ride for this area of Hollywood Studios. According to Disney World, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will be a massive, multi-platform, attraction that is like nothing we have experienced. When you step onto this ride you will be accepting a mission from the Resistance to fight the First Order, who are desperate to eliminate the Resistance.
  • Mickey and Minnie Railways (Hollywood Studios, March 4, 2020)- Guests will step into the Chinese Theatre and be thrown directly into the cartoon world for a Goofy adventure aboard Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railroad. This attraction will be inspired by the Mickey Mouse cartoon. 
  • Roundup Rodeo BBQ Table Service Restaurant (Hollywood Studios, Opening Late 2020/Early 2021).  The restaurant be based on rodeo festivities. This restaurant will provide much needed seating and indoor space in the new Toy Story land. 

Animal Kingdom

  • None

Resorts

  • Disney Rivera Hotel (Opening December 2019). The newest Disney Vacation Club Resort will provide a European feel with its castles and fairy-tale villages.
  • Star Wars: Galactic Starcruise- One of Disney’s latest resort concepts, providing guests a unique experience into the Star Wars. This hotel experience will be unlike any other hotels around. Will require a minimum of a 2 night stay in which guests will be transported into a Galactic starcruiser.
  • Reflection- A disney lakeside village (Opening 2022). Another Disney Vacation Club resort is being constructed near Disney Ft Wilderness Campground. 

Disney Springs

  • Ron Jon Surf Shop- (Disney Springs, Opening Fall 2019)- The newest store to Disney Springs is Ron Jon Surf shop in Town Center. This store will provide all your beach essentials.
  • Ample HIll Cremery- Ice cream for the Northerners in the South. Even tons of uniquely flavored ice cream. Many flavors inspired by the local surrounding.
  • Beatrix- Replacing the former Bongos Restaurant. Beatrix will bring a flair of local flair with a good mix of healthy options. The restaurant will include a bakery and a full service bar.

With all these upcoming attractions and changes to various attractions around Disney World. We will see many of our favorite attractions closing. It may be a temporary closure or a permanent closure to allow for a new attraction.

Closing Attractions

  • No Attractions scheduled to permanently close at this time

Make sure you follow us on Facebook and checkout our photos of the various construction projects happening around Walt Disney World.

What is your favorite upcoming attraction to Disney World? What attraction are you sad to see go?

Check-in Day. What to Do?

Check-in and Check-out days are almost always associated with a wasted day while on Vacation. Anytime you are on vacation the first and last day of the vacation are almost always wasted days, or just a day of traveling. Depending on where you are coming from you may spend the majority of your day traveling. If you can get to Disney World early on day one and leave later on the last day you can gain a lot of extra valuable time to your Disney vacation. Who wouldn’t love to gain an extra day or two at Disney? Especially when you have forked out a ton of money on this vacation.

You want to take advantage of these two days, but not sure how to take advantage of them? There are a lot of activities you can do when you get to Disney World that do not require heading to a park.

Check-in time is 3pm and Checkout time is 11am. This doesn’t mean you can’t show up to the resort early. If you haven’t done so already go ahead and check-in online. This way you won’t have to go to the resort when you get to Disney. You immediately begin having fun and you will receive a message when your room is ready. It’s possible that your room may be ready when you show up. I have been able to get in my room as early as 10:00AM

Arrive Early

Why flying into Orlando take advantage of the Magical Express and the bag service Disney provides. They will pick up your checked luggage and deliver it to your room in the afternoon. This is a great service to have especially if your flight gets you in early. You will need a Day Bag (Check out Disney’s Parks Bag Checklist) to carry around with you as Disney can’t guarantee your luggage will arrive at your room when you do. Even if you don’t use the Magical Express Disney will hold your luggage until your room is ready. Driving in! They will let you into the resort parking lot at any point on the day of arrival. 

If you haven’t already done so, you need to finalize all your plans for your vacation. Make sure you have all your fastpasses book, dining reservations booked, etc.

Leave Late

Take advantage of your last day and hang out as long as possible. While you will have to vacate your resort room at 11:00AM, you don’t have to leave the resort. If you are flying out, have guest services hold your luggage until its time for your Magical Express ride to th airport.

Next go get the lay of the land, explore the resort and locate the important things, food, swimming, shops and arcade. 

5 things do to on Check-in or Check-out Day.

1. Hang out at the resort.

  • The resorts at Disney World have a lot to offer, without you having to leave the resort. All resorts have swimming pools, arcades, food and shopping.
  • The resorts will have Movies Under the Stars. Not every resort shows a movie every night, make sure you pick up an activitiy calendar. 
  • Go for a swim at the pool. If you are able to get to the resort early, you can enjoy the pool before the crowds hit. Make sure you pack your swimsuit in your carry on bag with you. Each pool has a bathroom with a changing area for you. They also provide towels for you to use while at the pool. There are always afternoon activities for the kids at the pool. 

2. Take advantage of the non park activities

  • Explore the non park offerings Disney World has to offer. There is so much more to do around Disney World other than the parks. There are two miniature golf courses, 4 golf courses, Disney Springs, other resorts.
  • Disney Springs is a great option to visit on the day you Check-in or check-out day. Disney Springs has lots to shopping options, bowling, movie theater, Cirque du Soleil, NBA experience and live entertainment. 

3. Dining Reservations

  • If you are looking for a unique dining experience, go ahead and get that done on the first day. This way you will not have to worry about rushing out of Magic Kingdom in time to make your luau reservations at the Polynesian 

4. Head to the parks

  • Heading to a park on the day you check-in or check-out may not be for everybody visiting Disney World. If you aren’t traveling with little kids, then you can probably enjoy a park and accomplish everything, even if you arrive late. Just make sure the particular park isn’t closing early for a special event. Epcot and Hollywood Studios close at 10:00PM.
  • Take advantage of Extra Magic Hours on Check-out Day. If you hit the park at rope drop you can easily get 3-4 hours at the park before you have to check out of your rooom.

5. Visit the Outlet Malls

  • Take a trip over to the outlets and do some shopping. The Disney Character Warehouses in Orlando have a lot of great deals on merchandise that you won’t necessarily be able to find at the parks.
    • Orlando Premium Outlets
      8220 Vineland Ave #1252
      Orlando, FL 32821
    • Orlando International Premum Outlets
      4967 International Dr.
      Orlando, FL 32819

Christmas at Disney World

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Christmas is a favorite time of year for most people. We all love driving around the neighborhoods looking at the Christmas lights and decorations. Who doesn’t love all the smells of Christmas as well? Christmas is our favorite holiday of the year. Christmas at Disney brings a whole new level to the holiday festivities.

Spending time at Disney World during Christmas is one of your favorite times of the year. Because there is so much for you to do at Disney World during Christmas. There are Christmas events around the Parks, Resorts and Disney Springs. If you are staying on property or off property there will be activities for you. Best part is a lot of the activities can be done without heading into the parks. That’s a bonus because you will not have to spend extra money on a ticket.

However, one of the best Christmas activities at Disney World during Christmas is the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This party along with the Candlelight Processional have probably been two of my favorite activities around Disney World.

Beginning on November 8th, Christmas will arrive at Disney World with Merry festivities for everybody in the family.

Christmas at the Parks

Cinderella’s Castle MK
Photo Credit: Magicguides.com

Just like every other holiday, Disney pulls out everything for the Holidays and turns Disney into a Christmas wonderland. If you are visiting the parks during November or December you will need to make sure you check them out in the evening. The parks are gorgeous when all the Christmas lights light up.

Animal Kingdom

This year Animal Kingdom will see it’s largest display of Holiday decorations in nearly two decades.

  • Guests will have the opportunity to dance with Chip ‘n Dale at the Hoopla Dance Party with DJ-led.
  • The Tree of Life will come alive with a series of wintry tales backed by a heartwarming holiday musical. Causing the tree to shimmer and sparkle throughout the night
  • In Discovery Island, guest will be immersed in the holiday season. Life size animal puppets will mingle with villagers. As the sun sets rooftop luminaries shaped as animals will light up around Discovery Island.
  • Guests will be able to experience an out-of-this world holiday experience at Pandora – The World of Avatar. Whimsical holiday decorations will be displayed at Pongu.

Magic Kingdom

Entrance to Magic Kingdom
Photo Credit: Magicguides.com
  • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party returns this year beginning on Nov 8th for 23 select nights throughout November and December. During the Party guests will be able to have their photos taken with the characters dressed in their Christmas gear and enjoy complimentary treats throughout the park.

Dates for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

  • November: 8, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 22, 24
  • December: 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22
  • Notably, this year Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks will debut during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. In addition to this new firework show, guests attending the party will be able to enjoy Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas and Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration Shows.
  • Queen Elsa will transform Cinderella’s Castle with glistening ice during the Frozen Holiday Wish stage show.
Magic Kingdom Christmas Cookie Sundae
Christmas Cookie Sundae at Magic Kingdom

Epcot

  • Experience the Holidays around the world at Epcot’s International Festival of Holidays. Which occurs between November 29 and December 30. Guest will have the chance to enjoy special holiday treats from various countries around the world. We will also be able to capture special holiday entertainment from around the world.
  • Annual Passholders make sure you take advantage and get your new Chip and Dale passholder magnets.
Chip and Dale Passholder Magnet
Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog
  • Santa and Mrs. Clause will be making an appearance at The American Adventures pavilion.
  • One of our favorite holiday festivities The Candlelight Processional at the America’s Theater. Celebrity Narrators will take guests through the Christmas story with a live orchestra and choir. Performances will occur nightly between November 29 through December 30 at 5:00PM, 6:45PM and 8:45PM.
  • List of Celebrity Narrators
    • Ming-Na Wen: Nov 29 to Dec 1
    • Neil Patrick Harris: Dec 2 to Dec 5
    • Whoopi Goldberg: Dec 6 to Dec 7
    • Isabella Rossellini: Dec 8 to Dec 10
    • Chita Rivera: Dec 11 to Dec 12
    • Gary Sinise: Dec 13 to Dec 15
    • Pat Sakai: Dec 16 to Dec 18
    • Warwick Davis: Dec 19 to Dec 21
    • Steven Curtis Chapman: Dec 22 to Dec 24
    • Edward James Olmos: Dec 25 to Dec 26
    • Marlee Matlin: Dec 27 to Dec 28
    • Lisa Ling: Dec 29 to Dec 30

Hollywood Studios

  • Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM spectacular will treat guest to iconic music, fireworks, special effects and projections giving a one of a kind experience at the Chinese Theater.
  • Olaf will relieve a special holiday finale: For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along

For guests who are looking to enjoy Christmas at Disney without breaking the bank, there are many activities and sights for you to enjoy at the resorts and Disney Springs.

Christmas at Disney Springs

Disney Springs is the perfect place to begin all your holiday shopping. Here you can find a wide variety of shopping options where you can find gifts for everybody on your Christmas list.

One of our favorite things to do at Disney Springs is visit the Christmas Tree Trail. Visitors can take a stroll down the trail and enjoy many custom-decorated holiday trees. Each tree is dedicated to a different Disney theme. The Christmas Tree Trail will be open from Nov 8, 2019 to Jan 5, 2020

Christmas Tree Trail Tree Themes

  • Cinderalla
  • Dumbo
  • Fantasia
  • Frozen
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Mary Poppins
  • Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse
  • Mulan
  • Peter Pan
  • Pinocchio
  • Robin Hood
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • Snow White
  • Star Wars
  • Tangled
  • The Lion King
  • The Little Mermaid
  • The Prince & The Frog
  • Theme Parks
  • Toy Story
  • Villains

In addition to Christmas Tree Trail, your kids can join in on Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt. Guests will be able to discover where the mischievous Experiment 626 is hiding.

Disney Resorts

Christmas at Disney Pin

After you have taken a stroll through Disney Springs and are ready for some air conditioning. Head over to Disney’s Grand Floridiann Resort and Spa and checkout a life-size holiday gingerbread house. This is an excellent place to pick up a tasty treat to finish off the night.

Disney’s Beach Club Resort will be home to a life-size edible carousel. Or you can stroll around the Holiday village at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort.

What is your favorite holiday experience at Disney World? We always look forward to the Candlelight processional.

Free activities at disney world

Free Activities at Disney World

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You have just spent a ton of money on your magical vacation to Disney World. You are trying to do everything you can to make it special for your kids and have them enjoy it. Searching Pinterest you can find all sorts of activities to do around Disney World. You may be surprised at the number of free activities for you and the family around Disney World.

Some of the free activities do require a park ticket. Once you get into the parks, it will be easy to spend a lot of money making your kids happy. Disney offers a lot of extra activities for a cost. However, there are a lot of free activities available to you during your visit.

There are free activities available at the parks, resorts and Disney Springs, so you don’t necessarily need a ticket to a park to enjoy these free activities. Some activities will however be better enjoyed while in the parks.

Disney World has a ton of activities available to your and your family. Here is our list of the Top free activities to enjoy while at Disney World.

Top Free Activities at Disney World

Hidden Mickey

Hidden Mickey’s are probably everybody’s favorite activity while exploring Disney World. Disney is know for creating speculator displays and decorations around the parks and resorts. Imagineers took this one step further and have hidden mickey heads or silhouettes throughout many of the attractions and resort.

Hidden Mickey Challenge
Can you find the Hidden Mickey in this picture?

Hidden Mickey’s are mickey heads that are created into various elements around Disney World. You can spot hidden mickey’s in the gardens, throughout attractions, in the chandeliers around resorts. There are 1000s of hidden mickey’s for you to search for. You purchase books online to help you track down all the hidden mickey’s around the world.

Hidden Mickey Challenge
Track the number of Hidden Mickey’s you find throughout the parks. Download our free Hidden Mickey tracker. Print it out on card-stock paper and have fun finding hidden mickeys.

Resort Hoping

Resort hoping
Photo Credit: MagicGuides.com

Resort Hoping is a favorite activity of many passholders and guests who are looking for a good time at Disney World without spending time inside the parks. With more than 20 resorts around Disney World. Each being themed differently, having different restaurants, shops, and activities for your entire family. Best part is that you don’t have to be a resort guest to guest hop. Resort hoping during the holidays is one of our favorite activities. Due to the fact that each resort is decorated different and many have special activities and displays for us to enjoy. Holidays at Disney World!

Movies

The resorts will have movie night out on the lawn. Check with your resort as its not every night for all resorts. If you are looking for an evening activity with your kids, this is a great way to end your day.

Check here for the current movies playing at the various resorts. They are always changing. Unfortunately they only publish the movie list at the beginning of the month.

Fireworks

One thing Disney does well are their evening firework shows. Disney has firework shows at 3 of the 4 parks. Many people think that you can only get fireworks at the parks. However you can get excellent views of the firework shows throughout Disney property without having to be in a park. The Magic Kingdom evening fireworks shows can be seen from the Contemporary Resort and the beach at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground. We have even watched the Fireworks from our car in the parking lot.

Parades

In addition to the fireworks, Disney World has awesome parades in the parks. Every day there are several parades for guests throughout the parks. There is only one parade that does not require a park ticket to watch. The Electric Light parade is the only parade that does not require a park admission. This parade goes around the 7 Seas Lagoon and can be viewed from the Dock at the Wilderness Lodge or the beach of Ft. Wilderness Campground.

Concerts

Who doesn’t love listening to live music. Disney World has several amphitheater’s around the property which almost always have a concert going on. The most popular amphitheater is the America Garden Theater in Epcot’s World Showcase. This amphitheater hosts the annual Eat to the Beat, Candlelight Processional and many other concerts. A park ticket is required to get into Epcot for these. If you are looking to attend a concert at Disney without buying a park ticket head over to Disney Springs. Not only do they have concerts at the Marketplace Stage or the House of Blues, but there are always live street entertainers throughout Disney Springs.

Disney Springs

Image of Disney Springs

You do not have to be a resort guest or have a park ticket to go and enjoy Disney Springs. Disney Springs has a lot to offer. Many of the activities are free but there are also many activities which require an admission fee.

Disney’s Boardwalk

Ok we have already mentioned resort hopping as an excellent free activity. Boardwalk has a lot of extra activities, that you can’t find at other resorts. Disney’s Boardwalk has several live entertainment venues, several dining options. Enjoy the street performers around the Boardwalk or even head over to the Atlantic Dance Hall.

Kidcot Crafts

Kidcot Location

Disney provides kid activities at each of the pavilions around the world at Epcot known as Kidcot Crafts. These stations are called Kidcot Crafts and offer supplies so you can color, draw and collect activity cards at each pavilion.

Sorcerer at Magic Kingdom

Sorcerer at Magic Kingdom

Are you looking to save Magic Kingdom? Grab your Sorcerer cards at the Fire station on Main Street and help defeat the villains and save Magic Kingdom. Players will find portals located throughout Magic Kingdom in which players tap their magic bands and follow the screens to play the game.

Wilderness Explorer

Grab a wilderness explorer handbook and go on a self guided exploration around Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Wilderness guides throughout the park will help orient you so you can accomplish different tasks throughout the parks. Make sure you grab your badge after you complete each task. Don’t worry you will not have to complete the entire handbook in one visit.

Agent P’s Adventures

Become a secret agent and help Perry in his quest to prevent world domination around Epcot’s World showcase. All you need is a phone and you can begin your mission. Use the Play Disney Parks app to play. Your phone will provide you you clues to help solve each mission as you travel around the world. Your progress will only be saved for the day. So if you do not complete it in one day, you will have to start over.

Finding Hidden Mickey’s and Resort Hoping are our two favorite free activities to do while at Disney World. What is your favorite activity while at Disney World?

Free activities at Walt Disney World
How to afford your next Disney Trip

How to afford a trip to Disney

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Your kids have been begging you for months now to take you to Disney and wont leave you alone about it. You want to say yes to them and provide them with the trip of a lifetime to Disney World. You know they will make memories that will last a lifetime at Disney regardless of their age. All you hear are people talking about the outrageous costs of going to disney. In fact a trip to Disney can be expensive, especially when you start booking a room at a resort, getting your park tickets and buying meals. The cost of this magical vacation can begin to add up quickly. Spoiler Alert! Once you arrive at Disney, you are going to have a lot of extra costs that you probably havent planned for. We will save all these other expenses for another article so we don’t scare you away from Disney.

The cash register in your head is spinning fast, your sweating as to how can you make your family happy and how you are going to afford this trip. However with a little planning, understanding the costs, and time you can afford to give that magical vacation to your family.

7 Tips to afford Disney World

1. Savings plan

The first step to being able to afford the trip to Disney, is to save up some money. My recommendation for a family of 4 planning a week long vacation to Disney is save between $4000-$5000 for trip. This is for a resort, park passes and dining plan. To go conservative you may want to save even more money for souvenirs and paid experiences at Disney. Not everything will be included in your resort fee or your park tickets

Yes, I just told you to save a large amount of money for the trip. However if you take your time planning and researching when, where and what for your trip to Walt Disney World. You can easily cut this price down and save money on your trip. In the end the trip will be worth every penny

How expensive is Disney.

For a Family of 4 (2 Adults and 2 Kids) Traveling to Disney World for a 6 day vacation could possibly lead to a bill of $4300 with the following items added to your vacation.

Disney Pop Century Resort Standard Pool View- $1166.61
5 day ticket with admission to 1 park each day-    $1979.26
Quick service dining plan- $954.95
Memory Maker- $169.00
Grand Total without Tax- $4269.82

This is a very rough sample of the cost of a trip to Disney in 2020.

There are many ways you can save the money for this Disney trip. You can set up a spare change jar or create a savings calendar. However you do it, get your kids excited and involved in it. Have them save their spare change or the birthday money they got from Nana and Papa.

Here is a savings tracker that you can use to keep track of your progress towards reaching that goal.

Trak your savings for your next Disney Trip

2. Book and Visit during the off season

You may say to yourself Disney doesn’t have an off season, but it really does. The normal off season for Disney is January/February and September. Unfortunately off season is usually when your children are in school. Don’t let the teachers fool you, Disney is very educational. In that case, check with your child’s school and see if you can make it an excused absence. If you can’t go during the off season, and have to go during a holiday or summer, do your research to find the best deals available.

If you end up having to book during peak season, there are many ways in which you can cut your costs and help reduce the financial strain of Disney. When booking consider staying off property at a nearby hotel. Or see if you can crash at a family or friends house near the parks. Take a close look at the ticket options and find the one that best suits your needs and wants for the trip.

Remember you don’t have to do everything that is available at Disney. Do things you want and enjoy to do. There are attractions at Disney that you may not have any desire to see.

For latest crowd level estimates check out Magic Guides.

3. Only have to pay the deposit when booking

When it comes to booking a vacation at Disney you can book the vacation up to 499 days in advance. This gives you a lot of time to prepare for your vacation. The great thing about Disney is that you do not have to pay for your entire trip when you book it. You will only be required to pay a deposit for your trip. The deposit for a vacation is usually between $200-$400 if you are booking well in advance. A last minute booking may require you to pay the entire cost upfront.

4. Pay as you go for the vacation

7 Tips to Afford a magical trip to Disney World
7 tips to afford a Disney trip

You are typically not required to pay the full vacation amount when you originally book it. You will have until a month prior to your vacation to pay for it. Now, that you have booked your vacation, paid the deposit and are counting down the days. Why not slowly pay down the balance between now and the day of your arrival. You can pay a little towards the balance at anytime. Just be aware that the balance of your trip will be taken out of the credit card a month prior to your vacation. Make sure you read the fine print when booking

Take the savings chart from above and use it to track your vacation payoff.

5. Deciding to stay on or off property. One of the most expensive parts of visiting Disney World is the resort. While this is probably one of the top 3 most expensive aspects of your trip, this can also be one area you can save a fair bit of money for your vacation. Disney has over 30 resort options for you to choose from; prices ranging from $50 a night to over an $1000 a night. In addition to all the Disney resort options, there are plenty of non Disney hotels for you look at. The debate of staying on or off property is a never ending debate as to which one is better. Each option has its perks.

Since we live close to disney we only stay on property if we want to spend any length of time at Disney. So we are going to be partial to staying on property. The main advantage of staying on property is the free transportation around Disney world. You park your car in front of your hotel room and let it sit there for the week. Another advantage of staying on property are all the activities that the resorts have to offer. Swimming pools, arcades, nightly movies and numerous kids activities, that you most likely can’t get at an outside hotel. If your main priority are the parks then staying off property could work out since you won’t be using the hotel very much, however you will have to factor in the cost of parking and/or transportation to the parks.

My one recommendation for those that want to stay off property is to try and snag a room at one of the hotels along Disney Springs. This way you can walk to the Disney Springs bus stop and use Disney’s transportation and avoid the parking fee for the parks.

If you want to stay on property and want to go with the cheapest option, you will want to look at camping at the campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground. You can sometimes snag a tent/pop-up site for as little as $50 a night, the only downside is you will be sleeping in a tent, which during the summer may not be fun for your family.

6. Which park tickets do I need/want? Spend some time researching what the parks have to offer and what your family would like to do or can do. From here create a plan of what you would like to do during this visit at Disney World. If you are only going to be at Disney for 3 days with a toddler, you may not plan or need to visit all the parks. Or maybe you want to make sure you visit the water park over going to Hollywood Studios.

Therefore, when booking your vacation Disney will give you options for what kind of tickets you would like to add to your stay. The 1 park a day selection is the automatically selected (for each day of your vacation) ticket option, however this may not be the option for you. Check out which ticket is right for you and ride height requirements to get a better idea of the ticket option you want to pick.

One way to cut the cost of the park tickets is to not get park tickets for the day you check-in and check-out. Unless you plan on arriving super early and leaving super late, you may not get your money’s worth at the park for these days.

A perk to staying on property is Extra Magic hours for resort guests to get in early or stay late to parks. This increasing your chances of being able to experience more attractions!

7. Understand all the cost involved with the vacation. You have booked your resort stay and purchased your tickets and now your all set. Wrong. Once you show up to the resort and the parks you are going to incur other costs that you didn’t plan for when you booked your trip.

If you drive your vehicle you will need to pay a parking fee at the resort. If you did not purchase a Dining plan you will need to pay for all your meals. Even with a dining plan there will be times when you have to pull out the credit card and pay for some food.

You are going to buy souvenirs and gifts for the family and they will add up quickly. Check out some fun and free souvenir ideas for the family. If you brought your own vehicle with you to Disney, one great option to get a discount on Disney merchandise is to go over to one of the disney outlets. Unfortunately they are not on disney property, but you can find great bargains on disney merchandise. Check out character warehouse at the Vineland outlets, a short 12 minute drive from Disney Springs.

Pressed Pennies

When looking at the cost of your trip to Disney, it may look expensive, but when you consider everything it entails it is without a doubt worth every penny, especially when it comes to staying on property. Disney goes above and beyond to make sure your vacation is as magical as possible. While I have never stayed off property while visiting Disney. I do spend a lot of time in various hotels and resorts for work. I can tell you that you will be 100 times happier with staying on property for your vacation.

Affording a trip to Disney World
Tips to Afford a trip to Disney World

For more information on how to afford your disney trip or to save some money while at disney, use our search feature and search “affording disney” and you will find many other great articles to help you.