It was also one of the most fun and stress free trips to plan! Here are some tips and tricks that I learned that will hopefully help to make your trip as magical as it can be!
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Travel in the Off Season
In order to enjoy a Disney World trip without a ton of people and small children running around, you need to go in Disney's off season. Usually, this means at a time when school is in session, so not in the summer, during a holiday, or during common spring break times. Going in the off season means that the crowds are less, lines are shorter, and your trip will be more stress free.
We went in February, and it ended up being a great time to go. The weather was perfect for almost all of the trip, and we never spent too much time in a single line. It was also nice to leave the snow back in West Virginia for the week!
The Undercover Tourist has a great post about the best times to visit Disney World. Check it out here to plan the best time for you to visit.
Get the Magic Band
The Disney Magic Band is this cute little bracelet they send you before your trip that makes your life at Disney World very convenient. Simply scan it at the park to gain entrance, use Fast Passes, and store PhotoPass Photos. It even serves as the door key to your room!
You can use the ones they send to you, or buy fancy one in the parks or on Amazon and link your account to it. I didn't do this, but here are a few I found while browsing on Amazon:
Stay in a Disney Hotel
Speaking of rooms, I highly recommend staying on the resort, especially if you're flying in. Besides it just being a fun part of the experience, it's also keeps you from having to rent a car and worry about parking. Disney has a bus that will pick you up from the airport when you arrive and take you back when you leave, as well as fantastic transportation within the parks. Buses run from all the hotels regularly, are clean, and in our experience rarely late. There's also the Monorail and ferries available if you stay in certain hotels.
Besides the convenient transportation, staying on site has another big perk. If you make a purchase at one of the park's shops, they will send it back to your hotel's gift shop for you. That way you can still shop to your heart's content but don't have to lug around any of the goodies you bought. Just pick them up when you get back to your hotel!
Leave the Camera at Home
Unless you want to just take pictures and do nothing else, I wouldn't waste the time bringing a camera, especially a bulky expensive one. I brought my little point and shoot, and I ended up not using it all that much. It was actually more annoying than anything, and after a while, it just took up space in my bag. That doesn't mean we didn't take pictures though! Nick took a ton of pictures on his phone, and most of them turned out better than the ones I took with my actual camera!
One thing we did do and definitely didn't regret was purchase the Photo Pass. It was one of the most useful extra purchases that we made and I can't recommend it enough. If you're a couple or if you actually want to have pictures of everyone that's on the trip together, GET THE PHOTO PASS! There are photo spots all over each of the parks in the most scenic locations with professional (and super fun!) photographers ready to take great pictures. The photos are stored to your Disney Magic Band with a quick scan and you're back to enjoying your day stress free.
You can also load all of your photos from rides onto your magic bands and have access to them with the PhotoPass. You can have the unedited version and put fun overlays on them as well!
Besides actually being able to take pictures with you in them, they also give you a ton of stock photos of the parks, parades, characters, and fireworks that are really difficult to get on your own when surrounded by tons of people. The picture I used at the top of this post is one of the amazing ones they give you for purchasing the pass. I even had a folder with pictures of cute recipes in mine!
Bring a Backpack
This was something I was on the fence about, because I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy carrying it around all day. I bought this cute little backpack (in a print that's not available anymore) from Amazon before we headed out anyway, and it ended up being a very good idea.
Since it was February, the weather was a bit unpredictable, and I wanted a place to stash things like jackets and umbrellas just in case we needed them. I also ditched my purse in favor of this, since I could walk around with comfortably on my back and only had one thing to worry about.
The best part about Disney is that every single ride we went on had a place to stash bags, and mine fit perfectly with no problems. So if you're worried about having to leave your bag somewhere in order to enjoy rides, don't! Disney has you covered.
Things to put in your pack:
- I kept mine in the main compartment so no one could slip it out of the pockets. No problems!
- Water Bottle
- Water was something I definitely didn't want to waste my trip money on, so I carried around a reusable one that we filled at water fountains.
- If you go in February like we did, the weather can be a bit chilly in the morning, but it typically was perfect during the day. Keeping a jacket or hoodie around makes sure you don't freeze when it gets chilly
- Compact Umbrella
- It rained on and off one day of our trip, so this was very important. I got two similar to the ones below and kept them in a plastic bag in my pack.
- Portable Phone Charger
- I got the one below because it was shock proof and water proof, but there are tons of these out there. Whenever our phones would need some juice, I just plugged them in the pocket with this little guy and they could charge while we walked around.
- Always good to have around. I have a case I got at the Container Store years ago, but the one below is similar. I always keep painkillers, anti diarrheal, antacids, any prescriptions, and a few bandaids in mine. It's a lifesaver sometimes.
Skip the Park Hopper Pass
The Park Hopper Pass lets you jump around to each park in the same day. If you're staying for at least four days though, then you don't really need this. We spent one day in each park and an extra half a day in Magic Kingdom since we had time after our flight. It was actually perfect and we didn't really feel like we missed out. That being said though, definitely give yourself time for each park when planning your trip. All four are worth the time!
This App was the best. You can schedule your Fast Passes, get a map of the park, make dinner reservations, view showtimes, and more. It was so convenient to have everything on my phone and easily accessible. It also reminds you of any plans you made online on Disney's main website.
Those are my Disney World Travel Tips! If you're considering a trip of your own, go for it! Kids or no kids, it's definitely worth the visit!
Got anymore great Disney travel tips? I'd love to hear them! And if you're taking a trip to the happiest place on Earth sometime soon, I hope your time is as magical as mine was!