Tips for Planning a Walt Disney World Trip (on a budget)
Walt Disney World, Orlando is one of the most popular summer destinations. But, it takes a lot of time to plan a trip to Disney; the place is huge! If you want the most for your money, take note:
1. Check around online for discounted tickets and packages. It is silly to not do otherwise, considering how little time this takes and how much you can save by doing it. Orbitz.com has great deals on WDW tickets, with packages that include free days. It's important to know what you want ahead of time. If you really want to explore each of the 4 parks (Epcot, Animal Kingdom,Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom) thoroughly, the Magic Your Way 8-day base ticket may be a good option (2 days per park). If you don't have much time for the visit, then adding Park Hopper at an extra cost would be a good idea (this allows you to visit more than one park in one day). When I visited we bought the 3-day base ticket and recieved 2 days free. This gave us enough time to do (almost) everything on our list.
Which brings me to...
2. Make a list of all the attractions and rides you'd like to experience as well as characters you'd like to meet. There's simply not enough time in one or two days to do everything in one park. Checking show and character greeting times will help make your day flow more smoothly (you can pick up the pamphlet at the park gates or check online).
You can also visit the official Disney website for descriptions of each ride and show and also see reviews online. The most popular rides for older kids, teens and adults seem to be the "mountains" (space mountain, big thunder mountain etc.) It's smart to make a list ahead of time so that you don't waste any time deciding while at the park. A lot of time is already spent waiting in lines.
Speaking of lines...
3. Use Fastpass. This is a free system whereby you receive a ticket for a certain ride, which states a time later on in the day for you to come back at, and there's hardly any wait. Fastpasses are best to use for the mountain rides as well as the popular kids rides, such as Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin and Peter Pan's Flight.
4. Stay hydrated for free. Buying things at Disney World can be expensive. If you'd like to save on drinks, remember that the quick service restaurants provide free water and club cool in epcot provides free sodas (from around the world).
5. Save on Souvenirs. For kids especially, meeting Disney characters is an exciting experience that they'll never forget. You can cherish those memories by making your own autograph book (the how-to will be on the DIY & Crafts section soon). Pressed coins are also a cool yet inexpensive souvenir. See this link for the locations of the machines and types of coins you can get around Disney World: http://www.parkpennies.com/disney-pennies-wdw/wdw-penny-press-machine-maps.pdf