Save Time and Money With These Disney World Secret Hacks
Did you know that summer can be a less crowded — and more affordable — time to visit Disney World and other theme parks in Orlando? With kids out of school, logic would suggest that summer must be a crazy, busy time. However, you are likely to encounter smaller crowds, shorter wait times and fewer renovations during the summer months, according to Disney travel experts.
In late August, when some families must be home for back to school, you might even find significant discounts at off-site hotels.
Here are some tricks and hacks from Disney travel experts that should help save money—and precious time—during your visit this summer:
You might find the cheapest prices at third-party wholesalers, but only if you're looking for tickets for three or more days, according to Len Tesla, the founder of Touring Plans trip planning site and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World.
“Disney World knows that many price-sensitive visitors won't come without a discount," Tesla says. “So Disney contracts independent ticket wholesalers, such as Reserve Orlando, The Official Ticket Center, Park Savers, Undercover Tourist and Maple Leaf Tickets to sell official park tickets priced at a discounted rate."
Reserve Orlando, for example, is selling a three-day pass for Disney World for July for $321, compared with the Disney website price of $346.88.
Park Hopper is a ticket option that lets you visit four Walt Disney World parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom Park) on the same day. It costs an extra $60 over the cost of a base ticket for one park.
Adding the Park Hopper option typically works best for shorter stays, according to Kris Morton, owner and creator of the Nomad by Trade blog. "For shorter trips, I like to hit my favorite spots in all four parks, even if I'm only there for two or three days," Morton says. "For a longer trip when you can dedicate a full day to each park, the extra cost might not be justified."
Themed restaurants like Cinderella's Royal Table or Be Our Guest get filled almost as soon as reservations open 180 days in advance, so if these are on your must-do list — plan accordingly.
Missed the window? Keep checking up to your travel dates, using the My Disney Experience app. “As people cancel their reservations, they'll become available for others to book," says Morton."Two of my recent visits have been planned less than two months in advance, and on both occasions I was able to get all of the reservations I wanted."
Orlando is a bit of a vacation renter's market, witha good supply of affordable homes and condos. There are plenty of websites to look for a vacation rental property in the area, from Airbnb and HomeAway to more specialized sites like Owner Direct and Magical Vacation Homes.
“For a family of five or more, a vacation rental can be considerably cheaper than a hotel room," says Nicky Omohundro, a travel and lifestyle blogger who has been taking her family of five to Disney World for the last decade. “And if vacationing with an extended family or friends, the cost of a vacation rental can be divided and amount to less than individual hotel rooms. Besides, a vacation property provides more space and a full kitchen to cook meals, and that can save hundreds of dollars."
If you have any airline miles, chances are that airline flies to Orlando. The same is true for hotels — every major chain has a presence in or around Disney World.
"There are many points opportunities for rooms around the resort," says Christine Zelina, a founder of Treasured Family Travel. “For example, there are Hampton Inn's by Hilton and Hyatt Places that are relatively inexpensive point-wise and include breakfast. For more amenities, there are Hyatt's, Hiltons or Marriotts. In fact, the Disney Swan and Dolphin on Disney property are Marriott resorts, and you can book them on points."
Many Disney experts recommend Touring Plans, which are customizable guides that aim to help maximize your time at Disney World. The guides, which cost $15.95 for a one-year subscription, offer such features as a Wait Times app for rides and attractions, a Dining Reservations Finder, and a Hotel Room Finder to identify hotel rooms with a good view — or at least not a bad one.
Disney World may not be a budget destination, but it doesn't have to break your vacation bank, either. With some careful planning, you can have a fun summer visit — and even save a few dollars.
All content provided in this blog is supplied by Andy Shuman and is for informational purposes only. Barclays takes no position as to the views, and makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in the blog or found by following any link within this blog.
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