Top 5 Tips to Save Time and Money in Walt Disney World

Ways to Save Time and Money at Disney World

By Jeffrey Merola

(Author of The Busy Family’s Guide to Walt Disney World 2014)

Parents all over the world want to make their children’s dreams come true and take them to Walt Disney World.  This herculean task can be expensive and overwhelming at the same time.  With families struggling to save enough money to take that magical vacation, they are constantly asking themselves some pertinent questions.  How can I save money in Walt Disney World?  How do I navigate Walt Disney World without becoming stressed out because of the throngs of people at every turn I make?  This Top 5 list will help you save time and money in the happiest place on Earth!

5 Tips to Save Time and Money in Walt Disney World

1. Save money on food, theme park tickets, and water

It can be very expensive to eat in Walt Disney World, so families have the option of investing in one of the Disney dining plans.  There are two that are the most cost effective for the family trying to deal with the high cost of food.  The quick service dining plan includes two counter service meals and one snack per person per night in a Walt Disney World resort.  Everyone will also receive a refillable mug!  The Magic Your Way plus dining plan includes one table service, one counter service, and one snack per person per night and a refillable mug.  These two dining plans can possibly save a family 20% on food costs.

If families plan their theme park visits correctly, then the park hopper option will not be necessary.  This will save a family $59 per Magic Your Way ticket.  A family of four will save well over $200.

Instead of buying bottles of water in the theme parks everyone can get water for free!  Walk up to any counter service location and ask them for tap water with ice.  They will gladly give it to you.  This can be a savings of $140 for the week.  Since a bottle of water costs $2.50, and if everyone in a family of four requires two bottles of water per day, which works out to $20 per day.  After a seven day vacation that totals $140!

2. Make a dining reservation for the Fantasmic Dining Package

The Fantasmic Dining package will guarantee everyone a seat in the Fantasmic show in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Fantasmic is a breath taking night time experience in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Mickey takes on the evil villains that Disney has created over the years.  Instead of standing in line over an hour before the show and being herded like cattle, families have the opportunity to enjoy more of what Disney’s Hollywood Studios has to offer.  Approximately 20 to 30 minutes before Fantasmic begins, families will proceed to a special entrance and enjoy the show.

3. Take advantage of FastPass+ by staying in a Walt Disney World resort

Fastpass+ is a new time saving experience that Disney is testing in all of its theme parks in Walt Disney World.  Families can now visit and schedule Fastpasses well before they arrive to see the “Mouse.”  Fastpass+ allows families to reserve a time at their favorite attractions instead of waiting in a long line, while they enjoy the rest of a theme park.  Currently you can schedule up to three Fastpass+ reservations per day.

4. See the opening ceremony and eat lunch early in the Magic Kingdom

Everyone is sure to smile when they hear the name “Mickey Mouse!”  Guest should arrive 45 minutes before the Magic Kingdom opens to see the opening ceremony with Mickey and his pals!  Mickey will arrive on the Walt Disney World Railroad and welcome everyone into Walt’s creation.

The Be Our Guest restaurant is for all fans of Beauty and the Beast, and is extremely popular.  Since reservations for dinner can be gone close to 6 months in advance, it’s important that guests reserve their tables on the exact day 6 months prior to their visit.  However, even if a family does not have a dinner reservation, they can still eat in Belle and the Beast’s Castle for lunch when a reservation is not required.  The food is, forgive me grandma for saying this, but better than grandma’s apple pie!  Families even have the opportunity to eat in the forbidden West Wing.

5. Come face to face with the Yeti and a T-Rex early in the morning

expedition everest

Moms and Dads should listen closely for when the rooster crows because it is time to get up, shower, eat breakfast, and grab a seat on the Disney transportation that awaits to take families to the entrance of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  When the Animal Kingdom first opens, excited guests should not run, but walk expeditiously over to Expedition Everest to ride a thrilling roller coaster train and hopefully see the Yeti!  It is recommended that thrill seekers should ride it a second time if the wait time is 20 minutes or less.


When that excitement is over, guests should take the walkway into Dinoland U.S.A. and experience Dinosaur.  The area will be empty before 10am.  The dinosaur attraction will take guests back to the age of the dinosaurs.  Dinosaurs will try to attack the time rover at every twist and turn and hopefully the meteor will not strike!

These Top 5 tips to save time and money in Walt Disney World will put every mom and dad on the right track.  Check out The Busy Family’s Guide to Walt Disney World 2014 by Jeffrey Merola.  It will help any family plan a magical trip to Walt Disney World and get them through the theme parks stress free!  It is available at as a paperback and a kindle eBook.

About the Author: Jeffrey Merola is an author, huge Walt Disney World fan, Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, football coach, husband, father, and a Math Instructional Coach in a New York State elementary school.  He has been on Walt Disney World property for over 180 days.  He has previously written three other Walt Disney World guidebooks. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @JMerolaWDW, Facebook, and his website

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3 responses to “Top 5 Tips to Save Time and Money in Walt Disney World”

  1. Also you do not need to stay at a Disney resort to take advantage of fastpass+. You also can get more than 3 per day. You can only pre-schedule 3, then you add them on one by one as you use them.

  2. Hi, I hope you don’t mind, but I am a blogger at Happily Ever Disney and couldn’t help but comment. There are a couple of mistakes in this post I wanted to draw your attention to as I’d hate for it to interfere with your readers’ trip. 1st of all Be Our Guest in Magic Kingdom now requires reservations for lunch. These can made just like diner reservation, but lunch is still considered a counter service meal on a dining plan (whereas diner is a table service meal). Also in regards to the park hopper option, with recent ticket price increases, those have also changed. They are also based on number of days you travel, so that will vary. In the end, not having it will obviously save money, but I’d hate for anyone that wants the park hopper option to see the price in the article and plan based on it. I know this was a guest post, but I hope the info helps.