Tips for visiting Disney World in 2024

Walt Disney World is often referred to as one of the most magical vacation destinations on Earth. It’s a place where dreams come true and memories are made. However, it’s important to acknowledge that a trip to Disney World can also be challenging, expensive, frustrating, scorchingly hot, and the epicenter of meltdowns. The version of Disney World you experience largely depends on how you plan and navigate your trip. Luckily, there are easy, expert-tested tips for visiting Disney World that can help you save money, have fun, and ensure your trip is a magical success.

One tip for maximizing your Disney World experience is to explore secret menus at various restaurants. Many of the favorite Disney World restaurants, such as Nomad Lounge in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar at Disney Springs, and Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen in the Magic Kingdom, offer off-menu “secret items.” These items are not listed on the regular menu but can be requested. Sometimes, these secret menu items can end up saving you money compared to the regular menu options.

Another tip is to opt for lounges instead of full-service restaurants for your meals. While a leisurely meal at a full-service restaurant can be relaxing, it can also be expensive. By choosing a relaxed lunch or dinner at one of Disney World’s many atmospheric lounges, you can still enjoy a table and a server but order lighter bites and creative cocktails without breaking the bank.

Creating your own souvenirs is another way to save money and add a personal touch to your Disney World experience. Disney World resorts offer free daily activities, such as tie-dyeing Mickey T-shirts, that can serve as fun DIY souvenirs. Additionally, some resorts have Community Halls where guests can watch movies, play games, and make crafts either for free or a small fee.

Snagging hard-to-get dining reservations can enhance your Disney World experience. Dining reservations at popular restaurants like Cinderella’s Royal Table, Space 220 Restaurant, and Oga’s Cantina can be challenging to secure. Guests staying on Disney World property can make reservations 60 days plus the length of their stay in advance, giving them a better chance of scoring desirable reservations. Websites like Touring Plans offer free alert services that notify you when a hard-to-find reservation becomes available.

To save money on beverages, take advantage of free ice water available at quick-service locations serving fountain drinks. Simply ask for a free cup of ice water, and you’ll be able to stay hydrated without spending extra money on bottled water.

Choosing your dates carefully can also help you save money on Disney World tickets. Ticket prices now vary by date and park, with the Magic Kingdom being the priciest park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom being the least expensive. By selecting less busy days to visit the parks, you can save money on ticket prices.

As of January 2024, theme park reservations are no longer required for guests with date-based tickets. This means you can visit whichever park you’d like without having to make a reservation in advance. However, annual passholders and guests with certain promotional tickets still need to make a theme park reservation.

If you have a ticket with the Park Hopper option, you no longer need to wait until 2 p.m. to visit a second park. This change allows you to visit additional parks at any time throughout the day, making the Park Hopper option more valuable.

Lastly, consider using discounted Disney gift cards to save money on your trip. You can purchase discounted Disney gift cards from retailers like Target, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s. Additionally, some credit cards offer bonus points for purchasing Disney gift cards at grocery stores and office supply stores.

In conclusion, while a trip to Walt Disney World can present challenges and expenses, there are easy tips and tricks to make your experience more enjoyable and affordable. By exploring secret menus, opting for lounges instead of full-service restaurants, creating your own souvenirs, snagging hard-to-get dining reservations, taking advantage of free ice water, choosing your dates carefully, utilizing the new ticket and park hopping policies, and using discounted Disney gift cards, you can have a magical and successful trip to Disney World.

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