The Best Disney World Hacks from Moms Who Know Disney
Today I have for you some of THE BEST Disney World tips that I have accumulated over the years. They come from personal experience and from moms who have been to Disney with kids on repeat for years. There is some seriously good stuff in here so you’ll definitely want to pin this to reference over and over again as you prep for your Disney vacations.
Before You Leave
Pack in Ziplock Bags. Use gallon sized ziplock bags to label and separate daily outfits for each of your kids. Lay the outfits out at night and your kids may even dress themselves in the morning.
Throw one of the packing cubes (with an outfit for each member of your family in it) into a carryon in case your luggage gets lost. You’ll at least have one change of clothes while you wait for your bags to show up!
Stock up on discounted Disney gift cards. You can get them for 5% off with your Target Red Card. Use them to purchase everything from meals to souvenirs.
If you have a Chase branded credit card, there are even special bonuses now and then for 10% back at some stores that sell Disney gift cards, like Staples and CVS! Read more about how and where to find these discounted Disney gift cards.
Stay in Disney’s Deluxe Resorts for half the cost by renting Disney Vacation Club points through a retailer like David’s Vacation Club Rentals. We just booked a 2 bedroom villa at the Animal Kingdom Lodge for less than half what it would have cost to book through Disney directly. Read more about the process HERE.
On the Plane
Use pencil boxes for airplanes and park snacks. The snacks won’t get crushed and you can easily pass them out weary kids when you’re waiting in line for Peter Pan’s flight.
Bring hydrogen peroxide Clorox wipes to wipe down airplane seats, tables at restaurants, highchairs, and rented strollers. The kind with hydrogen peroxide will actually kill the norovirus, while the regular wipes won’t. They can be hard to find, but here is a link to them on Amazon. (You probably won’t be able to purchase these until things settle down).
At the Parks
Bring glow sticks and other light up toys from home to pull out during the nighttime shows. They will act as a distraction while you wait and hopefully save you from having to buy the light up toys being sold in the parks for a whole lot more.
Use a Sharpie to write your phone number on the inside of your magic bands. If one happens to fall off you’ll have a better chance of having it returned to you.
Use clickable Sharpies for character autographs. You won’t have to worry about losing the caps. Here’s the link to buy them on Amazon.
Pack a set of battery operated mini lights to wrap around your stroller. It will be a heck of a lot easier to find in the sea of strollers parked outside of the rides at night. Something like this would be perfect.
Keep a small set of post-it notes in your backpack or diaper bag to cover the toilet flushing sensors at the airport or in the parks. Apparently that unexpected flush is a common fear among the little guys!
If you find that you need a pain reliever or allergy medication, try asking at one of the gift shops. Some moms have been given single dose packs by cast members when they ask.
Take advantage of baby care centers. When my son was an infant we spent almost every weekend at Disney so I knew where every baby care center was and which was may favorite for privacy and nursing (it’s in Animal Kingdom btw). While I nursed kid #2, my husband watched a Disney movie in the AC with kid #1. And if you need baby food, diapers, wipes, sunscreen, or juice it’s available to purchase.
- Magic Kingdom – to the left of the Crystal Palace
- Epcot – down the path to the left just before you enter Mexico
- Hollywood Studios – to the left as soon as you enter the park
- Animal Kingdom – on the left just past “Creature Comforts” before you cross the bridge to Africa
Pack a plastic tablecloth to cover your stroller. I suggest bringing extra ponchos to cover your stroller when you’re on rides, but another mom suggested buying a plastic tablecloth! They are much bigger and will be better at covering the whole thing.
Carry a portable cell phone battery. The days are long in the parks and there are so many reasons you will need your phone (wait time apps, Fastpass reservations, etc). So you do not want to be stuck with a dead battery. We bring this one and we get at least 6 full phone charges out of it and can charge 2 phones at once.
Bring stroller for kids 6 and under. Even if you think your kid won’t use it, they will. It’s a long day, temps get hot, and kids get tired. Plus it’s really nice to have a place to store things. I actually miss my stroller for that reason.
We’ve owned A LOT of strollers but the Joovy Scooter X2 was my favorite park stroller. Even my 7 year old would hitch a ride every now and then.
If you don’t want to bring a stroller through the airport, rent from someone like Kingdom Strollers and save a ton compared to Disney prices. Single strollers start at $45 for 1-3 days and doubles start at $55. They also rent cribs and special needs strollers and now offer airport pickup and drop-off for strollers. See a full list of their prices here.
Pack a few distractions in your park bag. Think dollar store finds: stickers, bubbles, glow sticks, and pipe cleaners are just a few ideas. Little, inexpensive distractions go a long way when you’re waiting in a long line with exhausted kids.
Save money by asking for a free cup of ice water at any quick service restaurant. It’s a great way to save on your dining costs.
Think that’s the only thing you’ll get for free at Disney World? You might be surprised.
Ask photopass photographers to use your personal camera to take your picture. You don’t have to pay for memory maker in order to use their service. (Although I am an advocate for purchasing it and think its worth every penny).
Go to the park that had extra magic hours the night before. They will be less crowded since many resort guests were there late the night before.
Put your electronics in zip-loc bags if you plan on riding anything with water.
Check wait-times on the Disney app on your phone. It will help you decide what the best next move is.
If you aren’t super hungry or you’re an adult with a lighter appetite, order a kids meal. You don’t have to have a kid to order one and you’ll save a few bucks.
Pack Sharpies so you can label EVERYTHING. Write names on souvenir cups, lanyards, water bottles, snack containers, you name it. (These clickable Sharpies are my favorite and super convenient for character autographs).
Don’t schlep huge souvenirs through the parks all day. If you’re staying at a Disney hotel you can have your life-sized Dumbo or fragile Mickey figurine delivered to your hotel.
In Your Hotel Room
Pack a “laundry kit” with Tide pods, Dryer Sheets, and quarters. If you’re staying in a 1, 2, or 3 bedroom Villa (learn how to save 50% on Disney villas here) you’ll have a washing machine in your room. And even if you’re not, all Disney hotels have self-service laundry facilities on the property. Most have been converted to credit/debit card operated and all facilities have the ability to text you when your laundry cycle is completed!
Pack a pop-up hamper to keep all of your dirty clothes in one place. Some of the rooms can get cramped so having a tidy floor will really make a difference. And then at the end of the week you can dump all of your dirty clothes into one suitcase to throw in the wash when you get home! Here’s a 2 pack at great price on Amazon.
Download a white noise app on your phone if that’s something that will help your kids fall asleep when your family is sharing one room.
Save one of those cardboard drink carriers from a fastfood restaurant and bring it with you. It will come in handy when you’re doing a coffee run at your resort early in the morning.
Pack a dish washing kit with a small sponge and a mini bottle of dish soap so you can wash kids cups and bottles in the hotel bathroom sink.
Order groceries and have them delivered to your hotel. If you aren’t there when they arrive the hotel will even hold them in a refrigerator for you until you can pick them up.
When You Get Home
If you visit Disney frequently, consider keeping a “Disney tub” filled with all of your park necessities. Ponchos, Mickey Ears, travel sized toiletries, gallons sized ziplock bags with kids’ names on them.
Share Your Tips!
My time in Disney parks has been so much more enjoyable because of the tips I’ve accumulated from other parents and park goers. I would LOVE it if you would share yours with me in the comments. I’ll even update this post with my favorites!