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With Spring Break planning in full swing, kids everywhere are getting excited for upcoming trips to what is often lovingly called “the happiest place on Earth.” A trip to Disney World is a joy-filled rite of passage for many lucky kids, but those unforgettable vacations can lead to overspending and stress for parents. Here are a few tips to make sure your stay at Disney World is unforgettable for all the right reasons.

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Pack, pack, pack!

Make sure you have everything you may need before embarking on your trip. This list should include external phone chargers, pens, and markers, DIY or substitute autograph books, sunscreen, medicines, and hand-held fans. These basic supplies will be more expensive in the park, and on rainy days, ponchos will be in high demand so pack those as well. The less time you spend trying to get these things in the park, the more time and money you save.

Know where the Baby Care centers are

All four Disney World parks have a Baby Care Center where parents can take young children for breastfeeding or a diaper change. If you forget formula or diapers at the hotel, you can also buy these and other essentials here. In the Magic Kingdom, the Baby Care Center is tucked away right off Main Street between between Casey’s and The Crystal Palace. For those with little ones, look up the location of these centers in the morning and scope them out when you get to the park.


Bring snacks

Disney World has great food, but snacking between meals can quickly add up for a large family. You are allowed to take food into Disney World so plan ahead by packing a backpack or cooler bag with Disney-branded treats from your local grocery store. Pick up a few boxes of your child’s favorite gummies to make the long times between meals more tolerable. Use the money you save and treat the family to only the Disney must-haves like a pineapple Dole Whip or a Mickey ice cream bar.


Avoid peak ticket pricing

Disney World sells tiered 1-day tickets throughout the year, including value, regular, and peak. Because the parks are so popular during spring break, tickets for March 25 through April 18 are being sold at the peak cost, which for an adult is about $12 more than regular pricing. If the window for your vacation is firmly within those dates, take advantage of multi-day passes at a discounted rate. Reserve your tickets in advance through Travelocity.


Get in line

If you’re a family of night owls, take advantage of Disney’s lenient line policy. As long as you are in line for a ride before the park closes, you are allowed to stay in it until you ride. This is a good option for rides that tend to have the longest lines. Save these attractions for the end of the day and you won’t waste valuable daytime hours shuffling in a lengthy queue.


Pick a hotel outside the park

Disney offers numerous on-site resorts it encourages guests to stay at and the advantage, of course, is proximity to the parks, free park shuttles, earlier access to dining reservations, and extended park time before and after parks close. But to save money, consider other hotels in Orlando. Like Disney’s own hotels, many offer daily shuttles to the parks so there is no need to rent a car or arrange other transportation. These are perfect for families who plan to spend most of their vacation outside the hotel room. Choose from hundreds of Orlando hotels right here.


Make dinner reservations well in advance

One of the best things about Disney World is the number of excellent restaurants and the variety of food available. After a long afternoon walking around in the Orlando heat, it’s relieving to sit down for a nice meal. Of course everyone has the same idea and the park restaurants tend to fill up with long waits. Take advantage of the option to scope out and make reservations online well in advance of your visit. This is also a great way to get in a character greeting at the Crystal Palace or an on-theme meal at Belle’s enchanting Be Our Guest restaurant.


Spend an afternoon at Disney Springs

Formerly called Downtown Disney, Disney Springs is a dining, shopping, and entertainment district and free to enter. This is a great option for families looking to get out and do something fun on a slower day. Hit the hotel pool in the morning and then head to Disney Springs to pick out souvenirs you won’t have to carry around the park.


Take your own photos

With MagicBands, Disney makes it really easy to access photos you take with characters throughout the park. Cast members take the official photos, but will also snap a few on your personal camera or phone if you ask them to. Make sure your photo settings are adjusted to take a good photo, and save yourself some money by foregoing the more expensive official pictures.

Kristen Mitchell

Kristen Mitchell

Kristen Mitchell

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