8 Disney Hacks to Save Time/Money at Disney World

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We all wonder how to save money at Disney World. The potential to spend the price of a used car for a weeklong vacation in Orlando with Mickey Mouse is insane, right? While it is nearly impossible to get around the cost of admission, we spent 3 days across the 4 theme parks of Disney World in Orlando for less than $100. Below are 8 Disney hacks that will save money at Disney World during your next vacation at the “Happiest Place on Earth.”


8 Disney Hacks to Save Time/Money at Disney World

With the goal of saving time and money, here are 8 Disney hacks that we used to maximize our time in the park at save money at Disney World.


#1 MCO Airport Rideshare

When arriving at MCO, we were met with the inconvenient fact that Mears Taxi basically owns the Orlando airport. Not wanting to pay the ridiculous prices of a taxi, we decided to taxi a local bus outside of the airport property to the first stop and then take a Lyft from there. While it did take a bit more time and effort, it saved us between $25-50 in price difference. If your hotel does not have a shuttle to/from the airport, this is your best bet.


If you’d like your first ride free with Uber or Lyft, please use our referral links.


#2 Comfortable Shoes

Comfortable shoes are extremely important. For the 4 days of adventuring through theme parks, we racked up nearly 40 miles of walking! My travel buddy and I experimented with our Chacos (a Utah favorite) and that didn’t end up working so well.

Nothing kills a day at the theme park like blisters.


So, I switched over to my Rainbow Sandals and was comfortable throughout the time. If you are unsure of what footwear will work for you, bring a spare pair of shoes with you so you can switch out as needed.


#3 Disney Apps

These apps are essential to maximizing your time. Many Disney park attendees decide to just ‘wing it’ with rides, which will result in over 50% of your time waiting in lines. These apps will allow you to take advantage of knowing waits for rides, as well as using your Fastpasses.


You can book up to 3 Fast Passes each day, which allows you to avoid waiting in lines for your favorite rides.

Download the My Disney Experience – Disney World, Magic Guide for Disney World, and Shop Parks apps ahead of your trip.  Also, consider the Visit Orlando app because there’s more to do in Orlando than just Disney!


#4 Water is a must!

Water is an extreme essential! With all this walking, you will need to be hydrated – soda and alcohol will kill you in the Southern California heat or Orlando humidity. Bring a backpack to carry throughout the park with a water pouch similar to this.


All restaurants/concessions that serve fountain soda are able to serve tap water to you for free. This is a HUGE money saver as a bottle of Dasani water is $3.

I prefer purchasing a separate water pouch this route as Camelbak backpacks are extremely overpriced and do not hold very much. I used my Odio backpack with a laptop sleeve and it worked great.


#5 Disney Fastpasses are a MUST!

As I mentioned in Tip #3, the Fastpass is CRUCIAL to maximizing your time. Fastpasses are basically appointments for you to ride in a certain time period. Kiersten was wanting to ride many specific rides with insane wait times, but with Fastpasses, you are able to make an ‘appointment’ that is 60 minutes long and you are able to jump in the Fastpass line rather than wait in stand by.



#6 Where you stay is VERY IMPORTANT!

One of the largest decisions of Disney parks for those that are traveling is which hotel to stay at. I stayed at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, with one of the main reasons being that they had shuttles to and from the park. While they were at somewhat inconvenient times, it does eliminate the hassle of parking fees and cost of renting a car.


The state of Florida has the lowest rideshare rates in the country, so a rental car is absolutely not needed. But, I will say that staying at a non-Disney property will eat away at your time in the park as you will need to travel to the transportation center and then to the park itself.

Staying at a Disney resort can be more expensive, but it is a bit more convenient and hotel guests often get early access to the parks. However, for me, it wasn’t so inconvenient that I wished to pay hundreds of dollars more for my stay.

Check rates & book now at Booking.com | Expedia | Hotels.com | Priceline | Travelocity. Not that loyalty benefits may not be available unless you book direct. For the latest reviews from travelers like yourself, check TripAdvisor.


#7 Food and Drinks are a RIPOFF!

While this hot dog was incredibly delicious at the Magic Kingdom, the food is a massive rip off. They have an open policy for food and drinks of any kind, just no alcohol.


I highly recommend stopping at a grocery store and making sandwiches or some other snack to avoid paying upwards of $25 per person per meal.


#8 Chase Lounge at Epcot!

Chase card holders rejoice! There is a lounge inside Epcot. From what I have read, it is a great place to escape the heat for free water/soda and snacks.


Keep in mind that this lounge is nothing like the airport lounges that we’re used to. The amenities and freebies that spoil us at airports are lacking here, but the Chase Lounge at Epcot it will allow you to sit down for a moment in air conditioning. The Chase Lounge at Epcot is only open certain days of the year so do your research to see if it is open during your vacation.


For those extreme DisneyLAND fans, a colleague of mine created her comprehensive musical walkthrough of the park. You can find the playlist below & to save your data, I suggest downloading it to an MP3 file.


The Bald Thoughts

Overall, Disney was an excellent experience. We were able to see the brand new Pandora World, which is based on the movie Avatar and it definitely was as amazing as I thought it would be! These 8 tips will help you save money at Disney World and maximize your Disney World experience.

Come back next week when I share how my girlfriend and I went to Disneyworld for 3 days for under $100!


  1. I’d been thinking about Chacos for our trip in a couple weeks, but I think I’ll go a different route based on your experierence. Glad I saw it.

    • Mark, thanks for reading! I do think they take a bit of adjusting. I have nothing bad to say about them, except that they do have textured surfaces which feel very odd on your feet at first. I suggest to bring them and try them, but also bring a 2nd backup pair.

  2. My Daughters and I go to Disney 8 times a year .The food is expensive but the second time you go you realize the portions are big and you can share..

  3. Evidently, at least one Uber driver is ignoring the rules as my wife was picked up at MCO in an Uber last Thursday. Lyft dropped her at MCO today.

    • Kevin, thanks for reading! With rideshare services, there are always be rule-breakers especially when it comes to airports. Big $ to be made there, some driver risk being booted off their platform. Drivers are able to drop off, not pick up from my understanding.

  4. Couple of notes:
    1. You can “PRE”-book 3 fastpasses. Once you’ve used your initial 3 you can keep getting more one at a time.
    2. The Chase Lounge is only during Food & Wine festival.

  5. Is this Chase lounge new? I hadn’t heard about this before and we have found other lounges over time. Agree with your food comment 100%. We try and seek out places that are worth it. For instance France in Epcot you can go to the counter service and get a nice something for not SO much for French food.
    With little kids brining food can be SO nice. When our kids were small we would bring Peanut Butter sandwiches. You are standing in line and a kid starts whining they are hungry and you hand them a sandwich and they happily munch!!!

    • Hey Holly, I believe that the lounge is only available during certain times of the year. True, you always need to have a few snacks handy to save money and get something in the kid’s belly before they have a meltdown while waiting in line for a ride or food.


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