10 Things to Do 3 Months Before Your Disney Vacation to save money & get into the spirit and the magic of Disney!
I am Disney crazy. And luckily my husband loves Disney as much (if not more) than me! This of course means that we talk & plan our Disney trips way in advance! We even plan to purchase annual passes next year!
See how Disney crazy we are?
In a few months we will begin a Disney Vacation we have been dreaming about for a while now! This is a special vacation because it is my graduation gift to Roger (YAY! He’s almost done with dental school!!) & I have been saving up for it for a while now! So as we plan our upcoming Disney Vacation I couldn’t help but look back on last year’s 5 Day Disney World Vacation to get even more pumped up & excited about the magic of Disney!
And how rude would it be if I did all this planning & preparing & didn’t share with you some of my favorite random tips of Things to Do 3 Months Before Your Disney Vacation! Of course there are lots of blog posts out there with Disney tips, but there is something extra special about mine. They aren’t just random tips I have thrown together, they are tips that we actually use (& are using at this very moment) that will not only save you some money but also get you & your family in the Disney spirit!
So between Rog & I, we came up with 10 Things to Do 3 Months Before Your Disney Vacation!
ps. You can Click here to see all of my Disney posts, like 15 Mistakes to Avoid During a Disney Vacation, 10 Things to Do 3 Months Before Your Disney Vacation, & much more!
1. Research & Plan
If you are reading this post than you are one step ahead of the game! I really can not emphasize enough how important it is to research & plan before your Disney vacation. Seriously, if you only do one thing from this list let it be this one. If you go to Disney World’s Facebook page you will mostly read positive reviews, but the few negative reviews that you read are from people that did not plan properly and do not know all the ins & outs or tips & tricks. It actually pains me to read these comments. Who would spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on a vacation & doesn’t do their research? So I thought I would share a few of them I have read over the months & tips these people would have easily discovered if they just did a little research.
For example, with just a little bit of research you can learn the best & worst times (spring break season & summer) to go to Disney parks & how to plan accordingly. You can learn about FastPass+, resort perks (like extra magic hours & free parking), & how to meet the princesses.
If you are staying at a Disney resort you don’t have to take their transportation to get to the park. I just read an angry comment about the slow bus transportation is between the resorts and parks. It’s a bus, busses are slow. Just don’t. If you are staying in one of their resorts it’s free to drive & park your car at any of their parks. We will be doing this the majority of the time this coming May.
I’ve read comments from people who say they don’t like FastPass+ because they don’t like being told when & where to be on vacation. ROFL. You don’t have to use the FastPass+, but it’s FREE!!! Might as well set them & if you can’t use them because you are eating, at a show, or across the park don’t sweat it. At least you had the option to go on that one ride that has had over an hour wait all day! Hakuna Matata!
(ps. More on FastPass+ below)
I read a comment a couple months back from a woman whose family went their entire vacation without seeing Minnie & Mickie (along with princesses & other Disney characters) outside of the parade & shows. They didn’t understand why they didn’t see them just walking around the park. Major face palm. It really hurts me to know that some people lost a bit of the magic, on what can be an expensive vacation, because they didn’t do even 5 minutes of research. Occasionally you will see them walking through the park, but that’s only as they are getting to a predestined location for meet & greet time. You can find time information about when to meet Disney characters online, on your smart phone, & at the kiosks. Most lines to see the characters are not too long either if you go to Disney in the off peak seasons. We only waited about 5-10 minutes to see many of the characters last time we were in the parks.
I could really talk on & on about Disney & the importance of researching & planning, but maybe I should just get on with rest of the tips to help you plan your trip!
Oh & if you are looking for Disney World guide books I have a few affiliate links at the bottom of this post!
ps. I am super excited that you are planning your Disney vacation & that I have the chance to help you on your magical adventure! Feel free to tweet me, email me, or comment below with your own personal tips or questions!
2. Order the FREE Disney Parks DVD
It’s free & fun! You can watch it online or order the free DVD! Plus it’s a great way to get excited about your Disney vacation while planning it out!
3. Purchase Your Disney Tickets
Once you have figured out how many days you want to go, what parks you want to visit, & where you want to stay (the FREE DVD can help!) it’s time to purchase your tickets & book your hotel! I will admit we purchased our tickets about 5 months before (we were really eager) & our hotel reservations about 3 months before our upcoming vacation.
We buy our 5 day Disney World tickets on eBay.
Now before you go saying that is a crazy bad idea, I should tell you that my husband has been buying & selling on eBay for over 15 years, ever since he was just a kid & places like eBay were still new. So he knows his way around eBay like the back of his hand & he knows what he is doing.
Even if you are newish to using eBay you can purchase your Disney tickets without worry. Once you receive your tickets (Disney passes – here’s a picture of the ones we bought last year on Ebay) it’s imperative that you verify your tickets with Disney to ensure that you didn’t get cheated out of your money. BTW eBay guarantees all of their purchases (which Roger has had to use in the past for other purchases), so if the tickets do not have the correct days or have been used & the seller does not refund you than eBay has a guarantee that they will refund you if your purchase was not correct or legitimate.
Side note. All of the tickets Roger has bought on Ebay has been legit & well enjoyed by us!
So Roger bought our tickets on Ebay for a discounted price, which is usually between 5-10%, but you also get free shipping & you can usually get Ebay bucks which can be up to 10%. But the real kicker is that when buy a 5-day pass the overall cost per-day is cheaper. For example 1 day at Magic Kingdom is over $100, however if you add in all the discounts & Ebay bucks (& if you use Ebates in tip #5) your tickets can come out to an average of around $55-60 per day. That’s almost 50% off!!!
BTW Disney prices seem to go up all the time. So the sooner you buy the better! The 2 tickets we bought for our upcoming 5-day trip were about $600 for the pair. But again this doesn’t include eBay bucks (which is like cash back on eBay, or the Ebates refunds you can get).
Oh & did you know that as long as you don’t start using the days, the tickets are good for like 20 years or something crazy!? I keep telling Roger we need to buy like 20 of them! Which, let’s be honest, would only sustain us for about 10 years if we are lucky. Again, we are Disney fanatics!
Important note. Once you use the first day on the ticket you usually have 14 days to use all remaining days on that ticket.
4. Purchase Your Hotel Tickets & Keep an Eye on Them!!!
Crazy story. When we first booked our hotel for our upcoming Disney World vacation on Orbitz we chose the basic room (standard view) at Disney Port Orleans Resort. A week later my husband was perusing Orbitz again and discovered that the prices had gone down & that it would be cheaper for us to stay in the Royal Guest Room (standard view). Of course we quickly made the change!
On Disney’s website this room would normally cost $58 more a night & yet we were able to purchase it for $25 less a night than the basic room with a standard view. Crazy right?
It can literally pay to do your research & continually check back even after you initially purchase your hotel reservations!
And on a side note. If you are flying you might want to purchase your plane tickets more than 3 months in advance. And if you are driving, a good tip to remember is that if you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort then you get free parking at all the parks and resorts as well.
On a side note, Roger & I did the math for our upcoming trip. We discovered that for 5 nights stay at Disney Port Orleans Resorts staying in a Royal Guest Room (standard view), plus our two 5 day Disney tickets, & $700 saved up for food, our trip will cost approximately $2,400. That’s over $300 less than if we had bought everything directly through Disney. That’s $300 I can put towards annual passes for next year!
5. Restaurant Reservations
This is a super fun way to prep for your Disney Vacation! Roger & I spent several hours (over a few weeks) choosing our favorite restaurants. I should also note that the reason it took us several hours is because we wanted to make sure we were eating at the restaurants that had the best & most delicious vegetarian options! Most, if not all, disney world restaurants have their menus online at the walt disney world website. So you can see what menu items you would like to get at different resturants.
You can start making your Disney restaurant reservations 180 days in advance, but since we prefer to go to Disney during their “off season” we usually wait to make them about 3-4 months in advance. But if you know 180 days in advance when & where you are going there is no reason to wait, book them now!
ps. I will be sure to share a Disney World Vegetarian Guide soon after we get back.
6. Go Shopping
My main shopping priority for Disney is clothing attire. Not because I am super vain, but because I want to be cute & comfortable. Because shorts & I do not get along (I chafe like crazy) I prefer to stick to dresses & skirts which are light & airy with a pair of super loose soffe nylon shorts underneath.
If you are worried about ruining your nice sun dress you can always buy new ones for super cheap from places like eBay & Forever21. About a 2 months ago (I think it was on my birthday) I decided to check out the sale section at my local Forever21. Turned out it was the first day of a HUGE sale they were having, 50% off sale items! I bought 4 dresses & a pair of shorts for $18 or $19 total. I purchased the shorts & jean dress for Hawaii & the other 3 dresses for Disney. And of course I will wear them all summer long too.
Buying Disney gear outside of Disney will save you lots of money! From Minnie & Mickey ears to glow sticks it pays to be prepared! For those with kids here are some great Dollar Store Disney Buys! PS you should also read the comments for more tips & reviews on the tips suggested.
7. Set FastPass+
Some people think that you have to set them at the kiosks in the park or that you have to have a smart phone. NO & NO! You can set them 30 days before your Disney vacation online & if you are staying at one of their resorts you can set them 60 days before your vacation online in the comfort of your own home.
You are allotted 3 each day, then once you use those 3 up you can usually set up an additional FastPass+ for that day either at a kiosk or on your smart phone. So even if you don’t want to deal with setting up FastPass+ once you are in the park you can already have the original 3 set up weeks before your vacation!
Honestly, I see no reason why you wouldn’t want to set up FastPass+. But hey, the less people that use it, the more ride options that are available to the rest of us!
Side note. Either your magic band or your park ticket can usually be scanned at the FastPass+ entrance to each ride once your FastPass+ time becomes active.
You can learn more about FastPass+ on Disney’s website here.
8. Earn/Save Up Petty Cash
Speaking of shopping & food, a great way to earn extra cash when shopping online (such as when purchasing your Disney tickets, hotel, or rental car) is through websites like Ebates & Swagbacks. I use both & love the cash back I earn when shopping on websites like Ebay, Target, & Anthro. Plus it’s pretty fun making money (earning cash back) when purchasing a vacation to Disney World!
And since I am already working on decluttering our house for our move to the next state I figured why not earn some extra Disney cash by selling some of our gently used clothing & decor at a local flea market!
9. Watch Disney Movies
Watching Disney movies is a super fun planning step that takes a little bit of time, so it’s good to plan ahead. You can watch them in order of your least favorite (if there is such a thing) to your all time favorites the nights leading up to your trip/adventure. Or you could watch them in order from when they were originally released. You could stick to the classics or newer animated ones. Or you could simply watch only the Disney princess movies.
We are going to mix & match. We are going to watch all of Disney’s Pixar movies in order and all of the classic Disney princess movies for the last 2 weeks leading up to our Disney vacation, & we will watch all the rest over the next couple of months depending on what we are in the mood to see.
10. Listen to Disney Music Soundtracks
This one can be completely free! You can either listen to Disney music from CDs featuring their greatest hits or on Pandora or Spotify to get you & your family extra hyped up for Disney! Plus then you can sing along to all the words when you are in Disney!
Looking for more Disney tips & advice?
CLICK HERE to see all of my Disney posts, like 15 Mistakes to Avoid During a Disney Vacation, 10 Things to Do 3 Months Before Your Disney Vacation, & much more!
Have any random Disney tips to add to this list?
Feel free to comment below, email me, or tweet me on Twitter!
With love, G
To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven.
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