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15 Know-Before-You-Go Tips for your Disney Vacation

Top 15 Expert Tips for your Disney Vacation

Disney feels like a rite of passage for many families, but what if you are a newbie, or the last time you went to any Disney theme park, you were thirteen years old? Have no fear, Trekaroo families, we enlisted the help of fifteen family travel writers and bloggers who have all shared their best expert tips for your Disney vacation.

So whether you are headed to Walt Disney World in Florida, Disneyland California Resort, or even on a Disney cruise, read up on these top 15 tips for a Disney family vacation and you’ll soon be enjoying the parks like a pro.

Expert Tips for your Disney Vacation – All Parks

Expert tips for Disney Parks

arrive earlyNo matter what, even if you are not a morning person, you must get to the parks at “rope drop” (right when they open). That’s the ideal way to get the most popular rides out of the way without having to wait in huge lines.     Read more on

dressing up


Don’t overlook Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for boys too. At $19.95 it is an excellent value to take your son to Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom Theme Park and it made our son feel special at the same time my daughter was being transformed into a Princess.

Read more on  

If you want a flawless and crowd-less photo in front of Cinderella’s Castle, book an in-park breakfast reservation as early as you can (between 8 and 8:30 am). You’ll gain access to the park before it opens to normal guests, giving you a chance to not only get onto rides without waiting but also gives you a VERY RARE view of the park with NO CROWDS and the perfect opportunity to snap that crowd-less castle photo!                             Read more on

say cheeseAs a photographer, I thought I could get away with not purchasing the Disney photo pass. I can take all my own pictures, thank you very much. Looking back, I wish I would have purchased that photo package, because it would have allowed ME to be in more photos with my family, and worth the price tag.          Read more on

If you have a young child, you may already be familiar with Disney’s Rider Switch service that lets parents trade off riding the thrill rides and watching the kids while only waiting in line a single time. What many do not know, however, is that a return Rider Switch pass can be used any time later that same day. Save the passes up and use them when lines are at their worst (usually in the mid-afternoon) to minimize your overall wait times.     Read more on

power upKeep your smart phone charged while visiting a Disney park, especially if using your phone as your camera. Be sure to start your day with a fully charged battery, portable charger, and extra rechargeable battery (if you have one). Pack your charging cable so you can plug in at a charging station locker or ask your server in a sit-down restaurant to plug in your phone for you while you dine. If worse comes to worse and you forget your portable charger, you can purchase a pre-charged mobile charger from Gadgets on the Go in Downtown Disney at Disneyland.     Read more on

Expert Tips for your Disney Vacation – Disney Hotels

Expert tips for Disney hotels

parkingWhen choosing where to stay, factor in transportation costs and availability when comparing a Disney Resort (AKA “On Property”) to a location offsite. You may think you’re saving a few bucks staying “off property,” but the cost of the shuttle to/from the airport, transportation to/from the parks or a parking lot pass will add up quickly. Those are complimentary when staying on property.     Read more on

shop til you dropSend your purchases back to your Disney host resort for free! Don’t shove them in a backpack, tuck them under a stroller or make someone carry your treasures all day long. It is a complimentary service when you stay on property. Note: Packages show up the following day after 1 pm. DO NOT send packages back to your resort the day you check out.


relaxing perks

Enjoy the special amenities offered at the Disney hotels, even if you are not staying at one. For example, take a park break at The Grand California Lodge at Disneyland during their story hour in the evenings. If you are visiting Walt Disney World, be sure to stop by the Fort Wilderness Chip N Dale Sing A Long held in the evenings or head to the Polynesian Resort at Walt Disney World for a Dole Whips while listening to Island music on the white sand resort beaches.    Read more on

Expert Tips for your Disney Vacation – Disneyland California Resort

Cars Land at Disney California Adventure

free swagOur favorite souvenir from Disneyland’s California is actually free! Head to the Animator’s Academy where you be taught how to draw one of your favorite characters and then bring it home with you! The pictures say Disney’s California Adventure on them and are a sweet and personalized reminder of your trip.     Read more on

movie magicPlan a visit to Cars Land at Disney California Adventure just before sunset. At dusk, Sh-Boom plays as the neon lights go on down Route 66, just like in the movie. The time is NOT posted anywhere so you just have to plan to be in the area around sunset!


Expert Tips for your Disney Vacation – Walt Disney World Florida

Expert tips for Walt Disney World

VIP toursThere are so many behind the scenes tours you can take at Walt Disney World, including the Disney Youth Education series and the new Kingdom Keepers Quest where you can defeat the Villains from taking over the Kingdom!     Read more on

rain delayAt first thought, encountering rain at Disney might seem to be a magic killer, but it’s actually a great time to slow down and enjoy the whimsical ambiance. If there are showers in the forecast, bring ponchos for the family and plan to ride the rides in the rain (yes, rides run in the rain, assuming there is no lightening) and meet as many characters as you can. Space Mountain is ideal since it’s an indoor rollercoaster as well as It’s a Small World. On the other hand, Splash Mountain and Kali River Rapids are water rides, so they are great for visitors who don’t mind getting wet. The Princess Fairytale Hall and Mickey’s Toontown Fair both offer indoor meet and greets with celebrity characters. In case you forget—the gift shops all around the park sell ponchos.     Read more on

Expert Tips for your Disney Vacation – Disney Cruises

Expert Tips for Disney Cruises

we all scream for ice creamThose pricey Premium Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Bars that you pay several dollars for in the Parks? They are not listed on the Disney Cruise Line Room Service Menu, but you can order them (FREE) by request!     Read more at

kid free mealsCruisers that are at the second seating for dinner should take advantage of the Dine and Play program – Kids 3 to 12 years old will be served first and Youth Club staff members will pick up the kids from the dining room and take them to their play/hangout area while parents can enjoy a more leisurely dinner.

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Disneyland Walt Disney World Ultimate Vacation Guide

Hungry for more tips and information on planning your next Disney getaway? We’ve got an entire library full of tips, planning tools, details on what’s coming to the parks this year, and much, much more. Head to our Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Disney Vacation website for more details and information.


To celebrate our 2016 Disney Days, we gave away TWO Disney Family vacations

Win a Disney Family Vacation

Two very lucky families did indeed win! Check out the details below.

Walt Disney World Florida

Win a trip to Walt Disney World!

Package includes three-day park hopper passes for a family of four (two adults, two children) from Undercover Tourist and six (6) nights’ accommodation! Start with a three-night stay in a spacious suite at the newly renovated DoubleTree Suites by Hilton – Orlando Lake Buena Vista, the only all-suite resort hotel in the Disney SpringsTM Resort Area, plus three additional nights at the lush, 18-story Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort Hotel, which overlooks scenic Lake Buena Vista and the Walt Disney World® Resort.


Sponsor Spotlight – Disney SpringsTM Resort Area Hotels

Walt Disney World Hotels

Disney SpringsTM Resort Area Hotels ( are ideally located in the Walt Disney World® Resort, within an easy walk to the significantly expanded and enhanced Disney SpringsTM, formerly known as the Downtown Disney® area. Guests at the Disney SpringsTM Resort Area Hotels also receive complimentary shuttle transportation every 30 minutes to all four Walt Disney World® Theme Parks, two water parks, and to Disney SpringsTM.


Sponsor Spotlight – Undercover Tourist


Undercover Tourist is the largest online seller of discount Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando, and other Orlando-area attraction tickets. Book discounted Disney hotels and car rental reservations for maximum vacation savings. Use the popular Crowd Calendar to see the best day to visit each park, along with all of the special events for that day.

Disneyland California Resort

Win a trip to Disneyland & Southern California!

Package includes CityPASS tickets for a family of four (two adults, two children), which includes three-day park hopper entrance to Disneyland and California Adventure, plus one-day entrance to LEGOLAND® California, and SeaWorld® San Diego. Winner stays three nights’ at the Anaheim Courtyard Theme Park Entrance hotel –with an in-house waterpark!



Sponsor Spotlight – Anaheim Courtyard Marriott

Courtyard Marriott theme park

This brand new custom hotel with an in-house waterpark is located by Matterhorn Mountain and just a 5-minute walk to the gates of Disneyland! This is the first ever Courtyard designed entirely for families. Rooms boasts over 530 square feet, two queen beds, a twin bunk bed, large family bathrooms with two separate showers and sleeps up to six people!


Sponsor Spotlight – CityPASS


Save $128 on admission to Southern California’s most family-friendly theme parks with the Southern California CityPASS card. Cost: adults, $329 (value $457); children 3-9, $294. Visit The pass includes: 3-Day Park Hopper® ticket to Disneyland Resort: unlimited back-and-forth access to both Disneyland® Park and Disney California Adventure® Park; one-day admission to SeaWorld® San Diego; and one-day admission to LEGOLAND® California. 


Enter to Win a Disneyland or Walt Disney World Family Vacation

Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. A variety of entry options from checking out social media accounts to following along with some of our fellow family travel bloggers will help you snag entry points. Good luck!

 A Rafflecopter Giveaway


  • Vacations must be redeemed within one year of issuance
  • Subject to availability
  • No cash value
  • Airfare and transportation costs not included

Rules and Guidelines:

  • No purchase necessary
  • Two raffle winners will be selected. The first winner selected (FIRST PLACE WINNER) will receive choice of Walt Disney World or Disneyland vacations (FIRST PLACE PRIZE). The second selected winner (RUNNER UP WINNER) will receive remaining vacation after the First place prize winner has selected (RUNNER UP PRIZE).
  • Winners will be selected randomly and your chances of winning are based on the number of entry points you acquired against the total number of entries for this giveaway.
  • 18 years of age and older
  • US and Canada residents only, excluding residents of the Provence of Quebec.
  • Winner will be notified via the email provided and must respond to the notification to confirm their prize within the time specified in the email.  (Usually 3 days)
  • After the winner has been confirmed, the winner will be announced on this blog post.

Entry Period: March 14, 2016 12:00am PST to April 10, 2016 at 11:59pm PST.

What is Monday Madness?

On select special Mondays, Trekaroo announces on our blog, either a fantastic giveaway or an incredible deal. It could be a green water bottle, a hotel stay in Maui, or theme park tickets. Return every Monday to the Talking Trekaroo Blog for details. Want a reminder? Become a Trekaroo member or follow us on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.



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21 Responses to 15 Know-Before-You-Go Tips for your Disney Vacation

  1. Julie Marfoe March 14, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

    Super helpful tips!!!

  2. Julie lingwall March 14, 2016 at 5:03 pm #

    Thanks for the info, super helpful

  3. Danny Spence March 15, 2016 at 7:11 am #

    Good info

  4. Aisha khan March 15, 2016 at 7:25 pm #

    Amazing tips thanks

  5. Kristina B. Valcarce March 16, 2016 at 7:31 am #

    I love Disney!

  6. atz March 16, 2016 at 7:46 am #

    Great info. Will take note and arrive early.

  7. Rebecca March 16, 2016 at 12:17 pm #

    I look forward to this contest every year! I hope this is my year!

  8. Bonnie March 16, 2016 at 12:20 pm #

    Never say any where /or a link to enter the Contest I guess I’m to old to enter because I can’t find the form

  9. Julia Gray March 17, 2016 at 10:29 am #

    Nice info – never new about the early dining at Disneyland!

  10. Katie Bodell March 17, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

    Bonnie, a widget (long and skinny with gray box around it) should pop up below the Enter to win in orange. It should talk about joining Trekaroo (it’s free!)– click that and it will start the process.

  11. Heather March 17, 2016 at 8:28 pm #

    Thanks for the tips! I am going to try the early morning in park breakfast next time we go to Disneyland!

  12. Becky C March 18, 2016 at 4:40 am #

    These are all great tips. Some I have already used and some I’m hoping to use if ever I visit again!

  13. toni wright March 21, 2016 at 7:25 am #

    great tips!!

  14. Frank Curtis March 31, 2016 at 10:32 am #

    Love Disneyland

  15. Shane Mularchuk April 4, 2016 at 11:06 am #

    Very good to know

  16. Brenda Scott April 4, 2016 at 11:19 am #

    this would be amazing! i love DISNEYLAND! WOW WHAT A TREAT IT WOULD BE

  17. Colleen Coombes April 4, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

    Paying park hopper tickets in advance!

  18. Darla April 4, 2016 at 12:06 pm #

    Great tips to save!

  19. Amber M April 6, 2016 at 10:08 pm #

    I love to save money

  20. Lillian Lewis April 10, 2016 at 5:06 pm #

    I would love to experience Disney in Florida through the eyes of my grandchildren. A memory we can cherish for ever.

  21. Elizabeth April 10, 2016 at 6:59 pm #

    Awesome article!

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