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Smart Parent's Guide to Walt Disney World

Get more from your next Disney vacation


Planning a trip to Disney World with kids? Follow this tried-and-tested advice to make the most of your time and money.

1. Visit when hotel prices are at their lowest.

Garth Vaughan/Walt Disney World

If you want to visit Disney World on a budget, timing is perhaps the single most important factor to consider. The best time to visit Disney World is when crowds, prices, and temperatures are all bearable—or when there is an irresistibly great Disney vacation deal on the table.

2. Score a great deal.

Walt Disney Parks

Looking to score a great deal on a Disney vacation? Your next Disney getaway will be even more magical if you land an affordable price. Here’s a selection of handpicked special offers that are currently available at Walt Disney World and other Disney vacations, including Disney Cruise Line.

3. Snag free meals.

Walt Disney Parks

Back by popular demand, Disney World's wildly popular free dining special offer is available for stays throughout the fall of 2014, from the end of August to just before Christmas. Book a six-night Magic Your Way package including accommodations at select resorts and park tickets and you'll receive a free dining package as an add-on.

4. Get to know Disney's new app and FastPass+.

Mark Ashman/Walt Disney Parks

Want to lock in ride times and dining experiences? There's an app for that. Disney has rolled out an innovative new planning tool called MyMagic+, which has essentially replaced the old paper ticketing system by combining a powerful smartphone app with wearable technology. The app lets you program your attractions and dining experiences with FastPass+. Here's a quick primer to get you started.

5. Got three or more kids? Stay here.

Kent Phillips/Walt Disney Parks

For families with three or more kids, the typical standard room just isn't big enough yet ponying up for two rooms is pricey and inconvenient. Luckily, larger families have plenty of options at Disney World. Here's a range of solutions for families of five or more, and for every budget.

6. Meet your favorite Disney characters

Matt Stroshane/Walt Disney Parks

For many kids, meeting a beloved character is a highlight of any trip to Disney World. If your child has a favorite character, don't leave it up to chance. Disney's new MyMagic+ planning system makes it easy to get organized and schedule character experiences (as well as dining, rides, and other attractions) even before you leave home. 

7. Stay cool.

Matt Stroshane/Walt Disney Parks

On a sweltering day in Disney World, nothing can kill the fun like overheated kids. Letting them get doused with cold water can be just the ticket. Luckily, you'll find plenty of splashy attractions that offer a refreshing spritz or spray of H20.

8. Don't miss the Magic Kingdom's fab new attractions.

Matt Stroshane/Walt Disney Parks

The new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is the final touch to the new Fantasyland expansion in Disney World's Magic Kingdom. And don't miss the fabulous new Festival of Fantasy Parade featuring a steampunk dragon that breathes real fire. You can add these attractions to your day with FastPass+.

9. Have a rainy-day game plan.


Heading to Disney World in the summertime? Better pack your rain poncho. While it can and does rain throughout the year in Orlando, summer is the wettest season, with the average rainfall at its highest June through August. Here are some favorite rainy-day activities to keep you busy until the clouds part.

10. Find out what's coming soon.

Concept art, Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort

At twice the size of Manhattan, Walt Disney World encompasses four theme parks, 24 resorts, two waterparks, five golf courses, as well as dining and entertainment galore. Best of all, there's always something new to look forward to. Find out about upcoming hotels and attractions.

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