Growing up as a kid, I always loved Disney. If DIsney were cheaper, I'd go a lot more than I do now. However, paying $3 for a water bottle or $6 for a Mickey shaped pretzel isn't always fun. But, if you play your cards right, you can easily find a way to make your Disney trip cheaper and easier!
1. Free water
No one likes the idea of paying $3 for a water bottle. So instead, bring a couple of cheap water bottles from the Dollar Store and fill them up at the park. Where you might ask? I usually fill mine up at the Starlight Cafe in Magic Kingdom or you can fill it up at the Electric Umbrella in Epcot. However, if you only brought water bottles and don't feel like carrying around a heavy, wet water bottle, you can go to a concession stand and ask for a cup of water. Most of them supply small cups of water and if they don't, the cast members usually direct to where you can find one!
2. Fastest wait times
Show up early. If you show up about a half hour before the park opens and get to the get at around 8:40, you will get to go on the best rides first. The wait times are usually very short and you practically just walk on the rides. Going in the middle of the week or during a slow month (January, February or March) is also is the best time to go.
3. Birthday perks
If it is your birthday and you decide to celebrate it at the parks, wear the button! You get about fifty "Happy Birthday" wishes and if you're lucky, some cast members give you free items such as water or a small snack. This also works if you wear the "1st Visit" button. Although, it is not guaranteed, it is worth the shot!
4. Charging your cell phone
I am always on my phone and taking pictures of literally everything. So, if you're like me and you need your battery to last all day, head over to Gaston's Tavern. There are a good amount of outlets there to charge your phone. (Target also sometimes sells a charging bank for $5 in their cheap section, so you could always invest in one of them, too!)
5. Avoiding crowds
Magic Kingdom is always the most crowded all the time. No matter the time of year or day, the park will always have thousands in it. If you're like me and hate walking shoulder to shoulder alongside people, try navigating the backways. Traveling behind the castle gets you away from everyone trying to to get their typical Disney castle picture. If you're trying to get down Main Street, go through the gift shops. All of the gift shops are connected and will save you the trouble of walking past people.
6. Extra Magic Hours
Extra magic hours are awesome. If you are staying at a Disney resort, you get about two extra hours in a certain park. The cast members scan your magic band to make sure you are staying and if you're in the clear, you're allowed access the rides after hours. The wait times drop by half and the crowds all clear out. So if you are a true planner, plan a night at the resort the coincides with your favorite park and their magic hours!
7. Take advantage of Disney Springs
If you arrive early to Disney and find yourself with nothing to do at the park, take advantage of Disney Springs. It is not far from the rest of the parks and it's free admission. The food isn't as ridiculously priced and the crowd isn't as big. I understand wanting to get your money's worth at MK or Epcot, but there really is only so much you can do at the parks.
8. Take advantage of the Disney app
The Disney app is a lifesaver. Everyone has a smart phone nowadays, so go ahead and download the Disney app for your trip. All of your FastPasses+ are listed there, places to eat, wait times and even directions to get there if you're new to the park. Your photos taken by the cast members or on certain rides are even located on the app.