Our BEST Disney World Hacks for 2023

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We visit Disney World every day. Yep, Every. Single. Day.

And from all of our park trips, we’ve learned a thing or two. Now, we’re going to share with you some of our best hacks for making the most of your time and money in Disney World!

Disney vacations are filled with fun, laughter, and lifelong memories. But you’re also going to encounter a lot of challenges during your Disney vacation, from navigating long lines to finding new favorite snacks. We’ve seen it all, done it all, experienced practically every problem you can have, and founds ways to solve those problems. So, come along with us as we share some of the hacks we’ve discovered or even invented during our years in the parks!

Let’s break down our top tips for you:

Rope Dropping

You probably already know where we’re going with this, and you might already be picturing how cozy your hotel bed is, but rope dropping is a great way to ride some of the top attractions on your list with shorter waits.

Early theme park entry

If you’re wondering what “rope dropping” is, it’s just Disney terminology for showing up to the park before it first opens and being among the first people to enter Disney’s lands and attractions. And remember that if you stay at a Disney World hotel, you can get even more time in the parks thanks to Early Theme Park Entry. That allows you to enter any park (as long as you have a Park Pass for it) 30 minutes before the official park opening.

Here is how we do it to make sure we’re one of the first in the parks.

First tip: Do your research.

You’ve been reading AllEars, following us on Social Media, devouring every newsletter, and binging the YouTube videos, so you know the popular attractions in each park and that most folks make a bee-line to them as soon as they arrive in the park. So, what other research should you do besides consuming AllEars content? Study the Disney Parks Maps and My Disney Experience. You might be the first one in the park, but if you head left at the Castle when you’re planning to rope drop Space Mountain, you’ll be in for an unpleasant surprise.

Study your Park Map

On top of knowing which attractions you want to experience first, you’ll also want to scope out the best route to get there. This can help keep you at the front of the throngs of people who will be charging in with you.

So, which are the most popular rides? The ones you should prioritize? Well, that’s going to be subjective. It’ll depend on your family and what you enjoy, but these are the rides that attract the longest lines that you’ll want to ride first:

And once TRON Lightcyle Run and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind shift off the Virtual Queue process, they’re sure to be included in the list above. You’ll want to do your research on these attractions, too. If you’re traveling with toddlers, chances are the Tower of Terror may not be on your list of “must-dos.” So make sure you check out these attractions, their height requirements, and general details to know which ones are right for your family.

TRON Lightcycle / Run

Now that you know which attraction you want to hit, and the best route to get there, you need to develop a plan for getting to the parks.

Our second tip is strategizing your park approach.

This is several tips in one hack. First, know when the park you’re planning to visit opens and if you have access to Early Park Entry through Disney Resort Hotel perks. Next, know how you’re getting to the park. Will you be utilizing Disney Transportation? Driving yourself? Using Rideshare? This will all factor into how long you’ll need to get from your hotel room to the park entry.


If you’re riding a Disney Bus, you’ll get the perk of being dropped off as close to the Disney park as possible, but the drawback is how long bus transportation can take. A rule of thumb is to be at your bus stop ready to go at least one hour before your park opens (90 minutes might be even better).

It’s busy!

Once you’ve arrived at your park of choice, comes the second layer of this hack: Choosing your tapstall and security line. It’s tempting to just jump into the closest line to you to get through security and get into the parks. But be observant. Look around and you may find empty lanes if you just walk down a little ways. It can also be strategic to choose the lane on the side of park where your first attraction is. This will keep you from having to traverse through swarms of people to get to the side of the park you need to be on.

AllEars TV: 12 SNEAKY Disney World Rope Drop SECRETS

Avoiding Crowds

If you’re heading to Disney World, you’ll want to know how you can avoid spending all your precious time in line, we’re breaking it all down for you!

Visit During Slower Seasons and Days

Disney’s ticket pricing and hotel pricing are date-basedDepending on the days that you visit, your stay could be much more expensive and potentially much more crowded. If you take a look at those ticket prices, you’ll see that the higher ticket prices are typically assigned to days/seasons where Disney expects there to be a higher demand. Higher demand likely equals potentially bigger crowds. Think days like Christmas, Halloween, and other holidays or holiday weekends.

Frozen Ever After queue

Our recommendation? Try, if you can, to visit Disney World during those slower periods — typically dates in spring or fall when there are no immediate holidays or times when kids would be off from school. We know that’s not always possible, though. Sometimes Christmas vacation is the ONLY time you and your family have available to visit the parks. We totally get that.

Getting to the Parks Early

Getting to the parks early can also be SUPER beneficial. We know, we know — get up EARLY during VACATION?! We get that an early morning alarm might not be in your ideal vacation plans, but if you want to avoid the crowds, it can really help.

Could crowds go down at other parks?

You might think that the parks don’t open until their set opening time, so what’s the point in arriving early? BUT, in our experience, the parks will actually let guests in a little bit before their official opening time. That means before the parks’ official openings, you could actually sneak in a few rides with pretty low wait times!

Skip the Weekends

Generally speaking, weekends at Disney World tend to have some larger crowds. It’s not always the case, as we have seen some SURPRISINGLY low crowds on some weekends. But sometimes you will find that Park Passes will be sold out more for some guests on the weekends, again indicating the expectation that there will be a higher crowd level.

EPCOT Entrance

If your stay is long enough and you have some “off days” that you’re going to use during your trip to stay at the hotel, go in the pool, etc., you might want to consider placing those “off days” on the weekend. Then you could spend your weekdays in the parks, and spend the weekends doing things outside of the parks to try and avoid some of the crowds.

Consider Activities Outside of the Parks

This sort-of goes hand in hand with what we mentioned above, but especially on days when large crowds are expected or the parks are expected to reach capacity, you might want to consider doing activities outside of the parks! Instead of spending the day waiting in LONG lines, you could take that time to do some of the more unique things you might have never thought about before.

Tri Circle D Ranch

Have you ever been horseback riding in Disney World? How about mini golfing? Ever take archery lessons at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort? Days when the crowds are expected to be large in Disney World are the perfect ones to do all of these things. These activities generally have limited capacities and are spread out, away from the park crowds. You might just get the chance to do things you’ve NEVER done before and otherwise really wouldn’t have taken the time to do!

When to Eat

If you’re in the parks and trying to avoid the crowds during meal times, you might want to consider eating during off-times.  If you decide to grab your food or place a Mobile Order for your meal right at 12PM, you’ll likely hit that lunchtime rush of crowds. You could face a huge line of guests also waiting to pick up their Mobile Order meals at the same time. And, if you wait until 12PM to place your Mobile Order, you might find that the next available pick-up time isn’t for a WHILE.

Chips and Guacamole

To beat the crowds, consider eating a bit earlier or later than 12:00PM. You might even want to consider having a big “breakfast/brunch” at around 10:30AM, and then not eating a bigger meal again until about 2PM or so, to help avoid the crowds. (And you could ALWAYS snack in between!)

Mobile Order

Another big tip is to remember to use Mobile Order! In many Quick Service places, Mobile Order is highly encouraged or essentially required. But, the real tip here is to place your order early in the day! Consider ordering your lunch fairly early in the morning and (if possible) scheduling it for a pick-up time that isn’t right at 12PM. Placing your order early will help you have a greater number of pick-up times to choose from and will ensure that you’ve already got that order placed before the rest of the crowds decide to place theirs.

Quiet Hidden Spots

In the parks, there are often quite a few quiet, relaxing spots where you can escape the crowds and just catch your breath for a moment — but, you have to know where to look!

Tables and Seating at Tomorrowland Terrace

Basically, the advice here is don’t just settle for the only seating areas you might find right in front of you. Keep checking around — sometimes you’ll find lovely, quiet spots that you’ll just have to walk a bit farther to get to. It might involve a bit of searching, but it could give you some great peace of mind to sit in a place that’s more spread out and relaxing.

Check Those Wait Times

This is a big tip for any day (low crowds or not) but it’s especially important on days when the crowd levels are high. Be sure to look at the wait times for rides BEFORE you walk over to them! If you’re deciding what ride to go on next, look at the wait times on the My Disney Experience app BEFORE moving those feet.

Lines can be shorter in the morning and late at night!

Believe us when we say, it’s much better to see that Pirates of the Caribbean is at a 60 minute wait, while The Haunted Mansion is only at a 30 minute wait, before physically walking ALL the way over to Pirates to find it out for yourself and then walk ALL the way over to the Haunted Mansion to ride that instead because the line is shorter. If you check the times before you move, then you can be sure to head over to the rides with the lowest wait times to try and avoid the bigger crowds!

Take a Mid-Day Break

Another way to avoid the crowds is to leave the park when things get really busy, and come back later in the evening when some of the crowds have left. To make sure this is a good plan though, you’ll need to check those park hours.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Entrance

Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to go ALL the way back to your own hotel for a bit of an out-of-the-park break. Say you’re staying at Disney’s Pop Century Resort, for example. Well, one day you could be at Magic Kingdom and just looking to get away from the crowds for a minute. You don’t need to go ALL the way back to Pop Century. You could place a Mobile Order for some delicious pork nachos and a refreshing drink at Capt. Cook’s in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and just hop on the monorail to get over there. You could take your snack outside, and just relax for a bit, away from the bigger crowds.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Then, you could do some shopping in the stores there, check out the decor in the hotel, and then quickly get back to Magic Kingdom once the crowds have died down a bit or you’re just ready to return. Keep in mind that generally right now to resort hop you do need a dining reservation or Mobile Order or a reservation at that hotel.


But, let’s face it. Genie+ can be complicated. Understanding how to use it can be challenging on its own, let alone trying to figure out how to maximize the service. So, that’s why we are giving you the Genie+ HACKS you need to know about for your next trip. Let’s dive in!

Genie+ Pamphlet

Get Genie+ Early

First things first, let’s talk about purchasing Genie+. You can buy Genie+ at midnight on the “morning” of the date you plan to use it. While it might not be the best idea to stay up late to purchase it (you’ll have to be up early to make those 7AM selections, after all!), it is a good idea to buy it as soon as you can.


Although it hasn’t happened frequently, Genie+ has sold out in the past on busy weekends or holidays. Don’t wait until the last minute to purchase it, and then you’re stuck without it on a crowded holiday.


Furthermore, if you are planning on using Genie+, but not until later in the day (maybe you have a dining reservation or are at a slower park in the morning), don’t wait until you need it to purchase. Not only could you risk it selling out, but you are able to book your selections for later in the day starting at 7AM. Getting a head start on those selections is a good idea so that you don’t get to your park in the afternoon and the ride selections you were hoping for are all booked up.

Stack Lightning Lane Selections

Ok, this is probably the most complicated part about Genie+, so let’s talk about how to master it. With the 120-minute rule, you can select a new Lightning Lane after you use your current selection, when the Lightning Lane window has expired for your current selection, or 120 minutes after you originally made the selection. Keep in mind, however, that if you made your first selection at 7AM, the 120-minute window doesn’t start until the park opens.
Lightning Lane

To take advantage of this system, you can make a high-demand Lightning Lane selection for later in the day, and then 2 hours later — make another! Even though you haven’t used the selection yet, you’ll be able to have multiple, high-value attractions booked at once.

Refresh the App

When you are trying to find a Lightning Lane selection that works for you, sometimes it might feel like you can’t find one that fits into the schedule you were hoping for.


While staying flexible is an important way to enjoy your trip to the fullest, don’t give up on snagging a time that works for you best. Sometimes refreshing the app will show you times that weren’t available at first. Be patient, and keep trying!

Pin Your Favorite Attractions

Speaking of refreshing the app, don’t forget to customize your Disney Genie.  While you’re looking for that perfect Lightning Lane selection, scrolling all the way to your attraction of choice can waste valuable time.

Haunted Mansion

Make sure you pin the attractions you’re most looking forward to doing so that they are at the top of your board! When you refresh your screen, you’ll see your favorite options faster. You can do this by customizing your day in the Disney Genie section of the My Disney Experience app.

Modify Your Selections

Since Genie+ debuted in 2021, it has seen a few changes! Most notably, guests can now modify their Lightning Lane selections. Make sure you’re taking advantage of this new transition!

Modify Your Selection

Previously, if you wanted to adjust your plans, you’d have to cancel your current Lightning Lane selection and try for another — hoping for the best! But now, you can take a look at available selections without having to cancel your current selection.

“Stacked” Lightning Lanes ©Disney

This can be especially useful if you stacked your Lightning Lanes for later in the day, and were hoping to snag an earlier selection if it became available. If an earlier one does become available, you might be able to grab another Lighting Lane sooner!

Prioritize High Demand Attractions

While it might be tempting to try to snag a Lightning Lane for a low-demand ride if one is available soon, many of these rides typically have short wait times. Don’t stress about filling up your Genie+ day with these rides at the expense of getting a more valuable Lightning Lane selection later in the day for a high-demand ride.

Space Mountain is pretty popular!

Especially with the 120-minute rule that lets you stack your selections, picking Lightning Lanes that are later in the day but for more coveted rides is a good way to make sure you’re using your Genie+ purchase on the attractions that really benefit from it.

Tower of Terror

If at noon you notice there is a Lightning Lane for Slinky Dog Dash at 7PM, but there is also a Lightning Lane for Toy Story Mania at 1PM, it’s probably in your best interest to snag the Slinky Dog Dash at 7PM since Toy Story Mania often has a shorter wait time. Then, at 3PM, you’ll be able to book another selection.

Scan In Early

Did you know you can scan in 5 minutes early to your Lightning Lane selection? While it might not seem like a big help, 5 minutes adds up when you’ve got a full day of plans to carry out!

Scanning in

Disney World is huge, and you might be surprised by just how long it takes to do everything on your to-do list for the day. Give yourself some extra grace and show up to your attraction 5 minutes early, and you might be surprised how much it can come in handy!


Boozy DOLE Whip Margarita

First, purchase a classic Dole Whip over at Swirls on the Water. Then, grab yourself a Blood Orange Margarita from Dockside Margaritas.

A match made in heaven…

Pro tip: we asked for a second cup to split up the margarita so we had enough room to add the Dole Whip. As it turned out, we had plenty of Dole Whip for both! Then, add the Dole Whip on top of the margarita and enjoy! Seriously, we mean ENJOY this drink — we loved ours!

Refillable Popcorn Bucket

 This one might be more “common sense” than “hack.” If your family enjoys popcorn and you want to enjoy this treat, grab your refillable popcorn bucket on the first day of your trip for refills throughout your vacation.

Hey, Goofy and Pluto!

The more days you have your popcorn bucket, the move value you get out of it!

Bring Your Own Snacks to the Parks

We also recommend packing some snacks in your park bag. Even if you are planning on having your meals at a Disney restaurant, snacks are great to have on hand when you’re feeling a little peckish and don’t want to drop $15 at a food kiosk.

Bentgo® Kids Prints Leak-Proof, 5-Compartment Bento-Style Kids Lunch Box

We like to bring granola or protein bars because these are satisfying and can hold us over until our next meal. Another great option is a smoothie, which you can buy premade from a local grocery store. You can either pack your smoothie in a lunch box or pour it into an insulated tumbler, and then you have a cold drink to refresh you during those long, hot days!

Plus Up Your Snack for About $1

Many snack kiosks and quick service locations have sauces you can purchase on the side which can range from $1-$2. You can get options like that melty, cheese sauce, sweet chocolate sauce, extra icing, and even rich peanut butter sauce.

Side of melty cheese sauce

Have things for your pretzel, churro, corn dog nuggets, or bakery case selection, can really enhance those snacks.

Saving Money

Use Gift Cards

Buying gift cards to use at Disney World might not seem like a hack at first — why spend money to just end up spending it somewhere else? The reason we included this on the list is because it’s a great way to not only save for your trip but also to budget once you arrive. Leading up to your Disney vacation, instead of setting money aside that you might be tempted to use for other purchases, use it to buy Disney gift cards. You can find them at Target or shopDisney in varying increments. These gift cards can be used for all things Disney, even theme park tickets! It’s a super easy way to save for big purchases.

Disney Gift Card

We also like to use Disney gift cards for budgeting while on vacation. It’s easier to stick to a set budget when you allocate gift cards for certain categories of purchases, like food or merchandise. Sure, having your credit card attached to your MagicBand is super convenient, but it’s also very easy to overspend. Carrying cash can also be an annoyance, so instead opt for gift cards. If you’re traveling with kids and they want to get their own souvenirs, you can give them their own gift cards for spending throughout the trip. When it’s gone, it’s gone! This is how we stick to our budget and we think it works great!

Use a Travel Agent

Want to make sure you’re getting the best deal on your trip? Nervous about staying up-to-date on all the deals? Stressed about having to plan your trip? You don’t have to do it all alone — using a travel agent could help you save money and take away some of the stress of planning a Disney trip!

©Mouse Fan Travel

We recommend our friends over at MEI-Travel’s Mouse Fan Travel. Why? Their services are totally FREE, they’ve got tons of knowledge about ALL things Disney, and their talented team can really help you plan the trip of your dreams (and answer all of your questions).

They stay up-to-date on the latest deals and can help make sure you’re choosing the spot that’s best for you. Plus, you won’t be spending any more than what you’d normally spend on your trip.

Travel During the Cheapest Days

If you’re really looking to make your 2023 trip as cost-friendly as possible, you’re not going to want to visit the Most Magical Place on Earth during major holidays or other big events. Instead, you’ll want to start by looking at the dates on which ticket prices are their LOWEST. These typically fall during Disney’s “slower” periods, when fewer crowds are expected.

Slinky Dog Dash

Here are more dates you’ll need to know about:

  • June — Cheapest dates: June 5th, 12th-15th, 19th-22nd, and from 26th-28th — $134 per day
  • July — Cheapest dates: July 24th to July 28th — $134 per day
  • August — Cheapest dates: August 22nd to August 25th and from the 29th to the 31st — $109 per day
  • September — Cheapest dates: September 5th-7th, 12th-14th, 18th-21st,  and 26th-28th — $109 per day
  • October — Cheapest dates: October 1st-2nd, October 10th-12th, 16th-19th, and 23rd-26th, 31st — $144 per day
  • November — Cheapest dates: November 1st-3rd, 6th-9th, and 14th-16th — $144 per day
  • December — Cheapest dates: December 3rd, from the 7th-8th, 12th-15th, and the 18th-20th — $149 per day

As you can see, a visit on certain dates in August and September could save you big bucks on park tickets compared to a trip on other dates.

Take Advantage of Discounts

Disney often offers discounts for various affiliate members, like Annual Passholders, D23 members, DVC members, and Disney VISA Card holders. Whenever you’re about to make a purchase, be sure to check with the Cast Member about any applicable discounts.

Annual Passholder popcorn bucket

Disney also offers vacation discounts to Florida Residents, U.S. Military, and even seasonal discounts, so check before you book or use a travel agent to help monitor and apply those discounts for you.


Break in Your Shoes Before Arriving

We have suffered many a blister from wearing our new shoes to Disney World without breaking them in first. Don’t make the same mistake! It is important to have relatively new shoes that aren’t worn down from use, because they’ll provide better support for your feet. But that doesn’t mean brand new out of the box!

Weat comfy shoes

Get some steps in ahead of your trip to get rid of the stiff feeling that comes with a new pair. Walk on the treadmill or around your house! Whatever works for you. If you’re still concerned about blisters, try using moleskin to protect your feet. Just stick it to any area where your shoe rubs, and you’re ready to hit your steps goal with no pain!

Track Your Stroller and/or Luggage With Technology

When you arrive to one of the parks, you will be met with a sea of strollers. When you’re pushing it around, that’s fine! But when it’s time to park your stroller to get on a ride or head inside for your dining reservation, finding it afterwards is another story. Your stroller might not be in the same spot you left it in because Cast Members will rearrange stroller parking areas as people come and go.


Our solution? Use a tracker like a Tile or AirTag. These are easy to pair with your phone and can help you track down your stroller or luggage in case it get lost. This will save you time, meaning more opportunities to hit up attractions! The AirTag is especially useful, because if you have an iPhone 11 Pro or newer, you can view what location the AirTag is in and how close it is down to the foot.

Bring a Laundry Bag

Whether you plan on doing laundry while on your trip or are waiting until you return home, it’s a good idea to bring a laundry bag with you. Having a bag to separate your clean and dirty clothes helps you keep track of what’s been worn already. This is also particularly useful when you are traveling with little ones who tend to make a mess!

Your laundry bag doesn’t have to be fancy; a drawstring bag big enough to hold your clothes will do. We like this one because it is made of mesh and very lightweight! If you’re planning on doing some laundry at your resort or hotel, you can easily collect your dirty clothes throughout the trip and then you have a bag to easily transport them to and from the laundry room! For those who are planning on waiting until they get home, it’s convenient to have all of your dirty clothes in one spot, plus you can separate them from any clean clothes you might have in your bag.

Pack ZipLock Bags

Wet clothes after Kali River Rapids? Saving a giant lollipop for later? Want to organize your kid’s pressed pennies? Throw a few plastic baggies in your Park bag.

Jungle Navigation Co. Safari Sack

They won’t take up a lot of space, but TRUST me: you will find 100 reasons to use one.

Don’t Forget a Portable Charger

For all the work your phone is going to do in the Parks — like taking photos, capturing video, and using My Disney Experience — you’re going to want to make sure it has ample battery!

Portable charger

Bring a portable charger from home, or grab a FuelRod in the Parks. You purchase it once, and then you can swap it out as needed for a fresh battery.

There’s the run down of all of our Disney World hacks to help you have the most amazing Disney vacation! Keep reading AllEars for even more tips and tricks!

6 Practical Hacks for Your Next Disney Trip

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Do you have any hacks of your own to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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One Reply to “Our BEST Disney World Hacks for 2023”

  1. Perhaps the biggest hack of all is to stay outside of Disney property! My wife and I have never felt that the value of staying on Disney property matched the cost. We’ve been going to Disney yearly for 15 years and we have always looked for ways to save for an expensive Disney trip. While staying in one of Walt Disney’s beautiful properties is incredibly convenient and comes with perks like Disney themed hotels and extra time in the parks, it’s going to be ridiculously pricey!

    Instead we found for maybe 25% of the cost of staying at Disney we search VRBO (formerly HomeAway), for nearby villas with their own private heated pool & jacuzzi. There are so many affordable places to stay nearby that are basically luxury. Rather than paying thousands for a weeks stay at a Disney resort that has public pools and hot tubs and 1-2 bedrooms , we find a villa that has everything we want like a pool and a grill, and we negotiate by sending the person who posted the villa on VRBO. There are also plenty of nearby gated communities where you can rent a villa for less and not need to rent a car because they will provide complimentary shuttles to and from Disney parks. If staying in Disney is paramount to you over cost then I would say that there is a lot to appreciate there, but in terms of saving money I don’t think there is a better way to slash the cost more drastically then staying off site in a luxury villa!