3 Walt Disney World theme park hacks for your Australian family holiday

It’s normally just the locals who know all the handy tips and tricks at WDW – here’s 3 hacks that will have you planning your days at Walt Disney World like a pro! 

Here are 3 of our stand-out tips, tricks and hacks to make your family trip to Walt Disney World Florida less fuss with more fun!

Follow our handy Walt Disney World tips to knock your trip out of the park!

Follow our handy Walt Disney World tips to knock your trip out of the park!

Walt Disney World tickets promocode

Firstly, if you’re planning on your own Aussie family holiday to Walt Disney World we have a tickets promocode for you!

Australia and New Zealand new purchases get $20USD off Disneyland tickets on Klook by using our Walt Disney World promocode: LETSGOMUM20 at checkout!

Go to Klook to buy discounted Walt Disney World tickets online

This page may contain affiliate links. If you book a stay or an attraction through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for your support!

Tip 1 – book accommodation with early entry

It may not seem like much, but you can use your 30 minutes early entry pass to save hours at your Walt Disney Theme park!

How do I get Walt Disney World early entry?

The sooner you get to the park the more time for fun you'll have!

The sooner you get to the park the more time for fun you’ll have!

Because we were staying at an official Disney hotel at Walt Disney World, we benefitted from the 30 minutes early entry bonus that you automatically get as a registered Disney hotel or Disney partner hotel guest.

Early entry is advantageous, as it allows you to access ride queues and select rides before the public opening time.  This gives you a head start on the general public on your Disney day, particularly if you arrive early for your early entry! Every bit counts, particularly if you haven’t purchased Lightning Lane.

As there are several large Disney hotels and partner hotels within the Walt Disney World precinct there are thousands of early entry guests but it still does make a big difference to your quality park time.

Forward planning: Early entry is something you may like to take into consideration when it comes to planning your Walt Disney World vacation accommodation.

Do Walt Disney World parks open before opening time?

Yes! Often, you’ll find that all of the Walt Disney Parks scan people into the park well before the advertised opening time. It can be beneficial to get to your chosen theme park half an hour early to access shops and be ready to queue for popular rides as soon as you are allowed to proceed to them.

How do I enter Walt Disney World theme parks entrance gates?

You need to scan into the Walt Disney World parks

You need to scan into the Walt Disney World parks

The Walt Disney Parks work on an electronic access system. You may buy or pick up a hard-copy Disney swipe card (we were given ours at our Disney Hotel) which is electronically linked to your Disney account.

Another option is to simply use your Disney MagicMobile pass in the My Disney Experience mobile app.

For even more convenience during your WDW visit a great accessory is a Disney MagicBand writstband.

The Disney entrance system is very easy to use. After going through the security bag scan check, just tap your app pass, Disney card or MagicBand at the Park entrance gate readers and you’re permitted to enter!

Download the Walt Disney World App

The Walt Disney World App - My Disney Experience

To have your MagicMobile digital tickets on hand, and in preparation for your visit to Walt Disney World, download the Walt Disney World App My Disney Experience before you go at the App Store and Google Play.

Navigate around the theme parks, find restaurants, rides, check for event times and other points of interest. You can check ride wait times and much more.

 

Tip 2 – buy Disney Magic Bands

These clever little wrist bands many seem like an expensive luxury but you can do so much with them with one quick swipe and not need to go searching through your wallet for money, tickets or keys once during your Walt Disney Days!

What is a Disney Parks Magic Band?

MagicBands are available in most Disney gift shops inside and outside of the theme parks

MagicBands are available in most Disney gift shops inside and outside of the theme parks

The MagicBand is a smart wristband that acts as your Disney entrance ticket – and much more. It is swipe-able to enter the park, access your FastPass for Lightning Lanes, attach Disney photographer shots, access your hotel room and even pay for things if you set it up with your credit card. Just wave your writsband at the readers!

Probably the most fun feature of the Disney Magic Band is the way it interacts with objects all around the Disney parks. Statues sense when the watch is near and talk or light up. Magic Bands will flash with lights inside rides such as the Haunted Mansion. There’s a whole Star Wars trail, ‘Star Wars: Batuu Bounty Hunters’ Experience inside Galaxy’s Edge exclusive to MagicBand+ devices. Even the fireworks show pulses themed lights through the Magic Band.

There are all kinds of MagicBand designs - these are Disney100 MagicBands

There are all kinds of MagicBand designs – these are Disney100 MagicBands

Are Disney Magic Bands free?

No, you need to purchase Magic Bands. They were free until 2020, but from 2021 are now available for an extra charge . You can buy them all over the Disney parks and in the Disney gift shop at Disney Springs.

How much do Magic Bands cost?

Magic Bands start at around USD$34.99 for a basic plain MagicBand (around AUD$50+). Prices increase for certain designs and limited edition models right up to USD$64.99, (around AUD$100) but they all basically do the same thing. The more expensive MagicBands just look prettier.

Can I buy a Magic Band from Australia before we go?

No, you can’t buy Magic Bands from Australia. You can get buy them from all Walt Disney World parks plus a few hotel resort shops and World of Disney in Disney Springs before you enter the parks. It’s very quick and simple to link your Magic Band within the park the first time you visit, plus you get lots of brand new themed choices.

Magic Bands are interactive at Walt Disney World

Magic Bands are interactive at Walt Disney World

Are there cheaper kid sized Magic Bands?

No, not anymore. With the launch of the new Magic Band+ model it’s now an adjustable one-size-fits-all. The basic original model does have kids sizes still available in the parks in 2023 for USD$19.99. (AUD$31) but you won’t be able to use it in Disneyland CA.

Will my Magic Band work at all Disney parks?

If you intend on visiting Disneyland at some point in the future, or perhaps even on the same trip like we did, be sure to buy the Series 2 Magic Band, the Magic Band+. The series one is still for sale, so don’t get them confused! This latest Magic Band version will work at both Disney USA parks.

Is it worth buying a Magic Band?

My girls absolutely loved their Disney Magic Bands and whilst I originally thought it would be a waste of money, I caved in when I saw just how many capabilities these smart little watches have. My youngest (15) bought hers in Disneyland, and when my oldest (17) saw how much fun she was having with it, she asked for one too.

There are many different Disney themed Magic Band designs to choose from. My girls chose their favourites – Disney’s Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Darth Vader from Star Wars.

MagicBands are a new way to add to the Disney magic and in my opinion, they are worth the money – even if you are only staying a few days at one park. That said, you also need to understand that other than looking cute MagicBands could be termed as a waste of money if you don’t plan on returning to the U.S.A. Disney parks. Magic Bands are dead weight once you leave the Walt Disney World or Disneyland precincts!

Disney Magic Bands are fun to use around the parks

Disney Magic Bands are fun to use around the parks

Tip 3 – use the Disney photographers

Trust me on this one. If you’re thinking to yourself, “Oh we can get our own photos, we have timed photo smart phones”, or “We can ask someone to take a shot of us”, or “I’m not paying $200 for photos I can take myself!” – think again. These photographers know what they are doing and can get perfectly posed shots smack in front of iconic Disney symbols that you’ll love forever – plus you don’t need to pay for them until after you get home and – ahem – have perhaps refilled your cash coffers!

Should we use the Disney Park photographers you see around the parks?

The iconic Disney castle family shot is an absolute must - Mickey ears are optional!

The iconic Disney castle family shot is an absolute must – Mickey ears are optional!

The answer to this question is a solid YES! They don’t cost you anything at the time, and later you may just thank yourself.

We always take the opportunity to line up for official Disney photos in the iconic areas of Disney parks. Being a single parent family it can be difficult to get photos of us all together – other than selfies of course! This is also true for all families wanting a photo with everyone in it!

Official Disney photographers can be found at all the good photo spots, and they’re great at knowing how and where to pose you to get a great shot. You just scan your Disney Magic Band, Card or Disney App with the photographer to have your photos automatically added to your Disney account on your My Disney Experience mobile app. Sometimes they’ll add something a little special to your photos too!

Your Disney photos may surprise you at the end of the day - turns out I was holding Tinkerbell here!

Your Disney photos may surprise you at the end of the day – it turns out I was holding Tinkerbell here!

At the end of your Disney visit you have lots of lovely family photos to bring back the wonderful Disney memories!

Disney photos disappear off your Disney App

Be sure to pay for your photo package and download your photos at least soon after your holiday though, because they’re not saved on your Disney app. forever! Photos expire just a few weeks after your visit.

Is it worth buying the all-inclusive Disney Photo Package?

Yes, it is. Even though you can buy photos singly I usually buy the all-inclusive photo package which now even includes a few short feature videos of your family on rides!

Our May 2023 Walt Disney World photo package cost USD$200 (around AUD$300) and included all our digital photos taken around the four WDW parks, plus some short ride videos. Expensive, yes. Worth it? Absolutely. You can read more about Disney Photo Packages and Memory Maker on their official website here.

Can I still get my Disney photos if they have expired off the app?

Yes! It’s possible to still get access to your Walt Disney World photos after they have disappeared off the app by phoning Walt Disney World and asking for them to be temporarily restored. I have had this done a week following expiration, and whilst not guaranteed, it’s certainly worth a try – it worked for me!

How do I buy Walt Disney World tickets online?

Klook sells Walt Disney World tickets

Klook sells Walt Disney World tickets

Purchase your Walt Disney World tickets on Klook. Klook is a registered Walt Disney World ticket reseller who offer discounted tickets. Quick, easy and cheap, Klook is the best way to buy Walt Disney World tickets online, and you can do it all from your armchair at home or work.

Buy your Walt Disney World tickets here and use our discount code

Australia and New Zealand new purchases get $20USD off Disneyland tickets on Klook by using our Walt Disney World promocode: LETSGOMUM20 at checkout!

Buy your Walt Disney World tickets online here

 

If you enjoyed reading this article, please consider giving it a Facebook “Like”, share or we’d love to hear about your own Disney experiences in the comments below!

Disclaimers: Let’s Go Mum may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you with bookings made with Klook
The Let’s Go Mum family partnered with Disney & Klook for this Walt Disney World trip.  As always, all opinions are our own.
All prices and times quoted were correct at September 2023, the time of publishing this article, but can change frequently. Please always re-check for current prices.

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Walt Disney World theme park hacks

 

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About LetsGoMum

Hi, I'm Barbara, mum of the Let's Go Mum blog. We'd love to hear from you! You can contact me anytime with ideas on where you think we should go or what you think we should try...just drop me a line at barbara@letsgomum.com.au!