One would say that the ultimate family trip is to Disney World. All year round, millions of people flock to the park to enjoy family moments, take snaps and make memories. However, what most people fail to realize is that Disney is way more expensive than they initially thought. Many patrons of the park fail to take into account the amount of money that could truly be spent in one day when they don’t plan properly. If you are planning a trip for the family or just want to be a big kid and never got the chance to go to Disney when you were younger than there are a few things you need to know.

There are things to avoid and things that can make the experience better. Most of all you need to avoid overspending and here are several ways that you can do that. Do your research, read a few blogs of veteran Disney goers, contact a Disney agent for help. Most importantly, don’t get carried away when you get to the park it’s like being in a wonderland of toys, treats, heat, and a Disney movie. It is literally a Disney universe. Make sure you understand what you are getting into before you get to the park. It can be confusing which can quickly turn into an annoyance. Disney World is too expensive to be making decisions based on annoyance. If you are planning on visiting the wonderful world of Disney here is a list of things you should avoid doing. Also, a few links to some more helpful tips.

20 Don’t Let Any Park Employees Take Your Picture

There is a fee for having the park employees take your family photo. Guests are normally lined up to have their picture taken with this princess and that cuddly character. What first-timers don’t realize when they get to the front is that there is a fee. Especially when they take the picture with their high tech camera. The cost of the digital copy of the photo is an astounding $16.95. However, if you choose the $199.99  Memory Maker program you can get your one photo free. But here is the loophole, if you hand over that iPhone or Android they technically can’t charge you for the photo and you can get more than one.

19 Waiting Till Your Kid Is Older

Everyone wants to wait for their kids to get older to experience Disney World. Honestly, this makes sense why spend the money taking your kid somewhere when they won’t even remember it anyway? Well, that’s the sensible logic but, apparently, that is the best time to take the kids. Children under the age of 3 don’t pay to get into the park this is probably because they can’t go on any of the rides and Disney knows they will look horrible for charging babies to go into a park. Don’t fear there are still a lot of things your child under 3 can do in the park it is Disney after all.

18 Don’t Forget The Stroller

Many people make the mistake of leaving their stroller at home assuming that their kids are now 5,6,7,8 years old and they are old enough to walk the park with their young, sturdy legs. Wrong! The park is huge and families can spend anywhere between 8-14 hours (sometimes more) navigating the park. This includes waiting in lines which you will do a lot of, walking from town to town and standing up and eating. When you don’t book a restaurant it’s hard to find a bench to sit on when you want to enjoy that corndog. The point is, no matter how grown they act they still need to rest their legs and renting a stroller at the park can cost $16 or $31 depending on how many seats you need.

17 Know The Height Requirements

Before you go ahead and purchase all those tickets make sure your child reaches the height requirements for at least some of the rides. If you don’t you could feel a little jipped. You're still able to walk around the park and try all the random desserts and look at a few of the cool attractions but your kids go for the rides. If they can’t ride those highly talked about roller coasters they aren’t going to be impressed with your lack of preparedness as a parent. Don’t get their hopes up and don’t waste your money buying the best passes only to spend hundreds of dollars for essentially what will become a walking tour.

16 Don’t Pick Up A Map When You Get There

In fact, you should be picking up a map the day you pay for this expensive trip. This means you will be planning out your route so you know exactly how you will navigate the park to get the most out of your day or days at the park. Waiting the day-of to plan out your park route is an amateur move and to be honest, last minute mistakes like that can lead to you spending more money. Better yet, missing out on getting as much done in your time there as possible. There is no point in going to a place this expensive and not making sure you hit every key spot.

15 Don’t End Up In The Hospital

No matter how much you plan for the weather that day there is no way to be completely sure that it will go the way the weatherman claims it will. Make sure to pack things like sunscreen, a hat, an umbrella for rain or shine. The last thing anyone wants is to end up in a hospital because of heatstroke. Especially if you don’t have health insurance. A large medical bill on top of wasted expensive tickets to the park is not conducive to anyone’s lifestyle. The day will be wasted and your kids will be so annoyed with you and you will for sure have to plan another trip. Wasting more money on some tickets.

14 Trying To Do Everything

Don’t overwork yourself by trying to do everything during your weekend visit. It will take at least 2 or 3 separate visits to truly master this park. People make the mistake of trying to do everything in the park during their one visit and it normally backfires on them. We get it, it’s an expensive trip and a lot of people don’t have the money to go to Disney World multiple times but don’t kill yourself to master the park. There have been reports of people fainting, getting heat stroke, and just plain leaving the park sick. There is no sense in leaving because of a situation that has forced you out. Just take your time.

13 Not Using A Disney Agent

There are actual Disney agents who are specialized in booking trips and finding the best deals for people inquiring about a family trip. These people actually go to something called College of Disney. They specialize in Disney-specific vacations and they are more likely to know about or be able to find out about the best and latest deals before a regular ole’ travel agent. The best part is there are no fees. A normal travel agent sometimes has a fee and gets paid based on commission. But Disney is responsible for paying their travel agents and you reap all the benefits of their immense knowledge.

12 Buying From Scalpers

This may sound obvious but apparently, there are more than a few people who have fallen for scalpers. They are in the park, around the park and online. It’s tempting to try and get cheap tickets somehow but it’s really risky. However, there are authorized retailers who have the rights to sell legit tickets for cheaper prices or in packages. These are the smart people who buy tickets in bulk and make a pretty penny off of reselling them. It’s not just tickets to the park it’s also parking, hotels, car rentals and attractions that are extra money once you get into the park.

11 Not Taking Advantage Of The Free Stuff

Yes, surprise, surprise the expensive Disney resorts actually offer a few free things not much but beggars can’t be choosers. Walt Disney World offers free parking which is amazing because all the other Disney resorts make you pay minimum $20 bucks. The LEGO Imagination Center offers free outdoor play. That’s 3,000 square feet of outdoor area for your kids to run wild in. It’s the least they can do after charging an arm and a leg to get in. The lesser popular Disney Springs also offers free “parking and entertainment”. The question is what do they consider entertainment?

10 Not Seeking Out Special Offers

It only makes sense to seek out as many special offers as one person can have when planning a trip to Disney. As we have mentioned a few times already, it can get very expensive and let’s be honest a majority of society is living on a budget of some sort. Seeking out special offers is just a smart move. There are a number of websites or even those handy Disney travel agents that can help you find an offer or two that is best for you and your situation. Whether you have a big family, want to spend an entire week, only really want to go for one day. There will be something out there.

9 Visiting During Peak Times

Visiting during peak times is kind of an insane move. You will know you have visited during a peak time when you get to the park and it is so packed you can barely move. Educate yourself and avoid peak times. Several people fancy themselves Disney experts and write blogs on the subject. According to these connoisseurs, the best times to avoid the parks are obviously on long weekends and holidays. However, you should also avoid the parks during the week of Christmas and all of October because of the food and wine festival and Mickey hosts a Halloween party that is all the rage. There are a few other important dates to avoid that you can see here.

As we all know now, Disney owns the rights to Star Wars. Hence all the new films and all the merchandise available. One thing we have to say is don’t get caught up in the hype. When that adorable R2D2 rolls up on you in the park and makes all those cute little sounds don’t get caught up and then want to buy a t-shirt or a plush toy. It will cost you a lot of money. Especially for something that you will put on a shelf and look at every once in a while. It will eventually collect dust and that’s that.

7 Those Darn Glow In The Dark Toys

Patrons of the park are given the option to purchase glow in the dark toys. Why? What’s the point? When the park gets dark you can break out those toys and have them glow in the dark and light the park up. It looks really cool but word on the street is these glow in the dark toys are both expensive and not even real toys. They are legit glow sticks that you can purchase at a dollar store (if you’re smart). Disney has a few other slightly bigger toys that glow in the dark but what’s the point? Your kid uses it for one night and then what? Several dollars later and they can’t even find it amongst all their other toys. Or worse off, they forget that it even glows in the dark, the whole purpose of the toy.

6 Bring Your Own Dinner

Maybe not a full blown dinner because really, where are you going to warm that up? But bring some filling snacks unless your plan is to eat at the restaurants. Some people are only here for the food and the cool desserts that we see people taking Instagram-worthy pictures of. However, if you don't then bring some nutritious snacks. Don’t underestimate the amount of time you will spend at the park and don’t tell yourself you will leave the grounds to get food and them come back. It’s inconvenient. Instead, make a solid plan. If you know you want a cheap dinner get there early and plan for a late dinner. Bring nuts, bars, fruit, and veggies.

5 In Fact, Bring Your Own Water

If you look up #disneyworld on Instagram you will see some interesting things. The funniest though is the people who had to buy a bottle of water at the park and shell out $7.00. We would just die to have to pay $7.00 for something that runs from our pipes at home. Some of the comments are funny but when you really put things into perspective, it’s annoying spending that amount of money on anything that isn’t going to fill you up. There is no way to justify a purchase like this. Do yourself a favor and bring a water bottle. There are fountains around the park that allow you to refill your bottles and stay hydrated without breaking the bank.

4 Dress Appropriately

Dress according to the weather and even then bring a sweater for when the night falls because you will be there when it gets dark there is no question about that. In fact, bring a rain poncho, an umbrella, a change of clothes. The last thing you want to do is have to buy something to wear at the park. If you thought the stand-alone Disney stores were expensive you are in for the shock of your life when you have to buy a thin material t-shirt for $50 bucks because you wore a long sleeve shirt and now you’re hot.

3 Don’t Park At The Park

Parking at any one of the Disney World parks is tough. In addition to struggling to find parking in this huge space. The money you will pay just to leave your car all day is insane. If you live in Orlando or LA or wherever there is a Disney location okay, it makes sense to drive. After all, you will be saving on hotel and car rental and all that other good stuff. But if you can avoid driving to and parking on the park grounds then please do so. Minimum to park on the grounds is $20 a day, this can start to go towards food or just be pocketed.

2 Don’t Purchase Tickets At The Booth

Purchasing tickets the day of at the park is kind of a rookie move. First of all, the ticket prices at the booth are so marked up that even a rookie would have to question what is going on. Second, what is the point of planning your whole trip and then buying the actual tickets last minute? There are many retailers who offer tickets with packages and really when you book your trip the tickets should be included in the price it’s the least they can do anyway. Just stay away from ticket booths. It isn’t their fault but they have to try to get the most amount of money possible anyway.

1 Don’t Stay On-Site

Staying on the Disney grounds is surely an experience. If you have money to burn try it out one day but if not there are other options. Staying on the grounds can cost up to $10,000 depending on how many people you have in your family. Save that money and stay across the street at one of the many hotels available. However, they fill up quickly because your family isn’t the only one balling on a budget. There are a number of hotels ranging from 2 to 5 stars that offer complimentary breakfast and all you really need is a bed. Fill up on the breakfast and make your way to the park for a day of fun in the hot hot heat.