Walt Disney World holds a special place in Coast Guard spouse Sarah Scritchfield’s heart — so much so that she’s made 100 visits to the park and even got married there. As a travel agent with Main Street and More Travel, a Disney earmarked agency, she brings this passion to help others craft their perfect vacation.
“Walt Disney World is a special place. We know we can go and forget about the challenges of the military life, of deployment, of 24-hour duties, and the stresses of life,” Scritchfield said.
We’ve gathered her top five Disney tips to make the most of your vacation.
1. Look for discounts before you go
Scritchfield recommends checking out the Armed Forces Salute Tickets, which when combined with a hotel stay can offer more than 50% savings for active-duty military and retirees. Take note the terms change year to year so be sure to read the fine print. These 4- and 5-day tickets are open to active-duty service members, their families, and retirees.
Another of Scritchfield’s tips? Buy Disney gift cards at major retailers like Sam’s Club and BJ’s when they are discounted.
“That’s essentially free money since you’ll be spending money in the park,” she said. “Consider giving the kids one small gift card to spend. They are going to want the latest and greatest toy and there are souvenir stores everywhere. This way, they have to decide how to best utilize that precious spending money for the trip.”
2. Consider your lodging
If it’s within your budget, Scritchfield recommends staying on Disney property.
“Just for the convenience factor, it is sometimes worth the extra price to stay in the bubble. Depending on the hotel where you’re staying, Disney offers transportation including the monorail and Skyliner. It’s just an easier convenience.”
Staying off property can often be less expensive. Scritchfield says to remember to factor in additional time (typically 30 to 45 minutes to park) and to add the additional parking costs to your budget.
3. Make the most of your time at the park
“You’re going to walk at least 20 miles a day, so wear comfortable shoes,” Scritchfield said, noting that Walt Disney World is 46-square-miles.
“Sometimes I change my shoes twice a day.”
Here are her additional tips for making the most of your time while in the park:
- Fast passes: While these are currently on hold due to the pandemic, they may be back by the end of the year. Monitor the Disney site for the latest information.
- Dining: You can book dining reservations 60 days in advance of your visit. According to Scritchfield, restaurants fill up quickly so don’t wait. If you’re staying at a Disney hotel, you have the added perk of booking your dining for the entire length of your stay 60 days before the day you check-in, which gives you an additional benefit of booking before others.
- Utilize rider switch: Traveling with a child who isn’t tall enough for the rides? Check out this service to accommodate families.
- Disability access service (also known as D.A.S Pass): DAS is intended for guests whose disability prevents them from waiting in a conventional queue environment. This service allows guests to schedule a return time that is comparable to the current queue wait for the given attraction.
4. Mark your calendars for October 1, 2021
It’s Magic Kingdom and Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary.
“Disney loves to celebrate and this is going to be 18-months of celebration in all of the parks,” she said.
5. Planning is key
“Availability is starting to become slim especially for October, November, December,” Scritchfield said.
She recommends planning at least 11 to 12 months before your visit. Additionally, consider if you’d like to celebrate any special holidays such as Halloween or the holiday season.
“Disney does special events, decor, and experiences for the holidays like no other,” she said.Read comments