This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Disney World’s Magic Kingdom may be known as “The Happiest Place On Earth,” but as I discovered this week, it can take a lot of work to actually plan a trip to get there.
While it might sound a bit intimidating to first-timers, it’s certainly not too much for Summer Hull and her team at TPG Family to handle! On this week’s Miles Away podcast, Summer joins me to chat all things Disney World, from booking your first trip to maximizing credit cards, hotels, restaurants, add-ons and more.
You can play this episode of Miles Away above, or listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, including:
We have endless Disney content to help you plan your trip, with plenty more to come. If you’re considering booking an adventure of your own, don’t miss:
- TPG’s Ultimate Guide to Walt Disney World Resort
- 10 Ways to Save Money at Disney World
- 9 New Disney World Attractions You Won’t Want to Miss in 2019
Zach Honig: On today’s episode of Miles Away, we are sitting down with TPG’s Family Editor, Summer Hull. Welcome back to the podcast, Summer.
Summer Hull: Thank you, Zach. It’s been forever.
Zach Honig: It has been forever, but I had your friend Ed Pizza on and we talked all about Disneyland.
Summer Hull: I’m jealous.
Zach Honig: Now we are moving to the magical world of Disney World.
Summer Hull: Where I’m very partial, because we can get there in like two hours on a plane.
Zach Honig: Yeah, it’s a little bit closer than Anaheim, huh?
Summer Hull: It really is. So Disney World is in Florida in the Orlando area and there are four theme parks in Disney World, as well as some water parks, but four main theme parks that make up the World.
Zach Honig: And which would those be?
Summer Hull: Those would be Epcot, the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and I swear this isn’t a commercial.
Zach Honig: Oh, very cool. OK. So a lot of different options, and then there’s water parks that are part of the Disney umbrella there as well?
Summer Hull: There are, yeah. The water parks are a little outside of my domain. We don’t ever go for long enough that we need a water park day because we would just swim at the hotel but there are water parks there.
Zach Honig: Got it. OK, so let’s start by breaking down the different parks. Can you kind of give me like a 45-second elevator pitch on the four parks.
Summer Hull: Sure. So Magic Kingdom is kind of the iconic classic one you may think of with the castle. It’s also the one that’s probably best for little kids. There’s a lot of rides there that are little-kid appropriate.
Zach Honig: It’s a small world after all.
Summer Hull: That’s one. See, that’s not even little-kid appropriate, that’s like I need 20 minutes in the air conditioning appropriate. It’s creepy, but it’s nice and you sit down. Animal Kingdom has real animals that you can take like a ride that goes through say a safari. It gets really hot and humid there with all the plants, but it also has Pandora, which has some of the best rides currently at Disney World.
Zach Honig: And it’s a fairly new addition, right?
Summer Hull: It is new, yeah. Toy Story Land is the newest land at Disney World, but Pandora is right behind that. So Animal Kingdom is a lot of fun. I don’t ever go there for more than a day on our trip and you could probably do it in less than that. Epcot kind of has a couple components to it. It has the World Showcase, which is where you have your different countries.
Zach Honig: You get that little paper passport and you get stamps. Do they still do that?
Summer Hull: It’s so fun. I don’t know if they still … I think they still do some stuff like that with special wine, food and wine events but with kids now we’ve been really lacking on the eating and drinking at Epcot, but before kids, when Josh turned 35, my husband, we went and did an around-the-world beer tour there. You cannot do it successfully. Don’t really try.
Zach Honig: Oh my god.
Summer Hull: Pick your countries wisely, but there’s a lot of cool food and drink. It almost feels like you are in different countries there. So that’s part of Epcot, and then they kind of have some of the more educational, futuristic parts of it too. One of my favorite rides is actually The Land, where you sit on this really slow moving water barge thing, but it takes you through where they grow food that they actually use at Epcot. It’s really cool and educational and you get to sit down for a while, so all bonuses at Disney.
Summer Hull: Then there’s Disney Hollywood Studios, which is where the newest land, Toy Story Land is, has what is my family’s current favorite ride, Slinky Dog Dash. Everyone from, she’s actually just three, actually from the three-year-old to my husband loved that ride. It’s also where Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge will be opening later this summer.
Zach Honig: We’ve heard lots about that.
Summer Hull: Oh my gosh.
Zach Honig: Are you going to be there on opening day?
Summer Hull: I might be. The one in California opens first in May and I’m 99% sure I’m going to be there opening day. I don’t know if I’ll repeat that again for Disney World, but TBD. We’ll see how it all plays out. I’m a huge Star Wars nerd so it’s like my worlds combining. But Hollywood Studios also has some of the really cool rides like Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster that goes upside down.
Zach Honig: Is that the Aerosmith ride?
Summer Hull: Yeah.
Zach Honig: Oh yes.
Summer Hull: Yeah. So my oldest daughter-
Zach Honig: I did that in Disneyland Paris actually.
Summer Hull: Yeah.
Zach Honig: It was a really quiet day at the park and I got to do it over and over and over.
Summer Hull: I would be so sick.
Zach Honig: It’s like zero to 60 in half a second or something.
Summer Hull: It’s so fast and loud Aerosmith music. And it’s got the Tower of Terror so it’s got some cool older-kid rides there.
Zach Honig: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Summer Hull: So that might have been more than 45 seconds, but that’s sort of a high level of each of the four parks.
Zach Honig: We’ll take it.
Summer Hull: OK.
Zach Honig: So how do you get between the parks? Do you pick a hotel that’s close to one of the parks and take the monorail around? Kind of walk me through the logistics.
Summer Hull: Yeah, it’s a massive complex. I think the last stat I saw said that Disney World itself is about the size of San Francisco, so think San Francisco when you’re thinking getting around this.
Zach Honig: Yeah.
Summer Hull: It’s massive.
Zach Honig: Okay.
Summer Hull: So there is a monorail that connects a few of the deluxe resorts as well as the Magic Kingdom and the Ticket and Transportation Center, and then you can take a different monorail, kind of like you’re transferring subways, over to Epcot. That’s the extent of what’s on the monorail.
Zach Honig: So when I was at Disneyland a few weeks ago, I did the park hopper pass.
Summer Hull: Yeah.
Zach Honig: We did both parks and we did lots of rides at both of the parks in one day.
Summer Hull: So fun.
Zach Honig: Is that doable at Disney World?
Summer Hull: Yeah. To finish your other question. The monorail will only help you to so much and then after that there is a bus network, but my favorite way to get around is these really cute Minnie Vans they introduced a couple years ago. It’s Minnie as in Minnie Mouse and so they have polka dots on these cars and they will take you from park to park. It’s in the Lyft app and so you’re paying by mile, but it’s so much faster than any other option that that’s what we use with little kids because it has car seats. Then some are connected by boat. Some people drive. There’s a lot of ways to get around but you don’t hop there very effectively unless you’ve got a good strategy or you’re just going one park to another. You’re not going to wander the whole complex.
Summer Hull: To answer your question, yes. A few months ago, maybe if you’ve talked to Ed Pizza, you already know this, but we tried to ride every ride at Disney World in one day. So if you just think doing all the rides at Magic Kingdom in one day, that’s crazy. But this was all four parks and it was hot. It was September, and we came real close. We knew we wouldn’t succeed because the park wasn’t open late enough that night. We did I think like 44. I only threw up twice.
Zach Honig: Oh my god.
Summer Hull: I think it was over 20 miles we logged doing it and we were legit running. Personally, if I’m taking a real actual family trip, we do not park hop. We don’t buy park hoppers. I have an annual pass because it gets discounts for all of us, so I could park hop. We don’t do that. With a three-year-old and a husband who has limited tolerance for all things crowds and Disney, one park a day is more than enough.
Zach Honig: I think that would be me. So walk me through the experience going with your family versus going with a Disney adult.
Summer Hull: It’s really fun both ways, but the two trips are so different, and I’ve done some solo trips to Disney and theme parks too, mainly because I have a weird job in the travel world and sometimes you just have time on your hands to do that, but what you notice when you’re there either just by yourself or just with adults is how frenetic it all is and you can kind of go at your own pace and take it all in slowly, whereas on family trips usually it’s just a lot more rushed. I actually learned on my adult trips to take things a lot slower on family trips and to not stress so much about missing a Fast Pass, because those adult trips really are more fun than when you’re trying to make the kids happy, and by doing that and trying so hard you are probably running yourself into the ground.
Zach Honig: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Summer Hull: But on adult trips you can also spend more time on the food. There is actually really pretty decent food and drinks there, not just at the around-the-world beer tour at Epcot. Disney’s a lot of work with little kids. That’s the honest truth, especially if you’re trying to make this once-in-a-lifetime trip and fit everything in at once. We have the luxury of we know we’re going to go back but even still, sometimes we try to do too much. Creating too much magic ends up with grumpy people.
Zach Honig: Well said. So there’s … let’s break down pricing a little bit. You’ve got the day pass, you can add on more days and then you can add on the park hopper and then there are a whole bunch of other add-ons that you can add too. You can do the Fast Pass, right? You can do meal plans, things like that. How does that impact your experience and how do you kind of decide what makes the most sense for any given trip?
Summer Hull: Your budget will tell you what makes the most sense for any given trip. Disney tickets are expensive and every Disney park does this differently, so Disneyland and Disney World are different. Disney World does have most of those options you mentioned. They also now have date-based pricing so peak season costs more than off season, although there’s really no off season at Disney anymore, there’s just busy and busier. You will pay different depending on your date.
Summer Hull: You will pay less per day if you buy a longer ticket, so you’re going to be better served going for a week and doing everything that you can possibly do in a week rather than go for two days and then six months later come back for two days. You’re going to pay more on those one and two day tickets. It’s going to be north of $100 a day, whereas if you buy a longer ticket you may be down to $40 or $50 a day.
Zach Honig: Oh that’s a huge difference, OK.
Summer Hull: It really is. Then I have an annual pass before I go enough a year that it makes sense, especially because you’ll get discounts on merchandise and some of the after-hours experiences and restaurants and all that you can use for your whole family. That made sense for me and sometimes it does make sense for just one person in the family to have that pass, especially if you’re taking a trip that’s a week long, you’re probably looking at a similar price point and if you can just go ahead and come back before it expires 11 months later, you’ll come out ahead.
Zach Honig: Do you get discounts for guests as well?
Summer Hull: You get discounts on like their meals and merchandise for up to a certain number of people and then also some of their after-hours or special-ticketed events, like their Christmas parties and Halloween parties and all, you can get discounts for your family as well.
Zach Honig: How does the lodging kind of play in? There’s on Disney housing, there’s official Disney housing, right?
Summer Hull: Disney housing.
Zach Honig: Or hotels rather.
Summer Hull: Disney resorts.
Zach Honig: Lodging. Disney resorts.
Summer Hull: I would like to live in Disney housing, Zach.
Zach Honig: Disney resorts and then there’s the totally unaffiliated hotels, right.
Summer Hull: Yeah, and there’s a hybrid. There’s hotels that are neither Disney nor wholly unaffiliated, like especially in Disney Springs you will find Hilton and Wyndham.
Zach Honig: What’s Disney Springs? That’s not a park I’m guessing.
Summer Hull: Once upon a time it used to be called Downtown Disney.
Zach Honig: Oh yeah, OK.
Summer Hull: They kind of renamed it. It’s this area of the park that is on Disney property but it’s not a theme park as you say. It’s basically a shopping, entertainment district that you don’t need a Disney ticket to go to and, in that area, there are a number of hotels, largely points-friendly chain hotels so you’ll find some Hiltons there, you’ll find Best Western I believe, there’s Wyndham. Those hotels have some Disney perks, so you can book your Fast Passes 60 days in advance instead of the normal 30, which is unique to Disney resorts plus a handful of off property.
Zach Honig: That sounds very different than Disneyland, right. So the Fast Passes at Disneyland are day of?
Summer Hull: It’s very different than Disneyland, yes.
Zach Honig: But 30 or 60 days in advance.
Summer Hull: Here’s the thing about Disney World. You have to be a type A super planner and if you are not, then you’re going to be the one who might be really frustrated because most of the other people there have been planning, like … this is not a joke, if you want to eat at certain places at Disney World you have to make that reservation 180 days in advance.
Zach Honig: What are these places?
Summer Hull: Popular places like Cinderella’s castle, Ohana, which is at the Polynesian Village Resort, there’s a number of others, especially if you’re going at peak times.
Zach Honig: What about those character brunches?
Summer Hull: Yeah.
Zach Honig: Is that 180 day situation?
Summer Hull: Some of them are. I mean Chef Mickey’s can book up at peak times for sure.
Zach Honig: But I want to go this weekend, Summer. What am I going to do?
Summer Hull: There are some websites I know that can help find last-minute availability, but they often die because they’re probably scraping Disney’s data so there are ways to do this, but they aren’t reliable long term, but yet, literally they take restaurant reservations six months in advance and then your Fast Passes, they’re included, you don’t have to pay extra like you do at Disneyland, but you only can make your reservations 30 days out if you’re staying anywhere but Disney. You can make them 60 days before your trip if you’re staying either at a true Disney resort or one of the handful of often chain hotels that has probably paid Disney to give their guests this perk.
Summer Hull: So in Disney Springs you’ll find hotels where you do get that same 60-day window as the on property Disney resorts as well as you get access to Extra Magic Hours, which rotate through the parks each day, and they either allow you to get in the park early or stay late. I haven’t found them to be extraordinarily useful because so many people take advantage of them, those parks end up really busy, but there is at least a way to access that perk without staying at a Disney resort. Then, within your Disney resorts, you’ve got three levels. You’ve got your deluxe resort, you have your moderate, and you have your value resorts. So there’s a lot of choices to make at Mickey.
Zach Honig: I’m still blown away by this 60-day Fast Pass option, but 30 days out are some of the rides already fully booked?
Summer Hull: Yeah. In fact, they’re fully booked 60 days out some of them are.
Zach Honig: Oh my gosh.
Summer Hull: Because you can make the reservation 60 days from your first day at the park. If the average park visit is say four or five days, then at your 60th day, some people are already well into their window because their window started a few days earlier, so it’s common for the most popular ride, even if you’re booking at 60 days out, you can’t get some of those Fast Passes until say the third day of your trip.
Zach Honig: OK. I have to admit, I’m a little bit overwhelmed. There’s a lot to take in.
Summer Hull: Completely understandable.
Zach Honig: Yes. Convince me as a Disney World newcomer that this is all worth it.
Summer Hull: You get someone to help you. There are … it doesn’t have to be a professional Disney planner. You’re going to have a friend. If you post on Facebook, “Hey, I’m trying to plan a trip to Disney World. Does anyone have any tips?” Wait five seconds and there will be a swarm of people that are your real-life friends giving you assistance and offering to probably help you, because once you’ve done it, you know how valuable a little bit of planning is and you don’t want your friend to be the one who shows up with no Fast Passes and there’s a five-hour line to ride something, which absolutely happens at peak times. Zach is shaking his head at being Disney.
Zach Honig: My jaw has dropped. I’m shaking my head.
Summer Hull: But the honest truth is, all of that sounds horrible and you don’t have a friend that will do it for you and you don’t want to have a Disney planner do it for you.
Zach Honig: I do have a friend that will do it for me, don’t I?
Summer Hull: You do. But like somebody listening, if you don’t have a friend that would do this for you and you don’t want to have a Disney planner and there’s tons of those, maybe don’t go to Disney World, go to Universal because you can just show up there with an Express Pass, which is something you pay extra for at Universal. You don’t need dining reservations and you don’t need advance Fast Passes, you just pay extra for that Express Pass and you’re in the short line for the rides.
Summer Hull: We’ve done that as well when we’re not planning like an obnoxious number of months in advance because it is easier. Disney World, especially at a peak time with a family, if you did not plan in advance, then you just have to really re-calibrate your expectations and don’t go on the peakest rides or only go on one super popular ride right when the park opens or closes. What we like to do, because my husband like abhors crowds, and often he doesn’t come with us because it’s just not his sort of vacation but he doesn’t want to fully be missing from the kids’ memories at Disney either, so he comes sometimes and when he comes is often when we’ll buy these packages that give you access before the park officially opens without crowds and without having to be online 60 days in advance booking your Fast Pass. They have these packages called Early Morning Magic, not to be confused with Extra Magic Hours. I know.
Zach Honig: That’s what I was just going to say.
Summer Hull: Zach’s going to die.
Zach Honig: I know that one, but I don’t. No Early Morning Magic is different.
Summer Hull: Early Morning Magic, you don’t have to be staying at a Disney resort to do this. You just have to be willing to spend $79 per person extra.
Zach Honig: Oh, I thought you were going to tell me it’s $2500 or something.
Summer Hull: They have those too. Those are All Day Magic. But they have Early Morning Magic, which is for $79, currently, I believe, you get into the park 90 minutes before it opens and only select rides are available, but you can literally do them over and over again. The park is empty. You can take photos with nobody in the background. Breakfast is included. It’s a fabulous way to ride a whole bunch before 9 o’clock. We just did this at Toy Story Land over Spring Break and at 8:55 they were marching the army in, who had lined up to get into the park, when the park officially opened. We had already ridden everything we wanted to ride.
Zach Honig: Marching means that they slow you down so you can’t run?
Summer Hull: They do.
Zach Honig: And get hurt.
Summer Hull: They have like, it honestly looks like an army. They have three levels of Disney employees lined up at front. They have like the line leaders and then the next line and then they have a shoulder to shoulder line of Disney employees so you can’t push past them, and then behind those three layers of Disney employees are honest to god, thousands of guests who had lined up to be the first ones in Toy Story Land when the park opened, but they weren’t because we’d paid $79 per person to already ride all those things. But when we saw them marching in at 8:55 in the morning, we were so grateful we had paid the money to do all that and be done, because that looked like absolute misery and it gets busy in a hurry, and this was spring break, but the Early Morning Magic can be worth it.
Zach Honig: All right. So let’s say I’m going, I’m planning a trip 180 days from now. It’s a long weekend. It’s during a peak but not super crazy peak time. Where should I stay and what rides should I plan to book at this moment?
Summer Hull: I’m super partial to the deluxe resorts, and again, what you do at Disney is going to come down to budget. You can do Disney for fun on almost any budget, but if I’m just going to go once and I want to have a lot of fun, I like to stay at the monorail resorts. That’s going to be the Contemporary or Bay Lake Tower, the Polynesian Village Resort, or the Grand Floridian. I want to stay on the monorail and I want to take it to the Magic Kingdom or transfer and go to Epcot and you can save money if you rent Disney Vacation Club points, and I won’t go down this rabbit hole. I will just tell you we have a story on it that we’ll link to, but there are ways to stay at these top-tier hotels at Disney for half the price that Disney wants just by renting someone’s Disney Vacation Club points. It’s a totally above-board thing, it’s not like a scammy thing to do.
Zach Honig: That’s a good tip, yeah.
Summer Hull: You can save a huge amount over retail prices. You do again have to plan in advance or get really lucky, but it’s a way to stay at those best located resorts for a lot less. There’s other fun ones too though. Animal Kingdom with the kids is fun. You can see animals on the savanna.
Zach Honig: Can you use regular hotel points to book any of these?
Summer Hull: There’s two options. Disney Springs is one, there’s a variety of chain hotels there that are points friendly. We did a whole study last year on what’s the best Disney hotel on points, other than the official Disney hotels because of course you can’t use like a Hyatt point at a Disney hotel, but you can at some of these Disney Springs or there are two Marriott properties that are on Disney property. There’s the Disney Swan and the Disney Dolphin. Technically they’re a Westin and a Sheraton.
Zach Honig: Category 87 or something.
Summer Hull: Category 87,000. They really are. They not that long ago were 10,000 SPG points a night, but as of today they are 50,000 Marriott points a night.
Zach Honig: Oh boy. OK.
Summer Hull: There are a lot.
Zach Honig: Yeah.
Summer Hull: Sometimes cash rates may be better if you want to leverage your elite status or earn elite status or whatever, but if you want to use your points, they’re 50,000 Marriott points a night and they are on-property.
Zach Honig: Then the rides. Which like, let’s say three rides? What are your three favorite rides that I should book now?
Summer Hull: My favorite rides that you would want Fast Passes for, Slinky Dog Dash which is a really fun roller coaster that literally everyone in my family loves. I love Soarin’ which is a ride-
Zach Honig: I did that in California Adventure.
Summer Hull: Yeah.
Zach Honig: Oh that’s fun.
Summer Hull: You don’t have to have a Fast Pass for that one. They have enough capacity on that ride they can get people through the line somewhat reasonably, but if you can get a Fast Pass, get it, because why not? I really like classics like Space Mountain and those still have long lines. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom is a really popular one just because it’s newer and it’s fun, so that’s a good one to get a Fast Pass for. But really, just get a Fast Pass for anything.
Zach Honig: Just so you have it. I know I’m going to get to do something.
Summer Hull: Just so you have it, and you can get three per day in advance and then once you use those three in the parks, you can get more. There’s also this thing that hardcore Disney folks do where they just … they call it pound the app, and you just keep refreshing over and over until you get what you want.
Zach Honig: I feel like there are many levels of hardcore Disney.
Summer Hull: There are, and I swear I’m not going super deep down the hole, but I’ll tell you don’t just look once and give up, especially day of or day before. If you just keep refreshing the app, then you may end up with what you want.
Zach Honig: Have you run into anyone wearing like a battery vest so that their phone stays [crosstalk 00:20:27]?
Summer Hull: It’s so bad. You know, you want to live in the moment when you’re on a family vacation and as much as I love Disney, Disney makes that really hard with the Fast Passes when you’re trying to get another one and you’re staring at your phone and you’re refreshing the app. In that way, I actually like the way Disneyland does it better.
Zach Honig: All right. It’s intense. I want to go sometime, but I think I’m going back to Disneyland before I go.
Summer Hull: Here’s another suggestion. I mentioned the magic morning packages, but they also have a number of Halloween and Christmas themed nights in the fall and in early winter and during those parties, you can’t use Fast Passes, so nobody has Fast Passes during those parties and they have cool characters, they give away treats are included in these tickets, and you don’t have to plan in advance because you literally can’t, so everybody is kind of on the same playing field and so we really, really enjoy going during Mickey’s Christmas Party and the Mickey Halloween Parties and part of the reason why is since I’m the family’s planner I do enjoy a Disney trip where there isn’t much you can really plan in advance but buying the tickets and showing up.
Zach Honig: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I want to finish talking about credit cards and then also really quickly touch on flights. Obviously Orlando has a lot of options.
Summer Hull: Yes.
Zach Honig: But first credit cards. I know there’s a Disney credit card, is that right? A co-branded card?
Summer Hull: There is.
Zach Honig: Does that get you free tickets to Disney World?
Summer Hull: I mean technically if you use it, but it doesn’t give you as many rewards per dollar spent as some of the travel rewards credit cards that TPG focuses on. The strength of the Disney Visa is that, if you need to finance your trip over six months, you can. I’m sure there’s limits and maximums and whatever, but they do offer 0% for six months I believe on Disney vacations.
Zach Honig: So I can pay in installments during those 180 days.
Summer Hull: I know, which of course we say don’t rack up debt, don’t do all that, but I know some families for a Disney trip they need to spread it out and so it can be used for that. It also gives you some special character meet and greets and some discounts, especially on the Disney cruise. We just did a Disney cruise and it gives you some discounts on the Disney cruise and …
Zach Honig: OK.
Summer Hull: There are some reasons to get it, but it’s not overall in my opinion the best card for Disney. But the Citi Premiere is what I use to get two points per dollar on the tickets. If you just buy Disney tickets, they’re going to code as entertainment, so factor that in when you’re deciding what card to use. However, if you buy them through a travel site like Undercover Tourist is a popular one where they’re actually a little bit cheaper if you’re buying a multi-day ticket, that will code as travel. So for that you can use something like your Sapphire Reserve for three points per dollar or if you still have your travel credit for the year. I know people that have used it by buying Disney tickets from Undercover Tourist and saving a little with the annual travel credit. Just be aware. If all you’re buying is Disney tickets from Disney World they’re going to code as entertainment, but if you want to buy them from a travel site, you can do that or if you’re booking them as part of a hotel package from Disney World then they’ll code as travel.
Zach Honig: Oh, OK. Good tip. The one area where you probably won’t necessarily, maybe except for peak periods, would have to pay a ton of money is with flights, just because there’s so much competition. I mean, flights to Orlando are pretty reasonably priced.
Summer Hull: Yeah. That’s one of the reasons we end up there so much and frankly we fly in on Spirit and Frontier a lot because we can and it can be honest to god as little as $26 from Houston.
Zach Honig: I feel like Orlando is a mini hub for Spirit and Frontier.
Summer Hull: It really is.
Zach Honig: They fly from everywhere.
Summer Hull: It is. I’ve done Southwest there, but during peak times you’re looking at crazy prices still, especially a United if you’re going at a peak time from Newark or DC or some popular East Coast city, it may still be really expensive but don’t be afraid to look to those other carriers. We actually just bought a Discount Den membership with Frontier because we’re going to Orlando again this summer.
Zach Honig: That sounds like heaven. I want to live in the Discount Den.
Summer Hull: I know, with all the cute Frontier animals. We bought a Discount Den membership, because, A. it gives you a little discount on flights but mostly because they now have Kids Fly Free on certain days and so we buy two adult tickets. I think we paid $80 for each one of the adult tickets and the kids were free, which was great.
Zach Honig: Wow. Up until what age?
Summer Hull: 15.
Zach Honig: Oh wow.
Summer Hull: Yeah. It’s only valid select days, often Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but even like we’re going this summer on a Tuesday or Wednesday, I mean it’s summer. It doesn’t matter.
Zach Honig: As long as you’re OK with a tray table that’s like the size of a soda can.
Summer Hull: It literally is. But so the way we do Frontier or Spirit when we fly Spirit is to spend as little as possible on the tickets but we do pay for those extras, so on Spirit you’ll find us in the big front seats for like $49.
Zach Honig: Which are like domestic first class right?
Summer Hull: They are. On Frontier they don’t have that, but they have what’s called the stretch seats, which have decent leg room, so we will buy up to that so we have a comfortable experience but it still comes out cheaper overall.
Zach Honig: So how can someone follow along with all of your Disney adventures? Where will they find you on social media?
Summer Hull: They will find me on Twitter @Mommypoints, M-O-M-M-Y points, or on TPG Family, which you can get to from the TPG home page, click on Family Travel at the top. We cover Disney. We’re trying to review all of the Disney resorts. We’re about halfway there. We’re reviewing a lot of the extra ticket activities with the goal of helping you figure out which ones are worth it.
Zach Honig: Safe travels, Summer.
Summer Hull: You too.
Zach Honig: That’s it for this episode of Miles Away. Thanks again to Summer Hull. This episode was produced by Margaret Kelly and Caroline Schagrin with editing by Ryan Gabos. Our music is by Alex Schiff. If you’ve been enjoying Miles Away so far, please subscribe, rate, and review in Apple podcast, Spotify, or wherever you choose to listen.
Featured photo by Ryan Wendler / Walt Disney World.
Know before you go.
News and deals straight to your inbox every day.
NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel