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Disney Around the World Completed!
We just visited every single Disney park in 6 weeks. Yes, that’s 6 resorts and 12 theme parks (plus 2 water parks but whose counting)! So who is the we? That would be my wife Jasmine, my daughter Ellie and myself. Call us the Disney Hacks crew. But why did we do it and more importantly how?
I Know Travel
First, let me tell you a little about myself. I am the founder and Managing Editor of our sister site Miles to Memories. On Miles to Memories my team and I teach people how to earn millions of miles/points while saving money on travel at the same time. I am an expert at credit card rewards and travel loyalty programs and have spent the past 13 years traveling around the world with my family.
I Know Disney
In my Growing up Mouse post I detailed how deeply Disney has been involved in my life since I was a kid visiting Disneyland whenever I could. Since then I have continued to visit Disney around the globe whenever possible. As of now I have been to every single Disney resort in the world at least 3 times.
Disney Is Part of Our Family
But it isn’t just me. My wife Jasmine and I visited Disneyland for the first time together just months after we began dating 20+ years ago and haven’t stopped since. She too has been to every Disney resort multiple times and so have our kids. Our son visited them all during our many travels and now that he is grown up our daughter Ellie is getting her chance to have fun.
How We Did It
First, as you may have noticed you probably don’t need 6 weeks in order to visit all of the Disney resorts. We weaved them in as part of a larger trip so we did other “travel” stuff too. With that said, we did have a couple of rules. First, we spent multiple days at multiple park resorts and second, we spent awhile at Walt Disney World to simulate an average “vacation”. I wanted to come away from this experience being able to compare the worst and the best that each place had to offer.
So this is how our trip broke down:
- Hong Kong Disneyland – 1 day
- Shanghai Disneyland – 1 day
- Tokyo Disney Resort – 3 days
- Disneyland Resort – 2 days
- Walt Disney World Resort – 9 days
- Disneyland Paris Resort – 2 days
Now keep in mind this wasn’t my first time at any of these resorts and Jasmine had been to all of them except for Shanghai prior to this trip. Even Ellie had been to half of them coming in, but of course she now has them all checked off. As for the route, we ended up starting in Hong Kong because of our schedule and lumped the resorts together in two groups of three for simplicity.
Thankfully these three resorts are fairly close together. We started our Disney around the world journey in Hong Kong following our travels in Southeast Asia. Due to the close proximity of these resorts we visited all 3 within a week of each other. Our route was Hong Kong to Shanghai to Tokyo and the flights in between were all just over two hours.
After traveling around a bit more and taking a break, we picked up our journey in Anaheim for a couple of days at Disneyland Resort. We then flew to Orlando for 9 days and then direct on to Paris to close out the Disney around the world. Grouping the resorts together like this gave us time to rest and really enveloped us in the Disney spirit.
Travel Hacking Flights for Disney
On Miles to Memories we cover how to maximize travel loyalty programs and credit cards and that is exactly how I am able to pull off trips like this. For example flying to Asia and back from Paris we were able to use points to fly all 3 of us in Business Class. Ellie doesn’t know it but she has flown on some of the best airlines in the world.
Even when we flew in coach, we used miles/points plus cheap fares on budget carriers to pay almost nothing out of pocket. In total I spent over 500K miles on flights during this trip, but we kind of circled the globe. To learn more about “travel hacking” head over to Miles to Memories.
Travel Hacking Hotels for Disney
90% of the hotels during our trip were paid for with points. For example, here is where we stayed when visiting Disney’s six international resorts:
- Hong Kong: Grand Hyatt Hong Kong (Paid with points)
- Shanghai: Novotel Shanghai Clover (1 mile from Shanghai Disney. Paid with Chase points)
- Tokyo: Hilton Tokyo Bay (Located on Disney property. Paid with Chase points)
- Anaheim: Hyatt House Anaheim (10 minute walk to the front gates. Paid with Hyatt points)
- Orlando: Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress (Paid with points)
- Paris: Adagio Apartment Hotel (1 mile to Disney property. Free shuttle. Paid with Chase points)
That’s right. I didn’t pay cash for a single room used during our Disney visits. I did have a couple of cash nights during the overall trip, but all of the above hotels were “free”. I should also mention that due to hotel status I received suites in Anaheim, Hong Kong and Orlando plus lounge access in Orlando and Tokyo.
Saving on Tickets for Disney
Tickets can be a bit more difficult to save on, although there are still ways! Chase used to be an attractive place to buy Disney tickets with points, however they have stopped doing that. Citi points can be used in some cases, but it can be a nightmare. With that said, here is how we saved on Disney tickets around the world. Keep in mind full guides with much more detail are coming soon for each resort!
- Hong Kong: Used local travel agent website to save about 20%
- Shanghai: Used Chase points to purchase through travel portal
- Tokyo: No measurable discount was available nor was any points option
- Anaheim: Used Citi points to pay for tickets
- Orlando: Used Barclaycard Arrival+ points to cover 95% of ticket cost
- Paris: Bought myself an annual pass & then the family discounted tickets. No good points or discount option
I’ll have more on all of that in future posts, but as you can see I used points when I could and then even used an annual pass trick in Paris to save a bit more. Overall it wasn’t free, but saving on the flights and hotels made it much easier to do, plus we only really paid cash in 3 of the 6 resorts and utilized discounts as well! Not bad.
Disney Around the World Favorites
This Disney around the world post is already getting a bit long, but I can’t finish it without a quick summary of our thoughts and a preview of what is to come in the next days/weeks/months on Disney Hacks as I develop the most comprehensive guides on Disney around the world! Anyway, here are some takeaways.
Hong Kong Disneyland Resort – Easily the most underrated resort. Moving towards unique experiences which will serve it well. Mystic Manor continues to impress.
Shanghai Disney Resort – I wish they would move forward with expansion a bit quicker. I love this park but it needs to grow A LOT. Their version of Pirates remains the best Disney ride ever created.
Tokyo Disney Resort – Tokyo DisneySea is the most completely themed park in existence and Tokyo Disneyland has the best of Anaheim and Orlando. I truly love this resort & can’t wait for the upcoming expansions.
Disneyland Resort – This is my childhood park. It’s special because its the original but it’s also packed with attractions. California Adventure has come a long way and Disneyland is now even more complete with Galaxy’s Edge.
Walt Disney World Resort – I love the scale and size, but I still think that Orlando rarely represents the best that Disney has to offer. It gets points for quantity of unique experiences compared to other resorts, so that is something.
Disneyland Paris Resort – Walt Disney Studios Paris is Disney’s worst theme park. Despite efforts to fix it, maintenance continues to be poor which is a shame. Disneyland Paris on the other hand is among the prettiest of Disney parks and is great with its unique take on Haunted Mansion and the best Thunder Mountain around!
If you haven’t read my stuff before, then welcome aboard. There will be a ton of great Disney content here on Disney Hacks plus we have a ton of great content on Miles to Memories dating back to 2013. Whether you just want to learn about Disney or you want to learn about traveling more for less money then you are in the right place! Feel free to subscribe.