Planning the best Walt Disney World vacation can be a daunting task. Still, with careful preparation and attention to detail, you can create a magical experience for your family or group. Here are 125 tips to help you plan your dream Disney vacation:
Before You Go:
- Research: Familiarize yourself with the parks, attractions, dining options, and entertainment.
- Set a Budget: Determine how much you will spend on your trip.
- Choose the Right Time: Consider crowd levels, weather, and special events when choosing travel dates.
- Book Early: Disney resorts and dining reservations fill up fast, so book as soon as possible.
- Use a Disney Travel Agent: They can help you find the best deals and navigate the planning process.
- Make a Packing List: Don’t forget essentials like sunscreen, comfortable shoes, and ponchos.
- Travel Insurance: Consider purchasing travel insurance for unexpected circumstances.
- Set Expectations: Manage your group’s expectations, especially if you have young children.
- Create a Countdown: Build anticipation by creating a countdown calendar or app.
- Download the My Disney Experience App: This app is your lifeline for reservations, mobile ordering, and park info.
Booking Your Disney Trip Tips:
- Reserve Dining Early: Popular restaurants book up quickly, so make reservations as soon as possible.
- FastPass+ (if available): Use FastPass+ to skip lines for select attractions.
- Memory Maker: Consider purchasing Memory Maker to capture all your photos.
- Park Hopper Option: Decide if you want to hop between parks in one day or stick to one park per day.
- Magic Bands: Customize your Magic Bands for convenience and style.
- Transportation: Decide on transportation to and from the parks (rental car, Disney transportation, etc.).
- Extra Magic Hours: Check if your stay includes Extra Magic Hours.
- Review Maps: Familiarize yourself with park maps and layouts.
- Character Dining: Enjoy character dining experiences for a special meet and greet.
- Special Events: Check if any special events are happening during your visit.
Planning Your Park Days Tips:
- Rope Drop: Arrive early to take advantage of lower crowds.
- Use a Park Plan: Plan which attractions to visit and when to maximize your time.
- Rest Days: Plan rest days to relax or explore resorts and Disney Springs.
- Take Breaks: Don’t forget to rest, hydrate, and refuel throughout the day.
- Child Swap: Use Rider Switch for attractions with height restrictions.
- Single Rider Lines: Consider using single-rider lines for shorter wait times.
- Mobile Ordering: Use the mobile ordering feature on the app for quick dining.
- Stay Hydrated: Bring refillable water bottles or ask for free cups of water at quick-service restaurants.
- Sun Protection: Apply sunscreen and wear hats and sunglasses.
- Entertainment Schedules: Check showtimes for parades, fireworks, and performances.
Navigating the Parks Tips:
- Use Rider’s Guide: Check height requirements and any health advisories for attractions.
- Child ID: Use child identification wristbands or take a photo of your child each day.
- Stay Connected: Establish a meeting point in case your group gets separated.
- Lost and Found: Know where to go if you lose something.
- Use Lockers: Rent lockers for storing bags or souvenirs during the day.
- Baby Care Centers: Utilize Baby Care Centers for baby care essentials.
- Know Restroom Locations: Familiarize yourself with restroom locations.
- Stay on Disney Property: Enjoy Extra Magic Hours and convenient transportation.
- Visit During Off-Peak Hours: Ride popular attractions during meal times or parades.
- Be Polite and Patient: Remember to be courteous to fellow guests and Cast Members.
Dining and Snacks Tips:
- Try a Dole Whip: This iconic treat is a must-try.
- Character Breakfast: Enjoy character breakfasts for memorable interactions.
- Try New Foods: Experiment with different cuisines at Epcot’s World Showcase.
- Dining Plans: Decide if a dining plan is right for your family.
- Save Room for Snacks: Disney offers a wide variety of unique snacks.
- Share Meals: Portions can be large; consider sharing meals to save money.
- Mobile Ordering: Use the mobile app for quick-service dining.
- Make Advance Dining Reservations (ADRs): Book dining reservations early for the best options.
- Dining Reviews: Read reviews and recommendations for dining choices.
- Special Occasions: Let Disney know if you’re celebrating a special event.
Attractions and Entertainment Tips:
- Character Meet and Greets: Plan to meet your favorite characters.
- Parade Viewing: Arrive early for the best parade viewing spots.
- Fireworks: Find a great spot for nighttime fireworks.
- Shows and Entertainment: Check out live shows, street performers, and stage productions.
- Hidden Mickeys: Hunt for Hidden Mickeys throughout the parks.
- Attraction Photos: Smile for the cameras on select attractions.
- Attraction Must-Dos: Research must-do attractions for your group.
- Single Rider Lines: Use single rider lines to skip longer wait times.
- Height Requirements: Be aware of height restrictions for certain rides.
- Rider Swap: Take advantage of Rider Swap for attractions with height restrictions.
Shopping and Souvenirs Tips:
- Shop Strategically: Buy souvenirs toward the end of your trip to avoid carrying them all day.
- Pin Trading: Get involved in pin trading with Cast Members.
- Annual Passholder Discounts: Annual Passholders receive merchandise discounts.
- Epcot’s World Showcase: Explore unique shops and artisanal goods.
- Outlet Stores: Check out Disney outlet stores for discounted merchandise.
- Personalization: Personalize items with names or special messages.
- Budget Souvenirs: Find budget-friendly souvenirs like pressed pennies.
- Extra Magic Hours: Take advantage of early park access for resort guests.
- Resort Activities: Enjoy poolside games, movies under the stars, and more.
- Resort Dining: Explore dining options at your resort.
- Transportation: Use Disney transportation to and from the parks.
- Magic Bands: Use your Magic Band for room access, park tickets, and more.
- Resort Hopping: Visit other Disney resorts to explore their themes and dining.
- Room Requests: Make specific room requests in advance if desired.
- Resort Amenities: Take advantage of resort amenities like spas and fitness centers.
Safety and Health:
- First Aid: Know the location of First Aid stations in each park.
- Hand Sanitizer: Carry hand sanitizer or use the provided stations.
- Allergies and Dietary Restrictions: Inform dining locations of any allergies or dietary needs.
- Safety Reminders: Follow safety instructions and keep an eye on your belongings.
- Sun Protection: Protect yourself from the sun with sunscreen and hats.
- Character Meals: Reserve character dining experiences in advance.
- Autograph Books: Bring autograph books and pens for character interactions.
- Character Meet Times: Check times and locations for character meet and greets.
- Be Prepared: Kids might be shy; have questions ready to ask characters.
- Memory Maker: Consider purchasing Memory Maker for professional character photos.
- Celebration Buttons: Get free celebration buttons for birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
- Special Desserts: Order special celebration desserts at table-service restaurants.
- VIP Tours: Consider VIP tours for a special experience.
- Special Occasion Packages: Explore special packages for celebrations.
- Photopass Photographers: Ask Photopass photographers for celebration photos.
- Photopass Photographers: Use Disney’s Photopass service for professional photos.
- Capture Memories: Take photos of your group and the surroundings.
- Use a Good Camera: If you have one, bring a good-quality camera. Most phones today take stunning photos, too!
- Magic Shots: Ask for magic shots from Photopass photographers.
- Capture Fireworks: Set up your camera for nighttime fireworks photos.
- Learn Rider Swap: Understand how Rider Swap works for attractions with height restrictions.
- FastPass+ Strategies: Prioritize your FastPass+ selections.
- Take a Stroller: Consider renting a stroller if you have young children.
- Visit Disney Springs: Explore Disney Springs for shopping and dining.
- Experience New Attractions: Check out new rides and shows.
- Explore Resorts: Visit other Disney resorts to explore their themes and dining.
- Learn the Lingo: Familiarize yourself with Disney lingo and abbreviations.
- Create a Daily Schedule: Plan a daily schedule but remain flexible.
- Stay Hydrated: Florida can be hot; drink water regularly.
- Use Rider Switch: Use Rider Switch for attractions with height restrictions.
- Utilize Baby Care Centers: Baby Care Centers have essentials for parents.
- Use Genie+ (if available): Utilize Genie+ for select attractions.
- Take Advantage of Single Rider Lines: Save time on certain attractions.
- Check for Height Requirements: Be aware of height restrictions for certain rides.
- Character Greetings: Visit your favorite characters for photos and autographs.
- Watch Parades: Arrive early for the best parade viewing spots.
- Enjoy the Nighttime Spectaculars: Find a good spot for nighttime fireworks.
- Take Breaks: Rest, hydrate, and refuel throughout the day.
- Collect Souvenirs: Consider pin trading and collecting souvenirs.
- Make Dining Reservations: Book dining reservations early for the best options.
- Visit Epcot’s World Showcase: Try different cuisines and explore unique shops.
- Explore Disney Springs: Enjoy shopping and dining at Disney Springs.
- Stay on Disney Property: Benefit from Extra Magic Hours and transportation.
- Consider a Dining Plan: Decide if a dining plan is right for your group.
- Personalize Your Experience: Personalize items with names or special messages.
- Prepare for the Sun: Protect yourself from the sun with sunscreen and hats.
- Be Safe: Follow safety instructions and watch your belongings.
- Consider a VIP Tour: Enhance your experience with a VIP tour.
- Take Advantage of Magic Bands: Use Magic Bands for convenience.
- Create Magical Memories: Enjoy your trip, make memories, and have fun!
Remember, planning a Walt Disney World vacation can be overwhelming, but taking the time to plan and prepare will ensure you make the most of your magical experience.