Our goal is to help you plan your dream Disney World vacation, and that all starts right here. This episode will walk you through planning a trip in 7 easy steps. After that, we’ll go through some of the other important information you’ll need to know before you go.
Consider this episode a sort of Cliff Notes version for getting started (or even for getting reacquainted) with Disney vacation planning.
Seven Step Planning Process
We have always had a planning process to help you have the most successful trip possible. In year’s past, it has been six steps. This reflects the changes that have been made.
- Step 1: Pick your trip dates. If you have options on your travel dates, you can use our Crowd Calendar to choose the best dates for you. This calendar can also be helpful even if you already have your dates chosen. Be sure to check the Park Pass Reservations in this step as well to be sure that they aren’t booked for your dates.
- Step 2: Choose your accommodations and book it! You have options for onsite and offsite locations. If you are staying onsite, it is relatively easy to book because you just need to pay a $200 deposit. If you need to change your dates or make any other changes, you can.
- Step 3: Make a Daily Plan. We have always encouraged this but the Park Pass Reservations makes it even more important. This will include where you want to spend your time, if you want a break day, and if you will be visiting more than one park per day. This is when you can choose your tickets – how many days you need and if you need park hoppers. You will also make your Park Pass Reservations at this step.
- Step 4: Finalize your transportation to Disney World. This is a new step addition because you will need to have your Park Pass Reservations in place before you book your transportation to Orlando.
- Step 5: Plan your dining. You will want to plan your dining around where you will be. Because you already have your daily plan, you can make your dining reservations around where you will be spending your day. You can make your Table Service Dining Reservations 60 days from your trip. If you are making your plans less than 60 days prior to your trip, you may want to plan your days around the most important dining reservations. You can find a dining reservation and then plan yoru day around that.
- Step 6: Plan your park touring. Get an idea of what you want to ride and see while you are in the parks. This is also where you will consider rider switch. You will also want to familiarize yourself with Genie+. This process is more complicated than FastPass+ so you will want to learn about it and decide if you will be using it for all, part, or none of your trip.
- Step 7: Add extra magic. You can add additional experiences while on your trip like a dessert party. You can also add the magic before you are leaving. Create a countdown or watch Disney movies to prepare for your trip.
The past few years have brought many changes – some of which are fairly significant. Here are the ones that are the most important for you to be aware of:
1. Reservations are required to visit the parks – these are almost always available but you will want to make them as soon as you know your dates.
2. Park hopping can only be done after 2 p.m. You do not need to have a park reservation for the second park, but you do need to do it after 2 p.m.
3. Advanced Dining Reservations are made at 60 days out now (instead of 180 days). Some of the most popular dining reservations are even more difficult to make.
4. FastPass+ service is out and Genie+ is in. This is the most tricky new thing to learn. This includes Lightning Lanes, Individual Lightning Lanes, and Genie+.
5. Extra Magic Hours (EMHs) have been replaced with a new program called “Early Theme Park Entry“ Extended Evening Theme Park Hours have been added – but only for onsite guests at Deluxe and Deluxe Villa resorts
6. Mobile Order for Dining is much more popular. Many Quick Service locations offer this and it makes it much more convenient. In addition, mobile check-in is available at most Table Service locations.
7. There are a lot of changes to Magic Bands. They are not free to onsite guests anymore. You can use MagicMobile in your app and purchase a MagicBand+.
8. Entertainment has changed in the parks. Fireworks at Epcot and Magic Kingdom have changed shows and will be changing again soon.
9. Disney’s Magical Express has been discontinued (no more free rides between the airport and your Disney Resort) This is maybe one of the biggest disappointments. You will need to coordinate your own transportation from the airport.
Our best advice is to make sure you do not assume that everything is the same – because it isn’t.
Links for this episode:
- Crowd Calendar
- Dining Reservations
- Touring Strategies
- 7 step planning process
- Park Pass Reservations
- QuickSilver Tours & Transportation
- This episode is brought to you by BetterHelp. Give online therapy a try at betterhelp.com/WDWPREPSCHOOL and get on your way to being your best self.
Leave me a message(including trip report submissions)
Please use the SpeakPipe link below to leave us a message with your first name, location, and trip info.
You can do that using your computer or phone at https://www.speakpipe.com/WDWPrepToGo
Subscribe to get new episodes
There are a few ways to get new episodes of WDW Prep To Go (if you’re used to listening on the website, subscribe so you can take new episodes with you on your phone)
- Subscribe in iTunes (and please leave a review!)
- Subscribe in Google Podcasts
- Subscribe to the feed
- Listen on Stitcher
Follow on social media
Get a quote request for a future trip from Small World Vacations
Check out the new WDW Prep Merch!
- Disneyland Magic Key Renewals Open August 18, But No New Sales Yet
- Park Hopping Changes & More Coming to Disney World & Disneyland
- 2023 Disney World Packages Available To Book June 8, Plus Genie+ Purchase Change
- Walt Disney World Closing Theme Parks Due To Tropical Storm Nicole
- Minnie Van Service to Orlando International Airport Is Resuming For Club Level Guests
- Flower and Garden Festival 2023 – PREP 347 - March 7, 2023
- Traveling on the Spectrum – PREP 346 - February 28, 2023
- Best Disney World Hotels 2023 – PREP 345 - February 21, 2023