The best way to ensure your vacation to Disney World is amazing is to go into your trip with a plan.
A Disney World vacation has the potential to be a lot of fun, but if you want your memories to be happy ones instead of miserable ones, you’ll need to put some time and thought into planning it.
Don’t leave your memories to chance.
If you are getting ready to plan a trip to Disney World, we have 6 things that we think you should keep in mind. All 6 of these things will not only make your trip better, they will also go a long way towards making your trip easier.
Check them out…
First things first
Before you get too far into the tips below make sure you’ve familiarized yourself with our 6 step planning process for Disney World trips.
Those steps are tried and true, and when you follow them you’ll know that you have covered all the major aspects of planning a vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort.
The suggestions/tips/rules below are all things that go along with the 6 steps, and we know they will make your overall plan better. Think of them as the key to going from a “B+” to an “A.”
Keep these things in mind when you plan a trip to Disney World
Schedule breakfast for late morning
There are so many great character breakfasts, and people get excited to book them for their trip. The problem is that the best time to tour is between the moment when a park opens and lunch – which means you’ll need to be strategic when booking your breakfast.
Considering you’ll want to budget at a minimum 60 minutes for your meal (and 90 if you don’t want to rush), you can easily see that if you book breakfast during prime morning touring time you’ll find yourself greeted with longer lines later at the attractions.
For optimal park touring, we recommend grabbing a snack from your room prior to heading to the parks. Tour the parks from open until about 10:15 a.m. and then head to your character breakfast reservation.
Not only does booking your breakfast at this time not interfere with touring, it also is often the changeover time from breakfast to lunch food at the character breakfasts with buffets, like Tusker House at Animal Kingdom. You can eat brunch, meet the characters, and have a sit down break while only paying breakfast prices.
This is especially true for in the in-park restaurants.
If you have your heart set on dining at the resort hotels at Topolino’s Terrace or Chef Mickey’s, those are best visited on a rest day, a day you want to go late to the parks, or as a break for a later lunch.
If you are staying onsite, utilize Early Theme Park Entry
One of the benefits of staying on Disney property is Early Entry to the theme parks. For 30 minutes before the official park opening, guests staying on-site are allowed to experience attractions. This looks a little different at each of the theme parks. But for all of them, those guests willing to wake up early and be at the front of the pack will be rewarded with short waits and a jump start on touring for the day.
Unlike Extra Magic Hours of the past, the Early Entry benefit is offered every day at each of the theme parks.
If your on-site stay is at a Deluxe resort or a Disney Vacation Club Villa, you may also take advantage of Extended Evening Theme Park Hours. Unlike Early Entry, this is limited to guests of deluxe resorts and villas. Also, these evenings where the park attractions stay open for guests for two hours beyond normal closing are only offered twice a week. Most of the time, Epcot is open late on Mondays and Magic Kingdom is open late on Wednesdays.
However, be sure to check the official park schedule. Disney releases these dates only a month or two in advance. Especially during the holiday party season, the parks and days offered may vary.
Do not pick restaurants before creating your daily plan
In the 6 step planning process, we suggest creating a daily plan as step 3 and then picking restaurants as step 4. The reason for this is that you don’t want to pick restaurants that are inconvenient to where you’ll be.
There are lots of fantastic restaurants at Disney World, and for many people, dining is part of the fun of vacationing there.
But, Disney World is HUGE (like about the size of San Francisco huge), and while Disney does make it easy to get around its entire resort area, unless you have your own car or are planning on using rideshare or Minnie Van you’ll find that it is also time consuming.
Save yourself the headache (and stress) and don’t pick any restaurants until you have finalized your daily plan.
Practice using the My Disney Experience App
Using the My Disney Experience App (MDE) is key to navigating a vacation at Disney World. It includes wait times, park hours, Disney resort hotel unlock door feature, Genie+ tip board, mobile ordering, and more. Taking time to familiarize yourself with the features and how they work will help once you are on property.
One of the biggest benefits in recent years has been the addition of mobile ordering. Most quick service restaurants participate. Having the ability to have our family see pictures of the offerings, choose what they’d like, order, and pay for it all while not having to stand in a line makes our days in the park and at the resort run more smoothly.
Don’t plan early mornings after late nights
We frequently preach the many virtues of showing up for rope drop as often as you can during your trip.
The first few hours after rope drop are the best for touring, and especially during the summer months, some of the coolest temperature-wise.
However, hitting rope drop means you’ll need to be smart about making sure everybody gets enough rest.
So, whenever possible, don’t plan super early mornings after late nights.
We know that there will likely be at least 1 day during your trip where that won’t be possible. And, in that case, it will be more important than ever to make sure you take a break during the day.
Trust us on this one: your trip will be a lot more fun if you’re rested up enough to enjoy it.
Don’t be afraid to eliminate things from your plans
We know this one is easier said than done, especially if you think this might be your only trip ever to Walt Disney World.
But over planning is usually not fun for anybody, and when you plan out every last minute, you eliminate the gaps and spaces needed for spontaneity and flexibility.
The point of planning is being able to pivot, not to rigidly adhere to the plan. We learned this one the hard way. Any Disney World trip will involve pivoting. Plan so you can pivot when a ride is down or transportation is late or your child wants to splash in the water instead of head to the next attraction.
If you don’t remember anything else from this website, we hope you remember this:
The point of family vacations is to have fun together, not to see everything.
Pare down your plans so they are realistic and be flexible during your trip to allow for plenty of time to have fun.
You could travel to Disney World a dozen times and still not see and do it all. Pick a few things each day that are your must-dos and let everything else be the cherry on top of your vacation.
There you go – our 6 favorite ways to make your Disney World vacation plans even better. Have any questions as you plan a trip to Disney World? Let us know in the comments!
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