In the world of Disney Vacation planning, there is no such thing as too much knowledge. With so many things to do and see, it can often times feel overwhelming, especially if you are going on your first ever Disney trip.
Here are my Top 10 tips that can help you navigate your way to having the BEST Disney World Vacation EVER!
1. Plan a long enough trip.
I cannot stress this enough! A Disney Vacation can be quite costly, especially if you are travelling with several family members. For most, it is a once in a lifetime experience. You are going to want to make sure that you have time to do all that you want to do. Disney World is HUGE, with 4 Theme Parks, 2 Water parks and Disney Springs. Some parks, like Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios may require 2 days in each park in order to check everything off your list. I would recommend staying a minimum of 5 nights, ideally 7 if you can.
2. Have a Park Day Plan and Arrive Early.
I highly recommend making a list of your must do rides ahead of time, and locating them on the theme park map so that you can get a general sense of where things are.
Get to the parks before rope drop – which is an insider term for “when the park opens”. Arriving at least 20 minutes before the parks are scheduled to open means shorter wait times for the rides. This will allow you to ride on several of the most popular ones which normally have longer wait times, before most guests have entered the park. Keep an eye out for updates on Early Park Hours if you are staying at one of the onsite Disney World hotels, and take advantage of this added value.
*Bonus tip: Schedule an early breakfast at the park before it opens. This will grant you access to the park before most arrive, and allow you to be one of the 1st in line for the most in demand attractions. We had an early breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table, and scored 1st in line for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Ride.
3. Download and get to know the “My Disney Experience” App.
This free app is your BFF when it comes to Disney World planning. It provides park maps, attraction wait times, virtual queues, access to photos and my memory maker, mobile food orders and more. Make sure that you download and customize it prior to your vacation, and link your Walt Disney World hotel and ticket reservations. Do not forget to add all members in your travel party on your family and friends list. Doing so will make it easier to make ride and dining reservations for everyone together.
4. Be prepared for Transportation Delays.
There are countless ways to get around in Walt Disney World. If you are staying at an onsite Disney hotel (which I suggest you do) then you can get to the theme parks and other locations by complimentary buses, ferry boats, Disney Skyliner and Disney Monorail. Having said that, understand ahead of time that getting around can sometimes be complicated, especially with new COVID-19 social distancing measures in place. Walt Disney World Resort is twice the size of Manhattan (yes you read that correctly) so make sure to always give yourself ample time to get from one place to the next. You can ask any cast member at your hotel for advice on the quickest routes to get to where you need to be, they are always happy to help.
5. WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES!!!
I had to write that in caps to emphasize the importance of this pain-saving tip. You will be walking anywhere between 9 to 21 KM (Maybe more) each day. This is not the time to wear those cute new shoes that match your outfit perfectly!! Pack your trusty comfortable walking shoes, and make sure you have a backup pair or two to save your tired feet. If you purchased new shoes, be sure to break them in. Always have some Band-Aids and other pain relief items with you just in case. Happy feet = Happy trip!
6. Pack a Portable Phone Charger.
You will rely on your phone all day long – checking wait times, managing your plans, checking maps, taking pictures and keeping in touch with your travel party. Your battery will drain very, very quickly. I prefer to take a few lipstick size portable chargers with me, and have them ready to power up! You can purchase “Fuel Rods” at kiosks located at the parks, however they cost $30 USD and an additional $3 USD each time you swap it. It is less expensive to purchase them before your vacation and pack them with you.
7. START at the Back of the Park!
That is right people!! Think about it, what typically happens when you arrive at a theme park? Everyone walks in and starts hopping on rides. They follow the natural flow of the crowd. So, do the exact opposite of that and begin where most will end. Doing this means being able to enjoy many rides with little to no wait times and avoiding the masses.
8. Do not eat when everyone else is eating.
Avoid eating during peak times which are from 12:00pm to 2:00pm and 5:30 pm to 08:00pm. Plan early breakfasts, late suppers and be sure to place your mobile food orders early in the morning for your late or early lunch. Why? Less lines and easier time finding tables. I would also advise on grabbing quick service breakfast and lunch and carrying plenty of snacks to keep you going throughout the day. Save your sit down dining for outside park hours. Most theme park restaurants remain open late – so you can dine at the park and be one of the last ones to leave. Besides, you are rarely going to eat as much as you think you are – the portion sizes are quite big.
*Bonus tip: We always purchase a popcorn bucket which costs in the neighbourhood of $12 USD to $25 USD depending on the design. You can then refill it at the parks for approximately $2 USD each time, and they make great souvenirs which can be used back home.
Make sure to leave yourself some time to rest in between those jam-packed days. You will enjoy your trip more if you give yourself the chance to slow down from time to time. This ties in with my tip on making sure to have enough days for your vacation. Relax at your hotel and take advantage of the pool, or visit Disney Springs for some shopping and excellent dining options. Take a break from the heat which is most uncomfortable between 2:00 and 5:00pm, and head into a few air-conditioned stores or rides. Make time to take it all in, you are on vacation after all! And please remember that it is impossible to do and see it all, so count on your list of must dos and everything extra is gravy baby.
10. Book with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.
Planning a Disney World vacation can feel like a full time job at times. And, for Authorized Disney vacation planners, it is! They are usually big time Disney fans, and know Disney inside and out. Who better suited to guide you and keep track of special promotions to ensure that you are always getting the best deal possible? The best part is that there is no extra cost for you to book your trip with an authorised Disney vacation planner. Take advantage of their knowledge and personalised service.
Of course, there are plenty more tips up my sleeve and I would love to share them with you. Feel free to contact me, and subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated on our latest blog posts for more advice on how to make the most out of your next Disney World Vacation.
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