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10 Tips For Setting Your Walt Disney World Itinerary

Guests begin looking forward to a Walt Disney World vacation months before leaving home. They imagine everything from experiencing their favorite attraction to chowing down on their favorite park snacks. With so many things to do and see while in the parks, planning before leaving home can make a vacation go smoothly. By doing research and setting up an itinerary before arriving on vacation, guests can save themselves time, money, and stress. No guest wants to worry about anything once on a Disney vacation, so planning is key! Here are ten tips for setting a Walt Disney World itinerary before leaving home.

10. Choose The Right Resort

With over twenty resorts to choose from, guests can easily become overwhelmed when trying to decide where to stay while at Walt Disney World. Guests should begin by looking at their budget and determining whether they are going to stay at a Deluxe Resort (the most expensive), a Value Resort (the most reasonably priced), or a Moderate Resort (which fall somewhere in the middle). Once guests know which resort category fits their budget, they need only choose from several options. Guests should take care to choose a resort with a theme and amenities that suits their preferences. Guests can stay everywhere from New Orleans at Port Orleans French Quarter Resort to turn of the century Atlantic City at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort. Choosing the right Disney Resort ensures that guests will feel comfortable and at home throughout their vacation.

9. Know Where Things Are

Guests should spend some time before leaving home researching maps of their Disney Resort and the parks. By learning where the front desk, bus stop, pool, and food court are, guests can easily maneuver around their resorts. By learning where certain attractions and dining locations are in the parks, guests will save time that would have otherwise been spent wandering around trying to locate things or constantly stopping to consult a map.

8. Know What Each Attraction Entails

Guests should also spend time researching just what each attraction is. By knowing ahead of time the intensity or theme of an attraction, guests can decide whether it is an experience that they simply must have. For example, guests who don’t love thrill rides will be pleased to learn ahead of time that the Rock ‘n Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith is a fast roller coaster which launches at high speeds and goes upside down several times. No guest wants to end up on an attraction that will either scare them or make them feel ill, so knowing what lies ahead on each attraction is a must when planning an itinerary.

7. Decide What Are Must Dos

One of the biggest things that all guests at Walt Disney World must accept is that the resort is simply too large to experience everything in one vacation. There are countless attractions, dining locations, shows, and experiences to be had making it impossible to see it all in one trip. Guests who accept that fact are smart to spend time at home compiling a list of what experiences are absolute must dos for them. They can then dedicate time on the vacation to ensuring that they get to those experiences and don’t waste time on ones that they wouldn’t mind skipping.

6. Know Height Requirements

Guests traveling to Walt Disney World with small children definitely should research height requirements before leaving home. Some of the most intense attractions in the parks including Avatar Flight of Passage, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Mission:SPACE, and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror have height requirements that kids must meet in order to ride safely. Guests with small children should know what the height requirements are ahead of time to avoid any unwelcome surprises once in the parks.

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5. Book FastPasses Wisely

When setting an itinerary for a Walt Disney World vacation, one of the biggest ways to save time is to book FastPasses wisely. FastPasses act as reservations for attractions that allow guests to return at a designated time to experience the attraction with little to no wait. Guests who are staying on property at a Disney Resort can book their FastPasses up to sixty days before arrival and guests who are staying off property can book thirty days in advance. FastPasses are used most effectively when booked for attractions that tend to have the highest wait times. By using FastPasses for those attractions, guests save more time that would have been spent waiting in line. Some of the best options to book FastPasses for are Slinky Dog Dash, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Avatar Flight of Passage, Frozen Ever After, Soarin’, and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

4. Have A Daily Plan

An important strategy to save time while on vacation is to set a tentative schedule or itinerary for each day in the parks. By knowing ahead of time which park guests are going to visit on a given day and what FastPass and dining reservations exist, guests save a ton of time in the morning that otherwise would have been spent trying to formulate a plan.

3. Go Against The Crowds

This itinerary trick can be developed simply by being observant in the parks. Many times when a park opens, large crowds of guests tend to head in one direction. For example, when Disney’s Hollywood Studios opens each morning the majority of guests head straight for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. A great way to save time is to consciously go against the crowd and head to opposite areas. By doing so, guests are rewarded with few crowds, low wait times, and quiet areas.

2. Know Where You Want To Eat

The restaurants in Walt Disney World are very popular and tend to become booked well in advance. Guests can book Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) up to one hundred and eighty days in advance and several very popular options book immediately. Before leaving home, guests should research and know which dining locations that they would like to try and make reservations as far in advance as possible. By having dining reservations planned early on in an itinerary, guests can ensure that they are able to enjoy the Disney restaurants of their choice.

1. Don’t Forget To Schedule Down Time

One of the easiest ways to become miserable on a Walt Disney World vacation is not taking any time to relax. Guests don’t tend to realize just how much they are walking when in the parks and it is really easy to become tired over the course of a Disney vacation. Guests are smart to schedule time into their itineraries to simply relax. By taking time each day to stop for a meal, relax by the pool, or take a nap in the resort room guests ensure that their energy will stay up and they will remain happy and ready to explore the parks throughout their Walt Disney World trip!

About Caitlin Kane

Caitlin Kane first started visiting Walt Disney World when she was two years old, and despite spending most of that trip quarantined with the chicken pox she managed to fall in love with the place. Visiting WDW every year since, she especially loves learning all about the history and small details of the parks and eating/drinking her way through the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival each fall. When she's not in Disney, Caitlin lives in New York and spends her time counting down the days to her next trip.