6 Things You Should Know If You Don’t Already About Walt Disney World Vacations

6. It requires a lot of research and planning.

Understandably, any vacation destination probably does not feel the need to advertise how much research and planning goes into vacationing there. While it might be evident to many Disney fans how much planning should go into a Disney trip, it’s probably not something that makes its way into commercials or marketing campaigns. Even if you’re not the kind of person who enjoys extensive planning, or pre-vacation research, doing so before a Disney trip will be extremely beneficial. Little things like knowing which attractions are in which parks, how late the parks stay open, what is within walking distance of resorts, and how much restaurants typically cost can really go a long way in helping you make the most out of your vacation.

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5. But, you shouldn’t over plan.

Planning and research are things that should definitely happen before a Disney vacation, but you should also be careful not to over plan. If you are really excited for your trip, it is all too easy to get bogged down in the details, and find yourself scheduling out every piece of the day. This isn’t necessarily a bad idea to do if you enjoy planning, just don’t become too committed to those plans if this does happen. If you really want to make a detailed schedule, and you have plans to watch the Festival of Fantasy parade on Tuesday, but the parade gets rained out that day, it can be more stressful to re-adjust the other plans to fit it back in somewhere else. Planning is definitely helpful, just make sure you’re flexible with it—don’t plan so much that any slight change will throw off the rest of the trip.

4. Know the importance of budgeting.

It’s no secret that a Disney trip is expensive, but even splurging a little on the trip can be done if you pay close attention to your budget. Whether you allot certain funds to certain parts of the trip, or you save on Disney gift cards before you check in, whatever method you use to budget the trip should be taken seriously and maintained so that you do not go over budget. Any vacation is expensive, but there is no reason to go so far over budget that you find yourself buried in debt from the family vacation. This point also ties in to doing your research. Know that while some table service restaurants are expensive, there are some more affordable options, and if you’re still looking to save some extra money, forgoing table service for quick service might even be the way to go.

3. Plan for your own safety.

Disney cast members are always looking out for the safety of guests, and that being said, it’s easy to sometimes leave this part of the vacation up to them, and guests can often forget about taking care of their own safety. You can look out for your own safety, and you should, in a number of ways. One is with protection from the sun. Chances are, the sun is a lot stronger in Florida than wherever you’re from, and during a Disney vacation you’ll be spending more time in the sun anyway, so using sun block, and wearing hats and sunglasses are very important parts of staying safe. Along the same lines, you’ll want to make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. With everything else going on during your trip, you’re probably not going to focus on how much water you’re drinking, and it is very easy to become dehydrated. You should also have a plan for what to do if any member of your party gets separated. Have a designated meeting place for adults, and make sure that children either know how to contact you, or they have your contact information on them. And tell them that if they are ever separated they should find someone with a Disney name tag to help them.

2. Know that you can’t do everything in one trip.

I’ve had a couple of friends who have gone to Walt Disney World for only a couple of days, only to be let down when they did about one third of all the things they said they would do. When booking a Disney trip, it is definitely important to know how much there really is to do, and how large the resort is. Even the best of planners can’t get around do doing everything in one trip, so I always suggest picking out what you really want to do, and saving the other things for any extra time you might have.

1. Be a kid again!

Unlike other vacations, this is the one trip you’ll take where you don’t necessarily need to act your age. Want to ride Dumbo immediately after meeting Rapunzel? Just go for it! You’re on vacation, and while all of that planning and research is important to making the trip a success, you are definitely entitled to letting loose and having some fun! Remember, “adults are only kids grown up anyway.”

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a graduate of St. Anselm College, where she earned her bachelor of arts degree in History. She completed two Disney College Programs, one at Dinoland U.S.A., in Animal Kingdom, and one at Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at Hollywood Studios. She is the author of “Brittany Earns Her Ears,” a memoir about her experiences on the college program, and she currently resides in Massachusetts.