7 Things You Must Know Before You Plan Your Walt Disney World Vacation

There are a few things I have learned to help make planning a Disney Vacation a bit easier.  These tips can sometimes be overlooked in the grand scheme of trip planning.  It can be the difference between being that cheerful laughing family headed back on the Disney monorail or the wiped out and glazed over one.  We all know that look! Don’t make the mistake of ignoring these 7 things.


7. Know About Special Ticket Events

Special Disney World events like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party can affect your plans.  These are ticketed events that are not included in your park admission.  You will want to consider this when deciding your budget and itinerary.  For example, if you don’t want to purchase a ticket to attend Mickey’s Christmas Party you have to leave the Magic Kingdom by 7:00pm.  That would be very disappointing if you planned to see fireworks that same night.  Knowing about these special events in advance can help when planning your vacation.  Maybe attending Mickey’s Party is a must do for your family.  Then it would be important to plan around available ticket dates and set your itinerary to fit it!

6. You Can’t Do It All

Don’t try to see every attraction at every park!  A family with toddlers could realistically ride about 4 to 5 rides a day, older kids could handle 7-8.  Take a look at each park and prioritize your top 5 attractions for your family.  Anything extra will be a perk but don’t expect to cover all theme park ground.  Knowing your limits will assist you in understanding which parks to visit and how many days you need to a lot for your vacation.  I was surprised on my last family trip to Magic Kingdom how quickly time passed.  We basically had enough time for our three Fastpass+ selections, meals, parades, and two extra attractions slipped in between.

5. Plan Time For Rest

Factor in some down time on your Disney vacation.  Taking the extra time to rest at the resort or take a swim in the pool is important.  The entire family will burn out if you fill your day with too much theme park on the go!  Plan a quiet table service dinner at your resort or a late Character breakfast.  You will be thankful you did it!

4. Check Disney Website for Deals

The Disney website offers resort room and dining discounts throughout the year.  Always check their site first before booking your trip dates.  You never know what special deal you may find!


3. Shop For Gear Before

Oh the Disney gear, from Mickey ears to Cinderella gowns.  It is easy to get overwhelmed with the choices and excitement of Disney shopping. Before you spend a fortune on spur of the moment theme park purchases think about buying your themed gear in advance. Bring along those matching character tees and be picture ready right at the main gate.

2. Download My Disney Experience App

The first step to assist you in planning your vacation is visiting the My Disney Experience site. They have a convenient app that can be downloaded to your phone or tablet. This makes research and planning on the go so very easy.  You can make dining reservations and Fastpass+ selections right from your device.  It also displays park maps, attractions, and special events.  Nothing like laying in bed at 6am and snagging a Cinderella’s Table reservation!

1. Dining Reservations Book Up Fast

The most important thing I wish someone told me before booking my first trip is how fast the dining reservations will fill up.  Resort guests can book reservations 180 days in advance.  If table service meals and character dining are an important part of your Disney vacation then it is critical to book your trip at least 180 days in advance.  Last minute reservations do pop up occasionally but you may find yourself eating dinner at 3:45pm or 9:30pm.  Planning your trip in advance of this reservation window really allows for a stress free vacation where all your magical wishes come true!

About Lauren Young

My name is Lauren Young.  My first trip to Disney was as a toddler before I could even remember Mickey and Main Street.  We've celebrated family reunions to first dates in the happiest place on earth! Fast forward to today where I enjoy seeing the magic of Disney World through the eyes of my three kids. I'm a proud Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer wife, stay at home mom of three under the age of 5, wannabe domestic goddess, a writer, and a southern Georgia peach thru and thru! Before my kiddos took over my 9 to 5 (or shall I say MY ENTIRE LIFE), I happily worked in the travel industry.  My days were filled with planning corporate retreats & beach weddings at a beautiful resort on the Oregon Coast.  Well I tossed the sand filled high heels and have fully embraced the spit up stained loungers life.  But a girl still has to make time for her other loves, right?  So in those spare minutes of the day you will find me blogging on my travel website, Swoon Me Away (  I also enjoy trying to be crafty, planning fabulous parties and daydreaming about my next Disney vacation!