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9 Outstanding Planning Tips For A Walt Disney World Vacation

9. Know park hours/events

It’s important to know the park’s hours and what special events are happening during your vacation, simply so you’ll know what to expect in advance for how much time you’ll be able to spend in each park. For instance, if you’re visiting the Magic Kingdom during the Fall, and you’re not planning on attending Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, you’ll definitely want to check a calendar before you decide which night you’ll be spending in that park. You don’t want to end up paying for a day in the Magic Kingdom with no plans to go to the party, only to leave early because the park closes at 7:00 for non-party guests.

8. Take advantage of Disney’s Magical Express

If you fly into Orlando International Airport, definitely take advantage of Disney’s Magical Express. This service allows you to use Disney’s complimentary bus transportation to and from the airport while you’re staying at a Disney resort. This service also allows you to skip baggage claim and have your luggage delivered right to your hotel room. To participate in this service, you can add it to your reservation in advance, so that Disney can mail you luggage tags before your trip and you won’t need to do any extra planning once you arrive in Florida.

7. Decide on transportation

If you’re staying at a Disney resort, you can forgo choosing different transportation and use Disney’s complimentary bus/monorail/Skyliner/boat service to each of the parks. You may be interested in using other transportation, like budgeting out money for taxis or rental cars. Even if you don’t plan on booking a rental car until you arrive, it’s helpful to plan what your method of transportation before you arrive, just so you don’t waste time planning things like this while you’re in Florida, and should be getting right to your vacation.

6. Choose a resort near your favorite parks

When planning which resort you’d like to stay at, a huge point to consider is which park you’d like to be closest to. For instance, if you think you’ll be spending the most time in Epcot, staying at somewhere like the Boardwalk might be helpful because you’d have the ability to walk to the park. Another thing to consider when choosing a resort is your budget—just look into some of the resorts in each price category, value, moderate, and deluxe, and see which ones fit your needs or location preferences most.

5. Purchase tickets in advance

Purchasing tickets in advance is a good idea just so that you won’t be spending time going over ticket options while you’re in Disney. Even if you’re not quite sure what kind of tickets to get, purchase some base tickets in advance, and upgrade them during your trip if you decide to add extra days or switch to the park hopper option.

4. Plan where you’ll be each day

Even if you don’t like to micro-manage your vacations, it’s really helpful to have a basic idea of where you’ll be during each day of your trip. Knowing this is helpful when planning other parts of your vacation like whether or not you’ll be going to Extra Magic Hours, and what Fastpass and dining reservations you should make.

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3. Make Fastpass+ selections in advance

It’s always helpful to make some Fastpass selections in advance. You might think that this sort of planning is a little much, but at least with some Fastpasses already planned out you know that you’ll be able to experience some attractions with little or no wait. You also have a better chance of getting Fastpasses for the more popular attractions when you make the selections in advance as opposed to getting them during your stay.

2. Make advanced dining reservations

Sometimes walking up to a restaurant in Disney and getting a table at all, or with a minimal wait, can be tricky—especially depending on the time of year you’re visiting. One of the most important parts of planning a Disney vacation is definitely making dining reservations in advance. This will not only allow you to eat at some of your favorite restaurants, but you’ll also know for sure that you’ll have a table service restaurant that you’ll be able to eat at on certain days of your trip.

1. Research the parks ahead of time

Researching the parks ahead of time is helpful so that you can be aware of anything different that might be happening during your trip, like ride refurbishments for instance. You’ll want to know in advance which rides will be down for refurbishments during your trip just to avoid disappointment if you arrive at the park without checking only to find that your favorite attraction is currently closed. Knowing a little bit about the parks in advance will also help you go about your day better, as you won’t need to read up on everything there is to do while you’re physically in the parks.

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.