Key Tips to Know Before Going To Disney World

Planning a vacation to Disney World might feel like a part-time job.  There is so much to think about and so many things to future out that it can be overwhelming.  We have a few Disney tips that you should know before heading down to Walt Disney World for your magical Disney vacation.  We hope these will help make planning easier for you.

Disney World Is Huge

Our first tips are focused on the size of the Disney park. Walt Disney World Resort is extremely big!  With four theme parks, two water parks, Disney Springs and around 30 resorts all on Disney property, it can surprise many how big the Walt Disney World Resort actually is when they arrive.  Make sure you keep this in mind when you are planning.  Understand that it takes a few minutes – or longer- to get anywhere in Disney.  Travel time in between your Disney resort and theme park of choice can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes of transportation time.  Keep this in mind when you are scheduling your dining or breaks in the day.  Another area that this will impact will be walking.  Don’t think that you are going to just jump back and forth from the different lands in Magic Kingdom or EPCOT as it will take a while to get there.  Most Guests walk between 8 to 12 miles a day!  We are assuming that your daily life doesn’t probably include this for everyone in your family so make sure to plan some down time to allow those feet to rest.  The big Disney tip here is don’t rush during your Disney vacation- know that everything will take longer than you think and that is okay because you are still in the magic.

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort Lobby

What Is Available at Your Disney Resort

These Disney tips are focused on your resort. Resorts at Disney World are just as magical as the theme parks and you will want to take advantage of what they have to offer.  You probably did some research prior to booking; however, make sure you investigate your Disney resort before heading down to know exactly what there is.  Look into the pool area and play areas to make sure they meet the needs of everyone traveling with you.  Think about what dining options are available and how they will work throughout your stay.  Is there enough to choose from?  Do they have options that the little ones will eat?  Finally, make sure to look at what activities are being offered at the resort as well.  This might not be available before you head down, but see if you can find if they are doing movies under the stars or any crafts while you are there.  These are fun activities that kids really enjoy participating in.  Take some time to really learn about your resort as it is a huge part of the magic.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at night with the moon shining bright over Frontierland in Disneyland Park in Anaheim, Calif.
(Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland)

List Must-Dos

Before heading down to Disney World vacation, make sure you know that they are must-dos for everyone.  Go through the four theme parks and look into what specific rides or Disney experience everyone feels they have to do in order to feel like they have had a successful day.  This can help you make a touring plan prior to arriving at the theme park that day and help everyone be aware of the goals.  Have everyone list that one ride and one food item that they really want to experience and then create a plan from there.

Know What is Closed

The other big tip when it comes to making a touring plan for a theme park is to know what will be closed while you are visiting.  Disney does a great job keeping up with what is going to be under refurbishment, so make sure you check their website so you also know.  This will help prevent major meltdowns if a favorite ride is closed when you are visiting.  If you know this ahead of time, you can communicate that and won’t be surprised when you arrive at the theme park.

Credit: Joffrey’s

Mobile Ordering

Mobile ordering is the main way for Guests to order quick-service meals while visiting Disney World.  Although there are some areas you can still walk up to, most locations require Guests to mobile order.  This is done right now through the Disney Experience app.  Take some time getting to know this system so you aren’t frustrated when everyone is ready to order.  Along the same lines, you can place orders ahead of time to ensure you get a pick up time that works best for your family.  These are easy to cancel and can be modified if needed.  Mobile ordering is a system you will want to look into to help make your trip easier.

Genie and Genie+

A lot of new Walt Disney World tips will becoming in this area soon. A new area that Guests will want to look into prior to heading down to Disney World is the new Genie and Genie+ offerings.  These new planning options from Disney are a great way to save time in line.  We are still learning more about how Genie+, a paid system, will work for Guests but we are looking forward to seeing how it will add magic to our Disney World vacations.

Credit: Disney

Extras Happening

Before you head down, make sure you double check hours at the theme parks as well as any extras that are happening while you are visiting.  Disney is offering early theme park entry to all Guests staying at Disney resort.  All four theme parks open a half hour early just for resort Guests giving them a head start on the magic.  Disney is also offering extending evening hours on select evenings to EPCOT and Magic Kingdom to those Guests staying at a deluxe resort or a deluxe villa.  These also are fantastic ways to experience the parks with less wait times.  Make sure you look into if there are any special events happening why you are visiting as well.  Is EPCOT having a festival?  Are there holiday parties or dessert pirates that you could add to your vacation for a little touch of magic?  You don’t want to be surprised by the hours adjusting or by special events impacting your park days.

It Won’t Be Perfect

Finally, before heading down prepare yourself for the fact that no Disney vacation is perfect.  Things will go wrong and you will have to adjust and that is okay.  Give yourself some grace and make sure you take in the magic all around you.  Even if your plans are thrown out the window, you have done your research and will be able to navigate just fine.  Don’t go into the trip thinking everything will work out as you have planned.  Kids and adults get tired, it could rain, your kid might want to ride Winnie the Pooh seven times- and all of those things won’t take away from the magic.

These are just a few of our tips for you to consider prior to heading down for your Disney World vacation.  Planning a trip to Disney can be a lot of work, but keep these tips in mind and they should help you have a great time.

About Jennifer Retzlaff

My name is Jennifer Retzlaff and I became a lifelong Disney fan during my first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of my life. I live in Iowa with my husband and two kids who are growing up too quickly for my liking. I started introducing my love for Disney early to my family with a Disney honeymoon and then trips when our youngest of 18 months. Since then, our family has been to Walt Disney World over five times and we continue to plan and dream for the next trip. I love the magic that Disney brings to people through the theme parks, cruises, adventures and movies they create. As a teacher, I try to bring that magic into my classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” I recently reached a dream of mine as I joined Magic Vacation Planner as a personal travel advisor. With this team, I can now help others plan magical vacations. As a passionate writer, I also have my own blog at magicalvacationsbyjen which is also where you can follow me on instagram for trip reviews along with tips and tricks for your next magical vacation.