Day breaks at Magic Kingdom Park, Oct. 1, 2021, on the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

Keys To Planning a Successful Walt Disney World Vacation

If you are planning a vacation to Walt Disney World or thinking about planning a trip to Walt Disney World in the future, we have keys to help you have a successful Walt Disney World vacation.

Credit: Disney

Plan Early

Our first key to a successful Walt Disney World vacation is to plan your vacation early. We see Walt Disney World resorts fill up quickly to guarantee you get the Resort and rooms style you want; you will want to book early.

The great thing about booking a Walt Disney World vacation is that these packages can be booked by putting down a $200 deposit that is fully refundable up to 31 days before check in.

This is extremely important if you plan on a Disney vacation during a busier time of year, such as spring break, summer, or holidays such as Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving.

Rooms go extremely fast during these times, so get those resorts booked anywhere from a year to nine months ahead of when you want to travel.

50th magic kingdom

Credit: Tricia Kennedy

Make Park Reservations Right Away

Currently, Guests are required to have a Park reservation to visit one of the four main Disney Theme Parks.

Once you have booked a Resort and have purchased your Walt Disney World tickets, you can then book your Park reservations through your My Disney Experience to a Disney Park.

This is an important step to do early on in your Disney planning as these Park Passes are limited and do fill up, especially at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom.

Again, these can be adjusted if available, so get them made early to be booked into a Park.

Learn the Language

A key to having a successful Disney vacation is to be educated in Disney. We have some great articles about Disney words and phrases and what to know, so start by looking at those.

It might feel like Disney has its very own language, but if you take some time to learn it ahead of time, you won’t be so confused when you arrive.

Credit: Disney

Make a Plan For Food

A big part of a Disney vacation is the food. A key to enjoying the food at Disney is to plan.

If your family likes to enjoy the meals you are waiting on, you can start making dining reservations 60 days before your check-in day.

This might seem like way out, but we highly recommend being ready to go at this point as many popular dining locations fill up quickly. Popular dining locations such as Space 220 or any character meal option can be full months ahead of time.

If your family prefers to eat on the go, make sure you know how to use mobile ordering through the My Disney Experience app. This is the main method for getting food on the go.

You can also list those must get snacks like the cheeseburger spring rolls in Magic Kingdom.

Although you will find food if you show up at the Parks, it will be a lot less stressful if you head in with a plan.

Mess With My Disney Experience

My Disney Experience is the official app for Walt Disney World. Through this app, Guests will be able to open their Resort door, mobile order, see wait times, and so much more.

The app has so much to offer, but it can be super overwhelming if you don’t download it until you arrive at your Walt Disney World Resort.

A key to a successful trip is to take time before you arrive to learn the main features of My Disney Experience.

Learn where you can find wait times, how to mobile order, and where to see your plans. Knowing this will make the app a lot more useful to you throughout your trip.

Know the Transportation

One of the best things about Disney World is the complimentary transportation offered throughout the Disney Resort. It is so nice that you can sit back and let Disney take you from place to place.

To use the transportation in the best way possible, you will want to take some time to process what style of transportation can get you to different places.

Know what transportation is offered at your Resort to get to all four Theme Parks. Think about how you will get from A to B before you want to do so.

Overall, buses are the main mode of transportation offered throughout Walt Disney World, especially to a Theme Park, but boats, monorails, and the Skyliner are also offered.

Don’t get stuck not knowing how to get back to your Resort or a Theme Park.

Genie+ or No Genie+

The newest key for success in a Walt Disney World vacation is learning about Disney Genie, Genie+, and Lightning Lanes.

Disney Genie is a free planning feature that is offered through My Disney Experience for all Guests visiting Disney. This is a great way to get suggestions on what rides and experiences you should see.

Genie+ is a paid feature that Guests can add $15/day/person, and it gives you access to the lightning lane of over 40 rides and attractions throughout the four Theme Parks.

The Lightning Lanes are special queues that allow Guests to skip the standby line and have a lower wait.

Make A Plan

The final key to success that we are going to recommend is to make a plan. This doesn’t mean a minute by minute schedule, but an overall plan on what you want to do each day.

Sit down and discuss what rides everyone wants to do and if specific foods are high on the list.
Once you know this information, you can better prepare for your days in the Park and won’t waste time once you arrive trying to figure out where to go and what to do.

Have an overall idea of where you are going each day, what you want to accomplish, and then get ready for some magical experiences.

We hope that these keys to planning a successful Walt Disney World vacation will help you be better prepared and more successful for a fantastic trip.

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.