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So You’ve Decided To Go To Walt Disney World – 8 Things You Should Do Next

8. Decide when exactly you’ll go

Once you’ve decided you’re going to Disney World, the next step is to decide when you’ll be going. To determine this, the first thing you’ll want to do is look at your own and your family’s schedules. Determine all the different times that everyone would be able to go and narrow it down from there. Consider the crowds during different times of year, and if you’d like to be in Disney (or at home) for certain holidays or events.

7. Choose a resort

I always recommend staying on Disney property, because I find the added perks to be worth it (transportation to and from the airport, transportation to the parks, extra magic hours, convenience, etc…) However, if you are planning on visiting other Florida theme parks besides Disney, or are driving your own car, you might enjoy staying off property instead.

6. Make advanced dining reservations

Your favorite restaurants are going to fill up fast, so make sure once it’s 180 days out you’re online or on the phone booking all the reservations for the places you absolutely have to eat at. If you must have dinner at Be Our Guest, and would be heartbroken if you ate somewhere else, it’s extremely important to make this reservations as soon as possible. Similarly, if you’re making reservations 180 days out, you should really be looking at menus and deciding on where to eat before that, so you know where to reserve tables.

5. Create a budget (and save extra money for it)

Make the decision to save some extra spending money for the trip. I really prefer to have the extra money ready to go, than to buy things and worry about what my checking account might look like when I get home. On the plus side, if you don’t end up spending the extra money you put aside for the trip, your savings account will thank you later.

4. Make a countdown

It’s always fun to countdown to your trips! Whether you make something to decorate your living room with, or keep a countdown on your phone, seeing a daily countdown of how close your trip is going to be is sure to make you excited and ready to go. One of my favorite countdowns to make is the chains out of construction paper. Cut the paper into strips and tape together to make it into a long chain. Each strip of paper represents a day leading up to the trip, so just take one piece off the chain each day and watch how quickly the chain “shrinks.”

3. Arrange transportation

If you’re driving to Orlando, factor in toll costs and gas, and if you’re flying make sure you know how you’re getting from the airport to your resort, and vice versa. Don’t forget that if you’re staying at a Disney resort you can take the Magical Express for free. And with the Magical Express, you don’t need to worry about picking up your luggage at baggage claim once you land in Orlando, as Disney will make sure it gets delivered to your room a couple of hours after you land.

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2. Get ready, get set…

Get ready for your trip by making sure you have someone to housesit and if you need babysit, or pet-sit while you’re away. Make sure your mail will be taken care of while you’re gone and make any last minute changes to your reservation that you know you’ll need to do. If you haven’t already made Fastpass selections, and you want to make them in advance, now would be the best time to do so.

1. Start packing!

You know your Disney trip is right around the corner when it’s time to start packing! Make sure you have everything you need by creating a checklist, and checking off each item as you put it in the suitcase. Definitely be sure to have all of the basics, as these items can be expensive and/or time consuming to get while you’re on vacation—so you don’t want to be heading to the sunshine state without things like sunscreen, sunglasses, medications, hats, and other toiletries that will be necessary during your trip.

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.