Ultimate Walt Disney World Vacation Checklist – 10 Things You Must Do Before You Go

Guests spend months looking forward to each Walt Disney World vacation, and sometimes the planning and anticipation is half the fun of going. To make every minute spent at Disney magical, guests can take certain steps at home that will help them get the most of out their trips. Some of these steps involve researching or planning and others involve purchasing items that will come in handy once in the parks. Here is the ultimate Walt Disney World vacation checklist of the things guests must do before leaving home.


10. Make A Plan

Before leaving for Disney, a great way to be prepared for the trip is to make a tentative plan. Guests should know what park or parks they want to visit each day ahead of time. Having this tentative schedule in mind each morning saves guests time in that they don’t need to figure out their plan for the day while getting ready. Saving those few minutes each morning gets guests to the park earlier and ensures some extra time for attractions!

9. Know Extra Magic Hours

Before leaving home, guests should be sure to look up the Extra Magic Hours that are going to occur their stay. Extra Magic Hours are available for guests who are staying on property at a Disney Resort. Each morning a park opens an hour early for resort guests and another park stays open up to three hours later for guests than the general public. These Extra Magic Hours are a great time to head to the parks early or late as there are low crowds and short wait times on popular attractions.

8. Book FastPasses

Guests visiting Walt Disney World can utilize the FastPass+ system which allows them to make reservations for certain attractions and visit them at a given time with little to no wait. Guests who are staying at a Disney Resort can book their FastPasses up to sixty days in advance and guests staying off property can book up to thirty days in advance. By booking FastPasses before leaving for vacation, guests ensure that they will get to experience popular attractions which generally have long wait times. This leaves extra time that would have been spent waiting in line to experience other things in the parks. Some of the best options to book FastPasses for are Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers, Avatar Flight of Passage, Na’vi River Journey, Frozen Ever After,  Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and Soarin’.

7. Make Dining Reservations

Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) can be booked up to one hundred and eighty days in advance and are necessary if guests want to eat in popular restaurants. By booking their reservations far ahead of time, guests ensure that they can dine in the locations that they want and don’t waste time waiting to be seated after showing up to a restaurant on a whim. Some of the most popular dining locations which absolutely require reservations are the California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Le Cellier Steakhouse in Epcot, and Be Our Guest and Cinderella’s Royal Table in the Magic Kingdom.

6. Know What You Want To See

Not every guest wants to experience the same things on a Walt Disney World vacation, so knowing ahead of time what things are must dos is totally necessary before leaving home. Guests with children might want to only focus on family friendly attractions and should note which attractions have height requirements that their kids don’t reach. Other guests might want to focus more on dining and should plan out what locations and treats that they want to try. Knowing what to see before leaving home saves lots of time once in the parks that can be spent enjoying things.


5. Know Where Things Are

A great way to save some time once on vacation is to spend some time at home learning the lay of the land. Guests will find life mush easier if they know where the food court, front desk, and bus stops are at their resort. Similarly, knowing in general where things are located in the parks saves time spent wandering around or consulting a map.

4. Break In Comfortable Shoes

A vacation in Walt Disney World requires tons of walking. One thing that guests must do before leaving home is breaking in comfortable shoes. No one likes walking around with sore feet or blisters, and comfortable shoes are the way to go for a day in the parks.

3. Make A Packing List

While packing for Disney might seem like an easy task (light clothing, bathing suit, etc.), there are plenty of small items that should be packed to help make the trip go more smoothly. Making a packing list is a great idea as it ensures that nothing will get left behind.

2. Buy An External Charger

Having battery life on a cell phone is imperative in Disney not only to be in touch with other members in a party but to be able to access the My Disney Experience App. An external battery can be relatively inexpensive and can easily be stored in a bag for charging on the go in the park.

1. Get Used To Walking

Before leaving for vacation, it is a great idea to get used to walking extensively each day. Guests can easily walk over five miles on a regular day in the parks, so to prepare for the distances it’s smart to take long walks each day leading up to the trip. Getting used to walking before leaving home will help ensure that a Walt Disney World vacation will be enjoyable!

About Caitlin Kane

Caitlin Kane first started visiting Walt Disney World when she was two years old, and despite spending most of that trip quarantined with the chicken pox she managed to fall in love with the place. Visiting WDW every year since, she especially loves learning all about the history and small details of the parks and eating/drinking her way through the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival each fall. When she's not in Disney, Caitlin lives in New York and spends her time counting down the days to her next trip.