7: Decide when to vacation
The first step to planning any vacation is to decide when exactly you’ll be traveling. With Disney, you may want to work around school vacation weeks and other major holidays to avoid crowd and price increases. (It should also be noted that if you’d be flying to Orlando, airfare is typically more expensive during those times of year anyway.) In addition, you may find that you’re interested in visiting during some of the special events that take place at Walt Disney World, such as Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, or Epcot International Festival of Holidays, just to name a few. Check the official Disney website for special event dates and prices when beginning to plan your next trip!
6: Book Fastpasses
Having Fastpasses made in advance can be really helpful when you’re trying to get in some of the most popular attractions. Even if you’re not sure if you’ll need a Fastpass for certain attractions, you never know exactly what you’ll be doing until you get to the parks, so chances are the Fastpasses will come in handy. Just remember to use Fastpasses specifically for rides, as they are not really necessary for shows, parades, and fireworks viewing areas.
5: Make advanced dining reservations
As one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world, it is no surprise that tables can fill up quick at certain Walt Disney World restaurants. To avoid showing up to a restaurant with limited or no availability, be sure to make reservations in advance for all of your favorites. It’s much easier to have reservations made and know you’re getting a table, than to have to eat at your second, third, or fourth choice, because that’s where the available tables are.
4: Choose your resort
In addition to perhaps choosing a resort with a theme or design that you like, cost and location come to mind as other important factors when deciding which resort to stay at. Decide whether you want to stay at a deluxe, moderate, or value resort, and then determine which location would be ideal for you. Walt Disney World is a big place, so if you know you’ll be spending most of your time at one park specifically, it would probably make sense to choose a resort that is located closest to that park.
3: Know the park hours
One of the easiest ways to plan your Disney vacation is simply to be aware of the park hours. This will help you to be more efficient while touring each park, and park hopping, and it will make planning out the rest of your day much easier. It can also be helpful to know the park hours so you can plan to attend Extra Magic Hours, which will allow you (as a Disney resort guest) to experience the parks before or after they close on select days. Knowing the park hours (which can easily be found on the parks’ mobile app – My Disney Experience – or the times guides, can also help you with planning your dining reservations. It’s definitely worth staying on top of the park hours to make your vacation as efficient as possible, without you really feeling like you need to rush around.
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2: Have a back-up plan
Having a back-up plan can mean a couple of different things. Figure out what you would do if the weather is not quite what you thought it would be, or if your plans need to change for some unexpected reason, like your favorite attraction being refurbished for instance. A back-up plan can also include things like packing a variety of clothes, in case the weather is unpredictable, or umbrellas and ponchos.
1: Research the parks in advance
This tip is especially important if you’ve never been to the parks before. Planning a Disney vacation can be really overwhelming if you’ve done zero research. Before leaving for your vacation, research all that the resort has to offer– read up on websites like this one, watch videos from other guests on YouTube, and order the free vacation planning DVD from Disney to watch before your trip. By doing some research in advance, you’ll be able to spend more time enjoying your vacation while you’re actually in the parks, and less time figuring out what there is to do.