8. Choose the right time of year
Choosing the right time to go to Walt Disney World can be difficult, especially if you have a tough schedule to work with yourself, or you have kids who are in school. Even working around the select few times of year that you’re able to get away to Walt Disney World, there are still a couple of things to keep in mind. If there are special events you want to go to, look up the dates for them beforehand and try to plan around those. Many events, like the Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot, last for an entire season, so even if you don’t think your dates are that flexible, you might still be able to attend. You also want to look into different times of year for budgeting reasons, as peak travel weeks will be more expensive than the off season.
7. Stay at a Disney Resort
My biggest tip that I always give is to stay at a Disney resort. There are so many perks that are only available to Disney resort guests, that even if the cost is slightly higher than staying off property, it works out to be more cost effective to be a resort guest. For instance, Disney resort guests can participate in Extra Magic Hours, which allows them to enter the parks before the regular opening time or stay after closing on select days. They can also take advantage of complimentary transportation all around the Walt Disney World Resort, as well as the Magical Express Service, which takes them between their resort and the Orlando International Airport, even delivering luggage to their hotel rooms so they do not need to stop at baggage claim upon landing!
6. Purchase the right tickets
With so many ticket options, purchasing the right ones when you’re not too familiar with the parks can be a bit confusing. To anyone who isn’t sure what tickets to buy, I always suggest going with Magic Your Way Base Tickets. If you are not sure that you’ll be park hopping or visiting the water parks, you’re better off going with the base tickets initially, and choosing whether or not to add the other options later, as you can always upgrade your tickets during your trip.
5. Remember to be safe
As so many aspects of a Disney vacation are already taken care of for you, it can be easy to forget about your own safety. Some of my most important safety tips are simple reminders to wear sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses, and to drink plenty of water. Another important tip to keep in mind is that you should have a plan for if anyone in your party, especially children, are separated. Cast members are very well trained in how to handle lost children, however you should keep your contact information on your child’s person, and instruct them to talk to someone with a Disney nametag if they are ever lost.
4. Do your research
Perhaps the most important part of making any Disney vacation a success is to simply do some research beforehand. You don’t need to become an expert on every detail of the resort before your arrival, but knowing some basic things will definitely be helpful. You should at the very least have a rough idea of how much time you want to spend in each park, what evening entertainment offerings there are, when the parks open, and what attractions will be under refurbishment during your trip.
3. Make dining reservations
Disney’s table service restaurants are extremely popular, and it can be very difficult to get a table at certain locations without first having a reservation. Reservations are super easy to make, as they can be done on the official Disney website, and they can be changed through your My Disney Experience account. If you’re not sure where to eat, browse some menus online, and try to figure out which parks you’ll be in on what days. Chances are you’ll actually have a lot of fun planning! If you are late in the game and are unable to make reservations, be prepared to use the Mobile Food and Beverage Ordering option on your My Disney Experience app available at numerous Quick Service spots throughout Disney World property.
2. Have a plan
Speaking of planning, that is one thing you should definitely do before a Disney trip. Again, planning out every small detail of the trip is not necessary, however planning when you’ll go to which park, and what time you’d want to eat dinner, even what nights you want to stay for the fireworks can be really helpful. While these things are not difficult to figure out during your trip, it’s easier to have them planned in advance, so you can spend less time planning, and more time enjoying your vacation when you’re there.
1. Use the app
Before going to Walt Disney World, you should definitely download the My Disney Experience app for your smart phone! The app can keep track of all of your reservations, PhotoPass pictures, Fastpass selections, and serve as a map, menu, mobile food ordering, and times guide, all while conveniently being carried with you wherever you go. The app can also link to the Disney Shop app, which allows you to select merchandise regardless of your location in the park. Once you have the app downloaded and you’re ready to go, remember to have fun, and don’t be afraid to act like a kid again!