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10 Ways You Can Keep From Ruining Your Walt Disney World Vacation

1. Start planning early

There are some vacations that you can just randomly decide to take, book last minute, and somehow still be all set. Disney is not one of those vacations, especially if you’re new to visiting the Walt Disney World Resort. Do research ahead of time to determine where you think you’d like to stay, the time of year you’ll visit, how long you’ll visit, etc… It may seem monotonous to plan out small details early, but it will save you lots of time on your vacation and help you know what to expect.

2. Check for special offers

Whether through a third-party site, Disney Vacation Club resales or rentals, or through the “special offers” link on Disney’s official website, know what offers are available when you’re booking your trip. Unless you are visiting during a peak time of year, you can often find deals for percentages off the resort room rates or package deals that can help you save on tickets or dining. Already booked your trip? Check for special deals anyway. If you find one on Disney’s official site, you can call and add it to your reservation.

3. Make advanced dining reservations

Table service restaurants in Walt Disney World book up fast. If you have your heart set on dining somewhere specific it is best to make a reservation in advance. This is not to say that you will not be able to enjoy a table service meal without making reservations, but many of the restaurants are popular enough to be fully booked ahead of time, so you may just be left with your second or third choice (or a very long wait to be seated).

4. Make FastPass selections in advance

Disney’s FastPass service is complimentary, and something you should definitely take advantage of during your visit. Download the My Disney Experience app for your smartphone so you can make and change FastPasses on the go. It’s always a good idea to start making FastPass selections for early in the day, as you are able to make more once you use up your initial three.

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5. Arrive to the parks early

Another way to save time waiting in line is to get to the parks early. If you arrive when the parks first open you will be able to experience many attractions with little to no wait times. The early bird gets the worm as they say! (If you’re on a budget you can also look at this as maximizing the value of your ticket—more time in the parks for the same price!)

6. Stay in the parks late

The other end of the spectrum offers short wait times for attractions too. The later you stay in the parks, the shorter the wait times will become, with their heights being the middle of the day. If you are staying at a Disney resort and are able to take advantage of Extra Magic Hours those can be a great time to stay in the parks too.

7. Take a break

You can arrive early and stay late without spending the entire day in the parks too. To keep from wearing out you may want to take a break in the middle of the day. During the afternoon when the parks are the most crowded, it isn’t a bad idea to go back to your resort and relax by the pool or recharge for the rest of the evening.

8. Prioritize what you want to do most

It is impossible to do everything at Walt Disney World in one trip. Annual passholders who visit the parks a couple of time a month usually have not done everything the resort has to offer. Rather than feeling disappointed when you miss things, prioritize what you want to do most and stick to those experiences for now. If you have extra time, go back to anything else you may have skipped.

9. Stay hydrated

So many guests do not realize the importance of staying hydrated while visiting Walt Disney World. They probably know that staying hydrated in warm weather is a wise decision, but it’s something that is easy to lose track of when you’re too busy thinking about which ride is next and which snacks you can munch on. If you don’t want to purchase water, sip free water throughout the day by asking for cups of water at quick service restaurants.

10. Save extra money

It is no secret that a Walt Disney World vacation is expensive. There are plenty of small ways to cut costs, but the best advice here is to save extra money before your trip. It may seem like common sense, but you’ll be better off coming home with some extra money than being in Walt Disney World worrying about how much you’re spending.

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.