Mickey Mouse waves to a guest at Magic Kingdom Park, Oct. 1, 2021, on the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

Walt Disney World Secret Planning Tips You’ll Want to Know

There is a lot that goes into planning a Walt Disney World vacation. From determining where you want to stay, how long you should visit, making Park Pass Reservations, and figuring out Genie+, a Disney vacation has a lot that goes into it.

As you start your Disney planning and prepare for your Walt Disney World vacation, we have a few secret planning tips you will want to make sure you know before heading down on your Disney vacation.

Plan, But Don’t Overplan

We will be the first to tell you that it is important to have a plan before you head down to Walt Disney World.

We highly recommend making those Park Pass Reservations early on to ensure you get into the Park of your choice.

Once you know what Parks you will visit, we suggest discussing what must-do experiences everyone wants to make sure they get to while on a Disney vacation.

Knowing ahead of time what those top rides, shows, snacks etc. that everyone wants to experience while on vacation will help you have an overall plan when you arrive.

What we don’t recommend doing is trying to schedule out every single minute of every single day.

No matter how much you plan, something will throw it off. Rides break down, kids (and adults) have meltdowns, lines are longer than you expect, all can cause those well made plans to go out the window.

Instead of planning out every second, have an overall idea of where you want to start your day and then a general plan for touring Disney Park.

Going about your plans this way will make it less stressful when things interrupt, causing you to adjust.

Overplanning can take away from the magic of the trip as you might miss some incredible experiences if you are so focused on keeping a schedule.

You Will Walk- A Lot

Walt Disney World is huge, and because of the extreme size of the four Parks, you will be walking a lot during your Disney World vacation.

Because this isn’t something most of us do daily, you will want to make sure that you and the little ones are prepared.

Pack shoes that everyone has broken in and can walk a lot of miles in during the day. Although cute shoes are fun, they aren’t practical when walking 10 miles a day.

If you can, take time to walk at home as a family before heading down. Getting everyone Disney ready can make a huge difference when you arrive at the Parks.

Another thing to think about is if a stroller would be worth it for the trip. Even if your kids don’t typically use a stroller at home, consider if having one at Disney would be helpful to them. Kids aren’t used to walking so much, and they will get worn down quickly.

Make sure you are prepared for all the walking by having good shoes. This will make a huge difference when you arrive at Walt Disney World.

Credit: Disney

You Won’t See Everything

As we mentioned before, Walt Disney World is HUGE. With four Theme Parks, two Water Parks, Disney Springs, and so much more, there is an endless amount of fun to be had on vacation.

With all this fun comes the realization that no matter how much you plan or how long you stay, you won’t be able to see and do it all.

This is where having that must-do list is important. If everyone has one or two things in each Theme Park that they want to experience, this can help narrow down your priorities during the trip.

Go into the vacation knowing that there are experiences that you won’t get to this time around, and that’s okay. It just means you can visit again in the future.

Credit: Disney

Visit the Magic Outside of the Theme Park

When planning a trip to Walt Disney World, it can be easy to focus solely on the four Theme Parks.

There is so much to see and do outside the four Theme Parks that if you don’t take time during your vacation to experience some of it you are truly missing out on some of the magic.

Start with the Disney Resorts. If you are staying at one of Disney’s amazing Resorts, make sure you schedule some time to enjoy it during your trip.

Take time to swim at the pool, enjoy the poolside activities and even have a meal. There are also activities throughout the days at the Resorts, and often you can catch a movie under the stars at night.

Disney Springs also has so much to offer, from amazing shopping, outstanding dining, and great entertainment, you will want to take some time to visit.

Also, look at visiting other Disney Resorts for a meal or to look around. These Resorts are themed so well and are truly part of the magic.

Take some time on your vacation outside of the four Theme Parks to truly enjoy all the magic Walt Disney World has to offer.

Credit: Paula Kennedy

Table-Service Reservations Can Pop Up Later

We know that all the sites highly recommend being ready to book your dining 60 days ahead of your arrival date. This is important, but don’t lose hope if you don’t get that dining reservation on that day.

Don’t think that dining reservations open up in those two months; they can also pop up when you are in Disney.

Make sure you use the My Disney Experience App while you are in the Parks, as you can now see dining reservations available with Disney Genie.

This is a great way to snag those last minute dining reservations in the Parks or at a Disney Resort.


You Might NOT Need Lightning Lane

We are still learning about Genie+ and all it has to offer, but know that you might not need it in every Park.

When you purchase Genie+, it gives you access to the Lightning Lane queues for various rides and attractions in the Theme Parks.

Although it can save you some time in Parks such as Magic Kingdom, where over 20+ attractions, you might find it unnecessary in Disney’s Animal Kingdom and EPCOT.

Make sure you do some research ahead of time to see if you truly need this new feature for each day of your visit.

We hope that these planning tips will help you have a wonderful time in Walt Disney World during your vacation.


About Jennifer Retzlaff

My name is Jennifer Retzlaff and I became a lifelong Disney fan during my first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of my life. I live in Iowa with my husband and two kids who are growing up too quickly for my liking. I started introducing my love for Disney early to my family with a Disney honeymoon and then trips when our youngest of 18 months. Since then, our family has been to Walt Disney World over five times and we continue to plan and dream for the next trip. I love the magic that Disney brings to people through the theme parks, cruises, adventures and movies they create. As a teacher, I try to bring that magic into my classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” I recently reached a dream of mine as I joined Magic Vacation Planner as a personal travel advisor. With this team, I can now help others plan magical vacations. As a passionate writer, I also have my own blog at magicalvacationsbyjen which is also where you can follow me on instagram for trip reviews along with tips and tricks for your next magical vacation.