Whether you’re going for the first time, or just haven’t been in a few years, visiting Walt Disney World can be overwhelming for most guests. What most guests don’t know, is that a lot of prior planning goes into a successful Disney vacation. Once you get to the park, it’s all about having fun! Here are ten easy ways to have a magical Walt Disney World vacation.
10. Do Your Research
You’re reading this blog, that’s a great start! Read as many articles, from as many authors, as you can, to gain a better understanding of the parks and how they operate. Learn about the hotel pricing tiers, how Fastpass+ works, and using Disney’s Dining Plan. Disney World has a ton of fantastic restaurants, and you can look up their menus and prices online before making reservations. The more you know about Walt Disney World, the better you’ll be able to plan your family vacation.
9. Set a Realistic Budget
Now that you understand more about the resort, you can set a budget for your trip. A Disney vacation does not need to cost an arm and a leg. Work with a budget that is manageable for your family’s resources. Hotels deals off property are great, and outside food is allowed in the parks. That said, if you’re driving to the parks everyday, don’t forget to factor the parking fee (currently $22 per day) into your budget if you are staying off property.
8. Make a Plan
You made hotel reservations and bought your tickets. So you’re done planning, right? Wrong! Guests can make Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) up to 180 days before hand, and the popular restaurants fill up fast. Guests staying on Disney property can book Fastpass+ up 60 days before check-in. Guests staying off property can pick Fastpasses 30 days ahead of time. Let your family have a voice in the plan so everyone can be excited!
7. Pack a Thorough Park Bag
Being prepared is essential to an amazing day in Disney parks. Make sure to bring sunscreen, water, Bandaids, and your camera. Sure, you can purchase items that you need, but chances are your budget doesn’t call for buying every incidental item. Plus, you don’t want to spend your day running in and out of stores buying boring stuff!
6. Bring Backup
Phone batteries drain very quickly in the parks. If you’re someone who likes to stay plugged into social media, or just want to take lots of pictures with your phone, you will need to charge your phone. One option is to bring an external phone charger. Magic Kingdom has a charging stations near the Tangled bathrooms in Fantasyland, so you could just bring an extra cord.
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5. Get There Early
Crowds are low in the mornings, so you can experience a lot of attractions with little wait. The nearly empty park and soft morning light also make for very pretty photos. My family just likes to hang out on Main Street in Magic Kingdom and enjoy the excited energy the park has at opening.
4. Participate in the Magic
What makes Walt Disney World so magical? The people. Cast Members aren’t the only people to make magic in the parks, us guests can too! Wear the ears, or a Disney shirt. Countdown with Mickey to Magic Kingdom’s opening, volunteer to be an extra in the Indiana Jones Stunt Show. Sing Disney songs while waiting in a long queue, share stickers or glow sticks with other families around you. Simple actions can turn into magical memories for you and other guests.
3. “Have Courage and Be Kind”
This tip is part of participating in the magic, but it deserves its own mention. Remember that Cast Members are people, not magic making machines. I know you spent a lot of money on this trip, but so did all the other guests. Show everyone common courtesy, and you’ll get it in return. Stay positive and you can fully enjoy the magic happening all around you.
2. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
Walt Disney World has no end to new experiences. Try new food at one of the many unique restaurants. You never know what your new favorite dessert will be until you try it! Afraid you’ll look silly as a grown adult flying with Dumbo? Do it anyway, and I promise you will not be the only adult riding! Travel the world in Epcot without stepping on a plane!
All this magical fun will leave you exhausted. Sit down and rest your feet every once in a while. Think about taking an afternoon break so the kiddos (and you!) can have a nap. Consider taking a lengthy, sit-down lunch. Or maybe you sit plop down on a bench and people watch for a while. Whatever you choose, taking a break will be the perfect time to refuel for more fun!