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10 Tips for Having Your Most Satisfying Walt Disney World Trip Ever

A Walt Disney World vacation can be magical, or it can be full of stress. It’s easy for a dream vacation to turn into a disaster. Here are ten tips to help you take the tension out of your vacation and to make it satisfying instead. If you have any more tips that you’d like to share, please feel free to leave them in the comments below.

10) Learn Before You Leave

Walt Disney World is huge and it can be overwhelming, even if you’ve been there before. Do your research long before you leave home. Learn about the rides, the restaurants, the entertainment, etc. Study the park maps so you will have a general idea of the layouts of the parks. A little bit of knowledge before you leave home will save you time and confusion once you’re in Florida.

9) Make Dining Reservations

At Walt Disney World the full service restaurants are fun, sophisticated, and everything in between. While you are doing your research you’re sure to find a few that you will want to try. Make your dining reservations well in advance so that you do not miss out. Reservations can be made 180 days ahead of time, and some restaurants will fill up that quickly. While making reservations six months ahead of time will take some of the spontaneity out of your vacation, it will be worth it when you dine on the incredible food. If you change your mind or your plans, it’s easy to cancel dining reservations. If you don’t cancel, your credit card will be charged. You’ll receive an email a couple of days before the reservation so you won’t forget about it.

8) Make FastPass+ Reservations

FastPass+ is the best way to make sure that you’ll be able to hit the best rides or attractions with a manageable wait. You can make three per day ahead of time, and they all have to be in the same park. Take advantage of the system. If you’re staying at a Disney Resort you can make your reservations up to 60 days in advance, for everyone else it’s 30 days. Check your dining reservations when grabbing your times, you don’t want them to conflict.

7) Plan an Off Day

A Walt Disney World vacation will take a lot out of you, in fact you might end up returning home exhausted. It is not a bad idea to plan a day off from the parks in the middle of your vacation. Sleep in and then spend the day at the hotel pool. Visit Disney Springs or go resort hopping. Make a reservation for a character meal at a resort. You can still be surrounded by the Disney magic, but your body and your temperament will appreciate a slower day.

6) Arrive at Rope Drop

If you want to see a park when it is the least crowded, arrive before it opens so you’ll get in when the rope drops. Most of the day’s guests will not have yet arrived, and those who are there will be hurrying to a popular ride. You will be amazed by how much you can get done the first hour or so. Take advantage of the shorter lines and get your must-dos out of the way. Once the crowd grows spend the rest of the day where the lines are shorter.

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5) Use Sunscreen

Do not underestimate the Florida sun! It is possible to get burned on cloudy days and in the winter. A sunburn will ruin your vacation, plus there could be some serious consequences later in life. Lather on the sunscreen, even if you don’t normally burn. Make sure that every member of your party uses it as well. It only takes a minute to apply, and it could save your vacation.

4) Take Care of Your Needs

Make sure that you listen to your body while you are at Walt Disney World. Eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water. You don’t want to end up sick because you’re not taking care of yourself. Make sure that you get enough sleep. Head back to your hotel for a nap if possible. If that isn’t, plan to watch a show or two in the middle of the day so that you’ll have a chance to sit down for a little while. You don’t have to spend each day of your vacation in a park from open until close. Listen to your body, and take care of yourself.

3) Take Pictures

There are incredible photo opportunities all over Walt Disney World. Plan to take plenty of pictures. You will treasure your picture with Mickey or one in front of Cinderella Castle. If you don’t feel like carrying a camera or using the space on your phone, consider purchasing Memory Maker. That will include your ride photos as well. If you’re not sure where the best picture spots are, look for a PhotoPass photographer. He or she will take a picture for you with your own camera if you ask, you don’t have to purchase anything if you don’t want to.

2) Use the App

The My Disney Experience app can take a lot of stress out of your vacation. Make a last minute dining reservation or change a FastPass+ time. Check wait times or see where the characters are located. Find the nearest restroom. Those are just a few of the things that you can do with the My Disney Experience app. It does tend to drain cell phone batteries, so you might want to close it when you’re not using it.

1) Don’t Set Your Expectations too High

You’ve heard that Walt Disney World is the “happiest place on Earth” and you’ve seen the commercials with smiling children. It is easy to set your expectations too high. Remember that there will be lines, the kids will get cranky, Florida will be hot, other guests will be rude, and it does rain in the Sunshine State. A Walt Disney World vacation will not be without problems. Don’t try to do it all. If you don’t expect your vacation to be perfect, you’ll see what makes Walt Disney World so special. You might even h

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.