10 Things To Do Before You Arrive at Walt Disney World

Disney's Port Orleans Resort

A Disney World vacation is incredibly exciting, and waiting for your turn to go may seem like it’s going to take forever. However, there is a lot to do to get ready for such a trip, and with such a long to-do list, you might be surprised just how quickly the time goes. Wondering what you need to do for your magical getaway? Make sure you get these 10 things done before you ever get on the plane.


1. Download the MDE App

Did you know Disney World has their own app? That’s right! The “My Disney Experience” app includes all kinds of tools to help you create the best vacation ever. For this reason, you’ll definitely want to download the app as soon as you know you’re headed to the most magical place on earth.

2. Reserve Your Hotel Room

Obviously, you’re going to need a place to sleep while in Disney World. Certain times of year can get pretty crowded both in Disney World and in Orlando in general. Besides, if you’ll be staying on Disney property (which we highly recommend), you’ll get some perks that start before your vacation begins. For these reasons, you will want to book your room as soon as you can in order to ensure you’re comfy while you visit the Mouse.

3. Purchase Tickets

You aren’t going to want to waste your vacation standing in line for tickets at the gate, and you’re going to want to use your tickets to do things like ordering MagicBands and making FastPass reservations. Therefore, ordering your tickets in advance is a must!

MagicBands at Dumbo

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4. Order MagicBands

With your room reservation made and tickets purchased, those who are staying onsite will be able to order MagicBands. These awesome bracelets are your park ticket, your room key, and a way to make purchases in the park. You can choose from a variety of colors, and as long as you order far enough in advance, they’ll show up right on your doorstep. Order yours as soon as you can so you get the color of your choice and receive them in the mail. Note: You can still buy and use a MagicBand even without staying in a Disney Resort Hotel. However, Disney Hotel guests do receive their MagicBands at no extra charge.

5. Sign Up for Magical Express

Another great perk for Disney Hotel guests is Disney’s Magical Express. This is your transportation to and from the airport, and it’s included in the room rate. That said, you do have to book your seat on Magical Express in advance, so be sure to go in and do that as soon as you have the necessary flight information.

6. Make Dining Reservations

Dining at Disney World is a super fun experience. The food is way above and beyond what anyone might expect from theme park food, and the theming found in each restaurant is incredible. That said, getting into table-service eateries in the parks can be quite difficult and definitely requires you to plan ahead. Make sure you get exactly what you want in terms of reservations by booking a full 180 days in advance.

7. Snag FastPasses

FastPasses are another thing you’ll definitely want to reserve. The FastPass+ system is awesome because it allows you to skip the long lines for the rides you choose. You can book up to 3 FastPasses per day in advance, and in order to get the most popular rides, you’ll want to book as soon as your window opens up. For those who are staying in a Disney hotel, FastPasses can be booked a full 60 days in advance. All others will have to wait until 30 days in advance.

8. Create a Plan

Heading into Disney parks without any sort of plan is just asking for disaster. For this reason, you will want to check out the various maps and lists of attractions beforehand. Get an idea of what you’d like to do and what order makes the most sense. Take note of height requirements and showtimes as well. If you’re a super planner, you might even find some premade touring plans online and take elements from those you like most.

9. Shop for Disney Clothes

Special Disney clothes with characters you love or costumes for the kiddos can make a Disney trip even more special. Rather than purchasing these in the park, we recommend shopping beforehand and purchasing your Disney clothes online or even in box stores such as Walmart. You’ll save money, and you won’t be wasting valuable park time shopping.

10. Find the Perfect Packing List

Last but certainly not least, you will need to pack. If you’ve never been before, deciding what to pack for Disney World can be a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, there are all kinds of wonderful packing lists online that can help you figure out what your family needs. Go ahead and run a search and see what you can come up with.

About Chelsea Gonzales