10 Things You Must Do Before Heading To Walt Disney World

Magical Express

If you’re like me, you’re always thinking about your next Disney vacation, and when it comes time to actually book and start planning that vacation, there are a number of things you must do to prepare. It might seem like a great deal of planning, but it’s all fun, I promise! Here is our list of 10 things you must do before heading to Walt Disney World.

10. Research

Before even booking your Disney vacation, do some research. The Walt Disney World theme park website is a great resource. Make a list of the attractions you want to see, the rides you want to ride, the places you want to eat and check out all the resorts. Find out if there are any special events happening when you’d like to go on your vacation. Disney has so many celebrations and events happening throughout the year like the Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot. Check out what the weather is typically like during the time of year you’re planning on taking a trip. All of these things may determine when you want to plan your vacation. Gather all the information you can about the parks and plan the best possible vacation for you and your family!

9. Book the Resort

Now that you’ve done some research, and you know when you want to go, it’s time to book your resort. Disney has so many resorts to choose from. There are resorts to accommodate all budgets, each with their own amazing theming. You can also make requests to stay in a particular area of the resort, or if you require an accessible room you can also make that request. Depending on the resort you choose, you may have a choice of a standard room, rooms with a particular view (water view or garden views for example), villas and rooms that will accommodate a certain amount of people. Some accommodations and requests require a different fee so that’s something to consider when booking your resort. Take the time to check out the photos and amenities at each resort, since it will be your home away from home during your vacation.

8. Check the Park Hours

You can check the hours each park is open on the Disney World website where it will also tell you which parks have Extra Magic Hours and when for those staying on site. This can be a big factor when determining which days you want to visit each park. The early magic hours are great if you want to get on a number of rides without waiting in long lines. Or you may decide you want to avoid certain parks on the days they have Magic Hours. Magic Kingdom tends to be quite busy all day when they have nighttime Magic Hours. If you’re a keen planner, you could make a document or spreadsheet with the dates and park hours to help you keep your trip organized, but the My Disney Experience app is also helpful.

7. Make Dining Reservations

You can make your dining reservations 180 days in advance of your arrival. Take full advantage of this advance booking and book all your table service dining experiences. This is the best way to dine at the restaurants you want, when you want. You can always make adjustments during the 180 days prior to your trip, or even when you arrive, but best to play it safe and make those reservations early.

6. Save and Budget

Start saving some spending money for your vacation. There are so many fun and unique souvenirs at Disney, treats and snacks, exciting tours, and don’t forget about those Mickey ears. A few dollars tucked away or put in a piggy bank each week will add up nicely by the time your trip rolls around.

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5. Book FastPass+

If you are staying onsite at a Disney resort you can book your FastPass+ options 60 days (or 30 days if staying offsite) before your arrival. Take into consideration when your dining reservations are and which park you plan to be at each day. I would also recommend getting FastPass+ times for later in the day when the line ups tend to be longer as opposed to the morning, when you may be able to walk on some rides, meaning you can ride some attractions multiple times a day!

4. Book the Magical Express

If you’re flying into the Orlando International Airport, book a seat on the Magical Express. This is a wonderful way to start your Disney vacation. Disney will mail you luggage tags so they know to pick up your bags from the airport and deliver them to your room, so when you get off your flight all you have to do is hop on board the Magical Express and head to Disney.

3. Watch Disney Movies

What better way to get into the Disney spirit than by watching all your favorite Disney movies? Watch one a week as you plan your vacation, and get excited to see beloved Disney characters like Anna and Elsa in real life, and prepare to visit the places you see in the movies, such as the Beast’s Castle when you dine at Be Our Guest, or fly over London in Peter Pan’s Flight.

2. Pack

At least start thinking about what to pack. Check out what the weather tends to be like during the time you’ll be at Disney. Do you need to dig out your summer stuff in the middle of the winter? Maybe you want to make some family/group Disney themed t-shirts to wear during your vacation. Do you have comfortable shoes to bring? Do you need to pick up some ponchos? These are all important things to consider when getting ready to go on a Disney vacation.

1. Countdown

Build the anticipation of going on your amazing Disney World Vacation by creating a countdown. There are a number of ways to countdown to your trip. You could go the DIY route and make a calendar or a poster to mark off the days, or there are a number of apps you can download that will countdown the days for you. Having a countdown will also make sure you don’t miss the 180 day mark to book your dining reservations, and the 60 day mark when you can book your FastPass+ reservations. Counting down the days until you’re in the most magical place on earth is a wonderful way to build the anticipation among your family or group, and it’s just as much fun for adults as it is for kids. Make the most of your whole Disney vacation, including the time leading up to the vacation, and just enjoy the whole experience!

All this planning will make your trip a breeze and truly a vacation when you arrive at Disney World. What do you like to do before heading to Walt Disney World?

About Lauren Repei

Lauren lives in Hamilton Ontario, but dreams of one day moving to Orlando to be closer to the Magic Kingdom. She loves the atmosphere, the history, the magic of the parks and Dole Whips, so she’s always in the midst of planning her next vacation. In the meantime, she spends her days working for the family business as a baker, and as a travel agent specializing in Disney with ClicktheMouse. Lauren’s most memorable Disney moment by far, is when she became engaged in front of Cinderella Castle making it her best Disney vacation to date.