Ah, Disney World! Is there any better place on Earth to take a family vacation?
The short answer is no, and nearly 50 million people agree. That’s because almost 50 million people visit the Walt Disney World Resort every year. If you divide that by the number of days in the year, there are nearly 137,000 people in the four theme parks at Disney each day, and 137,000 people can’t be wrong!
With the seemingly limitless amount of choices in attractions, restaurants and live entertainment inside the Disney parks, choosing Disney World for your family’s next vacation is never a bad choice. However, there might be things you’re doing wrong in planning your Disney vacation. Perhaps there are things you’re doing wrong once you get to the parks. But don’t worry! Thanks to Disney magic, even if you’re doing Walt Disney World wrong, any situation is easily rectified.
Here are 10 ways you could be doing Walt Disney World wrong and how to do them right.
10) You don’t reserve dining experiences beforehand.
Planning ahead means researching Disney’s dining experiences, choosing which experiences you and your family would like to have and then booking those experiences with Disney. You can do this in one of three ways—either online at disneyworld.disney.go.com, via the My Disney Experience app on your smartphone or by calling (407) WDW-DINE.
The booking window for most dining experiences opens 180 days in advance, and many restaurants book very quickly, so the earlier you can make your reservations, the better chance you will have at scoring the reservation and at a time that works for you and your family. (Note: If you want to experience dinner at Be Our Guest restaurant at Magic Kingdom, you’ll need to make your reservation as soon as the 180-day window opens. Cinderella’s Royal Table also books fast, so you’ll need to reserve this restaurant as soon as the window opens and pay for your dining experience at the same time.)
9) You don’t make FastPass+ selections 30 to 60 days before arriving.
Once you have decided your exact travel dates, you’ll be able to make your lodging reservations, whether you’ll be staying at a Disney Resort Hotel, a hotel away from Disney property or a vacation rental home away from Disney property. If you and your family will be staying on Disney property, you’ll be able to reserve FastPass+ selections for attractions 60 days in advance of your stay. If you are staying anywhere outside of the Walt Disney World Resort, you’ll be able to make your FastPass+ selections 30 days in advance.
Don’t neglect using the FastPass+ system for attractions and rides you want to experience with your family. You will still be able to make selections using the FastPass+ system during the time of your stay, even if you didn’t do so before coming to the parks. But there is an allotted amount of FastPasses for each attraction each day, and once those have been reserved, there are no more available, and you may end up in the stand-by queues for attractions you really want to enjoy. Making your selections as far in advance as possible can ensure you get to experience those attractions, and it will also help you to make the most of your time in the parks each day.
8) You don’t allow enough time.
As you already know, Disney World is huge, and it takes some time to experience the parks in their entirety. In fact, some experts have said that in order to ride every ride, see every show, enjoy every attraction and experience every dining opportunity at the Walt Disney World Resort, that even if you were to visit the parks every day for one whole year, you’d still have a difficult time seeing, experiencing and enjoying it all.
Because of this, you need to make a list of the major attractions and experiences you want to enjoy while you’re in the parks. Ask your kids what they want to experience. Ask your spouse. Ask everyone in your traveling party. Once you’ve compiled a master list of experiences, you’ll be able to decide how many days you want to be in the parks. (Here’s a hint—if your list of experiences is two pages long, single-spaced, and you’re only planning on three days in the parks, chances are you’ll be disappointed and find yourself marking things off your list that you simply did not have time to enjoy.)
7) You aren’t being realistic.
When planning your trip and then enjoying your time in the parks, be sure that you haven’t tried to stuff so much into a day, that it’s impossible to get it all done. It’s better for you to plan less in a day and have extra time to choose other experiences than to over-schedule experiences and find only disappointment and frustration at the end of your day when you and your family aren’t able to do what you wanted to do, simply because you weren’t realistic in your planning and in your expectations for your vacation.