Eight Secrets to an (Almost) Perfect Disney Vacation

Credit: Disney Dining

There is no such thing as a perfect vacation to Walt Disney World or anywhere else. That realization alone will help to make your trip better. There are other ways as well to make your vacation to Central Florida fantastic. Your vacation won’t be perfect, but it could still be the vacation of a lifetime. Here are eight secrets that just might help.


8) Plan Ahead

Your almost perfect Disney vacation starts well before you leave home. Find out all that you can about Walt Disney World. Order the free DVD from the Disney website. Study the maps and familiarize yourself with the parks. Make your dining reservations as soon as you know which restaurants you really have to try. When the time gets closer, make your FastPass+ reservations. If you have a plan before you leave home, there’s more of a chance that you’ll be able to see and do the things that are most important to you.

7) Stay On Property

There are some incredible hotels in Orlando and Kissimmee that aren’t on Disney property. There are also some that are extremely affordable and won’t eat into too much of your vacation budget. If you want to have an almost perfect vacation, though, it makes sense to stay on property. You’ll have access to benefits like Extra Magic Hours and Disney’s Magical Express. You’ll also be surrounded by the Disney magic every moment of your trip. You’ll meet incredible cast members at your resort, and you’ll have access to the resort pool. All of the resorts are different, and they’re all magnificent.

6) Do Something Outside of the Parks

The pace in the theme parks can be rushed and stressful. Plan an off day and do something outside of the parks. You don’t even have to leave Disney property. You’ll find world class golfing, horseback riding, water sports, shopping, and plenty of other things to keep you busy but not rushed. You might have so much fun on your off day that it becomes the best day of your almost perfect vacation.

5) Watch Your Spending

It is all too easy to overspend while on vacation. If your credit card is linked to your MagicBand it is even easier, just one quick touch and everything is paid for. While you are going to want to buy souvenirs, don’t overdo it. Set a budget and stick to it. Limit the number of t-shirts and hats that each member of your family can buy. Overspending will ruin your memories once the credit card bill arrives, so be careful and spend wisely.

4) Eat Something Different

Burgers, chicken nuggets, and pizza are theme park staples. You can find those at many Walt Disney World restaurants. You can also find sushi, couscous, and lobster. Instead of dining on the same old things all the time, try something different. World Showcase is the perfect place for international dining, but you’ll find great choices in other restaurants as well. There is no reason to dine only on burgers, chicken nuggets, and pizza, unless those are what you truly want.

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3) Get Some Rest

It is all too easy to get overtired on a Walt Disney World vacation. The parks are at their least crowded when they first open, and then there are nighttime shows right before close. You might be going nonstop for 12-14 hours or more, and that’s just once you enter a park. If you’re tired, you’re going to be cranky, and cranky vacationers are not having an almost perfect trip. If possible, head back to your hotel for a couple of hours so that everyone can take a nap. If that won’t work, take a midday break within the park. Sleep in on your off day. If you can’t be in a park from open until close, don’t beat yourself up about it. Everyone will have a better time if they’re well rested.

2) Don’t Try to Do It All

There is so much to see and do at Walt Disney World that it is almost impossible to get everything in on one trip. Know that before you leave home. When researching the parks, make a list of the most important rides and shows. Try to do those, and count anything else as an unexpected bonus. Know ahead of time that you won’t see all of the characters, so find out about the meet and greets for the ones who are the most important to your family. Give yourselves a break and relax. You’re on vacation, you don’t need the added stress of trying to do everything.

1) Let Your Inner Child Out

Walt Disney World is not for kids, it is for the kid in all of us. Let your inner child come out and play! Try to get a high score on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. Get as wet as possible on Kali River Rapids. When the call goes out for volunteers for Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!, wave your hands and get noticed. Join the line for princess pictures at Epcot. Have the whole family wear matching t-shirts, and don’t forget your Mickey ears! You’ll spend most of your life being an adult, but there’s no reason to be one at Walt Disney World. Allowing yourself to be a child again is the key to an almost perfect Disney vacation.



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.