Walt Disney World Vacation Tips That the Pros Use

Child with parents and balloon in front of Castle
Credit: Disney

Planning a vacation at the Walt Disney World Resort can sometimes feel completely overwhelming, as there is so much to think about and figure out to help make each moment as magical as possible. From choosing the right Disney Resort and learning about the Lightning Lane and Genie systems to packing smartly and figuring out dining, there are a lot of things to think about before arriving. Luckily, there are some great tips and tactics that seasoned Walt Disney World pros use to help make their vacations go smoothly, and following these few tricks is sure to help even a beginner have a wonderful time!



Pack Smart

Packing for a Walt Disney World vacation is almost as important as purchasing tickets or booking a Disney Resort. Guests want to make sure that they find the perfect balance between packing enough items that they might need and not over-packing so that they have no room for the souvenirs that they will inevitably buy. When packing, Guests should be sure to include extra shoes, socks, and clothing, ponchos, sunscreen, a reusable water bottle, hat, external battery, personal fan or cooling towel, necessary medications, snacks, and other useful items. It might sound silly considering the high temperatures common in Florida, but a light sweatshirt is also never a bad idea thanks to the pumping air conditioning in many locations.



Plan Ahead as Much as Possible

The biggest thing that seasoned Walt Disney World pros do to make their vacations as magical as possible is planning ahead as much as possible. It is completely imperative to book a Disney Resort as far in advance as possible and know which type of room and location to request. Also important is purchasing the correct type of Disney Park tickets and ensuring that reservations are made for each day at the specific Disney Park that Guests want to visit. Guests must make reservations for the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and should plan accordingly.

'Ohana Character Dining

Credit: Disney

In addition to Disney Resort accommodations and Park reservations, Guests also need to think about Advanced Dining Reservations for any table service restaurants they definitely want to enjoy, and these reservations can be made up to 60 days ahead of time. The final thing to plan ahead for is making sure you are familiar with the Disney Genie Plus and Lightning Lane system, which entails booking day of reservations for certain attractions to minimize wait times. Understanding the system ahead of time will help Guests grab those coveted attraction reservations and save time and stress while on vacation.

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Have a Rough Plan for Each Day

After booking a Park reservation for each day of their Walt Disney World vacation, Guests should make sure to have a rough plan for what they would like to experience that day. Are there certain attractions, shows, or dining options that they absolutely want to enjoy? Then those things should go on a rough list to ensure that Guests don’t get overwhelmed upon arriving at the Disney Parks. By going in with a rough, yet flexible, plan, Guests ensure that they hit all the major things that they want to see and don’t stress as much.

main street u.s.a. disney world

Credit: Disney Parks

Know the Layout of Each Disney Park & the Resort

Another key factor in enjoying a Disney Park day as much as possible is having a general idea of where things are located within the Park. By knowing where major attractions, dining locations, and more are located, Guests save time wandering and stressing about where they are headed and instead have a general idea of their path of exploration. Feeling lost is stressful and wastes time that could have been spent enjoying other experiences, and this is a simple and easy way to avoid that scenario.

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Also important is having a general understanding of where things are located within the Walt Disney World Resort and the complimentary Disney transportation available. For example, if a Guest is planning on Park Hopping from the Magic Kingdom to EPCOT, then they should have an idea of how to utilize the monorail system to get from one location to the other. Or if Guests are planning on visiting Disney Springs, they should know their transportation options in advance. By knowing ahead of time how to get around, Guests save time that would have otherwise been spent consulting maps or stopping to ask for directions.

The Tree of Life

Credit: Matthew Cooper

Early Mornings & Late Nights

Walt Disney World pros also know the benefits of hitting the Disney Parks in the early mornings and late at night. Central Florida can be extremely hot and humid throughout the year and especially in the summer months, and the afternoons are the hottest times of day. Midday also tends to be when the crowds are heaviest, as Guests who decided to sleep in are arriving to the Disney Parks. By visiting early in the morning and late at night, Guests not only avoid the hottest hours but also miss the heaviest crowds, ensuring that they have lower wait times and the opportunity to see and enjoy more.

Hidden Mickey


Slow Down and Enjoy the Details

The absolute most important thing that many Walt Disney World pros will tell beginners is to slow down. Many Guests can feel frantic and rush from one experience to the other, trying to see and do as much as possible. While this can be effective, it causes Guests to miss out on the immersive and impressive level of detail that has been created in every single area of the Disney Parks by the Imagineers. Slowing down and taking the time to check out the environments, small details, and theming in each Disney Park is one of the best ways to truly appreciate the beauty of the Walt Disney World Resort, and the experience only makes a vacation even more magical.

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About Caitlin Kane

Caitlin Kane has been visiting Walt Disney World since she was a child and has developed a deep love and appreciation of the Disney Parks with a particular interest in the small details and history that can be found all around. Visiting every chance she gets, Caitlin loves to enjoy the ambiance of the Disney Parks and try something new every time. She can often be found eating and drinking her way through the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, riding the Haunted Mansion, sipping on a Lapu Lapu, pretending Illuminations: Reflections of Earth was still in existence, and enjoying seeing the magic through the eyes of her children. When not in WDW, Caitlin can be found at home in New York dreaming of a ride on Living with the Land and counting down the days until her next trip.