If you are anything like me, you love planning a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth. Whether this is your 1st trip or your 101st trip, planning a Disney vacation can be complex and take up a lot of time. But there are a few tips and tricks to help make the process easy. Check out my DO’s and DON’Ts for planning a Disney Vacation.
With so many questions involving a Disney vacation it is important to do some research. First, check out the lay of the land, what the different parks offer and which resorts are close to the parks that are high priority. For example, if you are interested in the Magic Kingdom, check out the resorts labeled Magic Kingdom Area Resorts. These include the Grand Floridian, the Polynesian and the Contemporary. Having an arsenal of information makes the process much easier and makes you feel less like there are surprises coming your way. I find that blogs are super helpful in addition to just asking people who have been there before and experienced Disney. Who better to ask advice then people you know and trust?
DON’T Try to Cut Corners
Listen a Disney Vacation can be super expensive, but there are some things I don’t recommend cutting corners with. For example, getting a Disney Dining Plan. While upfront, the package can seem like a lot of money, it actually pays in the end. If your debating getting this, I highly recommend you look up the restaurants that interest you and basically do a price comparison. Price out what food you would get for each meal, if you think you’d get snacks and see how that compares to the price of the package. If your resort price is the issue, and you feel that it is too expensive, but still want that Disney experience, booking at a value or moderate resort can help you save some money while still being immersed in a full Disney experience. By staying at a Disney Resort, you are getting the most authentic experience. I have stayed at the Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels before (which are technically on property but not official resorts) and while they are nice, there is something missing. Plus, these can be just as expensive as a value or moderate.
DO Try to Book as Early as Possible
If you can, definitely book your trip as early as possible before you plan on heading to Disney. This will help in the long run with advanced dining reservations and FastPasses. If you wait until too close to your travel date, you most likely won’t get those coveted reservations at the time you want.
A popular ride at Disney’s Magic Kingdom is Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. If you are interested in riding one of these, I suggest you log onto your account for the FastPass+ as soon as the slot opens. I’ve done this for other popular, long wait time rides like Frozen Ever After in Epcot and Na’vi River Journey at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
DO Book Your Dining Ahead of Time
As I mentioned, the earlier you can book your Disney trip the better. This is especially beneficial for those of you who are interested in trying out some of the unique dining opportunities that Disney has to offer. There are some notorious restaurants on property that are the hardest to get reservations to if you wait. Those include ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Be Our Guest at Disney’s Magic Kingdom and California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
For these dining experiences, you need to book the day that the reservations open otherwise, it will be near to impossible to get one. The only thing you can do is check back every day multiple times a day to see if anyone has canceled, but that’s also a risk.
DO Order Your Magic Bands Ahead of Time
One perk of staying at a Disney Resort is receiving a complimentary Magic Band. For those that don’t know, Magic Bands are the replacement for Disney’s Key to the World Cards, which was your room key and charge card during your resort stay. You can wear your Magic Band for the duration of your stay and it syncs with your room, your dining, your charges and even your photo package. You can customize your band ahead of your trip and Disney will ship the customized bands to you. You can choose different colors and even get your name printed on the back of it, all included. If you don’t log-on within a certain time frame, you will be given the bands when you arrive at the resort and they will not be customized, just plain grey. Besides the convenience aspect of having your band ahead of time, this is a nice souvenir so I think it is a nice touch to customize it. If you want to get fancy, you can order your Magic Band from Disney and then spice it up with some cute vinyls from Malibu Mermaid Co. on Etsy. You can order custom character and name vinyls to make the Magic Band even more special. Use code PRINCESSJENN to receive 20% off on your next purchase.
DO Consider Purchasing Memory Maker
Memory Maker is a photo package that you can purchase through Disney. Throughout the resort property are PhotoPass photographers who can take your photo. They scan your magic band and viola, your photos appear on your My Disney Experience App shortly after. It is great because it allows you to download all photos taken, including ride photos and allows all guests to get in the photos. If you purchase it in advance of your trip, it’s $169. If you want to purchase it immediately, it’s $199. Either way, you are getting unlimited downloads of iconic photos with everyone in the pictures. Plus, if you are connected to other Disney travelers, you can all share the one package. I personally have been getting it the past few trips and think it is worth the money.
DON’T Forget That It’s OK to Act Like a Kid
You are in Disney World! It is totally OK to act like a kid! Rock those Minnie Ears, wear a graphic tee no one will care because everyone else is doing it too! Plus, it makes the trip that much more fun! When you walk around the parks it’s actually awesome to see all of the adults wearing their finest Disney clothes.
Have these do’s & don’ts helped with planning your Disney trip? Let me know in the comments below.
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