So your planning a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth? There are many factors that go into planning a trip to Disney that it can sometimes get overwhelming. Here are 8 things I recommend for planning the perfect Disney vacation.
1. Stay Near the Fun
Disney has a wide range of hotels in different areas around their properties. If you haven’t booked your hotel yet, think about the area your planning on spending the most time. Is it the Magic Kingdom or Epcot? See what hotels are in those areas or provide easy transportation to those parks and see if you can book there. For example, I often stay at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, which is on the monorail loop for the Magic Kingdom and offers monorail transfer to Epcot, which makes accessing these parks super easy, especially the Magic Kingdom. If your interested in staying close to Epcot, there are numerous resorts located within walking distance of the park such as, Disney’s Boardwalk Resort and Disney’s Beach and Yacht Club Resorts. This allows you to optimize your fun time and minimize transportation time. Usually the resorts with direct access to a park tend to be more expensive, but definitely do some research as sometimes Disney does run some pretty good deals.
2. Let’s Dig In
Besides sleeping, we all want to make sure we are eating some delicious food when we are at Disney. If you book your vacation direct through Disney, you can purchase a Disney Dining Plan (plans vary, click here for more details). This basically allows you to pre-pay for all of your food for your trip. With that comes dinner reservations. Whether you have a plan or not, definitely take advantage of making advanced dinner reservations at restaurants on Disney property. It is usually pretty easy to do but reservations for popular restaurants book up quickly so be sure to do it as soon as your window opens.
For example, one of the hardest reservations to get on Disney property is Be Our Guest Restaurant at the Magic Kingdom. This usually requires you to log on at the 180 day mark to book your reservation. With that being said, don’t give up. If a restaurant doesn’t have a reservation right away, keep checking the app as sometimes people cancel.
3. Say Cheese
There are so many places located in WDW that are perfect backdrops for your family photos. Since you are all away on vacation together, you want everyone in the pictures too! That’s where the Memory Maker package comes in. For $169 you can have your photo taken as many times as you want and then download all or none of them from your My Disney Experience App. Also included in this are Magic Shots. Magic Shots are when Photopass photographers add some special magic to your photos and photos from the rides. It’s a great way to take all types of cool pictures and include everyone.
4. Faster Way to the Magic
I would recommend pre-purchasing your park tickets before you arrive at the parks. As I said earlier, the goal is to get to the fun as quickly as possible. By pre-purchasing your tickets, you avoid having to enter the parks, wait on line and purchase your tickets when you get there.
5. FastPass+ Fun
Definitely utilize Disney’s FastPass+ service. This allows you to use the My Disney Experience App and pick rides that have a time available to essentially skip the line. You are given 3 FastPasses per day and once those are used, you can then schedule more. Keep in mind if you make your first FastPass+ reservation at the Magic Kingdom, the other two have to be used at the MK as well. Once you use up your original three, you can then make more FastPass+ reservations as the day goes by for other parks. These are great to use on rides you always know will have a long line, like Frozen Ever After in Epcot and the new rides in Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. If you are staying at a Disney Resort hotel, FastPass+ selection opens up 60 days prior to your arrival. If you are not, you can start selecting at 30 days. I highly recommend that you take advantage of this time frame and select those hard to get FastPasses if possible. If your not a huge attraction person, your in luck! FastPass+ service isn’t only good for attractions. You can use them for character meet and greets or firework shows.
6. Get Chauffeured Around
Another question that often arises is, how am I going to get around? Should I rent a car? My opinion is no. If you are planning on staying on Disney property, the transportation options are numerous. You can take a monorail, a bus, a boat and coming soon, even a sky gondola. Plus, Disney will pick you up at the airport and bring you back at the end of your trip through the Magical Express. This is a complimentary service for Disney Resort guests. If you do wish to head out of Disney property during your trip to purchase any sundry items, I would recommend just Ubering over or utilizing Lyft.
7. Experience the Experience (App)
I referenced the My Disney Experience App several times in this post. This is the hub of all of your vacation plans. You can schedule dinner reservations, check your room reservations, select FastPasses, read dinner menus and download your Photo Pass photos. It is super convenient when you are walking around the parks to be able to change your plans as you go or to just have a reference of what your doing.
8. Hop, Don’t Run
This blog post encouraged dinner reservations and FastPasses, which means there may be some running around happening. But don’t run, hop! I mean purchase the park hopper option with your park ticket. This essentially let’s you visit more than one park in a day. So for example, you can have breakfast in the Magic Kingdom, lunch in Hollywood Studios and dinner at the World Showcase in Epcot. It helps with getting everything in that you want to experience without having to sacrifice going back.
Have these tips helped you plan your Disney vacation? Or do you have any other tips that you follow? Let me know in the comments below.
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