Eighteen Tips for Planning an Awesome Disney World Vacation

A vacation to Walt Disney World can be an exciting adventure.

However, it can also be a frustrating one if you don’t do a bit of planning and don’t consider some key planning tips.

To help you prepare for the best Disney World Vacation possible, I polled some prestigious Disney World experts: our Facebook fans! Crowd-sourcing came through again, and they suggested literally dozens upon dozens of great ideas. I consolidated and summarized the list down to these eighteen different tips to help you plan for an awesome Disney vacation.

Let’s take a look:

1 – Plan ahead: Do some research on what you will see and do on your vacation before you go. Disney World is big so you need a plan. Check out books about Disney World as well as Disney fan sites – like this one!

2 – Remember that everyone is not the same: Just because your neighbors swear by the dining plan and never get a park hopper, it doesn’t mean that is right for you. Do your own research and make the decisions that best fit your family situation.

3 – Consider MemoryMaker photo package: Disney photographers will get everyone in your pictures and you won’t have to carry around a camera (if you don’t want to).

4 – Wear comfortable shoes: You will walk mile upon mile. Go for comfort, not fashion. Your tired feet will thank you.

Wear comfortable shoes. Trust me.
Wear comfortable shoes. Trust me.

5 – Consider staying at a Disney Resort Hotel: The perks are pretty nice, including free on-site transportation, FastPass+ reservation planning 60 days in advance, free parking, and Extra Magic Hours.

6 – Purchase your tickets in advance: Save some time, and maybe a few dollars, by purchasing your tickets before you go. This also forces you, in a good way, to research the various ticket options and decide upon them before you are at the Disney World ticket booth.

7 – Show up early, stay late: You can see and do more in the first few hours of the day than you might otherwise be able to take in all day long. Get to the parks when they open, take a mid-day break, and then head back for a late evening full of fun when the crowds thin out.

8 – Consider a travel agent: A good Authorized Disney Travel Agent will help you for free (they get a well-deserved commission from Disney). Plus, they plan Disney vacations every day, so they know what they are doing. If you use our travel agent partner, you can get a $50 Disney gift card.

9 – Discuss expectations: The time to discuss everyone’s list of “must see” attractions is not after you’ve entered the park in the morning. Discuss your general plan for touring as well as each person’s expectations while you are still at home.

10 – Make dining reservations: If you are planning for any sit-down meals, call ahead and make Advanced Dining Reservations. Otherwise, you will either have a long wait or you might not get into your preferred restaurants at all.

Popular restaurants, like Be Our Guest, are busy. Make a reservation.
Popular restaurants, like Be Our Guest, are busy. Make a reservation.

11 – Make FastPass+ reservations:  Everyone is now eligible to reserve three attractions or shows in advance.  Take advantage of that opportunity to skip the lines.

12 – Stay hydrated: The Florida sun is brutal. Drink plenty of fluids. You don’t have to buy bottled water if you don’t want to – any Disney restaurant will give you a glass of water for free.

13 – Don’t overlook the less-popular attractions: Yes, you definitely will want to ride Space Mountain and Peter Pan’s Flight. These attractions are popular for a reason. But be sure to take in some less-popular attractions like the Tiki Room and The Carousel of Progress. These are still lots of fun, and often have very short wait times.

Many non-headliner attractions are still fun - check them out.
Many non-headliner attractions are still fun – check them out.

14 – Be prepared for Florida weather: It can actually be cool in the winter. The sun can be intense all year long. Dress in layers and bring plenty of sun block. A nasty sunburn is one of the fastest ways to ruin a vacation.

15 – Plan your partial days: If you don’t want to use a full day’s admission to a park when you are in Orlando for a partial day, consider visiting a Disney water park or Disney Springs.

16 – Remember you can’t see it all: Vacation times are precious. There is so much to see and do at Disney World. However, it is virtually impossible to see it all, unless you are planning a vacation that lasts for 8 months. Take your time, enjoy, and savor what you can see and do.

17 – Have fun: Things go wrong even at Disney World: the late bus, the rude guest. Don’t let it bother you and choose to have a great time.

18 – Be prepared for a post-vacation let-down: Many folks find it a bit depressing when their vacation ends. There is a simple remedy for this. Start planning your next vacation!

What is your favorite Disney World planning tip?