There are some things to remember, regardless of when you are planning your next trip and what you are doing that are MUST DO’s for every Walt Disney World trip. In this post, we are going to break this down so that you can be sure to make the most out of your trip and have the best chance at maximizing your vacation!
We can’t stress enough the importance of planning ahead for your Disney vacation. You can book dining reservations up to 180 days before your trip begins. You can book fast passes if you are staying property up to 60 days in advance. If you are staying off property, you can book fast passes up to 30 days in advance of the start of your trip.
Develop an itinerary, we know that this sounds daunting but we promise you it will create a much smoother and calmer trip for everyone involved. Of course things change and we have to be amenable to that and we are not suggesting that you plan every minute of your Disney trip because some of the best things happen on the fly but create a general schedule.
Write down which parks you plan to visit on which days, where your dining reservations are (trying to keep them in the same vicinity, where your Fast Passes are, again make your dining reservations around this same park, it is not advisable to be hopping everywhere, especially with a large group for fast passes and dining.
Also include any off property plans you have in your itinerary, whether it’s pools or a beach day, be sure to have that on your itinerary.
Not saying to stay in one park for the entire day but we do encourage planning so that there is time to enjoy the park instead of spending the day traveling all over to keep plans.
Get on the Same Page!
If you are traveling with another family or a large group, sit down and talk it out ahead of making reservations so that you have a game plan prior to making Fast Passes and dining reservations. They go fast so you want to make sure you have an idea of what you are booking prior.
When making Fast Pass reservations, link all your Magic Bands to one account if you are able. That will allow for one person to make your Fast Pass selections instead of everyone trying at the same time to get the same thing. It will cut back on confusion, chaos and make the whole thing run a lot smoother.
As long as you talk ahead of time about the timeframe you are looking for, when you will be at which parks etc. you should be able to get a lot of what you are looking for. Be sure to have backup times because there will be thousands of other people online at the exact same time as you trying to get those popular rides.
For many rides you will be able to find a wide variety of times for those but for those big whales you are going to want to be flexible and book those first. Those include, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Space Mountain. Epcot includes Test Track, Frozen and Soarin’. Animal Kingdom big wigs are Flight of Passage and Na’Vi River Journey and Hollywood Studios (in just a few short weeks) will be Toy Story Midway Mania, Slinky Dog Coaster and The Alien Swirling Saucers.
For many of these you will only be able to book one up front if that park is on the tiered Fast Pass system, so know which is your top choice and which is your backup and again have a plan.
As mentioned earlier, dining reservations can be made 180 in advance. If there are certain reservations your party is looking to secure and those are popular, we encourage you to do that as soon as you are able and on that 180 mark. These dining reservations include character dining experiences because those tend to be the most well attended.
Rides break down, kids meltdown, adults meltdown, it rains (it’s Orlando, plan for rain) and plans have to change. Don’t be so stuck on one thing or dwell on one thing that it ruins your day or heaven forbid your vacation. There is so much magic around every corner, go with the flow, plan a backup and continue to make those magical memories.
If you have a large group or even a small group and you are wanting to take in fireworks or a nighttime show at a specific park, be sure to know when that show is happening and where you want to catch it so you can be sure to get a good spot. Some of the best spots for the nighttime shows, particularly Happily Ever After at Magic Kingdom and IllumiNations at Epcot have prime spots that allow for optimal viewing and those spots fill up quick.
To ensure a great spot, have a plan for when you want to stake it out and plop down for a wait. Many of those amazing viewing spots fill up early. Also, be sure to check with castmembers to make sure that the spot you want to claim is going to be allowed. They always keep walking paths open during the shows so just ask if the place you are eyeing will be okay.
Put your phone away and be present on your vacation. Your friends and family will still be there when your vacation is over so be present on your vacation and soak in all of the Disney magic around you.
So there you have it! Part 1 of our tips for your next Disney vacation. Be sure to stay tuned for part 2 coming at you really soon!
Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget that it all started with a mouse!