Any trip to Disney is a magical experience, by default. It’s DISNEY! To make your Disney trip magical, you just have to pack up and go!
It doesn’t matter if you’re visiting Disneyland in California or Walt Disney World in Florida, or any of the other parks throughout the world – the memories last a lifetime and it’s worth every penny.
Tips for Disney World Vacation – how do you make it special?
#1 – Have a realistic budget
Disney is expensive. Disney is very expensive – so before planning a magical trip know what you can spend. Your trip will surely be less than magical if you are worrying about your costs.
Resort hotels have a huge range of prices so book a resort based on what you can afford – not on the recommendations of others. All Disney resorts are themed, offer free transportation to the parks, are clean and fun!
Disney food is very pricey. Again don’t over extend your budget because everyone on Facebook says you just have to eat at a certain spot. I recently wrote about Ways to Save Money at WDW and you can check out those tips HERE.
You definitely do not need to eat at a character meal each and every day. Pick and choose which are most important to your family; choose maybe one or two.
Set a specific dollar amount to spend on souvenirs and don’t go over that amount. Put that dollar amount onto a Disney Gift Card and once it’s gone – be done. I always made my kids wait until the last day so they didn’t have buyers remorse and find something they wanted more than the item they already bought. Or only allow one thing in each park is another way to limit souvenirs.
#2 – SEE THE PARKS AT NIGHT
No matter which Disney Park you visit, seeing the castle and other parts of the parks lit up in all their beauty is extra special, and not something everyone gets to see! It makes for great photos, too.
Check online to see what time the nightly fireworks are. They are usually at 9:00 p.m., but everything is subject to change.
#3 – GRAB A MAP
Look online for maps of the park before you go. Having a general idea of where each attraction is will help save you so much time and frustration. Yes, there are signs and employees everywhere, but knowing the layout even a little bit can help a lot. Don’t criss-cross the park. Set out with a plan and work your way around each park in a certain order.
#4 – RESEARCH
Research, research, research. And then research some more. While you’re taking a look at the maps, check out seating guides too so you know which seats are the best for each ride, safari, etc. For example, you’ll get soaked if you sit in front on Splash Mountain, but can stay fairly dry if you sit in the back. The front seat in many rides provides the best view, while the last seat on rides like the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will give you some extra speed.
Research from reliable sources. The opinions you will read in many Facebook groups when asking a Disney question are just that – opinions. Every person’s like and dislikes are different. Much of what you read there will be correct and helpful. Unfortunately, much of what you read there will also be incorrect and misleading.
#5 – DON’T OVER-PLAN
Especially when it comes to Walt Disney World in Florida, there is so much to see and do you would have to stay for a month or more to do everything.
Don’t plan every minute! There is so much to do while visiting Disney, you sort of have to come up with a plan and an itinerary. After all, you do need to make FastPass reservations and dining reservations.
With that being said, it doesn’t mean you need to be super strict and plan every minute! Make a loose plan and to do list. Relax and have fun, don’t freak out if things don’t go as planned. You know what you want to do and you can keep a list and work your way through.
Check the calendar on the Disney site to see which events are happening on the dates you’ll be at Disney. Some events definitely have an affect on crowds and wait times.
You can also get a great idea of what crowds to expect during your visit by using the Disney Crowd Calendar on Touring Plans. Touring Plans uses statisticians to analyze years of data to build their crowd calendar (which was even mentioned in Popular Science). Their information helps visitors to minimize the time spent waiting on line so that they can have more time to spend enjoying the fun aspects of the parks.
Download and utilize the My Disney Experience app. It is a valuable resource before and during your trip. This app is the current king of Walt Disney World vacation planning. You do everything with it. If you don’t use this app it will hold you back from having the best possible Walt Disney World vacation.
#6 – KEEP EXPECTATIONS IN CHECK
Have realistic expectations. While your “must see” list probably gets longer and longer as your trip gets closer, it’s important to have realistic expectations of your Disney trip – especially if you’re traveling with kids or seniors. Ask everyone what their number one thing to do is. Put those all at the top of the list, and go from there. If everyone has ten requests, you’ll never get through them all!
#7 – USE FASTPASS+
Spend less time waiting in lines and more time experiencing the magic of Disney! Reserving FastPasses are always a good option. Find out more about the Walt Disney World FastPass+ here. Information on the Disneyland FastPass system is here.
#8 – PICTURES = MEMORIES
Take so many pictures your camera finger feels like it’s going to fall off! Although selfie sticks are not permitted in the parks, there are lots of photo opportunities outside the park where your selfie stick will come in handy.
Also, purchase Memory Maker and take advantage of Disney PhotoPass photographers all throughout the parks. You will be surprised at the number of photos you will end up with and many of them will have a little extra “magic” in them! You will cherish those memories for years to come. Plus, photo books make perfect gifts.
If Memory Maker just isn’t in the budget, the Disney PhotoPass photographers will be more than happy to take a picture of your group using your phone or camera. All you have to do is ask.