3 Tips on Planning a Disney Vacation

Planning a trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida can be overwhelming. There are tons of questions to consider.

When is the best time of the year to go? Where do we stay? Do we need a meal plan? How many of our days should we really plan to be in the parks? Which parks do we visit on what days? Where are the best places to see characters?

These are all extremely important questions and the answers to them are probably different for every family. I do recommend a few resources to assist you in finding the answers that best suit your family’s needs.

  • My Disney Vacation section and the Disney Mom’s Panel of the Disney website. This official Disney site allows you to answer specific questions about your preferences to guide you in your selections while the Mom’s Panel section includes volunteers who answer specific questions you and other guests may have. The forum is a great resource to search through previously asked and answered questions as well. It’s great to realize you aren’t the only one with that question!
  • All Ears. This site is not affiliated with the Disney company. Not only does this site provide you with information on the Walt Disney World and Disneyland, it also includes recommendations on Disney Cruises.
  • Tour Guide Mike’s Automated Vacation Planner. This site is not affiliated with the Disney company. Created by a former Disney cast member, guest relations host, and VIP tour guide and vacation planner, this resource is filled with information such as recommended vacation packages and a day-by-day itinerary to get it all in during your visit and still enjoy your vacation. The is not a free service.

These are all resources I personally use when planning a Disney vacation to get the most out of our trip. While we do not follow every recommendation, the information is extremely helpful in guiding our choices and decisions for our family.

Do you have a favorite Disney vacation tip you’d like to share?

9 comments on “3 Tips on Planning a Disney Vacation”

  1. I hope you guys had a great trip. What a fun memory for the little guy!

  2. I could talk on and on and on about Disney tips. As a former cast member at WDW, I saw a lot of people do it wrong, and a lot of people do it very very right.

    These are my top tips:

    1) There are 4 parks at WDW. Know that you cannot possibly do everything and see everything. You think you’re not getting your money’s worth if you don’t.. well let me tell you: you’re really not getting your money’s worth if you have a horrible time forcing yourself to try and do everything. It’s not humanly possible, and you’ll make yourself miserable in the process. (This is a tip directed specifically at Dads, who seem to have the hardest time accepting this)

    2) Plan to be in the parks when they open, but plan for a mid afternoon nap or pool time too. Disney parks are quietest when they first open. You’ll be able to get fast passes for your favorite ride, ride it once, go hit some others, and then ride it again at your appointed fast pass time. Disney is sensory overload. By budgeting in a nap or pool time, you allow everyone to step away just long enough to appreciate the magic of the day.

    3) Pack pre-cut moleskin, reusable water bottles, crystal light type packets and ziploc bags. Moleskin can be put on your feet mid-park if you need a refresh. It’s like getting whole new feet!

    4) Making dining reservations WELL in advance of your stay. All Ears Net has all the menues. Plan reservations around where you want to be in the World. Because they now have the Disney Dining Plan, Disney restaurants are always full. Even if you don’t opt for the dining plan, you can make your dining reservations up to 180 days in advance. DO it. Otherwise you’ll be stuck with quick service food the entire vacation.

    5) If you do have to eat quick service, here are the best places:

    Animal Kingdom: the one outside Yak & Yeti restaurant
    Magic Kingdom: Casey’s Corner, Noodle Station in season
    Disney Hollywood Studios: All along Hollywood Boulevard
    Epcot: UK Fish & Chips or China’s quick service are amazing, but you can also go to Le Cellier in Canada and get cups of their Beer Cheese soup and pretzel bread sticks to go. Have a picnic!

    • Wonderful tips, Amber! You are so right about getting to the park early, but I have to admit, we enjoy lazy mornings in the RV, cooking breakfast and hanging out. We’re more of a “close the park” family than the “open the park” sort. 🙂

  3. I’ve never been to disney, I don’t know if I’ll ever go. Does that make me strange? (just kidding, I don’t care if it does)

  4. I’m a huge Disney fan. This past Sept/October we spent 10 days at WDW and on our last day we did what some would call crazy & unthinkable – we did all 4 parks in one day! Definitely not for the faint of heart. We have Annual Passes to both Disney World and Disneyland Resort because, well, we’re crazy!

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  6. We have gone to WDW many times and have always stayed in the resort or at RV park. Someone has suggested staying outside of disney. The only thing I fear about that is getting to and from parks and our little ones needing to go back for rest. Anyone have suggestions?

    • Hey Tammy – we tried staying outside of the park once and honestly did not enjoy the trip as much for the same reasons you mentioned. We may try it again one day if we plan to split our visit with other parks in the area, but so far, we spend all of our time at the Disney Parks and love the flexibility of staying onsite. The transportation is just hard to beat.

  7. DIS Boards have been a huge help in our planning. I used them non-stop when planning!

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