A lot of time and effort goes into planning a Walt Disney World vacation. With so much on offer, visiting the Walt Disney World Resort needs a lot of consideration. Once you decide to visit Lake Buena Vista, you’ll find yourself completing many different planning stages.
The time of the year you will visit, the time you will spend there, and the budget are all things to consider in the first planning stage. Next comes booking your accommodation, transport, and Disney Park tickets. After that, you begin to form the plan, including which Disney theme park you will visit when, where you plan to eat, and other activities you wish to enjoy. Before you know it, you’ll plan your outfits, pack, and prepare to leave.
During the many stages of planning a Walt Disney World Resort vacation, there are questions you need to ask yourself. Considering your answers to the questions will help you make more informed decisions and plan a successful Disney vacation.
The Disney Parks
Are you really only planning to spend one day in each Disney Park?
There are four Disney theme parks and two Disney water parks to experience in Central Florida. Each Disney Park has many experiences, and you will probably want to enjoy them all during your Disney vacation. How you choose to do so is up to you. You can spend one full day in each Disney Park, or spread your visits over several days. But which option is best?
From our experience, we prefer to visit each Disney Park multiple times. We enjoy having the opportunity to experience attractions again and at different times of the day. While one day in a Disney Park may allow you to do this, the weather may also get in the way and make this difficult. Visiting the Disney Parks on different days also offers you a variety of experiences. One day may have larger crowds than the other. Likewise, visiting at different times of the day can provide you with a different way to enjoy the Disney Park. A Disney Park hopper pass allows you to enjoy multiple Disney Parks in one day. We recommend purchasing this type of Walt Disney World ticket for your trip.
Magic Kingdom is typically quieter in the morning and gets busier throughout the day. Generally, Guests visit the Disney Park during the evening to see Happily Ever After. Similarly, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a beautiful place to visit throughout the day. While mornings can be a little busier with Guests visiting before it gets too hot, evenings can be a little quieter and offers stunning views of the Tree of Life and Pandora – The World of Avatar.
Are you really going to spend the entire day in a Disney Park?
When you are short on time, spending a full day in a Disney Park can help maximize the value you get from your Walt Disney World tickets. However, spending from Park Open to Park Close in a Disney theme park is tiring work. Prepare to spend plenty of time on your feet. The heat and crowds can also make it challenging to remain patient.
If you plan to spend a whole day in a Disney theme park, we recommend allowing yourself to leave for a while. We like to return to our Disney hotel in the afternoon to freshen up and change our clothes before returning. You may even wish to fit in a power nap. Trust us, your body will thank you, and you’ll find it easier to make it to Park Close and even a little later.
Should you purchase a Park hopper pass during your Walt Disney World vacation, we recommend visiting two Disney Parks in one day rather than a full one at each Park. You can get as much out of your day and rest in between Park hopping. Trust us; you’ll feel a little less exhausted at the end of the day!
Are you really just going to see what there is when you get there?
Every Disney Park offers plenty, including attractions, Disney characters, dining experiences, nighttime spectaculars, and more. It’s also worth checking to see what to enjoy in each Disney theme park ahead of your visit. Doing so will also allow you to see if any attractions will be closed for refurbishment during your stay. You may even find special events during your Disney vacation, such as an EPCOT International Festival.
Having a list of the attractions and experiences you want to enjoy during your visit to each Walt Disney World Park will help you plan your day. You may have time to enjoy other experiences once you’ve ticked everything off your to-do list.
Are you really going to skip the Disney water parks?
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Disney’s Blizzard Beach water parks are worth visiting when spending time in the Walt Disney World Resort. They are an excellent place to relax while having tons of fun. The beach areas and lazy rivers allow you to rest your legs and feet, while the water slides and attractions provide thrills. Fill up on unique Disney snacks and dine at quick-service restaurants to keep your hunger at bay.
The Disney Resorts
Will you really spend that much time in your Disney Resort hotel?
You will be satisfied if your budget allows you to stay in a Disney Deluxe Resort. However, is it really worth spending so much more on accommodation if you plan to spend very little time at your Walt Disney World Resort hotel? For Disney vacations, where you plan to spend some time in the Disney Parks but also value time relaxing at your Resort pool and on your Guest room balcony, we highly recommend a Disney Deluxe Resort.
However, if you plan on using your Guest room as a base, with somewhere to sleep and shower, you’d be better off saving cost and staying in a Disney Moderate or Value Resort. Value and Moderate Resorts have all that you need for a comfortable stay. However, with planning to spend most of your time away from the Resort, there’s no need to splurge on the Disney hotel you will stay in.
Are you really going to skip time at the pool?
A Disney vacation should be filled with plenty of fun, but it should also give you a chance to rest and recuperate from real life. Of course, you will want the whole Disney experience, but remember that this can include some downtime. Whether you spend a morning, afternoon, or evening by your Disney Resort hotel pool, add it to your plans and allow it to happen. Your feet and legs will thank you!
Are you really going to wish you had access to more than one mode of Disney transport?
There are plenty of ways to travel around the Walt Disney World Resort. Using the different modes of transport is a fun part of taking a Disney vacation. While some Resorts are only serviced by Disney buses, others have access to another mode of transportation. Traveling to select Disney theme parks by another mode of transport can add variety to your Disney experience. It also reduces the number of lines you have to wait in for the Disney buses.
Consider staying in a Walt Disney World hotel that has access to other modes of Disney transport:
- Boat transportation to Magic Kingdom Park is available from Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Beach Resort, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
- Use the Disney Monorail from Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Campground, and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
- The Disney Skyliner provides access to EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios from Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, and Disney’s Riviera Resort.
- Boat transportation between EPCOT World Showcase and Disney’s Hollywood Studios is offered at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts, and the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin.
- Guests of Disney’s Port Orleans Resorts, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, and Disney’s Old Key West Resort can travel to and from Disney Springs by boat.
Are you really just going to see what restaurants offer when you get there?
Choosing not to plan the Disney restaurants you intend on eating at is a huge mistake. There is a restaurant to suit every palette in Walt Disney World. It would help if you spent some time researching the available restaurants to ensure you get all there is to offer. If you’re planning your first Disney vacation, it can be a little overwhelming. We recommend choosing five full-service and five quick-service restaurants you hope to dine in. Doing so is a great way to begin to experience all that there is to enjoy.
Are you really going to skip making advance dining reservations?
We do love a little spontaneity during a Disney vacation, but some things to do need to be considered ahead of your visit. Advance dining reservations guarantee your dining experience, especially in popular Disney restaurants. They also guarantee you the opportunity to dine without a lengthy wait. Not all Disney restaurants require an advance dining reservation. However, consider the time that you wish to eat. If you’re likely to want to eat during peak times of the day, skipping advanced dining reservations isn’t advised.
Are you really going to skip the Disney snacks?
Within your food budget, you should undoubtedly consider snacks. Replacing meals with snacks is a way to keep your budget to a minimum. Some Disney snacks are also too good to resist. If you’re traveling with younger Guests, you can bet they will see a Disney snack and want it. So be prepared to snack in the Walt Disney World Resort.
Are you really only going to make advance dining reservations for dinner?
Making dinner the main meal of the day is a popular thing that Guests do when planning a Disney vacation. However, the time you choose to eat dinner can severely impact your experiences during the evening in the Walt Disney World Resort. We recommend early dinner reservations between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to allow you to finish your dinner in time to experience the Disney fireworks in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, and Magic Kingdom Park.
Alternatively, consider securing advance dining reservations for breakfast or lunch. Begin your Disney day with a filling buffet breakfast accompanied by Disney characters. Alternatively, make lunch your main meal of the day so you can grab a quick service for dinner. A quick bite of an evening can reduce the time you spend away from the Disney attractions.
Are you really going to skip the special events that are taking place during your Disney vacation?
Many special events occur in the Disney Parks and Resorts each year in Lake Buena Vista. These include seasonal celebrations, special days, and more. When considering when to take a Disney vacation, you should find out what will take place when you intend to visit. Christmas and Halloween celebrations begin earlier in the year than you may expect. Awareness of the start of celebrations will allow you to consider attending events such as Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. You may also visit EPCOT when a Festival occurs, such as the International Food and Wine Festival or the International Flower and Garden Festival. Should your Disney vacation coincide with these events, you’d be foolish to skip them.
Have you really considered what activities may use up some of your budget?
There are many more activities to enjoy in the Walt Disney World Resort other than those offered in the Disney Parks. Many of the activities to participate in are offered at the Disney Resort hotels. Researching the activities you may wish to take part in during your Disney vacation before you travel will allow you to consider the budget you will need for them. We love participating in activities around Walt Disney World, including the Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland Mini-Golf, Surrey Bike rental, and painting classes.
Similarly, consider whether you plan to use Disney Genie+ or Lightning Lane during your Disney vacation. Both add extra cost to your trip. Find out which attractions you may be tempted to purchase them for. Plan to ride them without, but if the lines are too long, you know you have the budget to allow for Individual Lightning Lane Entry.
Are you feeling ready to plan the perfect Disney trip now? Consider these questions to help refine your plans for a seamless and fulfilling Disney experience when on Disney property.