DiningPlanningThe ParksTips

Crucial Steps to Do Before Your Disney Trip

Before you get ready to head to Walt Disney World for your family vacation, there are some crucial steps you need to do before you arrive. We will break down these essential steps so you can quickly check them off as you prepare for your magical trip.

Walt Disney World Resorts
Walt Disney World Resorts

Choosing Your Disney Resort

The first crucial step when planning a trip to Walt Disney World is choosing your Disney resort. We love that Walt Disney World provides three different categories for guests to choose from for their stay.

Look at the differences between the value, moderate, and deluxe Disney resorts to determine which category suits your needs best. All the Disney resorts are well-themed and magical but provide different amenities and experiences.

Dig into those differences (we have great posts on How to Disney that break this down for you) and discover which resort is the best for you. Significant differences come from room sizes, pools, transportation, and dining options.

Determining where you want to stay at Walt Disney World is the first crucial decision you must make in your planning.

Disney Tickets

Choosing Your Ticket Type

You can add tickets when booking your Walt Disney World Resort vacation package. Disney offers a few options when it comes to tickets.

The two most popular options are base tickets and Park Hopper tickets. Base tickets allow guests to enter one park per day. You can come and go as much as you wish from that one park, but you aren’t able to visit a different Disney park on that same day.

If you plan to move between the Disney parks during your stay, you will want to look at a park hopper ticket. These allow you to hop between the four Disney parks. Right now, guests can start hopping at 2:00 p.m. each day. We hope this changes in 2024 as park reservations disappear, but that hasn’t been announced yet.

Think about how your family will travel during your trip before purchasing tickets. Thinking about your travel plans before you automatically buy the Park Hopper is critical.

Disney Genie
Credit: Disney

Are Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes Good For You?

Two new features Walt Disney World introduced are Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes. Before heading down to Walt Disney World, take some time to learn about these features and determine if they are suitable for you and your traveling group.

We have a lot of posts on How To Disney about Genie+ in each of the four parks and overall posts about how it works. Take some time to learn about Genie+ and its use, and then determine if you might use it.

If you think this will be a good feature for your family, budget for it. The cost can add up, so plan so you are prepared.

Family using my disney experience
Credit: Disney

Learn My Disney Experience

As part of learning about Genie+, you will also want to learn how to use My Disney Experience. This official app of Walt Disney World is cruicial to a successful trip. This app lets guests see wait times, order food via mobile order, book Genie+, Individual Lightning Lanes, and more.

My Disney Experience has so many helpful features for guests. With all the information, it can be stressful if you aren’t familiar with it before you arrive. Learning how My Disney Experience works and what features are available is a crucial step for a successful trip to Walt Disney World.

Family dining at BOG at Magic Kingdom
Family dining at BOG at Magic Kingdom

Make Dining Reservations Early

60 days before your Walt Disney World vacation, you can make dining reservations at Disney’s table-service locations. If you prefer this dining experience, you must ensure you are ready on the morning of your 60-day mark.

Many popular locations, such as Chef Mickey’s, Space 220, Ohana, and Steakhouse 71, fill up quickly, making plans to dine at these locations a crucial step before a Disney trip.

Although you can find outstanding meals throughout the Parks without dining reservations, making your reservations before you arrive is critical if you want to have sit-down meals. Be aware of some of your options if you don’t get into your top choices. What other great dining options are available, and how can you get last-minute tables?

Disney Quick Service Dining Plan
Credit: Disney

Learn Disney

We already mentioned that it is crucial to learn about My Disney Experience. We also think guests must learn about Walt Disney World overall. Before you arrive, look at the maps of the Disney parks. Become familiar with where rides, shows, characters, and dining are located.

Learning about Walt Disney World and the parks will make you feel more confident when you arrive. Being prepared will also allow you to pivot when things aren’t perfect.

Minnie at Magic Kingdom
Minnie at Magic Kingdom

Have a Plan

We don’t suggest you plan every minute of your day when preparing for your Walt Disney World trip. We think having a general plan for your days in the Disney parks is essential.

Start with a must-do list (we have suggestions on How to Disney), which will help you know where your focus should be in all the parks.

Figure out if there are rides, shows, characters, or snacks that everyone must have so you can put that into the plan. Taking time to have an overall plan will help the day in Disney Park go smoother for everyone.

When planning a trip to Walt Disney World, there are a lot of decisions that go with it. These are crucial steps you must take before arriving at Walt Disney World. By taking time before your trip to process these critical steps, you will be more prepared and have a magical time.



Jennifer Retzlaff

Jennifer became a lifelong Disney fan during her first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of her life. She quickly started to introduce her love of Disney to her family with a Disney honeymoon and then family trips when her youngest was 18 months old. She loves the magic that Disney brings to people through theme parks, cruises, and adventures. As a teacher, she tries to bring Disney magic into her classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” She is also part of the Magic Vacation Planner team as a personal travel advisor. With this team, she can now help others plan magical vacations. She loves bringing her love to Disney to readers with How to Disney.

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