PlanningThe ParksTips

MAJOR Lessons To Help You Navigate Walt Disney World

We absolutely love our trips to Walt Disney World, but there are still so many things we have to keep in mind to make sure we have an enjoyable Disney vacation.

After spending many family vacations in the magic, we have learned some important lessons that we want to pass along to you.  We hope that these lessons that we learned overtime, sometimes the hard way, will help you have a fantastic vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort.

Walt Disney World Map
Credit: Disney

Doing Some Learning

Our first lesson we learned is that we needed to take some to learn about Walt Disney World before we even arrived in the magic.  There is so much that goes into a Walt Disney World vacation from the four Theme Parks to the Resorts that it is important to learn about these areas.

Take some time to look at the My Disney Experience app to get familiar with the maps of the Disney Parks.  This will help you know where rides, attractions, dining and even bathrooms are located throughout the four Theme Parks.

Even though there is only so much you can do before you arrive, reading blogs (like this one) or listening to podcasts to become more educated in all things Disney.

seven dwarfs mine train
credit: Disney

Have a Plan

This is extremely important now more than ever when heading to Walt Disney World.  Even if you don’t want to make a touring plan for each day of your vacation, we highly recommend having some sort of plan before hitting the Parks.

Take time to determine what ride/attraction you are going to go to first so everyone is on the same page and you don’t lose anytime when you arrive.

Think about what dining options you want to make sure to stop at or what snacks you want to make sure you enjoy.

By taking time to do this, you will be less overwhelmed when you arrive at a Disney Park each day.

Not sure where to start?  We have our top five rides not to miss HERE.


Be realistic

Although we would love to think that crowds will be low and we will walk onto every ride we want, this probably isn’t the case or realistic.

We have seen Disney become busier as the year has continued so set realistic expectations regarding what to expect.

Have a plan on how to navigate the crowds while you are there so you are prepared for them ahead of time.  We have suggestions HERE on how to avoid crowds during your trip if you are looking for options.

You could also look into purchasing Genie+ as another option for navigating the Parks ahead of the crowds.

Don’t go into the trip with unrealistic expectations only to be disappointed.  Instead be realistic that there will be lines and crowds but have a plan on how you are going to successfully navigate them.

Credit: Disney

Disney Is Big

If you have never been to Walt Disney World it might surprise you on how big it really is.  Walt Disney World is more than just the four main Theme Parks as it also includes two water parks, Disney Springs, over 25 Resorts, golf courses and so much more.

Because it is so big, Walt Disney World takes a while to navigate.  Whether it is riding the bus to the Theme Park in the morning or walking around EPCOT, everything will take some time.

Be aware of this and schedule transportation and travel time into your plans.  If you are wanting to visit other Resorts, you will need to plan up to 90 minutes to travel in between them.

In the morning, know that your trip to the Disney Parks might be 20 to 30 minutes with traffic and picking up everyone.

When it comes to the Theme Parks, know that it will take some time to navigate between the different lands.  You won’t be able to quickly jump from Space Mountain to Splash Mountain in Magic Kingdom or World Showcase to Test Track in EPCOT.

Plan in 10 minutes or more to walk around the Parks so you aren’t rushed or missing important Genie+ return times or dining reservations.

Understanding how big Disney is can really help you navigate during your Disney vacation.

My Disney Experience App

My Disney Experience Is Key

Disney’s official app for Walt Disney World is My Disney Experience.  This app is super important for having a great vacation.  We have some key information about the app HERE, but just know it is your key to everything Disney.

Now more than ever before MDE is a key aspect of a Walt Disney World vacation.  It is through this app that Guests are able to mobile order, open their Resort room, see wait times and so much more.

Because this app is so useful and important to a successful trip, we highly recommend taking time to explore what it has to offer before you vacation.  By doing so you will be more comfortable using it and therefore be able to use it throughout your Disney vacation successfully.

Credit: Disney

Look Up

Our list lesson we learned in Walt Disney World is to be aware of our surroundings and look up.  This  might seem silly, but so often Guests in Walt Disney World follow the crowd.  If you take a moment to look around, you will often find shorter lines.

When heading to enter the Park or going to stand in line for food, take a look around to see if there are shorter lines to the side.  Often Guests will gravitate to the same lines making ones further down shorter.

Doing so will often result in shorter lines and less crowding.  Don’t follow the crowd but instead take time to see what is going on around you.

These are some of the major lessons we have learned during our vacations to Walt Disney World.  We hope that they will help you have a great and magical trip as well.

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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