PlanningThe ParksTips

Our Top 10 Tips We Always Share When Friends Are Heading to Disney

Because we are Walt Disney World “experts” in our group of friends and family, we are the ones that everyone comes to for advice when they are getting ready for a Walt Disney World vacation.  Although we could spend hours sharing everything we love about the Walt Disney World Resort, we try not to scare people away.  Instead, we have our top ten tips we always share.

We think that these ten tips are important for every Walt Disney World vacation.  They help Guests prepare and set them up for success when they arrive on their vacation and head to a theme park.  Let’s dive into what these ten tips are so you can be prepared as well.

heart castle
Credit: Disney

10.  Bring the Right Shoes

One of the things that catch Guests off guard when visiting Walt Disney World is how many miles you walk each and every day.  Most Guests walk anywhere from eight to twelve miles per day.  Because of all the walking, our first tip is to make sure you have good walking shoes.

Before heading down, make sure you practice walking in the shoes you are planning on wearing.  Take walks to break them in and make sure they don’t cause discomfort.  There is nothing worse than having major blisters on day one of a Disney vacation.

Even though we love the adorable matching shoes, we love having happy feet even more.  Make sure you have shoes (we always bring two pairs) that you can walk a  lot in without issues.  This is the first tip we always give our friends.

9.  Prepare for Weather

No matter when our friends are visiting Walt Disney World, our second big tip is to remind them to pack for the weather.  It doesn’t matter when you are visiting Walt Disney World, making sure you have rain gear is key.  Take time to invest in ponchos, rain jackets, and umbrellas.  Having these items packed and ready for vacation will not only save you money at Walt Disney World, it will also save you frustration.

If you have rain gear packed, when those storms blow in it won’t slow you down.  You can toss on those ponchos and keep on playing.  There are a lot of experiences that continue to run in the rain so check those out as well.

The other elements we always remind our friends to prepare for are the heat and humidity.  Dealing with the heat and humidity in the summer months can be extremely difficult if you aren’t prepared.  Make sure you pack lots of sunscreen and other protective gear such as hats.

We also recommend having portable fans, cooling towels as well as hydration packets.  All of these will help keep everyone cool as well as hydrated which is so important.

Know how you can escape the heat at Walt Disney World here.

Credit: DisneyTips

8.  Make Park Pass Reservations Early

Once we know that our friends are heading to Walt Disney World, we always make sure that they have their Park Pass Reservations made.  Guests traveling to the four Disney Parks need to have both a valid ticket as well as a Park reservation.

Park reservations are made through My Disney Experience.  Guests choose which Disney Park they want to visit each day.

As some of the Disney Parks (Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom) fill up quickly, we always highly recommend that these are made as soon as tickets are purchased.  This ensures that you are getting into the Disney Park of your choice.

Cinderella's Royal Table
Credit: Disney

7.  Make Dining Reservations

The days of being able to walk up to a Disney restaurant and get in are long gone.  I always tell people that are heading to Walt Disney World to make those dining reservations as soon as they can.  Starting at 60-days ahead of check-in, Guests are able to log into their My Disney Experience account and start booking dining.

Although this might seem way too early to determine where to eat, those high-in-demand locations (see here) fill up two months early.   If you are wanting to experience some table service meals like Chef Mickey’s or Cinderella’s Royal Table, it is essential that you are on two months ahead of time.

My Disney Experience App

6.  My Disney Experience

A big tip we share with friends heading to Walt Disney World is to download the My Disney Experience app ahead of time.  This is the official app of Walt Disney World and is extremely important to a successful experience.

Taking time to navigate the app before arriving is a good idea.  Knowing where important features area such as wait times, mobile ordering, and Disney Genie can make your first experience in a Disney Park a lot less stressful.

Rise of the Resistance
Credit: Disney

5. Know Your Top Experiences

No matter how long a Walt Disney World vacation is, there isn’t enough time to see and do it all.  We tell our friends to come up with a list of must-dos for each day.  We recommend 3-5 experiences, as well as any, must-have food.  Doing this for each day lets everyone know ahead of time what the goals are for the day.

Having the family communicate a must-dos list gets everyone on the same page and can set the day up for success.


4.  Plan in Rest

We know it is hard to plan down time when you have spent so much money, time, and effort to get to Walt Disney World.  Each time a friend asks us about our Disney tips, taking breaks is high on our list.

Disney is magical, but it is also a lot of work.  Making sure that you schedule breaks during the day either in the Parks or at the Resort is key to having a positive trip.  Don’t think you can go open to close each day.  Doing so will cause meltdowns that aren’t very magical.  Instead, schedule those breaks in the middle of the day or even a whole break day.  This keeps everyone refreshed and ready for the day.

Caseys Corner Magic Kingdom
Credit: Disney

3.  Mobile Order

As we mentioned earlier, there is a lot to navigate on the My Disney Experience app.  One of the main features we always point out to our friends is mobile ordering.

Mobile ordering allows Guests to choose their dining location, time, and order food ahead of time.  This is a great feature and one that we highly recommend using when at both the Disney Parks and the Disney Resorts.

By ordering through the app, you are able to bypass the regular line and pick up your food at a separate window.  This is such a time saver and one we always make sure our friends know about before heading down.


2.  Arrive Early

This is one tip that doesn’t usually go over as well.  When talking to friends about Disney, we always let me know to get to the Parks early.  We are a big fan of taking advantage of early entry and beating the regular Park Guests.  Early entry allows Guests staying at a Disney Resort to enter any Disney Park thirty minutes before opening.

Although thirty minutes doesn’t seem like a long time, it makes a huge difference when it comes to getting ahead of the crowd.

Keep in mind, when we say get to the Parks early, this means arriving at least thirty minutes if not more prior to opening.  We want to be through security and the touchpoints waiting in line at our favorite ride or at least where Cast Members are holding people when the Park opens.

Early mornings in the Park aren’t just fewer crowds, but it is also cooler!

Epcot Beacons of Magic
Credit: Disney Tips
  1.  Be Flexible

Our final tip we give friends is to be flexible.  Yes, it is important to have a plan and do some research ahead of time but be flexible when you arrive.

Because you have put in the work ahead of time, you will be able to roll with it as rain pops up or rides shut down.  Don’t panic that your schedule is thrown off, but instead look for those magical moments that pop up all over at Disney.

Being flexible is key to success when at Walt Disney World.  Things change all the time and being flexible will allow you to continue to enjoy the experience.

Those are the top tips we share with friends when they are planning a trip to Walt Disney World.  We hope that you found them helpful as you are planning your magical vacation.

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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