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Planning Your Disney Vacation in 8 Easy Steps

If you are planning to head to Walt Disney World for a magical family vacation, you might be overwhelmed with how to get started.  To help you have a wonderful experience, we have broken down planning a Disney vacation into eight easy steps.

Use these eight steps to help make planning a Disney vacation a lot less stressful.  These break down each step into an easy way to tackle all the big decisions you have to make.

We hope these steps will help you feel more confident and less stressed as you prepare for a magical vacation to Walt Disney World.

Super Zoom Magic Shot
Credit: Disney

Step One:  Choose Your Dates

The first step in planning a Walt Disney World vacation is determining when you want to go.  Although we all want to visit during slow times, 2022 has taught us that Disney might not have slow times right now.

As you look at when you want to go to Disney, take time to check out the calendar to find out when holidays will fall.  If you can avoid holidays, including the three-day holiday weekends, that can help with lower crowds. Another way to avoid large crowds is to travel when schools are in session.  Avoiding spring break and summer will help lower crowds as well.

Look at what works in your schedule to determine when you can travel down to the magic.

Once you know when you want to travel, then it is time to determine how long you want to visit.  Know ahead of time that no matter how long you visit Walt Disney World, you won’t be able to do it all.

To visit all four of the main Disney Parks, we typically suggest a five-day trip.  Seven days is ideal but we know not everyone can take that much time off from work and school.

Step one is focusing on when you want to go to Walt Disney World for your vacation.

Credit: DIsney

Step Two:  Finding Your Disney Resort 

Once you know when you want to travel to Walt Disney World the next step is determining where you want to stay.  Walt Disney World has three different Resort categories which are value, moderate, and deluxe.   Each of these categories offers different accommodations and amenities.

We have a post HERE of questions you should ask yourself when determining where you want to stay at Walt Disney World.   Use that to help you as you make your final decision.

All of the Disney Resorts are great and add to the Disney magic.  Look through what they have to offer to figure out which one will work the best for your family.

After you have determined which Disney Resort you want to stay at during your vacation, book it!  Disney has a very relaxed cancellation policy so snag the room when you can.  We are seeing Disney Resorts fill up quickly so don’t wait to book.

experience disney parks _ disney fanatic

Step Three: Make Daily Plans and Park Reservations 

A new step in planning a Walt Disney World vacation is making Park Pass Reservations.  Guests not only need a valid Theme Park ticket but they also need to make a Park Reservation.

Upon booking your Disney Resort and tickets, you will want to think about which of the four Disney Parks you want to visit each day.  As you figure this out, Guests will want to head into their My Disney Experience and book one Disney Park for each day.

Doing this as soon as you can is important.   We are seeing Parks fill up so getting this step done early is key to being able to visit the Disney Parks of your choice.

Step Four:  Transportation Plans

Disney no longer offers the free Magical Express to Guests staying at one of their Walt Disney World Resorts.  Guests now need to determine how they are going to get to their Resort from the airport.

We have suggestions Here to help you make a decision.   They are all good options as they will get you to your Disney Resort.   Just take time to run numbers to see what will work the best for your group.

Disney Food
Credit: Disney

Step Five:  Food Plan

Once you know which Disney Parks you are going to be visiting each day of your vacation, start to think about what dining experiences you will want to have.  Disney offers two main dining options for Guests.

Quick service is a counter service experience where Guests order their food and pick it up at a counter.  Table service locations require reservations and those can be made 60 days ahead of time.  Both offer great food choices.

Think about which dining style will work the best for your family and have an overall plan.  It is super important to book those reservations as soon as they become available.

Credit: Disney

Step Six: Must-Do List

As we mentioned before, there is no way to see and do everything in one Disney vacation.  Before heading down to the magic, have some family discussions where everyone contributes their top one or two experiences in each Disney Park you are going to visit.

By doing this ahead of time you can have a general goal for each day.  This can help guide where you are going and what you are focused on each day.

credit Disney

Step Seven: My Disney Experience 

A big step in planning a Walt Disney World vacation is to spend time navigating the My Disney Experience app.   This is your guide to all things at your Resort and at the Disney Parks.

Read up on all that this app can do for you Here.  The app is super helpful but can be overwhelming if you wait until you arrive to use it.  Look to see how to mobile order, where Disney Genie is, and where to find wait times.  Doing this ahead of time will make using it actually on vacation so much easier.

Memory Maker
Credit: Disney

Step Eight:  Add Magical Extras

Our last step for planning a magical vacation to Walt Disney World is to look into what magical extras you might want to add.

Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes are both features you can add to your Park day.  They allow you to skip the standby lines for a cost.

Disney also has a photo pass package called Memory Maker that you can choose to add prior to your trip for $169.  This gives you access to all of the pictures taken on rides and with Disney’s amazing photographers.

There are tours, dessert parties, and so many other magical experiences you can choose to add on.  Take time to see if any of them will work for your family.

Planning a Walt Disney World vacation is a lot of work.   We hope breaking it down into a few, easy steps will help you as you plan.  Have a wonderful trip and as always use How to Disney as you plan.

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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