Every Disney-goer knows the thrill that comes with planning a Disney vacation, but the experience might seem a bit daunting for newcomers. If you are planning your first Disney vacation, approach your plans with the knowledge that it’s already going to be a magical trip; it’s Disney! With that knowledge–and these ten tips to help you plan–you can get started on planning your Disney experience, stress-free.
10) Keep special events in mind. If you are trying to plan a Disney vacation and you know that there is one specific parade, show, or celebration that you don’t want to miss, then be sure to keep it in mind for the entire duration of your planning. Otherwise, you might find yourself ending your vacation with the realization that you forgot to go to the Main Street Electrical Parade, and then where will you be?
9) Think about the weather. Florida is generally hot (in case you didn’t know), but you should still research its particular conditions for your vacation’s time of year, and pack a few warmer and more waterproof items. When you are actually on your vacation, continue to keep weather in mind, and use indoor rides to your advantage!
8) Don’t try to diet. Vacations and diets are not just incompatible; they are opposites. Vacations are for indulgence, after all! If you deprive yourself of the foods at Walt Disney World–which will be available virtually everywhere–then you will probably just end up feeling like you are missing out. This is true for any diet, really, but the frustration will only be exacerbated on a Disney trip. Unless you have particular medical issues, save the dieting for later–and keep in mind that you’re getting a lot of exercise by walking through all the parks!
7) Research in advance. Although it might seem more fun and spontaneous to just show up at Walt Disney World without having any specific plans, knowing a few attractions in advance can actually help you get even more excited for your trip. Just visit Disney’s website to browse the accommodations and attractions, and you’ll have a more solid idea of exactly what it is that you’re so excited about!
6) Prepare for surprises. This might sound like an oxymoron, but it is very relevant for a Disney vacation. Disney Cast Members, characters, and parks can all present visitors with an astounding amount of unexpected interactions and laughs, so don’t completely pack your schedule; leave space between your “must-do’s” for everything else, whatever that ‘everything else’ might be! Knowing Disney, it will always be magical.
5) Make a short priority list. Disney has plenty of shows, parades, attractions, and roller coasters to offer every Disney visitor, and while this might be impressive, it can also feel overwhelming. Avoid the pressure to do everything on your vacation; instead, find attractions in each park that appeal to you (whether they are popular highlights or lesser-known ones), get Fastpasses for them, and watch the rest of your day open up to whatever whimsies come your way! Remember, this is your vacation.
4) Know your own pace. Every Disney visitor is different, so each visitor has his or her most active times of day. Know yours before you start your vacation; if you’re a morning person, head to an attraction-filled park like the Animal Kingdom after you wake up. If you prefer to start your day slowly, then have breakfast at your resort and go to a more slow-paced park like Epcot. Accept that you will not be completely energized one hundred percent of the time, and use your personal “lag-times” to strategize during your vacation planning!
3) Rest. Just as you should know your most productive time, so should you know your least productive time. For many people, this is the early to mid-afternoon. This is not a bad time to rest on a Disney vacation, especially since Florida will probably be at its sunniest around noon. And if you’re feeling guilty about the idea of heading back to your resort for a poolside nap or some of your resort’s highlights, don’t! You picked your resort for a reason; enjoy it! Spending your laziest hours at your resort will allow you to slow down, appreciate your accommodations, and get refreshed for Disney’s nightlife.
2) Don’t neglect your dinner plans. In general, your food should be more than just sustenance–you should enjoy it. This is particularly true at Walt Disney World, where even the snacks are magical! Make your meals–and restaurants–a priority when it comes to planning, especially because dining can offer a whole lot of other perks. You can visit other resorts for their restaurants, stay late in parks or get in early, and, of course, meet some characters! Disney employees are just as helpful in restaurants as they are out in the parks, so don’t be afraid to chat (and if you have specific dietary requirements, they are very considerate of that, too).
1) Pick your companions. The people that surround you can and often do have important impacts on your experiences in life. You have fun during a simple game night not necessarily because of the game, but instead because of the people that are there with you. The same is true in Walt Disney World, or on any vacation for that matter; a vacation is always enhanced if you travel with people whose company you always enjoy. And even if you don’t enjoy the company of all of your fellow travelers all the time, you can always split up into smaller groups during your vacation—or just stay behind for an afternoon to nap at the resort!
Making plans can often seem stressful, especially for big trips. However, with these ten tips (and the magical excitement that comes with every Disney vacation) you can actually enjoy planning one!
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BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Walt Disney World deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!