PlanningThe ParksTips

Top Planning Tips for Disney You Won’t Want to Miss

So much goes into planning a vacation to Walt Disney World. You have to determine which of the fantastic Disney resorts you want to stay in and where you want to eat, and don’t forget what rides, shows, and characters you don’t want to miss.

As you plan for your upcoming Walt Disney World vacation, we want to ensure you know these top planning tips. These are significant areas that you won’t want to skip over as you plan. Let’s get you ready for a magical time at Walt Disney World.

Early Theme Park Entry Sign, Disney's Hollywood Studios
Credit: V Mills

Early Entry and Extended Evening Hours are Great

As you set out to make your daily plans, look into the early entry and extended evening hours. Guests staying at one of Disney’s resorts can enter any of the four parks thirty minutes before posted opening.

These thirty minutes are a great way to knock out some top attractions with low wait times. Think about planning a few mornings during your trip to take advantage of this extra time in the park.

If you stay at one of Disney’s deluxe resorts, see if they offer extended evening hours. Guests staying at these select Disney resorts can access specific parks after they close. This happens on chosen days of the week, but see if you can take advantage of it during your trip.

Anytime you can get extra time in the parks with lower crowds is a huge advantage you won’t want to miss out on.

Mickey and Genie+
Mickey and Genie+

Learn About Disney Genie, Genie+, and Individual Lightning Lane

A considerable part of a Disney vacation now includes Disney Genie. This free planning feature is found within the My Disney Experience app. Disney Genie provides guests with daily tips and tricks based on their selections. Dig into Disney Genie so you can set up your tip board and get suggestions as you tour the parks.

There are two paid features as part of Disney Genie. Guests can add Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes throughout their trip. These paid features allow guests to bypass the standby lines, saving time and experiencing more of what Disney parks offer.

Before you arrive at Walt Disney World, take some time to dig into what these features are and how they work. They can be an excellent option for many guests during their trip, but they require some background knowledge to use successfully.

We have some excellent posts at How to Disney that can provide you with lots of great information.

mobile order
Credit: Disney

Mobile Ordering

Mobile ordering is another aspect of My Disney Experience that you will want to be familiar with before your trip. It is through this feature that guests can place their orders via the app. This allows them to skip the long lines built during mealtime and instead pick up their food from a particular window once it is prepared. You can see how mobile ordering works before you arrive at Walt Disney World. Doing this will make you more familiar with and confident in using it when you arrive.

Shoes with good support

Train Yourself

We highly recommend training yourself for your Disney vacation as part of your planning. Start by preparing your body for all the walking you will be doing. Guests often walk 10-12 miles daily in a Disney park, so you must ensure you are ready.

Keep your little ones in mind as you train. They aren’t used to walking miles at a time. Take them out on family walks so they can prepare for the miles. Use this time to talk about the trip and what they should be looking forward to.

Disney Skyliner and Disney Monorail
Disney Skyliner and Disney Monorail

Is Park Hopping the Best?

When planning your trip, we suggest you consider the Park Hopper before adding the additional cost to your Disney vacation. Park Hopping is only allowed after 2 pm at Walt Disney World currently. This limits your time to experience other parks in one day.

Think about how your family will tour to ensure Park Hopping works. If you are heading to bed early, there might be better uses of your money. Or if you are rope drop to park close, you probably won’t need to hop. Don’t feel like you have to have a Park Hopper to have a magical Disney vacation; instead, think if it works specifically for you when looking at your Walt Disney World tickets.

Ohana 50s Prime Time Liberty Tree Tavern
Ohana 50s Prime Time Liberty Tree Tavern

Dining Suggestions

As you plan where to eat, know there are still many options if you don’t get your top dining reservation. Guests now have up to two hours before their reservation to cancel. Because of this, you will find the last minute available as people change their plans.

Once you are in the parks, check the walk-up waitlist. Disney now offers this feature in the My Disney Experience app. It allows guests in the area to join a waitlist when tables are available. This is a great way to experience some restaurants throughout Walt Disney World.

Our other dining suggestion for Walt Disney World is to consider the lounges. Many of the restaurants in Disney have lounges next door. This can be a fantastic way to try some food without reservation. We love Brown Derby Lounge, Nomad Lounge, and Steakhouse 71 Lounge.

We hope you consider these top planning tips for your upcoming Walt Disney World vacation. As you plan, these tips will help you have a more magical Walt Disney World vacation when you arrive.




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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