Hands down this is a game changer. Disney World is anything but a place you are supposed to just show up to and wing it. When dining can be reserved 60 days in advance and parks must be reserved for each day you plan to enter, you know that even Disney is telling you to put a plan together. At bare minimum, plan those two pieces in advance.
Better yet, have a plan so great that you’ll avoid the long lines all together. There is real and true strategy to do this – if you don’t have time to or don’t want to learn it, there are experts who do it for you.
I cannot stress this enough! Choice of resort is often so underrated, but it makes a huge difference in your vacation experience. So often when I first chat with clients, I hear them say, “Oh, we just need somewhere to sleep.”
Yes, you can treat a hotel as just a place to sleep, but it can be SO. MUCH. MORE if you let it. The resort itself can be a place you relax, be entertained, bond with your family, and even a place that affects how easy your park mornings begin if you just put a little thought into your choices. Disney World offers a huge variety of onsite resorts – and you should definitely stay onsite if you want the most advantages in the parks and the easiest experience.
Choose a resort that offers an ambiance that will make you happy and feel like you are completely removed from the real world. Pick one with an awesome pool if your family loves to swim, or one that is right next door to one of the theme parks if you crave convenience. Make it a place you are excited to go back to each day!
Listen, you DO NOT have to feel like a warrior in battle, marching through those parks from open to close. Kids rarely are at their best when walking endlessly for 12 hours or more, and let’s be honest, neither are most adults.
I know that you may feel like you need to be in the park all day to be able to get to all of the attractions that you want or to make it worth the cost. But, going back to item #1 on this list, if you have a good plan, you can easily get to everything you want in the parks while still taking a break each day.
I recommend leaving the parks altogether in the afternoon to enjoy that awesome resort you’ve picked out. Play in the pool, take a nap, chill on the balcony – whatever rejuvenates your family. Then pop back into the park refreshed, happy, and ready to make it til closing time!
I know that you can find all kinds of articles about how to scrimp on food costs at Disney World. You can pack peanut butter sandwiches and get free ice water in the parks. But if you can swing just a little more in your budget, the dining at Disney World can be one of the best parts of your vacation experience, I promise.
With over 100 dining options to choose from, from incredibly themed locations like Be Our Guest to character dining to fine dining like Tiffins, your family can enjoy all types of cuisine with a lot of fun to go with it. Dining out brings more relaxation and more separation from the “real world” from the family that brings extra magic to a Disney vacation.
One great way to budget for this is to include a Disney Dining Plan in your package. Doing this means you’ll be able to fully pay off your dining experiences before you ever arrive, making your dining experiences as easy as tapping your Magic Band to redeem credits (rather than paying for each meal as you arrive and ending up with a large surprise dining bill at the end of your stay).
I know that this is our normal mode of operation for most things. “Who is the best pediatrician in our area?” “Looking for recommendations for a plumber.” But when it comes to your Disney vacation, it’s not the same.
When you post asking for where you should stay or what you should do, you’re going to get about 100 different answers. Most will contradict. The problem with this is that your friends and acquaintances are not you and don’t know your family’s preferences. What you’ll get is a long confusing list, often filled with well-meaning but sometimes false information that becomes overwhelming to sift through.
Instead, you’ll want to focus on what your family enjoys and match it to what Disney World offers. Not sure how to do this? There are services (yup, like ours) that will do this for you – a specialist will learn all about your family’s wants and needs and walk you through your choices so that what you end up with is a plan perfectly tailored just for you.
But expert or not, save your sanity and avoid asking social media for their opinions on this one!
Follow these five tips and you are miles ahead of most Disney World visitors!
Authorized Disney Vacation Planner | Disney Earmarked Gold Level
Since 2012, the Enchanted Traveler has become the go-to travel agency for moms and dads who want to save time and relieve the stress of planning a family vacation to Disney destinations and beyond.