10 Disney Insider Tips for Setting Your Disney Itinerary
Planning a Disney vacation can be a lot of fun, but with so much to do, it can be a little overwhelming. Having a plan in place helps and these tips will make setting your Disney itinerary even easier.
10. Create a Schedule Before You Leave
You don’t need to have every detail planned out to the minute, but you should be able to decide which park you will visit during each day of your trip so there’s no confusion and no loss of time trying to decide where to go. Knowing this information makes planning the rest of your itinerary much easier.
9. Leave a Full Day for Magic Kingdom and Epcot
People often want to go to Magic Kingdom the day they arrive. While this is fine, it’s recommended to leave at least a full day for Magic Kingdom, and also Epcot, due to the large number of things these two parks hold. Instead, consider going to Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom the day you arrive. Especially with so much closed at Hollywood Studios, it’s a park you can knock out in half a day.
8. Know Where Attractions Are
If you’re new to the parks or don’t visit very often, you should take the time to learn where the attractions are. If you look for Mission: SPACE in Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom, you’ll be disappointed. It’s in Future World at Epcot. By knowing where everything is, you can have a better idea on what to do at each park you visit.
7. Know Times for Parades and Shows
You’ll also want to know times in advance for the parades and shows that take place at the parks. By knowing the Magic Kingdom afternoon parade starts at 3pm, you can plan your itinerary around that to make sure you don’t miss it. Times for shows in all the parks can be found on the Disney World website or through the Disney My Experience App, which is free to download.
6. Book Fastpasses in Advance
Thanks to Fastpass+, you can reserve your Fastpasses up to 60 days before your trip if you are staying at one of the Disney Resort Hotels. You are limited to three per day in advance and one park per day, so plan ahead and take into account where the attractions are located.
5. Make Dining Reservations
If you’re staying on Disney property, you can also book your dining reservations up to 180 days in advance of your trip. The most popular restaurants tend to sell out almost instantly so it’s best to be prepared before this date with what places and times are best for your group. If you’re booking your trip in less time than that, you’ll have to see what spaces are still available. However, cancelations do occur so check often to see if something opens up.
4. Don’t Forget Entertainments Outside the Parks
There’s more to Disney than the four major parks. There are also two water parks, two mini golf courses, several 9- and 18-hole golf courses, Downtown Disney, plus all the entertainments at the Disney resorts. When planning your itinerary, be sure to leave time to explore these other fun activities. It’s a great way to do something different and explore more of the Disney property.
3. Make Time To Relax
Each Disney resort has a number of pools to relax in. The Moderate and Deluxe resorts even have hot tubs. Plan some time to simply enjoy the amenities at your resort and relax. If you’re going to be walking around all day, your feet will want a break. For adults, there’s also poolside bars where you can get a cool, refreshing drink.
2. Don’t Overdo It
Besides taking the time to relax, remember to pace yourself when planning your itinerary. If you plan on taking advantage of the late night extra Magic Hours, don’t expect everyone to get up too early in the morning to be at the next park before it opens. Yes, you want to do as much as you can, but you don’t want to exhaust yourself. Especially on days when it’s extremely hot, pace yourself and hydrate. If you need to return to the hotel to cool off, that’s fine. Don’t push yourself to the point where you’ll need a vacation after your vacation.
1. Let Everyone Contribute
Whether you’re traveling with family or friends, let everyone contribute to the itinerary. One person may want to visit a specific character, another may want to ride a certain attraction. Someone else may want to spend more time shopping. Let everyone’s voice be heard and find a way to accommodate everyone so no one feels left out.
Once you have your itinerary planned out, there’s nothing left to do but follow it. Allow for flexibility as not everything may go according to your plan (the weather), but by having a plan in place, you’ll have something to work with to ensure a happy and memorable Disney trip.
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Kristina is a freelance writer and full-time marketer who is a loud and proud Disney fan. Besides Disney Fanatic and How To Disney, she has also written for Examiner.com, Disney Avenue, and XOJane. A frequent visitor to Disney World, she enjoys trying something new each trip and experiencing all Disney has to offer. She lives in New York with her cat, Lizzie.