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10 Things To Keep In Mind When Planning Your Disney Trip

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You’re off to Disney World and the excitement is overwhelming! Whether it’s your first trip or your 21st trip, there are so many things you want to do and you just can’t wait to get there and get started! Stop and take a breath though Disney Die-hard! There is so much to do at Disney that it would take over a year to do everything! That doesn’t mean you can’t have a fabulous vacation though, full of top Disney experiences. Here are 10 useful tips to help you get the most out of your Disney vacation.

10. Plan Your Trip Around the Extra Magic Hours:

Disney posts its park schedule 180 days ahead of time, so that you are able to see which parks are open early or late. Use this to decide which park you will attend on a given day and then make your dining and FastPass reservations around these hours. You will be able to do so much more at these times than you will during the regular day, so take advantage of them.

9. But Don’t Try to Do the Early and Late Magic Hours Back-to-Back:

Remember that you are on vacation and you do want to relax, so don’t stay out late and get up early the next day. The rides will still be there when you are rested and you will enjoy them more. Pick early or late and make the most of it. No matter what you do, you will not get everything done that you want to do, so make sure you enjoy what you do choose.

8. Do Take Advantage of Your Hotel:

It is easy to focus on the parks, but Disney hotels are absolutely fabulous and are meant to be enjoyed! You will enjoy your trip far better if you take a break during the day and spend some time in your room or your resort pool getting your energy back. Much of the cost of your trip is the hotel, so make sure to enjoy it too!

7. Don’t Underestimate How Long it Can Take to Travel on Disney Transportation:

Disney transportation lets you travel freely around the resort without headaches caused by parking and traffic and can be an absolute blessing. However, it is very easy to underestimate how long it will take to get from one place to another. Always allow at least an hour, as you may have just missed the most recent bus and it may be a while until another comes along. Disney is also one of the most handicap accessible places on earth, which means that there is a lot of time spent boarding electronic vehicles as well. Even when your bus comes, it can take 15 minutes to load everyone. Patience and planning are required. A straight trip from a central hotel to a park will not take as long as going somewhere out of the way. I once spent almost 2 hours travelling from my resort to the riding stable at the Wilderness Lodge, as it required me to take multiple buses. I had not planned to spend the entire afternoon on this activity, but that is what happened.

6. Visit the Same Park on More Than One Day:

Consider visiting a park in the morning on one day and then going back in the evening on another, for example. This will likely give you a very different experience. If any rides are out of order on one day, they are likely functioning on the alternate day. Crowds are likely different as well and you will likely be able to go back to what you missed or repeat what you loved the next time around.

5. Make dining reservations:

Disney World has some absolutely fabulous restaurants with some very unique themes that will give you experiences to last a lifetime. However, all the other park-goers have the same idea as you! Some of the more popular restaurants like Be Our Guest and Chef Mickey’s are fully booked all the time, so do your research and make your reservations when the reservation window opens 180 days before you would like to dine. This doesn’t mean you can’t be spontaneous – but don’t try to be for these popular places, or you will be disappointed.

4. Eat Meals at Off-Times:

Try to avoid eating meals at peak times, whether you are sitting down or doing quick service. By going early, you will find seating right away, spend less time waiting in line and get back out there to the rides while all your fellow park-goers are fighting for their French fries. Even with a reservation, you are only guaranteed to get the next table available. If it is packed, you will likely be waiting a while. You will probably find the ride lines shorter at 12:30 and can make better use of your time there.

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3. Character Dining:

Try to combine eating and meeting characters, as you are going to eat anyway. It is so much nicer to have multiple characters come to your table and joke around with your children in an air-conditioned environment than it is to stand in long lines in the heat to see them one at a time. It can make for a long trip through the park if you have to keep stopping every time you see one of your favorites. Character dining can be expensive, but it is well worth the money if it is in your budget.

2. Use the PhotoPass Service:

You do not need to purchase any type of PhotoPass package in order to have your pictures taken by the PhotoPass photographers. They will take the same picture, in the same location, with your own camera. They are located at the most iconic spots in the park, so you will want pictures taken at those locations.

1. Prioritize and Then Let It Go:

You can’t do everything, so make sure that you give yourself the opportunity to do a few things that you really want to do, book your FastPasses for those things, if possible, and leave yourself an opportunity to go back if something happens and you weren’t able to do it when you intended, like the ride was broken down. If the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is crucial, try to do it at the beginning of your trip. That gets your vacation off with a bang and lets your little girl have more time to wander around dressed as a princess and have cast members give her special attention in her princess outfit. Then, when you find you’ve run out of time to do everything, at least you’ve done the key things and made your memories. Remember that you are lucky just to be in the most magical place on earth and take it in!

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Related Articles:

– Top 10 Character Dining Experiences At Disney World

– Disney World Transportation – Everything You Need To Know

About Sandra

Sandra Chu lives in the Midwest with her husband and two daughters. She is a Canadian lawyer, but became a stay-at-home Mom when she moved to the US in 2007. She fell in love with Disney World on her first trip in her late 20's and has since been back over 30 times. She loves helping people plan their Disney vacations and has been lucky enough to turn this into a career! She works as an independent agent with The Enchanted Traveler, helping people plan all types of magical dream vacations with Disney, including Disney cruises and Adventures By Disney vacations. She has been to Disney at all times of year, with kids of all ages, and has mastered the art of doing Disney with princesses! She is now exploring Disney with a tween. Every trip is a bit different, but always magical! You can find her on Facebook under The Enchanted Traveler.

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