From the moment you book your Disney World trip all throughout the planning process, there are a number of things you’ll need to do before you leave for your trip. Especially for those who haven’t gone before, you’ll want to make sure you’re all set to avoid surprises and save you time in the long-run.
1. Do Your Research
You’ll want to research what your options are. Check out the Disney World website and take a look at the different Disney hotels, ticket options, and special events that take place throughout the year. You’ll also want to get a handle on what the most crowded and least crowded times of year are. This information will help you choose the vacation plan that works with your schedule, budget, and preference.
2. Book the Trip
Once you have your dates, your hotel, dining options, and your tickets picked out, you’re ready to book your trip. You can do so directly through the Disney website or through a travel agent. Even if you’re a pro at booking your Disney vacation, a travel agent is still recommended since they can sometimes find discounts or specials you may not be aware of, and if something goes wrong, you have someone else who can help out.
3. Create Your Vacation Schedule
Have an idea of what parks you’ll be visiting each day. This will make the next two steps much easier. A tip for picking which parks to do which days is to determine how much time you plan on spending there. Magic Kingdom and Epcot tend to be all-day parks while Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom can often be half-day parks. Also take a look at Extra Magic Hours available to Disney Resort guests.
4. Dining Reservations
If you’re staying on Disney property, you can book your Table Service dining reservations up to 180 days in advance starting at 7am. This is important to know since some of the busiest restaurants like Cinderella Castle, Be Our Guest, and The Boathouse tend to fill up quickly. This can be done online or over the phone. If you have the dining plan, you can use your Table Service Credits to pay for meals.
Again, if you’re staying on property, you can book your Fastpasses before everyone else by going online to reserve your spots 60 days in advance. Instead of having to rush to the parks the day of to get a paper pass, you can now reserve Fastpasses ahead of time and know you’re guaranteed a chance to go on your favorite attractions. You can only do one park per day, meaning you can’t get a Fastpass for Magic Kingdom and Epcot attractions the same day. This is why it’s important to know where you plan on being throughout your trip.
6. Select Magic Band Colors
Your Magic Bands like your tickets, meal plan, credit card, and Fastpass selections all in one convenient location. If you’re using Magical Express to get from Orlando International Airport to your Disney resort, this will be linked as well. The bands come in a variety of colors and each person can choose the color they want. You can upgrade to a character band at the parks, but must purchase these.
7. Set Aside Clothes
In the days leading up to your trip, you’ll want to start setting aside the clothes you plan on bringing. Be sure to utilize all your Disney gear or take a look at some DisneyBounding ideas for outfits you can create that resemble Disney characters. Also keep an eye on the weather in Florida so you’ll know what to pack. It can be incredibly hot in July and August then drop to the 40s in January. Be prepared.
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8. Disney Gift Cards
One great way to keep everyone on budget as far as souvenirs goes is to put money on Disney gift cards that can be used in the parks. You can get these online or in person at the Disney Store. This allows you to stick to a set amount and avoid having to carry excessive cash around the parks. With your credit card linked to your Magic Band, it can be tempting to spend more than you mean to. Gift cards help.
9. Gather the Essentials
Also in the days before your trip, make sure you have all your essentials. Any medications you may need, your camera, extra memory cartridges, chargers for your camera and phone, sunscreen, and anything else you may need. This saves you from rushing the day you leave and gives you time to make that last minute trip to the store.
10. Have Fun!
When the day of your departure arrives, enjoy it! Whether flying or driving, listen to Disney songs on the way there or watch a movie. Get in the Disney spiriting and put your Mickey ears on. Get ready for a memorable vacation and enjoy every minute of it.
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