Hi everyone! Former Disney Cast Member here with some tips on how to make your Disney vacation the most enjoyable and most relaxing. There are so many things to take into consideration before going to Disney World, but I’m just going to cover the basics today. Whether it’s your first time, or fiftieth time, the “pre Disney” steps below will definitely help you!
The beauty of a Disney vacation is that the parks were designed to be timelessly enjoyed – by children, parents, and grandparents together! The magic spans generations and continues to grow and change each year. I’ve been countless times with completely different groups of people and each time there are new experiences and new stories to be told.
Stay On Property or at a Good Neighbor Location
There are so many different properties to choose from at the Walt Disney World Resort. Staying on property at one of the Disney Resorts is a fun way to stay in the Disney bubble even after your day at the theme parks is over. There are three tiers: Deluxe, Moderate, and Value. They allow you to choose from three different price points. The main differences are location (distance to the parks), amenities available on site, dining on property, and overall price.
There are a few benefits of staying on property like free transportation to and from the airport on the Magical Express, Extra Magic Hours (enter the park either one hour before park opening or one hour after park closing -available only to resort guests ), proximity and transportation to the parks, Disney Dining Package (more on this below!), and the option to charge to your room using your Magic Band in the parks.
Good Neighbor locations are typically going to be more cost effective, but still have transportation to the Disney Parks!
Book the Right Fit Ticket For Your Family
Not everyone “Disney’s” the same! My role at Disney as a Vacation Planner was to help people find their best fit ticket for what they wanted to experience, and what their interests were. This is where the experts come in! Especially if you’ve never been before. It helps to ask questions like:
Do I want to visit more than one park per day? Do I want to visit any of the water parks or mini golf courses? Will we take a rest day? How many days will we be visiting? What parks do we want to see? How old are the kids and more importantly how tall are they? Will you be riding the roller coasters or are you more interested in shows?
All of these are important questions that make up the difference between One Park Per Day Tickets, Park Hopper Tickets, and Park Hopper Plus Tickets.
Set Your Fast Passes In Advance
As a resort guest you have the option to set your fast passes 60 days in advance for your Walt Disney World adventure! This makes the chances of getting fast passes for more popular rides like Pandora’s Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom or Mine Train in New Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom much higher. Non resort guests have the ability to set them 30 days in advance. Definitely take advantage of this, or let us know what you might be interested in and we can help you.
Make a List of the Things You “Must Do”
Probably the most important thing to do to set yourself up to meet your own expectations on your trip! Do you want to meet specific characters, ride all of the rides, see the shows, marvel at the night time spectaculars, book in lots of dining experiences or spend time at your resort pool? The list is truly endless when it comes to Disney vacations which is why it’s so valuable to know what you’re planning for this trip!
Schedule in Rest Time
Whether you’re traveling with little ones, teenagers, grandparents, or all adults, rest time is important! This could look like going back to your hotel room during the day for a nap or a swim or an entire day of resort exploration! Being in the parks is fun but also extremely tiring especially if you’re there from park opening to park close. I would highly recommend looking into a full rest day to really enjoy your hotel and the other Disney Hotels as well. It’s free to explore and there are some amazing dining experiences, decor, and shopping at these locations. There is also Disney Springs, a shopping area formerly known as Downtown Disney with FREE parking! There is no shortage of fun to be had outside of the parks.
Think About the Disney Dining Plan
The Disney Dining Plan is a a prepaid meal plan offered at Walt Disney World so guests can budget their dining costs in advance and save money. Through the plans you are given a set number of credits that can be redeemed for snacks, counter service (fast food/quick service) meals, table service meals, or signature dining (fine dining) meals. The credits are stored on your Magic Band which is also your resort room key and Disney World ticket, so handy!
I’ve included a super brief explanation of the three tiers to the Disney Dining Plan.
- Quick Service:
- Two Counter Service Meals (per night)
- Two Snacks (per night)
- A refillable drink mug (per stay)
- The per night price of the Quick Service Plan is $52.50 per adult and $23.78 per child ages 3-9.
- Standard Disney Dining Plan
- One counter-service meal (per night)
- One sit-down meal (per night)
- Two snacks (per night)
- A refillable drink mug (per stay)
- The per night price of the Standard Disney Dining Plan is $75.49 per adult and $27.98 per child.
- Deluxe Disney Dining Plan
- Three meals at your choice of counter service restaurants or table service restaurants (per night)
- Two snacks (per night)
- One refillable drink mug (per stay)
- The per-night price of the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan is $116.25 per adult and $43.49 per child during regular season. It does change during peak season.
Disney vacations involve a LOT! This feels like a lot of information I’m sure and it’s just scratching the surface. Luckily, that’s what we’re here forl. Please let us answer any Disney questions you have and allow us the honor of helping you get ready for your next Disney adventure. We would also love to hear any tips you’ve picked up during your trips or preparation! As Mickey always said, “See ya real soon!”