It’s so easy to get overwhelmed when trying to figure out how to plan a trip to Disney World. There are so many things to consider. A good time at Disney always starts with a thorough plan.
That’s why we’ve crafted this step-by-step guide, to make your Disney planning simple and painless!
Keep reading to find out the insider tips and tricks to a magical Disney vacation.
1. Start Early
The most important thing you can do to make sure you and your family have a good time at Disney World is to start early. We cannot stress this enough: a truly magical Disney experience depends on early, thorough planning.
The parks are such a popular destination that it’s nearly impossible to show up to the park and experience the attractions you’re interested in without planning. Plus, your mealtime experience depends on early planning as well.
Start at least a year in advance!
2. Determine Your Budget
As soon as you’ve decided that you want to take a trip to Disney, decide how much you want to spend. If you can drive to Disney, you can expect to spend at least $2,000 for a trip that lasts 5 days.
That price includes lodging at an inexpensive resort, 2 days at the theme park, and quick-service dining.
The Walt Disney World website has a great resource for helping you decide on a budget ahead of time.
3. Make Reservations
Around 9-12 months before your vacation, decide what hotel reservations you would like. There are a ton of resorts in the area that you can stay in, but you need to then factor in parking and travel to the park.
If you’re a member of the Disney Vacation Club, you can collect points for staying on-site in a Disney resort.
A lot of the Disney experience rests in the top-notch guest treatment that you get at the resorts and you can get great meal deals when you stay at a Disney resort.
You can also check existing confirmed DVC reservations for some good deals!
4. Pick Your Parks
At the same time that you decide on your hotel reservations, decide which parks you want to visit. Decide how many days you want to spend in each park and whether or not you’d like to add a Park Hopper option. This lets you jump between parks each day that you visit.
You don’t have to purchase your tickets this far in advance, but knowing which parks you want to attend lets you pick your dining options later on down the line.
5. Travel Ticket Time
7-8 months before your vacation, establish your travel dates. If you’re coming from far away, now is the time to purchase those tickets.
Popular dates and times fill up fast. You could always try to wait for a last-minute deal, but you run the risk of not being able to travel with your family members and there’s no guarantee that you will find a less expensive ticket.
6. Craft Your Itinerary
Around the time you make your travel plans, start to think of the basic shape you want your vacation to take.
This includes nailing down the time you’ll arrive, check in to your hotel, and what each day will consist of. Be specific about which parks you would like to visit each day, where you plan to eat, and which attractions you’ll see.
Don’t forget to make time for Disney Springs and other activities you’ll want to participate in while you’re in Florida!
7. The Dining Experience
Exactly 180 days before your check-in, you absolutely need to nail down your dining plans.
There’s a technique to this to make sure you get the dining reservations you want. Many Disney dining services are in high demand and as soon as Disney is open for reservations 180 days before your park visit, people are manning the phones in an attempt to get a good reservation.
At exactly 7 AM, 180 days before your trip to that specific park, jump on the computer or the telephone to book your desired dining reservation.
Don’t be too disappointed if you wind up not getting the reservation you want. There are some super high-demand locations that are nearly impossible to secure reservations with.
Now that you know when you’ll visit each park and where you’re going to eat, you can pick the attractions that are the most important to you.
Disney has an awesome system called FastPass+where you can choose to secure your place in line for different attractions.
You can only have a certain number of attractions secured on your FastPass at a time, but knowing which major attractions you want to see and when can help you plan your movements in the park each day.
Now all that’s left to do is pack! Make sure you bring plenty of comfortable shoes, sun protection, and a few extra pairs of sunglasses.
Some of the items that people most typically forget are medication, underwear, chargers, and hygiene products. Make yourself a list and pack ahead of time to ensure that you don’t leave anything important behind!
How to Plan a Trip to Disney World
Now that you know how to plan a trip to Disney World, you’ve got a basic understanding of exactly how complicated the process can be. You’re ready to get started on the adventure of a lifetime!
Many people find it easier to hire a Disney expert to plan their trip for them. There’s definitely an art form to planning and preparing for a trip to the most magical place on earth!
For more information on how to prepare yourself for a great vacation, check out more articles on our website!