Walt Disney World has a massive following of devoted fans that flock to the parks every year. If you aren’t one of these die-hard Disney fanatics, you might find your upcoming Walt Disney World vacation a bit overwhelming. With 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, a shopping/dining area, and a whole slew of onsite hotels, the prospect of making the most out of your stay can seem daunting. That’s why we’ve put together a list of some of the most important tips that any guest making their first pilgrimage to Walt Disney World should know.
Make Sure to Explore Outside the Theme Parks
Four theme parks can seem like enough for a full vacation but spending all of your time in the parks can keep you from experiencing some of the best that Walt Disney World has to offer. Whether it’s taking a day to enjoy your hotel or making a day trip to some of Central Florida’s other attractions, there’s a lot to see and do in the area. We love taking some time out of our visit to stop by Disney Springs and experience some of their world-class restaurants and unique shops. Whatever activities suit your fancy, we highly recommend setting aside a little time to enjoy more than just the rides!
Plan Enough Time for Travel
Walt Disney World is a sprawling resort covering 40 square miles. While you would think that it might make sense to pack all of the resort’s parks and hotels into one corner of that landmass, you might be surprised to find that Walt Disney World’s offerings are rather spread out. This is why it’s important to prepare for the time it will take you to travel between your destinations. If you’re using Walt Disney World’s complimentary resort transportation, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the options and travel times. If you’re driving your own car or taking an Uber, you’ll want to add in time for getting to the car and/or parking. Whichever form of transportation you use, always add a little extra time to your plans in case of delays.
Download and Use The My Disney Experience App
There’s so much important information that you’ll need during your Walt Disney World vacation, you could fill a few volumes. Luckily we live in the information age where almost anything you’d like to learn is at your fingertips. Disney not being one to be left behind on innovation has created a mobile app that links to their My Disney Experience system. The MDE contains all of your reservation, ticket, and hotel information as well as a wealth of knowledge on everything going on at the resort. You can get walking directions, make dining reservations, and even view and download your PhotoPass photos right from your mobile device. It’s also a great way to keep track of attraction wait times and make ride reservations like those required for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Make Dining Reservations as Soon as Possible
One of the most popular experiences at Walt Disney World comes in the form of their popular restaurants. Table Service spots at Walt Disney World offer everything from hot dogs to caviar and can book up quite quickly. That’s why we strongly recommend making your Table Service dining reservations as soon as humanly possible. Currently, guests are allowed to make reservations beginning 60 days prior to arrival. While this may seem weird to make your dinner plans two months in advance, it’s imperative if you want to snag some of the most coveted reservations like Be Our Guest Restaurant or any character dining experience.
Take Time to Explore the Details
Walt Disney World isn’t just about rides and shows. Walt Disney made sure that his theme parks would be fully immersive experiences where no detail was left untouched. Make sure you take some time to “stop and smell the hidden Mickeys” by really looking around you and searching for those minor touches that make a Disney park an unparalleled experience. Some of our favorite details include the names of important figures in Disney history displayed on the windows of Main Street USA and the humorous tombstones that line the Haunted Mansion. You can even make a game of searching for those tiny three circles referred to as Hidden Mickeys. Imagineers love to stick them in ride queues, restaurants, and almost anywhere else they can, and discovering them can be a fun game for everyone to play
Prepare for Increased Physical Activity
If you’re looking to get your steps in, a Walt Disney World vacation will certainly take care of your exercise goals. A trip to Walt Disney World involves a lot of walking and standing. You’ll be pretty surprised how many miles you can put in on a day at Magic Kingdom. We recommend preparing yourself before your trip by increasing your walking at home. Make some time for the whole family to take regular walks around the neighborhood in the weeks leading up to your trip. This can condition your body better and get it ready for the treks between rides. We also recommend taking breaks during the day, especially during the hot summer months. If you really need a break, schedule some pool time at your hotel for the middle of the day. It will help everyone get refreshed and back to the parks in the evening when many guests are already leaving for the day.
If you want to get the full Walt Disney World experience, you’ll want to stay at one of their onsite hotels. There are multiple categories offering different price points for almost any guest. Along with a stay at a Walt Disney World hotel comes a number of perks like early entry into the parks, complimentary transportation, and Disney’s high level of customer service. Staying inside the “Disney Bubble” also puts you as close as possible to everything the resort has to offer.
Have a Plan, But Be Flexible
So now you’ve got some starter tips and you’re ready to create your vacation plan. But remember that the best-laid plans often tend to go awry. That’s why we recommend being ready to go with the flow and throw your plans out the window if necessary. The last thing you want is for everyone to consider their day ruined by the closure of an attraction due to unforeseen maintenance. You also never want to push things and ruin the fun of your vacation. You’re at the most magical place on earth, after all, relax and enjoy the experience!
Use a Travel Agent
The easiest and best way to get the most out of your Walt Disney World visit is to use the expert planning skills of a Travel Agent who specializes in Disney destinations like our friends at Key to the World Travel®. Their services are free and they can be an invaluable resource in helping you plan and enjoy your vacation. Click here for a free, no-obligation quote for your next trip.
Photos Courtesy Disney