Everybody has their own way of doing things when it comes to planning a vacation to the World and their own tips
For me, coming from the UK, my top tip for visiting Walt Disney World would be to plan ahead. With trips likely to be few and far between, making sure you get the most out of the trip is helped greatly by having a very solid idea of what you want to do.
First of all I would say see what is best for you when it comes accommodation, in my eyes staying on property makes it far easier when it comes to making the most of the vacation. I see it as this; it gives you the option of not having to rent a vehicle, when you arrive at the airport (Orlando International) you can take Disney’s Magical Express from the airport to your chosen on property resort. Also once on property there is an internal transport system between the resorts, 4 parks and Downtown Disney (which is currently under a lot of construction work, before it will be renamed to Disney Springs). This transport system consists of buses, monorail trains and boats.
Secondly, comes Disney’s new initiative, Fastpass+.These passes enable you to bypass the standby queue for attractions and entertainment within the park., meaning that your queuing time will be cut by a considerable amount. If you aren’t staying at a Disney Resort and don’t buy your tickets until the day of visiting, then these passes will not be available to you until you have entered the park. If you stay off-site, but buy your tickets prior to your visit, from 30 days onwards you will be able to book these passes via My Disney Experience, either on Disney’s website or on the My Disney Experience mobile app.
And this is where staying on property again comes to the fore. If you are in a Disney hotel, that window of 30 days doubles to 60 days. Why should that make a difference you say? Well these passes are limited in number per attraction, and these do tend to go quickly once that 60 day window opens.
Using fasspass+ also gives you the chance to plan where you want to be on what day. The resorts are spread out over 42,000 acres of land and can take some working out as to where you could need to be. If you have set times for your fastpasses, you know which park you are going to be in when.
And this leads into the next bit of planning, food. Whether you want to eat quickly, have a snack, sit down for a meal or go for something high end, planning in advance for these will help you no end.
Similar to fastpasses, restaurants can be booked in advance (these could be seen noted as ADRs-Advanced Dining Reservations). These can be made for your fine dining, character dining or table service experiences. The difference with ADRs, compared to fastpasses, is that they can be made 180 days in advance and are available to anyone. If there are specific experiences you want, these need to be booked on that 180 day mark or you risk these not being available.
Even if you aren’t looking at these kinds of food experiences, planning where you are going to eat also helps. There a lots of different quick service restaurants across Walt Disney World, serving all sorts of different cuisines from across the world and not all places will serve something you like. So going through the menus before you leave for a vacation is definitely something I do and planning when you want to eat will also help, researching busy times and quiet times will help you out massively.
If you are travelling with children, more planning is involved. Finding out where the child care buildings are around the parks, again planning feeding for your child and highest priority for me is planning a break for your child. These parks are massive and involve long days especially if you plan on doing night parades and fireworks in the evening. I can only recommend planning a break for your child at a time when they would normally sleep.
These would be my basic tips for planning ahead of your vacation, whether you plan it to the letter or whether you only do some partial plan, every little bit goes a long way and helps to enjoy the magic.