Is it time to start planning your first Walt Disney World vacation? Exciting! So much fun awaits, but before you get there, all your of the advance planning needs to be taken care of. We’ve put together all of the best Disney World Planning Tips you’ll need to make your trip a fun, memorable, and exciting one.
We’ve both been in your shoes, and we know how overwhelming it can be once you realize all of the choices you need to decide on and book months in advance of your arrival date. The planning phase of your Disney trip is part of the fun, so if you’re putting your trip together on your own, make the whole process easier on yourself by using the following tips!
Disney World Planning Tips for First-Timers
Start Planning as Far Out as Possible
We typically book our trips as soon as they’re available to be booked on the Disney website, which is about one-year in advance. I know that sounds a little crazy, but rooms fill up quickly. However, if you can’t book that far in advance, it’s okay! Rooms will still be available, you just may not be able to get the one you want if you are going during a very busy time like Christmas or March/Spring break.
Another advantage to booking far in advance is that you’ll be able to book your FastPass+ and dining reservations as soon as the booking window opens up for you. So once you decide that you will be bringing your family to Disney, start planning so you’re on top of everything.
Note: Even though you’ve booked your vacation well in advance, if a deal/discount comes up that you’re eligible for, it can still be applied to your booking. You’ll just need to call Disney and have one of the customer service reps apply it to your reservation.
Know Your Budget
Before you begin planning, know your budget and stick to it. It’s very easy to go overboard with all of the choices and enticing things Disney offers, so to avoid overspending and disappointment, set a budget and make sure your choices fall in line with it.
Planning a trip to Disney World on a budget is 100% possible. We have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to Disney Budget tips, so be sure to follow it!
Make Note of the Important Dates
All of the key dates you’ll need to know will be provided to you once you book your reservation. Write those dates down because they’re very important and can be the difference between you getting that hard-to-get dining reservation at Be Our Guest…or not…or scoring a FastPass plus spot for Flights of Passage (one of the most difficult FastPass+ reservations to get!)…or not.
Tip 1: Well before your FastPass+ and dining booking dates arrive, work on your lists and be ready to go as soon as the window opens up because space at those coveted spots fill up FAST.
See our lists of picks for the best uses for FastPass+ at each Disney park.
Keep “Extra Magic Hours” in Mind When Planning Out Your Days
If you are staying at a Disney resort, you will have access to “Extra Magic Hours.” This means that you’ll be able to get into at least one of the parks earlier in the morning than those not staying at a Disney resort and you will also be permitted to stay longer at specific parks in the evenings.
Extra Magic Hours are different every day and they’re not available at every park, every day, it all varies.And not all of the attractions in each park are part of Extra Magic hours. Keep your eye on the schedule so you can plan your days with this extra perk in mind.
Extra Magic Hours are published 6 months in advance, click this link to see what is scheduled for your stay.
Make a List of Trusted Websites to Read First Hand Reviews
There are many websites out there dedicated to sharing honest, first hand info about Disney trip experiences and Disney World planning tips. Find a few of our favourite Disney World planning websites here.
OUR website is also packed with first hand info from us, two Disney fans who have been to Disney many times, so check out our other posts to learn even more Disney World planning tips.
Once you have a list of places to find info, research, research, and research some more.
Make the Trip a Surprise for Your Kids
This is a good idea for kids who just can’t handle the anticipation for such a long period of time, plus, surprising your kids with a Disney trip is tons of fun!
Watch some videos on YouTube and start planning how you will to share the exciting news with them! It’s going to be hard to keep the secret for so long, but it’s so worth it!
Let Your Kids Help with the Planning
If keeping the trip a secret isn’t for you, then let your kids help with the planning. This way, they can have some input into the restaurant reservations and the rides and attractions they want to try most.
Download the My Disney Experience App
This app is going to become your best friend before and during your trip.
Once booked, you’ll be able to access and update all of your plans through the My Disney Experience section of the Disney website. When you’re on the go, you can have all the info at your fingertips through the app.
We have a post all about the My Disney Experience App that you should check out to learn about all the advantages to having it on your phone.
Be Realistic with Your To-Do List
This is a very important Disney World tip for first timers. With four theme parks, two water parks, Disney Springs, and the resort you’re stay at, there is SO MUCH to do and see at Walt Disney World.
On your first trip, you’re going to want to do it all and see it all. Realistically, you won’t be able to without exhausting yourself and your family. Make a list of all the must-dos and choose which to fit into your trip.
Those things that don’t make to your final list will be an excuse to go back again 🙂
Set Aside Time to Relax
It’s very easy to get to Disney and want to go, go, go (see the tip above this one). There is always something to do and see and it gets very tempting to always be up and about.
When you’re planning what to do each day of your vacation, be sure to set aside some time to relax by your resort’s pool or just have down time in your room. Remember that it’s a vacation and you don’t want to return home exhausted and burned out.
Don’t Restrict Your Choices When it Comes to Dining
Disney offers some of the best dining options with lots of variety to choose from. When it’s time to start picking your dining reservations, open yourself up to new experiences and cuisines. You can always get foods that are familiar to you at home, so try something new!
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having Disney’s version of those every day things you love, some Disney restaurants offer outstanding versions of those foods, but make room on your plate for variety and you’ll probably find a new favourite or two!
We wrote this post to help when it comes to making those dining picks, so be sure to read it before you start deciding.
Use a Travel Advisor if You Feel Overwhelmed
When starting to plan your Disney vacation, if you feel overwhelmed, there are travel advisors who specialize in Disney vacation planning who can take care of making all the arrangements, with your input. They will also walk you through everything, step-by-step. Look up some advisors in your city or ask friend for a referral.
We pin lots of helpful Disney World planning tips as well as Disney World tips and secrets over on Pinterest, so follow us over there to pick up some helpful info to make Disney World for beginners a breeze.
Do you have any more Disney World planning tips for first-timers? Let us know in the comments below!
If you like these Disney World planning tips, you may also like these other helpful posts:
- Best Disney World Planning Websites
- 5 Reasons to Download the My Disney Experience App
- 6 Fun Things to Do at Disney Springs
- Tips for Choosing Your Walt Disney World Dining Reservations
- Can You Bring Your Own Food Into Disney World? Plus, Other Disney Questions Answered