So you’ve booked your Walt Disney World vacation and you’ve got a long ways ahead. What can you do to help make your vacation as less stressful and smoother as possible? Let’s face it. No vacation is perfect. And somehow, we have that thought in our head that something will go wrong, you forget to bring something and the likes. But what can you do now to somehow avoid that
I have been to Walt Disney World in Orlando five times. I just love the place. And this is coming from an adult with no kids (yet!). A lot of people seem to think that WDW is only for families with kids. I beg to differ. I have enjoyed it with AND without kids and I will continue going.
So here are my tips for before and during your wonderful vacation…
- Utilize Fastpass+ by reserving ride or show times up to 60 days in advance if you booked a Disney hotel and 30 days if staying offsite. This is provided if you purchased a park ticket already. You can book fastpasses online, through the app on your smartphone or inside the park through the kiosks. You can make up to three fastpass reservations and you can choose a time for yourself (subject to availability) or follow the suggested times. You have a window of one hour to show up at the ride entrance. For example, you have a 12:30 PM slot for Space Mountain. Then, you have until 1:30 PM to utilize your fastpass. It is a great free service to help plan your day. We used it for the rides we couldn’t miss.
- Make dining reservations as soon as you know where you would like to eat or if you have a place you want to try. Dining reservations can be made 180 days before your desired date. But if you booked with a Disney hotel, you can potentially make reservations for up to 10 days beyond your check-in day. Everybody else needs to call 180 days before every day they need a reservation. Some “table-service” restaurants are harder to make a reservation for (ie. Cinderella’s Royal Table and Be Our Guest) and will require a credit card guarantee and prepayment. There is also now a cancellation fee of $10 per person for no-shows or for not canceling by the previous day.
- Purchase Memory Maker in advance. Memory Maker is a photo package that allows you to download a copy of all your Photopass pictures including ride pictures and pisctures taken at table-service restaurants. As a note, anyone can have their pictures taken by Photopass photographers. A single picture costs $15. When purchased in advance, Memory Maker costs $149. Otherwise, it is $169. There were 13 of us during my last trip to WDW and got about 500+ amazing pictures. So yes, it was totally worth it for us.
- Pre-order magic bands and link park tickets. Magic bands are free for Disney Resort guests and available for purchase to offsite guests. You can use them for park tickets, fastpasses, room access and for charging if you have a credit card on file. You can choose from a variety of colors. If you don’t choose a color, they send you a gray magic band. They can also print a name on the inside of the band. You can personalize this bands with stickers/skins and magicBandits.
- Do not forget to put on sunscreen. You do not want to get sunburnt on your vacation. Use hats or fans to stay cool. If you forget to bring any of these, they are always available at your hotel stores or even inside the parks.
- Hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate. Orlando is hot and very humid. And when you are enjoying yourselves, it is so easy to forget your hydration. Bringing bottled water into the park is allowed. And if you don’t have a bag for that, you can always ask for iced water in cups in any one of the counter-service restaurants inside.
- Utilize Disney Transportation. For Disney Resort guests, Disney’s Magical Express is a free shuttle service to and from the airport. All you need to do is call them at least a month in advance with your flight details. They even have a luggage tag system wherein you don’t have to pick up your checked baggage from the carousel and will be taken up to your room. This luggage tag system does not apply to all airlines and does not operate between the hours of 10PM – 5AM. WDW also has a bus system of their own. So if you only plan on doing Disney Parks, you won’t need a car rental. It is an efficient system. But please allow enough time if you are set on arriving to your destination at a specific time.
- Send your purchases to the front of the park for pick-up before heading “home” for the day or to a Disney Resort. If you are sending it to a DIsney Resort, make sure to ask when they are guaranteed to be picked up at the hotel’s gift shop. It takes about a day. This way, you don’t need to lug around your purchases while your enjoying the park.
- WDW has Extra Magic Hour. There are certain days where a park is open an hour early or close later. This is a special benefit for guests staying at a Disney Resort. During EMH, not all rides or attractions are open. But you can certainly hit the big ones.
- Park-hopping is an option that you have to pay extra for. I do not park hop at WDW as opposed to Disneyland where the two parks are literally steps away from each other. In WDW, the next park is miles away and would require a monorail or bus ride. It can take a lot of time to get to the other park.
You do not have to plan every minute of your vacation. Or you’ll end up being disappointed or dissatisfied. I am sure I can give you more tips. But my most important one would be to enjoy it. Enjoy the company of friends and family or enjoy it alone! It does not matter. WDW is a lot of fun! There is always something new to discover.
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