Planning a visit to Walt Disney World can seem like an overwhelming process. When I started researching for our first trip, I had no idea what we were in for, despite hours of reading and research. Research is important before your visit and these Disney tips will help make your trip a bit less stressful and overwhelming. These Disney tips will help you plan everything from planning for your Disney trip to budgeting to making the most of your park time.
Tips for Planning your Disney Vacation
One of the most important things I tell people when they ask me for Disney tips is to spend some time planning. Disney World is huge. I know I didn’t fully understand how big it was until our first visit. Sure you can show up and wing it, but spending some time before your Disney trip to learn about the parks, dining, tickets, resorts, and get a loose idea will make your trip so much better.
- Have a plan. From planning when you’ll visit Mickey and his friends to what Advanced Dining Reservations you’ll need, it pays to have a plan. It puts you miles ahead of the folks who just show up at the park without having a plan. I’ve got a full planning guide with more in depth information if you need help planning.
- Know why you’re visiting. If your focus is going to be spending as much time in the parks as possible, know what parks you want to spend time in and choose a resort that is closest or a value resort. For guests who want to spend more time at their resort during their visit, you might look into a moderate or deluxe resort with more accommodations.
- Research your options. Even if this is your family’s “once in a lifetime” (or at least the next few years) trips, you’ll still have options. Look into different resorts, different times to visit (if your dates are flexible), ticket options, and dining plan options. There isn’t a cookie cutter visit when it comes to Disney.
- Join a group. Find a group on Facebook where you feel comfortable asking questions about your upcoming vacation and where you can share the countdown excitement.
- Pick one thing and stick with it. You’ll find that once you start asking for Disney advice or people find out you’re heading there, they’ll start sharing their favorite things to do and advice. Because every family does their Disney vacation a bit differently, everyone does things differently. It’s easy to get overwhelmed if you listen to everyone. (If you’re a mom, remember back to when you were pregnant and getting all that parenting advice. Same thing.)
- Set up My Disney Experience. You’ll need this Disney app not only to plan your vacation but when you’re on vacation too. Here is where you can make Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs), FastPass+ (FP+) reservations, view park maps, and see wait times among other things.
- Link your accounts. If you’re traveling with other adults, you’ll want to link your My Disney Experience accounts. This will be important when making Advanced Dining Reservations or FastPass+ selections for your entire party.
- Customize your bands. If you’re staying at a Walt Disney World Resort during your visit, you’ll be receiving Magic Bands. These will allow you to open the door to your resort room, serve as your theme park tickets (if they’re linked to your band), allow you to redeem your FastPass+ reservations, and even charge things to your room while you’re in the parks. Before you visit, you can pick the color band you’ll receive. You can also add a name or nickname to the back of the band (keep in mind this is what will show when the person uses their Magic Band).
- Know about special events. Lots of different things can affect the crowd levels and ticket prices for Walt Disney World. If Disney is anticipating heavier crowds, the ticket prices will be higher and you won’t see discounts on resort rooms. On the flip side, during less busy times, you’ll experience lighter crowds and may be able to find a promotion to help you save on the cost of your room or vacation package.
- Be considerate. No, I shouldn’t have to say this, but I’ve been to Disney enough to know it needs to said for some. Make sure to pack your patience and good manners.
- Disney isn’t the only option. Lots of people like to be in control of booking their vacation but using a travel agent or a service like AAA might save them not only money but headaches and hassle along the way.
- Travel agents are free. They’re there to know all the secrets and help you have the most magical vacation possible. They’ll also wait on the phone for you to make your Advanced Dining Reservations, FastPass+ reservations, and room requests for you. They’ll also keep an eye out for new deals and promotions that will help you save even more. You won’t pay for these services. If you’re paying for your travel agent, consider looking for another one.
- Measure the kids. Be sure you’ve got an idea of your kids heights before making big plans for attractions. Compare them to the height requirements you can find online for the attractions. This will (hopefully) save you from a meltdown after getting excited for an experience only to learn your little one won’t be able to partake.
- Getting from Point A to Point B. Disney provides all guests with complimentary transportation like monorails, boats, and busses to help you get from your resort to the theme parks. You’re also able to use Minnie Vans (Disney’s version of an Uber or Lyft) and other ride sharing services for an additional cost.
- Prep your pennies. If you’ll be making pressed pennies during your visit, prepare them at home. Take time to clean your pennies if you want them extra shiny (and need a fun science experiment to do with the kids to help pass the time until your vacation). You can stack them in a small tube, two quarters and a penny so you can just tip out what you need when you’re at the machine. You can also keep a bag with pennies and quarters in your park bag if that’s easier. Be sure to keep a separate bag for your pressed pennies.
- Disney is a great place to celebrate. If you’re celebrating during your Disney vacation, be sure to stop by Guest Services to pick up your complimentary celebration button. Wear it around the parks, but be prepared for Cast Members (and other guests!) to wish you well while you’ve got it on.
- You’re not going to do it all. My family and I have been over 25 times in the past twelve years and we still haven’t done everything there is to do or see. It just isn’t possible in a regular visit to Walt Disney World. Know that going in, and you’ll be ahead of the game.
- You’re going to have to wait. No matter how much planning you do, you’re going to have to spend some time in line. Bring some stickers, bubbles, or activity books to keep busy while you wait.
- Take the Magical Express. Flying to Walt Disney World? They’ll pick you up at the airport and take you right to your resort. This service is included with your resort stay. You just need to provide Disney with your flight information and they take care of the rest. You’ll get special luggage tags so the Cast Members know which bags to grab and where to take them. If you use this service, make sure to pack what you’ll need right away in your carry on bag. (Note: unfortunately Disney is phasing out this service in the coming months.)
- Don’t forget to have fun. That’s the whole point of this trip right??? Don’t get so caught up in the crowds and frustration and cost that you’re not able to have fun.
How to Pay for your Disney Vacation
One of the things I get asked about when people are looking for help to plan their Disney vacation is about how to pay for the trip and save money. One of the most important Disney tips I give people is to set up a budget for their Disney trip.
- You don’t have to buy everything at the parks. Get familiar with what you’re allowed to bring into the parks (food and drinks are ok) and think about what you can bring with you to keep from having to pay the higher prices in the parks.
- Get cash back. Use your Rakuten account while you’re purchasing things for your vacation. Make your purchases with a credit card that gives you rewards.
- Check savings sites. Pull up your Groupon app and search Orlando, Florida. I’ve found Groupons for restaurants at Disney Springs as well as for tickets for the Characters in Flight balloon at Disney Springs. You’ll also find tons of options for things off property.
- Bundle and (possibly) save. Purchasing a Magic Your Way vacation package could save your family on their vacation. Booking your trip this way also allows your family the option to put down a deposit and pay over time.
- Not every promotion is the right one for your vacation. Free dining in theory sounds great. If you’re not planning on eating that much during your vacation, then it might not be a good fit. A room only discount and paying for your meals as needed might be a better fit.
- What you buy (or pay for) and don’t use is the most expensive part of your vacation. If you buy a fancy new stroller (or rent one) to get the kids around the parks, don’t leave it sitting in your room. The same goes for special event tickets or add ons like the Park Hopper option.
- Purchase gift cards in advance. Purchasing Disney gift cards can help you not only budget for your vacation but it might help you save a little money as well. Consider purchasing gift cards at warehouse stores like Sam’s Club at a slight discount. Use your Red Card to purchase Disney gift cards at Target at a discount. Or ask family members to give your children gift cards instead of other things for birthdays or holidays.
- Purchase pins in advance. If you’ll want to take part in pin trading during your vacation, consider finding a legitimate seller on eBay to purchase pins in advance from. You’ll pay much less than you will in the parks, and chances are good you’ll get some you’ll want to trade (and probably some you want to keep too).
- You don’t need the extras. If you’re visiting during the holidays or another special event, don’t feel like you *have to* do all the extra things and add to the cost of your vacation. You’ll have plenty to do (and plenty of fun) if you’re not able to do the extras.
- Pick the right splurges. Can’t miss out on those extras? I get that too. It’s fun to do all the things, but you still don’t have to do everything. Look at your options and pick the best fit(s) for your family.
- A timeshare might be a perfect fit. Did you know that Disney has it’s own timeshare option? The Disney Vacation Club (DVC) might just be the perfect fit for your family. If you’re not ready to take the leap and join yourself, you can rent points from others for your stay. Renting points can be cheaper than paying outright for the accommodations and give you more space during your visit.
Disney Tips to for Your Resort
- Time to wake up! Sure you’re at Disney but that doesn’t mean sleeping the day away. Call to set up magical wake up call from the front desk of your resort. You might want to let the kids answer when they call to wake you up.
- Consider a refillable mug. If you’re staying at a Disney resort, consider purchasing a refillable mug to use at the resort’s food court. You’re able to use it the entire length of your stay, saving you from purchasing a drink each time you purchase a meal.
- Pick the right resort for your stay. Planning to spend lots of time in the parks? Then where you stay might not be as important so a value resort might be the best fit. Wanting lots of amenities to relax during your vacation? A moderate or deluxe resort might be the best fit. Don’t feel like you’ve wasted money staying at a fancy resort because that’s where you’re “supposed” to stay when you go to Disney. Pick the one that’s the best fit for your family.
- Ship things to yourself. Don’t have room to pack everything you think you’ll need? You can mail a package to yourself at your Disney resort. Be sure to include your reservation number on the outside of the package as well as the dates you’re staying at the resort so the Cast Members can get it to you quickly.
Tips for Eating In (and Around) the Parks
- You can pack snacks and meals. Disney generously lets guests bring in food and drinks (no alcohol or glass bottles) so you’re able pack your family’s favorite foods while saving money (and time standing in line) buying food in the parks.
- Share meals. The portion sizes and meals at Disney are quite large by most standards. Most meals can be shared between two adults, certainly two children, helping to stretch your budget instead of your waistline.
- Grab snacks. There are so many delicious things to try at Walt Disney World. Instead of eating full meals, consider some of the quick service and smaller (snack sized) options. Most of these portions are still large and can be shared between two people, allowing you to try even more things.
- Think outside the box. Instead of making an Advanced Dining Reservation for breakfast early in the morning, grab something small for breakfast and make your reservation for the latest possible breakfast time. You’ll get the same food, price, and experience and not have to have a huge lunch (saving you more money). This also works for lunch to save you from paying those more expensive dinner prices.
- Most places are allergy friendly. If you’re dining at Disney, you’ll be challenged to find a place more accomodating for food sensitivities or allergies. Make the Cast Member aware when making the Advanced Dining Reservation, when you check in at the restaurant, and when you speak with your server. Many times the chef themselves will come out to speak with you to be sure they can make something to meet your dietary needs.
- Note your ADRs. Make sure you note your ADRs with anything you’re celebrating during your visit. You might receive some special pixie dust during your meal.
- What’s a birthday without cake? Many restaurants offer a small chocolate or vanilla cake you can purchase when you arrive for your reservation. You can also preorder custom celebration cakes for your meal.
- Picky eaters will love Disney. Be upfront with your dining choices, preferences, and limitations. Adults can order off the kids menus so if there’s not something you’d prefer on the regular menu, you can always order off the kids menu.
- Have groceries delivered. There are services that will deliver groceries to your resort for you, saving you from purchasing things in the park. Most resorts have at least a mini fridge so you’ll be able to keep a few things cold.
- Spend some time figuring out if the Disney Dining Plan is worth it for your visit. It’s not for everyone and it will take you a little bit of time to see if it’s right, but the savings can be huge which makes doing the math worth it.
Tips for Buying Tickets to Disney World
You can get discounted tickets. No it’s not going to be a huge discount, but there are legitimate ways to purchase discounted Disney tickets.
- Know the legitimate sites. I’ve used Undercover Tourist to purchase tickets at a (small) discount and had no problems using them to get into the parks or load them into my My Disney Experience account to make FastPass+ reservations prior to my vacation.
- Conference tickets. If you’re attending a conference at Disney, you’ll have the option to purchase tickets at a slight discount. Keep in mind these tickets need to be picked up at Will Call (or the Guest Relations desk if you’re staying at a Disney resort) so no advanced FastPass+ reservations.
- Don’t count out the Annual Pass option. Everyone in your group doesn’t need to purchase the same tickets. Consider purchasing an annual pass to help you save on parking (if you’re staying off property and plan to drive to the theme parks). You can also receive a discount on dining which could be helpful if you’re planning to do most of your dining at restaurants on property. There are also often room discounts for annual passholders. The total of these savings might be worth the cost of the annual pass so it’s certainly worth looking into. Plus the passholder will be able to come back until their pass expires!
- You can upgrade. Not sure how many days you’ll be staying in the parks? Don’t spend more on tickets than you need to! You can always upgrade your ticket and add more.
Tips for Using the FastPass+ System at Disney World
- Attend the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) presentation. It takes about an hour for the actual presentation (add in another couple hours to get there and back to your resort or one of the theme parks). You’re generally gifted some magical FastPass+ allowances.
- Know what’s worth it. Some attractions have queues you’ll want to experience or wait times that just aren’t that long so using your limited FastPass+ reservations on those isn’t the best use of them.
- You get more. After you’ve scheduled and used your three allowed FastPass+ reservations for the day, you get another one to schedule and use. Once that FastPass+ reservation is used, you’ll get yet another one. This continues until everything has been distributed for the entire day or you run out of hours the park is open. So don’t panic if there’s something you were really hoping to get a FastPass+ for and weren’t able to. There’s still hope!
- Edit your FastPass+ selections. Sometimes when you edit your FastPass+ selections, other times or attractions become available. If there’s a FastPass+ reservation you were really hoping for, it’s worth taking the few minutes to edit and see what else is available.
- Not everyone has to do the same thing. If part of your group wants to hit the thrill rides while the rest want to take in the classics, that’s fine. Split up during the day and come back together for lunch or dinner to share the stories of your adventures.
Tips for Making the Most of your Park Time at Disney World
- You can leave and come back. Even if you didn’t purchase the Park Hopper option with your theme park tickets, you can leave the park and go back to the same park without using any more days on your tickets. For example, if you were at Magic Kingdom and needed to head back to the resort to rest, you could go back to Magic Kingdom later that day using the same ticket.
- Skip the shows. If the shows aren’t something you’re interested in experiencing, skip them! While a crowd gathers to watch the shows or fireworks, you can enjoy shorter lines throughout the park.
- Get there early. You might not normally be a morning person, but it’s worth it while you’re at Disney (at least for park days). Getting to the parks when they open (sometime called Rope Drop) means you’re facing smaller crowds which means shorter wait times for you.
- Go against the flow. Most people head into the parks and go to the right (clockwise). Head the opposite direction (to the left) and you’ll find shorter wait times and lighter crowds.
- Adjust your regular schedule. At home you might be used to eating lunch at noon and dinner at 6pm. So is everyone else so lines (and waits) will be long. Those Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) will also be harder to get. By switching it up a bit and eating earlier or later, you’ll find you’ve got more options and shorter wait times.
- Use your FastPass+ reservations. These are free and included with your theme park ticket. I’ve had people tell me it was “too hard” to figure out so they didn’t bother while complaining about how long they waited in line. Even if you’re struggling before you arrive in the parks, you’ll find stations throughout the theme parks where you’re able to make the reservations right in the park. Cast Members are also on hand to help if you have any problems or questions along the way. And don’t forget to keep using them all day long.
- Know what attractions have a long wait time. Head there first when the park opens. Hopefully you’ll have a shorter wait time (there may still be a line and you’ll have to wait but it might not be as bad as later in the day). You can monitor wait times in the My Disney Experience app. I also like the Touring Plans app to get wait times from other users.
- Keep an eye on the app. Check in with your My Disney Experience app throughout the day to see how wait times are. If you see one of your must dos or favorites has a short line, head there ASAP.
- Weather doesn’t care about your plans. Chances are you might experience a rain shower or particularly cold spell while visiting. Know what attractions and experiences are indoors so you can still have fun while staying dry.
- Pack a change of clothes. Because it might rain, or you just might have a random accident, it’s helpful to have a change of clothes in your park bag (and a bag to put the wet or soiled clothes in).
- Know where to rest. Sometimes you just need a short break to recharge your batteries. Hall of Presidents or Carousel of Progress in Magic Kingdom for example are both longer attractions that are dark so you could sit and rest without drawing too much attention to yourself (unless you fall asleep and start snoring…).
- Use your Times Guide. It might be the paper version you pick up when you enter the park or it could be the My Disney Experience version. Know when the shows and parades are happening. You might want to stop to enjoy them or explore the parks while the rest of the crowds are watching the shows.
- Rider Swap is great. If you’ve got a little one who isn’t big enough to ride, head to the attraction and talk with the Cast Member. Ask if the you’re able to use the Rider Swap option. This will allow your party to wait in the normal queue for the attraction while someone waits with the little one who’s too short to ride. Once the party gets off the attraction, the person who waited (along with a limited amount of additional people) will be able to go experience the same attraction, using the FastPass+ entrance. Know that this is strictly height based. If your child doesn’t want to ride, is too scared, or any other reason, Rider Swap isn’t an option for them.
- Single riders might have a shorter wait time. If your party is willing to split up and fill in extra seats, use the single rider line on available attractions. Make sure you’ve got a meeting place set up as you likely won’t ride together and will get off at different times. This can save you lots of time waiting in line to all ride together.
- Get in the picture. There are Cast Members all over the park whose job it is to take your picture. They’re Photopass photographers but they’ll also take pictures with your camera or phone as well. You can purchase the Memory Maker package in advance of your trip if you want access to all the photos taken during your trip.
- Use Extra Magic Hours (EMHs). If you’re staying at a Disney resort (or a Good Neighbor Resort), make use of those Extra Magic Hours. Those are times that the parks are only open to resort guests and are included with your resort cost. Be prepared to have your Magic Band scanned to confirm you’re staying at a qualifying resort. (Note: Disney is making changes to the EMH programs in the coming months.)
- Avoid Extra Magic Hours (EMHs). Yup I just told you to make use of them, but if you’re not staying at a Disney (or Good Neighbor hotel) resort, those are the parks you should avoid. Attractions will already have lines before you enter the park because the resort guests are able to get in early.
- Have it delivered. Find something you just can’t live without while you were out and about in the parks? Ask for your package to be delivered to your Disney resort room. If you’re not staying at a Disney resort or want to take it with you but not carry it around, you can ask for your package to be sent to the front of the park. Just be sure to set an alarm or reminder to pick it up as you head out of the park.
- Can’t miss the parade? If there are two times the parade is offered, watch the later one whenever possible. Most people will watch the first one so the second is often less crowded.
Tips for Finding Free Things to Do at Disney World
Believe it or not, there are lots of free things you can do during your Walt Disney World vacation. Some of my most popular Disney tips are how to make the free things offered part of someone’s Disney trip.
- Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. When you enter the Magic Kingdom, make a quick stop by the old fire station next to Guest Relations on the left side of the park. The Cast Members will scan your Magic Band, give you some instructions and send you on your way to help defeat an enemy. (Note: unfortunately this program is currently being phased out at Walt Disney World.)
- Help find the treasure. Also in the Magic Kingdom you can help Jack Sparrow find some treasure. To take part, you’ll pick up your maps near the back left side of Magic Kingdom near Pecos Bills and Pirates of the Caribbean.
- Grab a drink. In EPCOT, stop by Club Cool to taste Cokes from around the world. This experience is completely free (it is inside a shop where you can make purchases if you’d like but it’s not required to take part).
- Holiday decor. If you’re visiting in the couple of weeks around Christmas, you’ll be able to experience all the happenings of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party without the additional party ticket.
- Finish your Galactic Training. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios you can take Jedi Training. This experience fills up quickly so head to the sign up area (to the left when you’re entering the park, you’ll find it on your way to Star Tours) when the park opens. You’ll be given a time to come back for training.
- Help find Agent P. When strolling through the countries in EPCOT, your kids can help find Agent P (of Phineas and Ferb fame) with a special phone you can pick up before entering World Showcase.
- Learn around the world. Each of the countries in World Showcase also has a Kidcot station where the kids can collect an item and learn about the country from Cast Members from that country.
- Special events. Throughout the year, the parks (mainly EPCOT) host special events like the Flower, Holidays Around the World, and Garden Festival and Food and Wine Festival. Many of these special events have shows, concerts, and activities that happen during them and most are included in your park admission.
- Make use of Disney’s transportation system. One of the great things about staying on Disney property (or even visiting Disney parks) is having the provided transportation.
What to Do on Non-Park Days During Your Disney Vacation
The Disney Bubble is a big one. Most people think of the theme parks when they think of Disney World, but there’s so much more than that. I always include Disney tips about things to do outside the parks when people ask me for advice on planning their Disney vacation.
- Resort hop. You don’t need to be staying at a resort to stop by for a visit. And the Imagineers (the Cast Members who dreamed up these beautiful accommodations) have put so many details into each of the resorts. You’re welcome to stop by and walk around or enjoy the dining options. Know that you can’t use the resort’s pool unless you’re staying at that resort.
- Pool time. Each of the Disney resorts have pools (sometimes even more than one!) for you and your family to enjoy. The pools are heated year round and towels are provided. You can also bring your own from home if you’d like. Toys (including inner tubes, floats, or rafts) aren’t permitted in the pools but small toys like a ball to play catch are fine. Goggles are also fine.
- Resort activities. There are so many things to do at your Disney resort! Check out the information provided when you checked in or stop by the lobby to check out the current schedule of happenings for the day. You can usually find information about pool parties and outdoor movies among other things.
- Take a spin on the monorail. You can board the monorail at any of the monorail resorts (Polynesian, Contemporary, and Grand Floridian) as well at the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC) and go for a ride. It can be a fun way to spend some time and also get you around if you’re checking out the different resorts. Switch monorails at the TTC and take the EPCOT look too. You won’t need a park ticket as long as you don’t get off at the stop.
- Party time! A non-park day is a great day to attend events like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Event tickets usually cost less than a theme park ticket and you’ll get several hours in the parks to ride attractions as well as experience the special party activities (including the parade and fireworks).
- Watch fireworks outside the park. Want to check out the fireworks but don’t have a park ticket? Head to one of the Magic Kingdom resorts and watch the fireworks. At the Polynesian, you can watch the fireworks from the beach by heading out the back of the resort and to the beach past the pool. When you’re at the Grand Floridian, you’ll also head out the back of the resort and to the beach area. And at the Contemporary, you can watch from the observation deck on the fourth floor. After you get off the elevator, head towards the shop (opposite Chef Mickey’s) and out the doors like you’re taking the walkway to Bay Lake Tower. You’ll find a viewing area with a few chairs to the left.
- Shop til you drop. Disney Springs can keep you busy most of your day. You’ll find places to shop and dine. At one end of Disney Springs, there’s an interactive fountain where kids can play so be sure to bring along a change of clothes and towel if that’s part of your plan. The Springs is also decorated for the different holidays and you can even meet Santa here (for free!).
- Visit the Boardwalk. While you’re resort hopping, make sure you make time to stop at the Boardwalk. Pass through the lobby of the resort and stroll on the boardwalk behind the building. There are spots to shop and dine, as well as entertainment on the boardwalk. You can also walk to both EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios from here or ride the Friendship boats to the different stops.
- Work on your golf game. Hard core golfers can play on either of Disney’s golf courses on property. If you’re looking for something the whole can do together, try the miniature golf courses. Each of them have a different theme and are so much fun.
- Spend some time on the water. Disney has lots of water on property and you can spend some time enjoying it! From renting a boat to explore on your own to taking a guided fishing tour, you’re bound to find something that interests you. You can even rent a watercraft for the evening for a fireworks cruise.
Multigenerational or Multi-family Disney Trip Tips
Walt Disney World isn’t just for kids. These Disney tips for for groups with guests of all ages and different families to help make everyone’s trip enjoyable.
- You don’t have to do everything together. Even though you’re all going on vacation together, you don’t have to do everything together. Decide before you go if what times you’ll spend together. Some ideas could be spending the morning together or having a meal together to catch up.
- Make your own reservations. Regardless of how you’re booking, let everyone book their own accommodations. That leaves it to everyone to pay for themselves and one person or family isn’t on the hook for everyone’s vacation. It also lets everyone pick what’s most comfortable for their family and budget.
- Link your reservations. If you’re staying at the same resort, request for your room reservations to be linked. You’ll need everyone’s reservation number in order to do this. Requests aren’t promised 100% but the Cast Members do try their best to grant as many as possible.
- Find one way to chat. It might be a group text or Facebook Messenger conversation. Maybe it’s via email. Or you could even FaceTime once a week (or month or whatever) to chat about plans. Keeping it consistent will help from things getting lost.
- Have a point person. Is there one person who’s obsessed with planning? Let them be the point person and do the research. There’s no reason everyone should be looking into the same things. Let them be in charge of making the FastPass+ and Advanced Dining Reservations.
- It’s ok to rest. Remember that you’re on vacation. Everyone goes at a different pace and taking a break is ok. Plan for some down time at the pool or napping.
- Ask for a night out. If you’re traveling with others, talk about swapping child care or ask if they can watch your child(ren) so you can have some adult time.
Tips for Packing Your Park Bag for Your Disney Trip
- Always have a change of clothes. It never fails…when I don’t pack one, something happens. Someone spills something on themselves or it rains or something else happens.
- Zip top bags are your friend. They’ll keep things organized inside your bag for you and since they’re clear, you don’t have to open all of them when you go through security. Use them to separate your changes of clothes, hold snacks and drinks (to catch any leaks), sunscreen, first aid items, pressed penny supplies, and autograph supplies to name a few uses.
- Throw in flip flops. If rain is expected during your stay, make sure to throw in a pair of flip flops. You don’t want your tennis shoes you’re wearing for your entire vacation to be soaked and unwearable.
- Pack “time wasters”. I always keep a back of magical things inside my park bag. I hit up the dollar store and collect things prior to our visit to help make waiting a little more tolerable for everyone. Things like stickers, bubbles, activity books, and the like help. Make sure to throw in a few extras so your kid(s) can share with the friends they make while waiting.
- Autographs please. If you’ll be collecting autographs during your visit, make sure you’ve got your book and markers together and ready to go. Keeping them in a bag together is helpful so you can just pull it out when you’re meeting characters.
- “Mom I’m hungry!”. Yup it never fails…my kids are always hungry! One thing you’ll always find in my park bag is snacks of some kind for moments like this. Disney allows outside food and drinks (no alcohol or glass bottles) in the parks so you could even pack lunch or dinner to enjoy in the parks.
- Keep the germs at bay. We use hand sanitizer throughout our day at home and at Disney. Of course washing your hands is best, but it’s not always possible. You never know what other germs folks are carrying around so better safe than sorry.
- Be your own charging station. You’ll find a few charging stations through the parks, but they’re generally pretty packed. Keeping a portable charger and cord in your bag will help you keep devices charged while keeping up with that plan you put together.
- It’s probably going to rain. Chances are good that it will rain at some point during your visit. Make sure you pack ponchos and small umbrellas in your bag just in case.
- Dress in layers. Keep some room in your park bag for layers. When you’re starting out in the morning, you might need a jacket or sweatshirt. As it gets warmer, you won’t need them, but you might later in the evening when it gets chilly again.
- BYOG. If you’re a fan of chewing gum, you won’t find it for sale in the parks. Be sure to Bring Your Own Gum if you want it while you’re at Disney.