Travel Till You Drop Logo

Top 6 Tips for Disney World Vacations

Disney World Vacation Tips

Our Suggestions for Disney World Vacation Tips

You’re on the brink of an incredible adventure: your first trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. While you’re gearing up for this magical journey, I can’t help but share in your excitement. My own Disney World memories are some of the fondest I have, filled with joy and laughter from my family’s visit. So, let’s ensure that you embark on the perfect Disney World vacation with these top 6 travel tips. This quick read is your key to making the most of your time at the magical castle and with your beloved Disney characters. So, take a few minutes and read on to guarantee that your trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, becomes an unforgettable experience.

Mickey Mouse

CHOOSE THE RIGHT TIME TO VISIT

Choosing the details of your top Disney World vacation can be a challenge if you haven’t prepared accordingly.  Disney has increased in popularity over the years, and the crowds can get a bit insane.  To avoid those crowds in order to have the best time on your Disney World vacation, you’ll want to head into town in the off-season.   For any major holiday, expect a top Disney World vacation to be packed!  If you can afford to take the kiddos out of school for a few days to head to Florida in the off-season, then definitely do that!  If you want to enjoy the parks without having to deal with the heat, head over between October and March, but if your goal is to enjoy Disney at Christmas or the 4th of July, by all means, enjoy the beauty of changes the park will make throughout the holidays.

MAKE AN ITINERARY

Making an itinerary might seem like overkill, but trust me, it’s worth it. It will help keep you and your family organized and give you a good idea of what you want to do and see when you get there. To get started, think about what attractions are a must-see for your family.  If there’s a certain attraction or ride you’ve been dying to see, throw that sucker on the top of your list.  It may be hard to hit all of the attractions, so you definitely want to ensure you get to see what is the most important.  For example, if it’s Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Epcot Center, or the Magic Kingdom, make sure to factor those in, as they each offer so many different types of experiences. 

Also, make sure you include any character meet and greets, shows, or parades that your family is excited about. Once you have a general idea of what you want to do, start mapping out the days and times that each activity will take place. If you have a good idea of what you truly want to ensure you see, try to factor in the walking time to get to each experience, or you may miss out on what your family considers must-dos.  Also, the itinerary helps to make sure that you’re not trying to cram too many things into one day (or, worse, one hour).

Disney Trip

GET THE DISNEY DINING PLAN

One of the best ways to get ready for top Disney World vacations to purchase the Disney Dining Plan. This allows you to pre-purchase your meals and snacks, so you don’t have to worry about budgeting while you’re there. Plus, it’s a great way to try out different restaurants in the park without worrying about the cost. And, if you’re traveling with kids, it can be a lifesaver since they tend to get hungry a lot!

Check out: Coping with the Fear of Solo Travel: Best Tips for Overcoming Travel Anxiety

USE THE MY DISNEY EXPERIENCE APP

The My Disney Experience App is perfect for any Disney World vacation. This handy app allows you to plan your trip, make reservations, and get real-time updates on what’s happening at each of the parks. The Disney Experience App also allows you to order food and skip the lines! So, make sure you download the app before your trip so you can take advantage of all its features.  With the My Disney Experience app, you’ll be able to have the best Disney World vacation ever!

  1. Download and Installation:

    • Before your Disney vacation, go to the app store on your smartphone (available for both iOS and Android) and download the My Disney Experience app. Make sure to install the latest version for optimal performance.

  2. Account Setup:

    • Create a Disney account or log in with your existing one. This account will link your reservations, tickets, and other plans to the app, providing a centralized location for all your Disney-related information.

  3. Link Reservations and Tickets:

    • After setting up your account, link your park tickets and any dining or FastPass+ reservations you may have. This ensures that all your plans are synchronized within the app.

  4. Real-Time Wait Times:

    • One of the key features of the app is real-time information on attraction wait times. This helps you plan your day more efficiently by choosing attractions with shorter lines.

  5. Show Schedules and Character Meet-and-Greets:

    • The app provides schedules for shows, parades, and character meet-and-greets. This information is valuable for planning your day and ensuring you don’t miss out on the entertainment options you’re most excited about.

  6. Dining Reservations:

    • Access the dining reservation system through the app. You can browse restaurant options, check availability, and make reservations directly from your smartphone. This is particularly crucial for popular dining locations, where reservations can fill up quickly.

  7. Mobile Food Ordering:

    • Skip the lines at quick-service restaurants by using the mobile food ordering feature. Place your order through the app, pay in advance, and then pick up your food at the designated time, saving you precious time in the parks.

  8. Interactive Park Maps:

    • The app includes detailed and interactive maps of each Disney park. Use these maps to navigate, find attractions, locate restrooms, and identify dining options. The maps can be especially handy when trying to optimize your route through the park.

  9. Virtual Queue (if applicable):

    • In some cases, Disney may implement virtual queue systems for popular attractions. If this feature is available, you can join the virtual queue through the app and receive notifications when it’s your turn to experience the attraction.

  10. PhotoPass Integration:

    • The app integrates with Disney’s PhotoPass service. View and download photos taken by Disney photographers throughout the parks, as well as any ride photos linked to your account.

  11. Personalized Experience:

    • The app enhances your overall Disney experience by providing personalized recommendations, notifications, and information based on your preferences and plans.

Arrive Early


Arriving early at a Disney park can significantly enhance your overall experience by maximizing your time and allowing you to enjoy popular attractions with shorter wait times. Here’s a closer look at the benefits of arriving early and some tips to make the most of it:

Early in the day, crowds tend to be lighter, and many guests have not yet arrived. This means that popular attractions often have shorter wait times during the first few hours after the park opens.

Lighter Crowds, Shorter Wait Times: Let’s be real, the last thing anyone wants is to get stuck in a never-ending line while on vacation. By arriving early, you’ll have lighter crowds and shorter wait times, so you can zip through those popular attractions without breaking a sweat.

Cooler Temperatures (Depending on Time of Year): Who says sweating in the sunshine is a good thing? Arrive early and enjoy the cooler morning temperatures before the heat of the day hits. Trust me, your feet will thank you after walking around the park all day.

Photogenic Morning Light: Are you an Instagram queen? Arriving early means you can capture stunning photos of all your favorite Disney landmarks without the crowds. Plus, the morning light is super dreamy and totally Instagram-worthy.

Peaceful Atmosphere: Sometimes, you just need a calm and peaceful Disney experience. Arriving early allows you to take your time exploring, appreciate all the little details, and soak in the mystical magic before the park gets too busy.

Priority for Popular Attractions: Don’t miss out on those must-ride attractions! By arriving early, you can make sure you hit all of your favorites without running the risk of waiting in a sea of people. This is especially helpful if you either haven’t secured any FastPasses or if the park doesn’t offer them.

Efficient Use of Time: Come on, let’s be real. You want to get the most out of your visit while at Disney, right? By arriving early, you’ll be able to knock out a significant chunk of the park before the crowds become too intense. Make your time count with efficiency, Disney Queens!

Character Meet-and-Greets: If you’re on the hunt for that perfect family photo with your favorite Disney characters, arriving early is definitely the move. You’ll have a better chance to meet characters with shorter lines, so you can bask in the magical moments with your loved ones without feeling rushed.

Enjoy Breakfast: Take a chill pill, kick back, and enjoy a relaxing breakfast inside the park before your day starts getting too hectic. The quiet morning hours are the perfect opportunity to fuel up for the day ahead.

Park Opening Ceremony: Rise and shine, Disney-goers! Don’t miss out on the park’s opening ceremony or welcoming show. Arriving early ensures you have plenty of time to experience these special moments and get hyped for a day of magic and fun.

GET FAST PASSES (Now Genie) FOR POPULAR RIDES

Free photo joyful girl with dark curly hair in sunglasses and dress holding lolly pop candy in hand and riding on carousel while happily spending time in amusement park

One of the best ways to make the most of your time at your top Disney World vacation is to get Fast Passes, now called the Disney Genie, for the rides and attractions you want to go on. These passes allow you to skip the regular line and go straight to the front, which saves you a ton of time.  I will no longer visit a theme park without a fast pass as the lines can be 3-4 hours long for one single ride.  I’ve stood in those lines, and even my young nieces wanted to leave the park after only 2 rides.  It was a hot, long, and miserable day, so never again will I even think about any theme park without buying the pass.  It’s worth every penny.  The downside of the Fast Passes is that they are limited, and popular rides can often run out very quickly. So, if there’s a ride or attraction you really want to go on, be sure to get a Fast Pass as soon as possible and schedule your rides/attractions as early as possible (7am start) on the day of your ticket.  One-day tickets range anywhere$109 – $189, while a 4-day 4-park ticket drops the price to $99/day. The Genie+Service tickets start at $25 extra per day, and the Individual lighting lanes (up to 2 per day currently) run at $16 per ride per person.  These two options are a bit confusing, and to decide on what’s right for you, I highly recommend that you click here to read the differences between the 2 items

  1. Personalized Itineraries:

    • Disney Genie creates personalized daily itineraries based on your preferences, including favorite attractions, dining options, and more. It takes into account factors like park hours, crowd levels, and real-time updates.

  2. Individual Attraction Selections:

    • Guests can select individual attractions and experiences to prioritize, and Disney Genie will optimize a plan that takes wait times and other factors into consideration.

  3. Lightning Lane Access (formerly FastPass+):

    • Disney Genie offers a paid service called Genie+ that includes Lightning Lane access to select attractions. Guests can pay for Genie+ on a per-day basis to skip regular lines at participating attractions. This service replaces the traditional FastPass+ system.

  4. Individual Attraction Purchases (if available):

    • In addition to Genie+, guests may have the option to purchase access to specific high-demand attractions individually. This allows for more flexibility in choosing which attractions to prioritize.

  5. Virtual Queue Management:

    • Disney Genie manages virtual queues for certain attractions. Guests can join a virtual queue for popular rides at specific times, allowing them to enjoy other areas of the park instead of waiting in a physical line.

  6. Real-Time Updates:

    • Disney Genie provides real-time updates on wait times, showtimes, and other important information. This helps guests make informed decisions about how to spend their time in the parks.

  7. Dining Recommendations:

    • The system also provides dining recommendations based on your preferences and availability. Guests can use the app to make dining reservations and explore culinary options.

Tips for BRINGING KIDS

So, are you thinking of swapping up the solo travel trip and bringing the kiddos along with you, but you’re unsure of how young is too young?

You should check out Katie Restrepo’s article on Disneyland with Toddlers: 61 Best Tips & Tricks for 2023. She has a ton of tips and tricks to help you plan your perfect Disney vacation.

Plan Age-Appropriate Activities

Let’s get real, my fellow parents. We know that trying to please kids of different ages during a family trip can be like herding cats. So, embrace your inner travel planner and tailor your plans to accommodate the ages and interests of your little munchkins. Younger children might go gaga over character meet-and-greets, while older kids may be itching to experience those heart-stopping thrill rides.

Bring Snacks and Water

Hungry kids? Thirsty kids? Ain’t nobody got time for that! Pack some survival snacks and a refillable water bottle to keep those kiddos energized and hydrated between meals. Trust me, it’s like a survival kit for their little tummies.

Plan Rest Breaks

Look, even the tiniest humans need some downtime to recharge those batteries. Find those hidden quiet spots or shaded areas to take a break, especially during the hottest parts of the day. It’s a win-win situation for everyone. Your kids get a chance to rest, and you get a brief moment of peace.

Use Stroller Rentals

Listen up, tired legs! If your child gets worn out after walking ten steps, you might want to consider renting a stroller. It can be a total lifesaver, especially for those little legs that haven’t quite built up their marathon-walking skills. Plus, you can use it to transport all the extra snacks and souvenirs you’ve collected along the way.

Know Height Requirements

It’s the height of disappointment when your kid gets all excited about a ride, only to find out they aren’t tall enough to hop on. Save yourselves (and your kids) from the heartache and be aware of the height requirements for rides. Measure your child before arriving to manage expectations and avoid major meltdowns. Trust me, a few extra minutes with a measuring tape can save you from some serious tantrums.

Engage in Interactive Play Areas

Hey, fellow parents! Did you know that many Disney parks have these magical interactive play areas? Yep, they’re like little pockets of paradise where your kids can burn off all that pent-up energy while you take a much-needed break. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Create a Countdown

Want to see those little eyes light up with excitement? Create a countdown to your Disney trip, my friends! It’s like adding a sprinkle of magic to the anticipation. Your kids will be jumping for joy as they watch the days tick by, and it also helps them get involved in the planning process. Like little travel planners in the making!

CONCLUSION

I trust that you found these 6 tips for your Disney World vacation helpful and valuable. With these insights and the resources I’ve shared with you, planning your magical Disney adventure should be less overwhelming. Your vacation awaits, brimming with excitement and anticipation.  Keep visiting Travel Till You Drop to get more information and tips for your top Disney World vacations and a wide variety of destinations to make informed decisions while planning.

Postage
About Jill

Hi, Jill Here

Hi! I’m Jill, a Dallas, Texas girl traveling the world. After a career in the Air Force and touring over 50 countries later, my need to explore keeps going! It’s time to rock & roll and find all those places I never knew I was missing.

Join me to get exclusive travel tips, giveaways and more!

I only recommend products I would use myself, and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.