For first time visitors of Walt Disney World, planning a trip can be daunting.
It doesn’t need to be. Your experts at Travel Time – TPI can help you with Disney trip planning to fulfill your wildest dreams.
It really is a magical destination that helps create memories that last a lifetime. We travel to Disney World with our children and no matter the age, they enjoy the experience, and remember the trip. There are special moments such as the character dinner, where the kids are visited during the meal by Goofy, Mickey, and Minnie. We cannot imagine that not having a magical impact on any child!
Disney World is constantly changing and improving the experience. That means working with a specialized travel advisor who is up to date on all that’s new is essential to having the best experience possible.
Here are 10 insider tips that will help you make the most of your trip to Walt Disney World. Covering everything from dinner reservations to the latest updates to the park’s restrictions on strollers, these tips and tricks will save you time before, during, and after your trip to the most magical place on earth.
- Download the My Disney Experience App.
Before you board your plane or pack the car for your trip, you’ll want to download the My Disney Experience app. You’ll be able to see park hours, any FastPass+ and dining reservations you’ve made, character meet and greet locations and so much more. It can even be used as your room key if you’re staying at a Disney resort hotel.
- Making FastPass+ reservations as early as possible.
Disney’s hotels are great choices for accommodations, and one of the perks that comes with staying there is that you can make FastPass+ reservations 60 days prior to check-in. If you’re staying elsewhere, reservations drop from 60 days to 30 days before your adventure.Worried you might forget? Set an alarm on your phone to remind you. Things like Slinky Dog Dash and Flight of Passage always go quickly.
- Reserve your dining experiences early.
You can make dining reservations as far out as 180 days prior to your trip. There are special experiences that you won’t want to miss, such as character meals, California Grill, or Be Our Guest. These should be your first priority (they generally are for our clients planning a Disney trip!).
If you can’t find availability, keep trying. From time to time others who have reservations cancel, and a spot opens up.
- Stay at a Disney Resort Hotel.
By staying at a Disney Resort Hotel you’ll be close to all the magic of the Disney experience. You’ll also be eligible for extra benefits such as complimentary transportation, early FastPass+ reservations, and extra hours at the park.
There are three different resort categories, so you can find something that works for you and your family. The Deluxe category is the best that Disney has to offer, generally found closer to the parks and offering more amenities. The Moderate category hotels are scattered throughout the Disney property and generally offer a wide range of themes. The Value category offers standard rooms, best for those who really only need a place to shower and sleep since they’ll be active, on the go, and at the parks all day anyway.
- Leave these items behind.
There are items that are not permitted at the park, so you’re best to leave them behind. Check your bags and make sure none of the prohibited items are in there, because park security will find them. Some common sense items include firearms or other weapons, and fireworks. Other more surprising items include noisemakers, drones, and even selfie sticks. Make sure to measure your stroller, too.Since May 1, 2019, strollers larger than 36 inches wide and 50 inches long are not permitted.
- Take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours.
Guests of any Disney Resort Hotel can take advantage of the benefit of extra magic hours, meaning they get to stay at the park outside the normal opening hours. These hours can vary but generally they start one hour prior to the park opening or extending two hours after closing. The best way to ensure you don’t miss the opportunity is to download the My Disney Experience app and check the park times feature.
- Take breaks throughout the day.
As most people expect, the parks get extremely busy mid-day. The best strategy to ensure you get to see and do the most activities is to carefully choose your hours to be out and active.
Florida can be very hot. Taking a break during the mid-day period will help you stay outside of the hottest period of the day. Especially if you have access to the park during the golden hours, get started with your park visit early, and stay late. It’s cooler and there are fewer people, and shorter wait times.
- Allow extra travel time.
Walt Disney World is huge. It covers nearly 40 square miles. This means you should allow up to 90 minutes of travel time when moving from point A to point B in different areas of the park. Keep this in mind when you’ll be moving from the hotel to a dining reservation – especially at the Magic Kingdom, where you have to take a secondary form of transportation from the parking lot to the front entrance.
- Don’t skip over the PhotoPass Photographers.
Everywhere you go in Walt Disney World, you’ll see photographers in uniform and with nice cameras. Sometimes people walk past them because they don’t want to pay for photos, but did you know that these photographers will also use your camera or phone to take pictures of you? Just be sure that you show them how it works if it’s not a common device. Using PhotoPass is a fantastic way to get pictures of your family throughout your magical trip to Disney!
- Get a First Visit Button.
At Walt Disney World, anyone’s first visit is considered a cause for celebration. Find a Cast Member anywhere in the park and ask them for a free First Visit Button. It’s a great keepsake and reminder of the trip of a lifetime to the most magical place on earth!
Great, now you’re ready to plan!
The 10 tips included in this article will help you get the most out of your Disney experience. There’s a lot to take in while visiting Disney, and especially for Canadians who visit, sometimes the climate can have a big impact on how much they enjoy the trip.
There’s nothing worse than dealing with heat stroke or a bad sun burn on a 5-day trip to Disney, that causes you to rest in a hotel room for a day (or more)!
If you’re interested in planning a trip to Disney World or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We have Disney specialists among our team at Travel Time – TPI, and we’d be happy to help!