Monday, August 26, 2013

Important Steps to Plan Your Vacation!

Going on a Walt Disney World can be overwhelming.  From where to stay, how to get around, and where to eat, there is a lot of planning to do!

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First Stages of Travel Planning

  • Schedule Your Trip.  Unsure how to choose?   Check out Touring Plans. Touring Plans crowd calenders are an amazing all-encompassing guide to crowd levels!

    • Avoiding crowds may help you do and see more in less time, however, if you visit in the very off season, you may see more limited hours than you would in the more crowded and hotter days of the summer.
    • Pick the right weeks - you may not realize when Memorial Day is or when Spring Break starts, but the crowds don't!  The crowd levels jump on 3 day weekends or whenever school may be out!
    • If you're not paying attention (it has happened to me!) you may end up in Hollywood Studios mid-day during Star Wars Weekends.  Don't expect to have much walking/breathing room!
    • Want to see Christmas Lights but not hit the crowds?  Head to the parks in early December!  The lights go up in November!

  • Choosing Which Park to Visit Daily
    • I again head to Touring Plans to help coordinate which days I will start in which park.  But, I have some different rules:
      • If there are morning extra magic hours, we generally take advantage of these - but if you aren't there for park opening, do not visit the park with morning extra magic hours!  These parks often get more crowded later in the day, so we might park hop to a different park after the first few hours
      •  Visiting the Magic Kingdom first may seem essential, but it also may make some of the other parks seem less exciting.  We usually start somewhere else and hop over or go in the 2nd day!
      • Scheduling park days makes it possible to plan for Advanced Dining Reservations

  • Scheduling Advanced Dining Reservations
    • Not sure what you want for dinner tonight?  That's my life.  But, at Walt Disney World, it's important to plan ahead - restaurants book up quickly and you may be left without somewhere to go!
    • Character meals and the big restaurants fill up often 180 days (often the same day reservations open up) out.  Plan where you want to eat so you can make your reservations 180 days out!
    • If you're using a Table Service Dining Plan, scheduling ADR's is imperative or you may be left with extra table service credits - talk about a waste of money!

  • Know Where to Go in the Parks
    • Each park has their "hot" spots.  Use the early time to hit the rides that will be crowded later on!
      • If you are starting at Rope Drop at the Magic Kingdom and heading to the lesser popular attractions, you're missing out!  At the Magic Kingdom, head to Peter Pan, Storytime with Belle, or one of the Mountains
      • At Epcot, the top attractions are Soarin' and Test Track
      • Hollywood Studios - head to Toy Story Midway Mania and/or the Jedi Training Academy
      • Animal Kingdom - it's all about the Safari.  Head there before the crowds arrive!
Planning ahead can save you time and money!  Make the most out of your vacation and make a schedule! 


  1. great list!! Making ADRs is my favorite part! :)

  2. Thanks Beth! I like deciding on my ADR's more than making them!

  3. Great tips! It's always much more fun to be organized and know what you are going to be doing before making ADRs. Now if I could only convince my husband of that, lol!

  4. Funny - my husband has almost 0 input! I ask his opinion, but he generally lets me do whatever I feel like! It’s funny trying to convince friends and non Disney people that 180 days isn’t really a lot of time to plan! They rarely believe me.

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