There are always lessons that are learned during the planning process of any trip. Last year was my first major international trip to London and Paris. However, it was not my first time out of the country. My first international trip was to the Bahamas – no currency needed exchanged and they speak English. So I learned quite a bit on my first international trip.
Although, Disney World was clearly not an international trip for me, there were still a lot of lessons learned along the way. As there is with planning any trip! If you are planning a trip to Disney I am hoping you find these lists of do’s and dont’s that I learned along the planning process helpful.
- Get a pair of ears! Ears are a must – you can even find some cute ones on Etsy that are themed to your favorite park or character. You can even go all out and get a different pair of ears for each park.
- Get a magic band! These are most beneficial to those who are staying at a Disney property (they’re also included when you book through a Disney property). Benefits include (for resort stayers): Having your purchases delivered to your room instead of carrying them through the parks, checking in immediately upon arrival, faster check in for park entry and fast pass rides, and you can link your credit card to your band to use it for all of your purchases. For non resort stayers: This makes getting in to the park a lot more convenient than looking for a paper card in your wallet and it houses your fast pass reservations too!
- Take advantage of your fast passes EARLY! Resort stayers can book 60 days in advance of their trip, non resort stayers can book 30 days in advance. Major attractions like Be Our Guest, Slinky Dog Dash, and Frozen: Ever After will go quick. If you can’t make your fast pass reservation be sure to drop it so someone else can pick it up.
- Take advantages of freebies! Are you a first timer? Celebrating a birthday or anniversary? Stop at a guest services booth or in the retail stores and pick up a celebration button – this lets the cast members know you are celebrating something special and you may score extra perks from it!
- You can take snacks and water into the parks – bring a water bottle with you and refill it to save on costs of bottles of water.
- Take lots of pictures or take advantage of the Photo Pass (Memory Maker). If you do choose to take advantage of Photo Pass buy it before your trip. It will cost you more once you get to the park to purchase.
- Pack comfortable clothes and walking shoes. You will be spending a majority of your day standing/walking.
- Take advantage of the Free Wi-Fi in all Disney Parks.
- Download the Disney app – you can see wait times, pick up/drop fast passes, book dining reservations, mobile food ordering, etc.
- Research your attractions before you go – know what rides you want or dont want to ride (or if you kids meet height requirements).
- Pack sunscreen and a portable cell phone charger.
- Don’t forget to pack band-aids – with all the walking you are bound to do, someone in your party will end up with a blister.
- Don’t use a stroller if you don’t have to. The park is packed enough as is and you are bound to get run over.
- Forget a poncho – it’s Florida, its bound to rain at any time and it can be beneficial on some of the water rides.
- Forget to do your research about each park/resort (& it’s history!) – booking Disney everything may sound great but you may spend more money in the long run.
- Feel like you have to eat every meal in the park – again you can take snacks in and I do recommend sampling some Disney treats…you just may spend more in the long run if you do all Disney everything.
- Go, go, go all day – take time to rest. Your body will thank you. Take that hydration or snack break.
- Have strict plans – rides may be down for maintenance, things may change that are out of control. Getting on/off rides may not go as quickly as you planned. Give yourself time.
- Sleep your vacation away! Sure, you need to rest and some parks may not take as long to get through, but don’t sleep your time away. Get up go and enjoy the park (and maybe shorter lines too!).
- Think every ride is a family ride…also, yes there are height restrictions. Not everyone in your family (party) may be able to get on a ride. Plan accordingly.
- Don’t bring in an obnoxiously large backpack! Your bags will be checked before entering a park, which not only holds up you and your time but everyone else in line. I used a Kavu rope sling bag that worked PERFECT!
- Confuse Disney World and Disneyland – Disney World is MUCH larger than land…and…they are on opposite ends of the country from each other. World=Florida, Land=California. Don’t show up in California with DisneyWorld tickets. It might make things a little stressful. *not something I learned personally, just good advice.*
The main thing to remember is you can’t see EVERYTHING in one day, especially at Magic Kingdom. Have fun, be prepared for rides to be down or schedules to change. But the biggest tip is to have fun. Make matching family shirts. Take the picture. Eat the Mickey pretzel. Enjoy the magic of Disney.