There is a reason that Walt Disney World is the most visited theme park in the world. It is a whole world in itself, with so much to explore no matter what your age.
Now is the time to start making Disney vacation plans. Restrictions are easing, and events such as the Happily Ever After fireworks are back. And vacation planning gets even more exciting as it is Disney World’s 50th birthday this year!
But where do you begin with your Disney vacation plans? It can feel overwhelming, but it is essential to do some prep work before your trip.
The best place to begin is this post! Read on to learn how to plan a Disney vacation that is magical and memorable.
Pick a Time of Year
Some people have specific times they have to cater around. However, if you are flexible, consider when you want to visit the parks.
You may want to time your Disney vacation, so it coincides with one of the many events. Halloween is a popular time to visit the park, and Disney has announced a BOO BASH After Hours event this year. There are also other events, such as the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival.
However, you may also want to avoid significant events. You can fit your vacation planning around events and school vacation times. Sometimes there are more deals available at these times.
Also, the weather is a factor to consider. July and August are usually the warmest months, and humidity can be high. Rainfall often peaks in August, but there is still plenty to do on rainy days in Disney!
Spring is another popular time to visit when temperatures are pleasant. May reaches around 87 degrees Fahrenheit. However, with the right Disney vacation plans, Disney is magical year-round!
Work Out Your Time Frame
How long will you spend exploring Disney? There are four parks to explore:
- Magic Kingdom
- Animal Kingdom
- Hollywood Studios
If it is your first time, you will want three or four days at minimum to explore the parks. You could spend half a day at two of the parks, but definitely reserve at least a day for Magic Kingdom. Five days or more is ideal.
If you have longer, consider factoring in a few rest days in between, so you can recharge. It will make it easier to wake up early to see the animals at Animal Kingdom, especially if you are jet-lagged!
You can also visit Disney’s water parks and Disney Springs (formally Downtown Disney). There is no limit to how long you can spend at Disney, you could spend a lifetime there and still have fun!
Decide on Accommodation
You can either stay on-site or off-site. Some people opt for a hotel, Airbnb, or villa offsite. You can then find transport through the hotel, or use a rental car to get to the parks. This is a nice way also to explore other parts of Orlando.
You can also stay onsite at one or two of the many Walt Disney hotels during your stay. Not all hotels are open as of July 2021, but you can check their planned opening dates.
You do not need to worry about parking or transport between parks and the airport. Usually, guests get magic hours and a 60-day fast pass reservation window too. Plus, you are always immersed in the magic!
You can also book a Disney vacation package. It combines your room with the park tickets.
Most of the hotels are Disney hotels, but there are some others too. Always compare package prices to paying for hotels and tickets separately.
Make Park Reservations
Once you decide on the time of year and time frame, reserve your tickets and park passes. Disney introduced a Parks Pass system in 2020 to manage capacities. You have to have a valid ticket and reservation to enter a park.
Purchase your tickets and reserve park passes as soon as you are able. It quickly fills up, especially during holidays and weekends. Parks Pass is expected to be in place until 2023.
Consider the Disney Vacation Club
The Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is a points system. You can purchase DVC points then use them on DVC properties at Walt Disney. It can be significantly cheaper to stay at Disney accommodations.
The most cost-effective way to try this is with a Disney Vacation Club resale. You can buy DVC points for less, and people sell their memberships on it.
Plan What to Do
Note what attractions and shows are musts for you at each park. It will help structure your Disney vacation and help you make FastPass+ plans once it is back. Otherwise, you could be doing serious step counts each day, walking back and forth!
You can also make meal reservations in advance and plan your day in the same park. There some magical character meals you can experience, including at breakfast time. And always get to shows and parades early to reserve a good (ideally) shady spot!
There is now a My Disney Experience application, which helps you plan your vacation! You can view park maps, see attraction wait times, order food, and view show hours. You can also use it as a contactless Magicband if you decide to purchase one.
What to Bring
If you have children, consider bringing your own stroller. You can hire one in the parks, but it will be more costly. It is also nice to purchase an autograph book or have a notepad handy to get character signatures.
Comfortable shoes, a daypack, water bottles, portable chargers, and waterproofs are also essential!
Get Excited About Disney Vacation Plans!
Once you start to make Disney vacation plans, everything will come together! Before you know it, vacation planning will be done, and you will be at the park. Enjoy the process, and be open to some flexibility, as you might want to change some plans once you arrive at the park.
Whether it is your first Disney vacation or your tenth, there are always new ways to plan and discover the parks! Keep up to date with restriction changes on the Disney website. Fast passes, dining plans, and character meets are expected to come back later this year.
And most importantly, have an amazing vacation!
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