21 Travel Tips for Your Walt Disney World Vacation
21 Tips to Help You Make the Most of Your Walt Disney World Vacation
I have been lucky enough to be a regular visitor to Walt Disney World since it first opened in 1971. Over the past nearly five decades, I have created a lot of Disney travel tips — many of which may be able to help to make your Disney vacation go more smoothly. So for this post, I compiled a list of my top 21 Walt Disney World travel tips.
These are my foundational Walt Disney World travel tips. If even one of these tips helps you from having to say “I wish I’d known that before our Disney vacation” then this compilation will have been worth it.
21 Disney travel tips for Walt Disney World travelers
1. Do advance reading and research, but keep your planning in check. Be sure to create a plan, but don’t over plan (meaning please do not plan every waking minute of your vacation; you will benefit from some free time to explore Walt Disney World).
2. Be sure to register with My Disney Experience online and download the mobile app. Connect all of your family members to your profile. This is a powerful resource that can greatly enhance your stay.
3. Stay onsite at a Walt Disney World Resort, ideally a Deluxe Disney Resort. It will make a significant difference in how much you enjoy your Walt Disney World vacation.
4. Do some research on the best room locations in your resort of choice and add a room request to your Disney reservation file. A request is not a guarantee, but don’t leave your room placement entirely to chance.
5. Make your Disney Dining Reservations as soon as you can once you book your Walt Disney World vacation. Dining books up quickly, so don’t delay.
6. Think ahead and make a list as to which parks you plan to visit on which days (keep Tip #4 in mind when doing this). Use this to form the basis for your itinerary.
7. Book your FastPass+ Reservations as soon as you are allowed to do so in advance of your confirmed stay.
8. Be sure you know which rides, attractions and character meetings are important to everyone in your family. In other words, know what will make a successful Disney vacation and be sure to cover off those items.
9. Most rooms at Disney Resorts have refrigerators, so make a grocery stop on the way to your resort to stock up on food items like milk, juice, water, milk, bagels, bread, cereal and snacks. Eat breakfast in your room each morning to make for a quicker exit to get to the parks for opening.
10. Leave yourself some time to relax and have fun in the afternoons. Don’t pack your itinerary so tight that there is no free time to discover your surroundings. Disney pools at (particularly at the Deluxe Resorts and Villas) are a lot of fun, so be sure to enjoy them.
11. Set a budget for each child so that they know in advance how much money they have to spend on Disney merchandise. This can make time spent in stores much easier as your children weigh their options against their allowance.
12. Always get to the parks for opening — at least 15 minutes before opening at a minimum. This is the single most important piece of advice that I offer.
13. Check your Quick Service dining receipts in the parks. They occasionally have offers for significant discounts of up to 20% off Disney merchandise in the shops for certain time periods.
14. Keep your wits about you in the parks. There are a lot of hidden treasures, so take the time to appreciate your surroundings.
15. Bring ponchos with you from home. Rainy days mean some of the shortest wait times in Disney Parks and can be a great bonus for those guests who are prepared to act quickly. Disney Parks do sell ponchos, but they are pricey and tend to tear easily. So come prepared and be ahead of the game.
16. Bring a folding stroller for children five and under. An average week at Walt Disney World can mean walking over 60 miles (or 100 kms). The folding part is important, since you must collapse strollers for Disney boats and buses.
17. Always ask for and wear “1st Visit” and other Disney special celebration buttons. Cast Members will treat you special and you may get some freebies as well. If you are celebrating something, ask for a button(s) when you check-in at your onsite Disney Resort.
18. Bring water with you to the parks. It will save you money (if you prefer bottled water and tend to buy it in the parks) and it’ll save you time from waiting in lines. Keeping hydrated is critical to having a good day. If you bring a refillable bottle, there are fountains where you can refill. (You can also ask for a free cup of ice water at quick service dining restaurants.)
19. Set a meeting place in each park in case anyone gets lost. For young children who may not be able to find the spot be sure to tell them to approach a Cast Member for assistance if they get lost. You should do the same in that case.
20. Don’t be afraid to adjust your plans on the fly to adapt to park crowd levels. The My Disney Experience app is great for making changes to FastPass+ reservations, dining and more. Remember, flexibility is key, so don’t over plan.
21. You can’t do everything in one visit to Walt Disney World, so keep the stress to a minimum and don’t bother trying. Stick to your plan and take the time to enjoy all the magical things that you see and do.
The Most Valuable Disney Travel Tip of All
As a bonus, read about my best (and most valuable) non-traditional Disney travel tip here.
Looking for Expert Advice Planning Your Walt Disney World Vacation?
As a Luxury Travel Blogger and author of The Very Best of Walt Disney World Resort, I blog regularly about Disney vacations of all shapes and sizes.
Mike Belobradic: The Finer Side of Disney Travel
Luxury Travel Blogger – Deluxe Disney Travel Specialist