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10 Ways to Prepare for Your Disney Vacation

Like any vacation, planning a trip to Disney can be exhilarating, exhausting, and fun!  Dreaming of meeting your favorite characters, snuggling with your significant other during Wishes, or snacking your way around the World Showcase can all be a reality with some planning.  Whether it’s a once in a lifetime trip, your yearly vacation to Disney, or you’re traveling with a group, there are some things you should keep in mind. Today, I want to share with you 10 Ways to Prepare for YOUR Disney Vacation.  These tips are all assuming you have chosen a resort and a dining plan {if any} for your stay.

10 Ways to Prepare for your Disney Vacation

1.  Make any advance dining reservations.  I never realized the importance of this until our last trip.  It was nice to know we had a table waiting for us, and that we had some uninterrupted time for our children to meet some of their favorite characters.  It is important to be flexible when making these reservations.  Also, keep in mind which park you will be visiting that day.  If you don’t have Park Hoppers, it’s best to make ADRs in the same park you plan to visit that day.

2.  Check the park calendars a few months, weeks, and days before you leave.  Parade times can change, as can Extra Magic Hours.  It’s a good idea to make sure you have some idea which park you want to visit on each day of your stay.

3.  Prepare your children.  Show them YouTube videos of parades, rides, and shows.  My daughter loves watching these, and it’s really helped her gear up for meeting some of her favorite characters.

4.  Start packing early.  No doubt, something is going to get left behind.  However, if you start packing about 3o days ahead, it’ll save you some stress and allow you time to run out and get those last minute items.  When I say start packing, I mean designate an area in your home to make piles of clothes, shoes, etc. that you can live without for the few weeks leading up to your trip.  I make a pile of outfits for each of us, as well as an ongoing list of things I need to pick up.  Before I know it, all I need to do is throw it all in suitcases and we’re ready!

5.  Make a Disney vacation countdown.  We make one each year, and the kids really look forward to it.  I typically hang it up when we are about 30-45 days away from leaving.  There are tons of cute ways to get creative and countdown to your vacation.

6.  Build excitement with your family.  Have Disney movie nights, look up the attraction that is based on a film.  Give your kids Disney themed items to add to their carry ons or to use when you arrive.  I try to get a few things-window clings, glow sticks, stickers, etc.-to either give the kids before we leave or when we get there.  They love it!

7.  Decide you can’t do everything Disney has to offer.  You’ll want to build in time to see and experience your most favorite attractions and shows first.  After that, everything can just kind of fall into place.  Depending on the length of your stay will depend on how many parks you visit.  In fact, our family went two years in a row without even going to Animal Kingdom park.  Not that we don’t enjoy it, but our kids were so into Magic Kingdom and EPCOT, that AK was not on our priority list.  Upon a return trip this past summer, and a visit to AK, I was reminded how fun it can be!

8.  Read, read, read.  Before you visit, find some good Disney sites to read.  I tread on this suggestion lightly, because there is SO much information out there! But, there are some good ones!  Educate yourself on some of the Disney lingo.  Know what a Fastpass is and how to use it.  Know how to utilize Extra Magic Hours, early in the day touring, and maybe find a “secret” place to watch fireworks or parades.  Even though we’ve visited numerous times, I still find myself scouring the crowd calendar on Touring Plans, asking questions on FB, and even sending a question to the Mom’s Panel.  You can’t be educated enough!

9.  Prepare for weather.  Florida is HOT.  And depending on the time  you go, maybe rainy.  Be prepared with ponchos, extra shoes and socks, and plenty of sunscreen.  Part of preparing for this is also knowing your family’s limits.  Stop for a rest or a nap, maybe even some swim time.

10  Prepare your patience.  Many people visit Disney parks every year.  However, not all of them are well prepared.  Be ready to wait, be patient, and take your time.

How do you prepare for a Disney trip?  What questions do you have?




  1. Aaaaahhh, I am so excited for our Disney trip! We just made our ADRs and it feels so much more “real” now. I also made some countdown blocks to keep us excited for the next 78 days. 🙂 They’ll be up on the blog tomorrow!

  2. Good tips! Found via Pinterest. 25 days til we go & I’m anxious to start packing, but felt silly. I’m going to take #4 as permission to dive into the warm season bins for my kids!

  3. Great list. There’s really no vacation in the world like a Disney vacation. It really requires a lot of due diligence.

    1. Thank you! You are so right. Disney takes some planning, and it’s all worth it in the end.

  4. Lots of great tips here for preparing for a Disney World vacation. The preparation is part of the excitement and it is a great idea to watch some Disney movies before you go. Also I agree it is essential to set expectations correctly and realise that there is just so much to do you can’t do everything!

    1. Thank you! There is SO much fun, and excitement in planning a trip.

  5. #7!!! Saves so much expectation disappointment right there.

    1. Right?! It’s all about being prepared…especially mentally!

  6. These tips are true for first timers and veterans for visiting the Walt Disney World Resort! Number 7 is what I tell people all the time!

    1. Thank you! I know..even as Disney veterans, there is still so much to know, learn, and plan!

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