Where to start when Planning a Trip to Walt Disney World
If you’re a Walt Disney World lover like me, then it probably doesn’t take much to get you pumped about a trip to WDW. To get myself even more excited, there are some things I like to do to prepare me for my reunion with Mickey and all his friends:
Research – The trick with this one is not overdoing it! Once you book your trip, there are some definite musts for research. Click the Planning button at the top of the page to learn more. Also check out what Deals and Offers are available. I know if you sign up for a Disney Rewards Visa you have 6 months to pay off your trip from when you get home and they also have some great rewards as well!
Weather-check and see what that time of year is typically like in Orlando and plan to pack accordingly (noting of course that the weather can be different than the average, but at least it gives you a place to start!)
Dining options – if you’re a foodie like me you will love this one, and if you don’t know where to start check out Walt Disney World’s official dining website for information The great thing is, most of this can be done online. For restaurant info check out Guide to Walt Disney World Section.
Things to do – There is so much to do at Walt Disney World that you’ll want to at least get a grasp on the basics before your trip, for this one I actually prefer books to the internet, books tend to be more factual and straightforward – I like Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World because it’s easy to understand and updated yearly
Transportation: Once your trip is booked, you still need to figure out how you will get there! For me that involves buying plane tickets and checking airline baggage limitations and making reservations for Disney’s Magical Express shuttle. If you need to rent a car, you’ll want to get that booked early, and if you are driving, you’ll want to make sure you vehicle is up to date on maintenance, oil changes, windshield wiper fluid etc before your trip
ADR’s: Walt Disney World allows you to make Advance Dining Reservations, or ADR’s 180 days before your trip. People laugh when I tell them I just made dinner reservations for my trip that’s 6 months away, but ADR’s are serious business – the popular places (like character meals and signature dining) book up fast, so take advantage of this system and plan some special meals for your trip
Itinerary – Once I book my ADR’s and have my meals all squared away, I get down to the serious business of planning out our days with an itenerary. Some things to keep in mind with this – you’ll want to be realistic, and not try to do too much in a day. You’ll want to take into account that Disney Transportation can take time, and your travel times could be greatly impacted by it. And most importantly, don’t get TOO involved with planning out your days – when you find yourself scheduling in ‘relaxation time’ its probably time to step back and look at the bigger picture – just knowing what park you want to visit on which day is probably enough, the rest will take care of itself!
Lists – I am a HUGE fan of making lists, and I always make a list of what I need to packa few weeks before any trip. This gives me a chance to see what I might need to buy (mini toiletries, snacks, a new book, etc) so I am not scrambling at the last minute to get it all together. Plus when it comes time to pack, it makes it a whole lot easier if you can just check things off a list
Pre-Packing – I do this about a week or so before my trip, I get out the luggage and make sure it’s all in good shape, and I pack some of the things I know I won’t need before the trip. Another part of this would be charging my various electronic devices – camera batteries, Nintendo game system, etc and making sure they are in working order before the trip
Packing – I like to do most of it about 5-7 days prior to the trip, and since I made a list, this is super easy and not stressful at all! One thing that’s important is to leave room for the souvenirs you will buy at Disney!
A few last minute things that you won’t want to forget:
- Cash for tipping the airport shuttle guy who helps load your luggage, trip snacks/drinks, etc
- Cell phone charger – Personally, I don’t like to talk on the phone much when I am on vacation, but I do like to use my Disney apps and phone camera, so this is an important one!
- Trip paperwork- including confirmation numbers, Dining reservation information, etc
- Identification – your wallet with license or your passport if needed
- House keys – this may seem like a silly one, but they are easy to forget, especially if you are getting a ride to the airport, and you don’t want to be locked out when you get back from vacation!
Check out my article on what else to pack for you Disney Trip and above all, it’s ok to be excited and have fun, even as an adult going to Walt Disney World, it’s you vacation and you are going to the Happiest Place on Earth, so live it up!
If you have any questions head over to the Chip and Co Community we would love to help you with any questions you might have!
- Getting Around Disney – An Overview of Disney World Transportation (chipandco.com)
- Changes Coming to Disney World in 2013 (chipandco.com)