Planning your Disney Vacation with a family
It's the time of year for planning trips and taking vacations! Disney is a popular vacation option for many families with children. My husband, Jason, wrote this post to help guide you on your next Disney adventure!
See more tips on family life and travel.
10 Tips For Doing Disney Right:
1) AVOID THE CROWDS –
There are multiple crowd calendars online that can help you pick the right day(s) for your trip to Disney World.
This is one of my favorites: https://www.undercovertourist.com/orlando/crowd-calendar/. Keep in mind that you’re going to have to deal with crowds, but some days are more tolerable than others.
2) AVOID EXTRA MAGIC HOUR DAYS –
If you’re staying onsite at a Disney resort, you get the added "advantage" of “Extra Magic Hours”. In other words, certain parks will open early just for onsite guests.
Even if you’re staying onsite, I would suggest avoiding those days because the crowds tend to be extra large. Crowd calendars usually take Extra Magic Hours days into account, so if you're looking at those, you should be set, but do not go to any park that is designated for Extra Magic Hours.
3) 30 / 60 DAYS BEFORE THE BIG DAY –
If you want to get all the good stuff in, you’re going to have to use Disney’s FastPass+ system. This system allows you to skip the lines for certain attractions (up to 3) that you choose...with certain limitations. Fortunately, it's included in the price of your tickets.
If you’re staying in certain Disney resorts you can reserve your FastPasses up to 60 days in advance of your visit to the park (it’s 30 days if you’re staying offsite). Take advantage of that. Be ready to select your Fastpasses at the exact time they become available online. That’s the best way to get the good times and attractions.
4) PLAN YOUR DAY –
There are many strategies for the Fastpass+ system, but I like to get my first Fastpass for some time around 10:00 or 10:30 am, next one around 11:00 to 11:30 am and the third one for around 12:00 to 1:00 pm.
Don’t get them for first thing after park opening – you won’t need them then (see below) and don’t schedule them too late – after you use your three, you’ll be able to get more, but you have to use all three first.
5) PICK YOUR FASTPASSES WISELY –
Disney essentially tiers the attractions, so you can’t get Fastpasses for all the best attractions at once. You’ll be able to select one or two really good attractions (headliners) and then one or two less popular attractions.
You’ll likely have a lot of time options for the less popular attractions, so pick out the headliners that you really want to experience and then fill in around them. Mechanically, you pick all three attractions and then Disney will give you several time options for those three selections.
Don’t just take the first option, sort through and try to fit whatever schedule you’ve decided on. You may have to switch your planned headliner(s) to make your schedule work, but that’s ok as you’ll see below.
6) PARK OPENING –
I can’t stress this one enough – you really need to be at the gates when the park opens. If you’re there at the rope drop, you can usually get one or two (or even more) headliners in before the crowds get crazy – and you won’t need a Fastpass!
Vacationers don’t like to get up early (who does?), so take advantage of that. You won’t regret it. It's impossible to get Fastpasses for all of the headliners, so this is the only way you'll be able to get some of them in without waiting an eternity.
7) PLAN YOUR PATH –
Get out the park map and plan how you’re going to attack the day. Figure out which headliners you will hit at park opening, keep your Fastpasses in mind, and then go from there. Try to be as efficient as possible. You don’t want to have to crisscross the park all day – that’s a nightmare. You'll also avoid the dreaded:
"What do you want to do next?"
"I don't know, what do you want to do next?"
8) TAKE SNACKS AND WATER –
Many people don’t know this, but you can actually take your own snacks and water into the park. Park food is incredibly expensive, so it’s totally worth it to take your own stuff. Huge money and time saver.
9) BE PREPARED –
Make sure you’ve watched the weather and plan accordingly. I hope it doesn’t rain on you, but, on the bright side, the park will clear out! If you are prepared with umbrellas and ponchos, you’ll be set.
Do not buy those items at the park. Again, huge money saver if you get those somewhere outside the park before you arrive.
10) HAVE FUN –
It’s the happiest place on earth, after all.
Disney Vacation Conclusion:
If you’ve followed these guidelines, you’ll have a great time. Disney is truly magical. Take it all in.
Read all about the Magic Kingdom Fastpass system!
Great advice for a family trip
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