There are a lot of tips and tricks that will help you make the most out of your Disney World vacation, but I believe the most valuable tip is to have a plan. That, of course, is just my opinion and I am a planner by nature, but I can’t imagine visiting Disney World with no plan whatsoever. Let’s say for example you were to visit New York City for your family vacation. Would you arrive with no idea what sights to see, no dining reservations, no show tickets? Of course not! Well, Disney World is twice the size of Manhattan! Now if you are one of those people who prefers to wing it then I admire you, but I get shaky just thinking about it! Just how detailed you want to be with your plan is up to you. I create a spreadsheet that is an outline of where I’m going to go, where I’m going to eat and what I’m going to see. Compulsive, right? I know, but here’s how I put it together!
- First, I make a column for each day I’m going to be on vacation and label them.
- Next, in each column I enter the park hours for the four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom) for that day. I also note the days I can take advantage of Extra Magic Hours with an asterisk (*). Click this park hours link to find the times that the parks will be open during your vacation.
- Then I create a row for each unit of time that I would naturally divide my day into. For my family, we have breakfast, morning, lunch, afternoon, dinner and evening. Your family might divide your days differently. For example, you may need a unit for nap time if you have young children.
- Now the real fun begins! I start filling in the units of time with where I will be visiting each day, what restaurants I will be eating at, and any other miscellaneous activities that I have planned.
- Under each column I have created, I make a list of the attractions that my family and I would like to see that day.
Here’s a sample of a few days out of my trip from last summer.
|Morning||MK – Frontier/Adventure||Hollywood Studios||Epcot – Future World|
|Lunch||Pecos Bills||Sci-Fi Dine In||Sunshine Seasons|
|Dinner||Beaches N Cream||Earl of Sandwich||The Plaza|
|Evening||Epcot – World Showcase||Downtown Disney||MK – Tomorrowland|
|Magic Carpets||Toy Story||Test Track|
|Jungle Cruise||Star Tours||Nemo|
|Pirates||Rockin Roller Coaster||Imagination|
|Big Thunder||Great Movie Ride||Living with the Land|
|Splash Mountain||Tower of Terror||Soarin|
|Country Bear Jamboree||Universe of Energy|
|Enchanted Tiki Birds||Spaceship Earth|
|Mexico Ride||Buzz Lightyear|
|Norway Ride||Tomorrowland Speedway|
|Carousel of Progress|
This is just my general outline that I use during my first stages of planning. I’m currently working on the one that I will use for my trip this summer. Each day I spend a little time making dining reservations, checking with my family to find out about their top priorities and organizing my spreadsheet. When I get to about 90 days out from my trip, I begin creating a detailed daily plan that I will carry to the parks with me. My daily plan will include dining confirmation numbers, the best order to see the rides to minimize wait times and fastpasses.
So this is the way I plan my Disney World vacations. Now it is up to you how you want to create your plan. You might want to be as detailed as me or just choose a park for each day and a few attractions you want to see there. My best tip would be to have some sort of plan..elaborate or simple. Walt Disney World is a huge place and you definitely want to make the most of your time there!
What about you? Do you have a plan when you visit Disney World? How do you go about creating it? Please leave a comment!