Hi ho lovely people,
If you follow me on Instagram (WithLoveFromBex) then you have probably noticed that I am a HUGE Disney fan…okay massively huge….fine, I’m obsessed. But hey, it’s Disney, can you really blame me? I’ve been to Walt Disney World more times than I can count and in that time I’ve kinda become known as ‘the Disney geek’ among my family and friends, which is a title I carry with pride. So today, I thought I would share some of my tips on how to make your vacation to Disney World magical.
Tip #1: Have reasonable expectations
Chris and I see this all the time; parents bring their kids to Disney World with high expectations of magical memories, pixie dust and 24/7 smiles for everyone. (I always imagine Oprah yelling those thoughts in a parent’s mind when they are planning their trips. ‘PIXIE DUST FOR YOU, PIXIE DUST FOR YOU! MAGICAL MEMORIES FOR EVERYONE!!’). The reality isn’t like that. Okay you are going to have those precious smiles, and Tinker Bell might blow some pixie dust on you, but your kids are not going change just because you are at Walt Disney World. They will still need their regularly scheduled naptime, afternoon snacks, and they will get SUPER tired after walking around the parks, no matter how much freakin’ magic you toss at them. Trust me; I’m a pretty hyper and upbeat person, and even I get tired and need a break or an afternoon nap while at Disney World.
Tip #2: Slow down and enjoy the views
Disney world is always changing. Every year there are new shows, new or updated rides, a resort might change or expand, holidays bring special events, etc. Disney World and change go together like peanut butter and jelly. So it’s just not possible to do it all. Make peace with that fact. Just try and enjoy the memories you are making with your family after all that’s why you’re there, right?
Tip #3: Do your research
There is so much to consider when planning a Disney vacation. It can be overwhelming and stressful but trust me, if you plan now you’ll worry less (and spend less) in the long run. My post Travel to Walt Disney World without breaking the bank will help you pick the right season, pricing, dining, and other options. I plan our Disney vacations months ahead of time. I look for discounts all the time, like hotel discounts, free dining, ticket discounts, etc. Never pay full price for Disney vacation. I would also recommend planning the days you hit a park. It’ll make it easier to decide if you need to pay for a park hopper or not if you have a rough idea of what parks your plan to visit and when.
Tip #4: Book your dining ahead of time
Chris and I are foodies. We love sitting down to a great meal, are constantly on the lookout for the perfect steak, and enjoy a few bites of dessert. We have learned over the years that table service restaurants can book up quickly, especially the excellent ones. If you plan on only eating fast food at quick service locations, you don’t need to book anything, but if you want to sit down to a meal with your family, or you want to enjoy a character dining meal, I recommend you book ahead of time. Dining reservations open 180 days before your vacation. I book all of mine online at disneyworld.com, but you can also call. If you’re looking for an excellent filet mignon, book a reservation at Le Cellier at the Canadian Pavilion at Epcot, it doesn’t disappoint.
Tip #5: Budget yourself before you get to Disney World
Disney can get really expensive, especially if you want to purchase souvenirs, drinks, tours, tickets, and the list goes on. Start saving money before you arrive at Disney. Getting a massive credit bill after a Disney vacation sucks but if you start saving money before you probably won’t see much of your plastic cards. I learned years ago to open a US account (I’m Canadian) and put some money into it each month. I tend to use that account for my Disney World purchases. I buy people Christmas gifts, pins, stuff animals, and more recently baby items for my little girl. It really helps. If you want to get your kids in on it, start your own savings jar, decorate it, make it fun, and you’ll be happy you did.
Tip #6: If you’re celebrating, get your free buttons
There’s always a reason to celebrate at Disney World. Maybe you’re on your honeymoon, it’s your first visit, or you’re celebrating your birthday, don’t forget to grab your free button. If you’re staying on site, you can get one from the front desk, or you can pick one up at any Guest Relations. Cast members and fellow park guests will notice, you’ll get lots of ‘congratulations’ and best wishes from both. Or more. When we celebrated our engagement, some restaurant servers gave us free desserts, usually a cupcake that said congrats on it. When I was pregnant with Wendy, one of the Cast Members at Guest Relations gave us a gift certificate (up to $50) to spend on a baby item. We never expected that! It was definitely a magical moment for us. Have fun celebrating, just don’t expect more than a ‘congratulations’ anything else is above and beyond.
Tip #7: DO NOT CLIMB THE MEXICAN PAVILION
Alcohol is sold on property and fun times can be had, just don’t ruin it for everyone. Don’t be a drunken moron. Yes, someone actually got drunk and tried to climb a massive pyramid at Epcot….they were escorted off the property. Chris and I seen some pretty drunk adults so make fools of themselves. Enjoy your drinks, have a great time just remember young ones are watching. Drink responsibly and enjoy a beer at the German pavilion.
Tip #8: Wear comfortable walking shoes
Disney World is roughly 40 square miles….or the size of San Francisco. No not all of that is developed but still I wouldn’t walk around a large city in heels all day or in flip flops. Pack sensible walking shoes. Back when we went to Disneyland I made the rookie mistake of walking around San Diego in flip flops the day before….brand new leather flip flops….in the heat….yeah, if you’re a chick you know what that does to the bottom of your feet. My feet were done. The worst part, we were at Disneyland for the 60th 24-hour celebration. Needless to say, I didn’t make it through the whole 24 hours and Chris is never going to let me live that down. So learn from my mistakes, wear comfortable shoes.
Tip #9: Take advantage of Disney’s FastPass +
Disney’s FastPass+ is an awesome way to save time. Why spend all your time in line waiting up to 2 hours for5-minuteute ride? Yes, I’ve seen waits that long…I’ve waited in lines that long at Disney World. FastPass+ lets you select times for certain rides, shows, and character meets in advance so you don’t have to wait in line. For example, let’s say you want to ride Toy Story Mania, which is a popular attraction at Hollywood Studios, book your fastpast+ reservation up to 60 days in advance. When you get to Disney World head to the attraction during the time slot you picked, (usually you have an hour time slot to head to the ride like 10 – 11 am etc). When you get there go to the FastPass+ lane, scan your magic band and head down the separate queue to your ride. Most times there might be a short wait (usually 5 or 10 minutes), but it definitely beats standing in line for an 1 hour or more. It’s included in the price of your ticket so why not take advantage of it.
Tip #10: Be a kid again
This. This right here is what makes Disney World a magical place. You can be a kid again. Get caught up in the magical meet and greets, believe in magic for a little while, watch the smiles on people’s faces. It’s incredible. If you want a glimpse of the fun times Chris and I have while at Disney World check out my youtube video below.
Have fun. Don’t stress. Now go vacation!
Do you have any tips on how to make your vacations magical? I would love to hear them!
Have a Magical Day.