April 10, 2017

Disney World travel tips from a shameless Mickey fanatic.

We’re counting down to our next Disney World trip in just a matter of days! I’m fairly certain the number of trips under my belt is somewhere in the double digits by this point, but the fun never gets old! We’re staying for the first time in our new Keystone Passport travel trailer at Fort Wilderness. Last Christmas, Noah surprised his cousins with tickets to come with us! It will be their very first time at Disney, so this trip is going to be extra special!

As I’ve been starting to prep for this trip I thought it would be a great idea to share my tips on Disney World travel. I consider myself a seasoned veteran and I know many of my friends and clients have asked for this post for a while. So, here ya go!

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Book with an agent.

Okay, so you may think this post just serves as a plug for my mom, Sheri, who’s a Independent Travel Agent with Destinations in Florida, and you’re right! I couldn’t share this post without telling you how amazing it is to have a seasoned Disney traveller as your agent. Especially if it’s your first trip, you’ll want to be prepared and have lots of insider tips only she can provide! And here’s the most important thing; using an agent doesn’t cost any more if you booked the trip yourself and it will probably SAVE you money!

Stay on Disney property.

I’ve vacationed at Disney both ways and hands-down it’s SO much better to stay at a Disney resort. Disney hotels might have a bit of a higher price tag, but they more than pay for themselves in the perks. Here are my main reasons for staying on Disney property:

  1. Disney Transportation! Parking at Disney can be a pain. The lots are HUGE and many are located a distance from the park. Let’s not even talk about Orlando area traffic! Disney resorts offer FREE, fast, and efficient transportation to and from every park and venue. Skip the cost of the rental car, you really don’t need it!
  2. Disney resort guests get Extra Magic Hours in the parks! This means on certain days each week, one of the parks stays open later or opens earlier just for resort guests. The lines are shorter and crowds are lighter. We always take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours each time we visit!
  3. If you buy merchandise at one of the parks, you can have it safely delivered to your hotel for FREE instead of toting it around all day!
  4. There’s a Disney resort that caters to every budget, some less than $100/night and even those are super nice! If you’re like me, you won’t spend a ton of time in your room anyway!
  5. Have you heard of FastPass? This system allows you to choose rides you want to experience in advance with little to no wait!  If you are staying at a resort you can choose your FastPass selections 60 days prior to check in for the length of your stay where regular ticket holders can choose 30 days in advance. I can’t tell you what an advantage this is since FastPass options fill up quickly! You can preselect 3 FastPasses per day, but once you use them, you can select another one at a park kiosk, skipping the long lines all day if you wish!

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Plan your itinerary in advance.

If you’ve never been to Disney World, you may not know that there are FOUR full-size theme parks and two water parks. (Not just the one with the big castle!) You can purchase multi-day tickets and even add a Park-Hopper option if you want to visit more than one park per day. Keeping this in mind, it’s a good idea to have a rough plan in place. You can view park hours in advance for your stay on the My Disney Experience app or website. I suggest to schedule your days based on the Extra Magic Hours and try to leave a day or two open for resort activities, shopping, or resting. I’ve been telling my sister-in-law, niece, and nephew that a Disney vacation is not a restful vacation!

Your planned itinerary doesn’t have to be set in stone. Ideas may change and you’ll need to leave some wiggle room in case of weather. But, I do suggest you write your plans on a calendar or if you’re an organization freak like me, make a spreadsheet! 🙂

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Add the Memory Maker and thank me later.

I’m all about capturing the memories and I do take one of my dSLR cameras with me to at least the Magic Kingdom one day. But, I would really like for Noah to remember I went on this trip, too. In comes Memory Maker! Not only does Disney take photos on rides, but there are tons of photographers stationed all around the parks. They will scan your magic band, take your photo, and they will almost instantly appear in your My Disney Experience profile! The photos are even downloadable so you can save them to your phone and/or computer and print as you wish!

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Other miscellaneous tips.

  1. Florida thunderstorms pop up suddenly. Purchase lightweight plastic ponchos before your trip as they are $10 in the parks.
  2. Place a large gallon zip lock bag in your theme park bag to keep essential items dry on water rides.
  3. Plan your meals at less traditional times of the day to avoid the lines.
  4. If you want to eat at any of the amazing restaurants, book your reservations 180 days in advance.
  5. Travel during off-season times of the year to avoid crowds. If you have to go during the summer, the end of August is a little less crowded since schools in Florida start prior to Labor Day. However, it’s HOT! Check out the crowd calendars!disney, main street, world, florida, orlando, travel, mickey, fl, castle, travel tips, ideas
    I hope these tips help for when you plan your magical trip! I’ll share highlights from ours when we return! See ya real soon!
    laura matthews icon

I love to read your comments!

  1. Kira

    April 10th, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Great tips! I hope you have a wonderful time.

  2. Kamara

    April 10th, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    I’m sure these tips are going to be super useful to people planning their Disney World trips! I love that shot with the castle in the background – so nostalgic!

  3. Mercedes

    April 10th, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    Way too fun! We used to live near Disneyland so have been there often. But never Disneyworld! So these tips are handy in case we ever get to go 😊

  4. Idowed

    April 10th, 2017 at 7:40 pm

    Great travel advice. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Melissa

    April 10th, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    have fun!! worked with a travel agent for a trip overseas and it seriously rocked – he thought of things that never would have occurred to us and made our trip awesome.

  6. sarah

    April 10th, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    This makes me want to go to Disney!

  7. Misty

    April 10th, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    Thank you for this! We have been planning a trip to Disneyland for next year and I’m sure these tips will be really helpful!

  8. Aryn Baker

    April 10th, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    These are such great tips! I wish I went to Disney more.

  9. Alyssa Bouma

    April 10th, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    my favorite place on earth!

  10. Jennifer Mills Blume

    April 10th, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    Great tips! I always use the Magical Express so I can maximize my time in the parks!

  11. Janessa Valentine

    April 10th, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    Awesome tips! We plan on going to Disney World next year so these will come in handy!

  12. Angie

    April 10th, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    Great timing! My family is going to Disney in June! Thanks for the tips!

  13. Emilyanne

    April 10th, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    It’s seriously the most magical place on earth!

  14. Grammy Dawney

    April 11th, 2017 at 9:53 am

    Oh this is so timely! We are planning a trip to Disney World this summer.

  15. Valerie

    April 11th, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Oh my goodness! I have always wanted to go! I’ll have to show my husband your post!

  16. Jennifer

    April 11th, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    These are some great tips. We went to Disney last year and used the memory maker option and loved it! Still took my own pics of course but it was so awesome to have everyone in the pic instead of someone being behind the camera.

  17. Brittany Slaughter

    April 11th, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    These are such perfect tips for a Disney trip!

  18. Tiara

    April 11th, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    These are some incredible tips. I definitely will be referring to this blog when we go to Disney

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