A trip to Disney is a pretty big holiday to plan. So much goes into it – where to stay, where to eat, fast passes, restaurant bookings, using the app, and so much more. With four theme parks and two water parks, you want to make sure you plan your time well so you get the most out of your trip.
On our two week trip last year we visited all of the Disney parks as well as the two Universal parks; Universal and Islands of Adventure. Our plan made sure we visited every place we wanted to, as well as having a few rest days to enjoy the Florida sun (and fit in a skydive)! Don’t think that all this planning ruins the trip, it ensures you use your time effectively and it makes you more excited for Disney!
I’m writing this post to hopefully help other visitors, first-time or not, get the most out of their Disney experience. However, I’m no expert and there are so many in-depth guides out there, which I’ll be linking to! You can check out more of my highlights on my previous post.
Booking your tickets
We used Attractions Tickets Direct for our Disney tickets. It’s nice to book with a trusted company, as they can help you if anything goes wrong. It also means your tickets usually have a special added extra – we had tickets to the Cirque de Soleil show at Disney Springs! Our two-week tickets got us into all of the Disney parks as well as the 3 Universal parks, and included the My Memory Maker for Disney (usually an extra 169USD).
My Disney Experience
The app is a dream (screenshot above). With your advance tickets, you can book your fast passes, character meetings and restaurants, see live queue times, save all of your Memory Maker photos and more. All of the parks have free WiFi to use the app. Add your ticket code to it and invite the rest of your party so you can coordinate your days. There’s a great guide here with a lot more information.
Pick your top rides
If you’ve visited Disney before, you know your favourite places. The first thing each of us did was write a list of our top rides or locations so nobody missed out on their favourites.
Lots of guide books and online sources share the best days for each of the parks. We used the Brit Guide Orlando 2017, and we found that it was right the majority of the time. Magic Kingdom on a Monday meant we got 13 rides in one day! Which leads me onto my next point…
FastPass + time
FastPass + is when you book an hour time slot for your favourite or most popular rides on the My Disney Experience app. You can choose your FastPass+ ride selection up to 30 days before your first day, and if you’re in a Disney hotel, it’s 60 days. As soon as that date hits you want to be on the app booking them, especially newer rides such as Avatar’s Flight of Passage! You get 3 FastPasses a day and once you’ve used them up you can hop on the app and book more as you go.
Eat, love, Disney
As well as booking your FastPasses, you can also make your dining reservations for the parks on My Disney Experience up to 180 days in advance. The restaurant bookings are insane. When I tell you that I was booking some of our dinners almost 6 months in advance and evenings were fully booked, I’m not exaggerating!
Be camera ready
For those of you with Memory Maker, take advantage of it! There are so many photographers around to get great pictures of you, and it means nobody is left out as the cameraman. From views of the castle to character meetings to rides, there are so many photo-ops. Just scan your ticket or MagicBand and the pictures save to your app where you can easily download them to your phone. There’s an in-depth guide on MickeyBlog.com.
We used our rental cars to get to and from the parks as we stayed very close in the Windsor Hills Resort, but there are plenty of hotels and resorts that have shuttle buses to get you to Walt Disney World. There are also plenty of shuttle buses to get around the various parks and resorts. The parking is $20 a day, even if you leave and come back.
The countdown is on!
Get an app, a little whiteboard, use your calendar – anything to get excited for visiting the happiest place in the world!