30+ Tips for Your Disney World Vacation From Families Like Yours

Posted on: April 30th, 2015 by

family with mickey mouse hats

One of my boys’ first Disney experiences at a party hosted by Disney.

 

If you’ve followed some of our discussions and posts lately you know we are getting ready for our first Walt Disney World vacation. We are so excited. Of course we’re pretty much newcomers to Walt Disney World with the exception of a trip in my twenties, but this time is still exciting nevertheless. It will be my 3 boys first time! And it seems the more you talk with others about going to Disney World the more tips everyone wants to share. With that in mind, this past March we asked our readers for their best tips for planning a Disney World Vacation. We’re sharing their responses here.

 

Tips for Disney World

 

Overall Disney World Planning Trips

  1. You will not see everything. Don’t try. I’ve been more over 30 times AND I used to work there and I still haven’t done everything. Pick one attraction for each family member-do those. Anything above and beyond is a bonus. ~ HD
  2. Go to www.disboards.com for all kinds of discussion boards for all things disney. It’s an amazing board if u have time to look at all the posts. I was just there a few weeks ago and had an amazing time. Have fun!!! ~ RS
  3. I think the biggest thing is to not worry about which attractions you see or how many rides you can fit in a day, have each person pick their must-do each day before you leave (or on the plane ride there.) Have your meals planned ahead of time, parks you want to visit, your Fastpass+ reservations scheduled and then just enjoy the little moments. Like when they have that first Mickey bar. Those are the things they will talk about long after the trip is over. The whole point of a Disney vacation is to enjoy time with your family. I visit Disney World multiple times a year and STILL have not done it all, no one can do it all in a week–so don’t try and really don’t stress. There are lots of touring tips and strategies, etc which are important and will help… but as you are riding the bus and waiting in lines… remember to savor the time you all are spending together. ~ Dana (I plan people’s trips for free as a travel agent who specializes in Disney— my website is www.traveldealsbydana.com
  4. Don’t try to do it all. Plan in some downtime. ~ Julia

 

Tips for the Walt Disney World Parks

  1. Use the crowd calendar. Get early morning reservation at Hollywood & vine if you want Jedi training. Leave 30 min between fast passes. ~ GD
  2. Make sure you take advantage of the Fast Passes. Fast Pass for early in the day and then you can add additional Fastpasses in the park after you use your first 3! ~ LK
  3. Www.kennythepirate.com is the best site ever! Best tips on everything especially characters and which rides to FP. ~ NS
  4. Basic plan. { HAVE FUN } also be careful and vigilant. ~ JK
  5. We signed up for Fast Passes but some lines weren’t so bad so we’d use the regular line and transfer the fast pass to something else. We brought our own glow sticks and necklaces for night time parades and saved a ton of money that way. We also rented a stroller before hand (didn’t think we’d need it with 4 & 8 year olds but they were sooo happy we had it).  Make sure you get your Magic Bands. Have fun!!! ~ GD
  6. My son-in-law found an app for his android that helped us guide through wait times. ~ EW
  7. The most important advice I think is use the Fast Pass, book ur favorite rides in the morning through FP and after they r used u can try to book more rides during the afternoon, the best rides book fast, so get them out of the way in the am. ~ CJ
  8. Disney App..lets you know how long each wait is for rides, gives you a map of rides and location of characters, you can also adjust your fast pass with it. ~ DL
  9. Plan ahead and read as much as you can about the parks. Checking crowd calendars really helps make the parks more enjoyable. Go first thing in the morning (arrive a half hour before opening so you can wander and look at things before the crowds arrive) Bring backpacks with water, flip flops, sunscreen, snacks, a poncho and your autograph books. Take breaks and don’t worry if you miss things – you will! It all can’t be done in one visit. Impossible. And then enjoy! ~ LS
  10. Take breaks. We go in the morning take a break to nap or swim in the afternoon then go back to a park at night. ~ MC
  11. My best advice then is to make sure you book your dining and fast passes. I try to book my fast passes based on when and where my dining reservations are so that I don’t have to worry about getting to another park. ~ Jessica

 

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY

We’re heading to Disney World and these tips are helping us with our planning. Let them help you.

 

Dining & Food

  1. Ohana Breakfast is our absolute favorite. You don’t need a park ticket to go and it’s cheaper than many of the other character breakfasts (food is much better too!). ~ LK
  2. And we also stocked up with Garden Grocer (both were delivered to our hotel). Water. Water. Water. We definitely felt ripped off by Chef Mickeys and wouldn’t recommend it. ~ GD
  3. To plan for our meals we visited the disneyfoodblog.com to read their reviews and allears.net to take a look at restaurant menus and prices. If u r on dining plan, Be our Guest for lunch is the best bang for ur (Quick Service) buck. ~ CJ
  4. Bring snacks into the park and single serve drink packets you can add to the water. We do the dining plan now that has the snack credit built in but many moons ago before we did that I would each kid they got $5 a day for a snack so to use it wisely and make sure it was on something they really wanted. ~ Crystal
  5. We love Ohana breakfast too. If you’re buying the meal plan our favourite restaurants are O’Hana, Whispering Winds Cafe, and Prime Time Cafe. ~ LS
  6. You can ask for a cup of water for free at any food counter. ~ RS
  7. Grocery delivery is your best friend! I would recommend cases of water & snacks at a minimum, my family eats most of our breakfasts & lunches from the room, dinner out. ~ JM

 

 (L-R) MERIDA amongst the triplets: HARRIS, HUBERT and HAMISH; KING FERGUS and QUEEN ELINOR. ©2012 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

(L-R) MERIDA amongst the triplets: HARRIS, HUBERT and HAMISH; KING FERGUS and QUEEN ELINOR. ©2012 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

 

Shopping & Souvenirs

  1. At home we converted chore money into Disney Dollars. I found a template on the Disboards and printed it and put them into an envelope then before each trip I would run and buy a gift card for each kid with what they earned so they were in control of their own spending money so to speak. ~ Crystal

 

Pictures

  1. If you plan for Hollywood Studios and your kids are Buzz and Woody Fans… Get that photo done ASAP as that line rarely dropped under an hour wait. ~ GD
  2. Take advantage of all the photopass/memory maker photographers it’s a great way to make sure you get included in some of the photos. Even if you didn’t purchase the memory maker they will still take a photo for you with your camera. ~ Crystal

 

Special Touches

Disney pin Snow White

My first Disney pin, gifted to me at a Disney on the Road Conference

  1. We brought our own glow sticks and necklaces for night time parades and saved a ton of money that way. ~ GD
  2. Oh and you can buy pins on Ebay ahead of time much cheaper to trade if you’re planning on doing that. ~ LS
  3. I did my 5 year old’s hair every morning like a princess–some tiara headbands from Claire’s, tight bun, and glitter from our arts and craft stash at home. Saved us a lot! Plus I think she looked a whole lot cuter than some of the $250+ hairdos from Bibbitty Bobbity Boo! ~ CB
  4. Main Street Barbershop is a hidden gem! We go there for haircuts and pixie dust every trip! (Much cheaper than home!). ~ LK
  5. I really loved doing a countdown with my kids. For 30 days before the trip, each day we focused on something from Disney Parks. I made everything educational such as learning about the countries in Epcot. They had so much fun learning and it got them excited for our trip. I also buy little Disney toys and shirts before I go and bring them with me. Then each night I leave them out when the kids fall asleep. Then I tell them that Mickey left them. Sometimes I run back to room and put the toys out so they have them when we come back from the park. I try to coordinate with where we just were that day or a special event we will be doing the next day. ~ Jessica
  6. I used to surprise my kids with gifts from the characters I would hit the local Disney store or even Target and Dollar store and get trinkets then I would leave it each night of our stay from a different character. I also create my own autograph book each year its unique and different then the $14 dollar ones in the park. ~ Crystal
  7. I created a fun letter from Mickey and friends personalized for the boys. ~ Tina

 

Do you have a tip you would recommend for planning a Disney World vacation?

 

Posted in: All, Disney World, Family Vacation Ideas

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Jennifer Auer is the hyperlocal mom blogger who runs Jersey Family Fun. From New Jersey, this mom of 3 boys just can’t sit still! Her husband likes to say she’s a work-at-home mom who never stays home. Jennifer started traveling as a child and hasn’t stopped since. Instead of letting her husband and boys slow her down, she brings them along! Did you know that boys behave better when they are out exploring? As her boys start to become teens there’s still so many places she wants to discover with them both across the U.S. and internationally. She has been a Jersey Girl for 20+ years, and a Jersey Mom for 8+ years and a New Jersey mom blogger for 7 years, although she'd much rather be referred to as an influencer or just by name. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a focus on Entrepreneurship from Bryant University in Rhode Island.

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