Happy Friday! I am on a Disney streak right now as I am in the middle of two Disney trips. I just posted about our trip a couple of weeks ago that you can read here, and we will be going back next month. I’ve been doing a lot of Disney planning and have learned a lot but also I’ve done a lot of research to try and learn all that I could (I’ve also been to Disney property about 13 times now). I’m about to share my vault of secrets on Disney planning to help YOU plan a Disney trip too. Even if you’ve never been, I hope these help.
My Disney Planning Tips Part One was posted a couple of years ago and that is all about why you should plan a trip and how to save some money. These tips are for those that have committed to going to Disney World and need help planning the details before you get there!
Plan in Advance
Plan at least 6 months in advance or more if you can. Prices for the next year come out in June! Planning early guarantees you have opportunity to get your dining reservations as well your pick of hotel room options.
Maximize Your Time and Save Money
If possible, stay the first or last night of your vacation off property to save money. For example, for our upcoming trip we are staying in another part of Florida the first part of the week, driving to Orlando early on our first day to enjoy the park all day, saying three nights at Disney and on our last day, staying at the airport after spending the whole day in the park. Staying at the airport the first or last night can help save and maximize you time in the park! We get 4 full park days and are only staying at Disney three nights.
Room location requests
After you book your room, in the app or online you can make room reservation requests when you do online check in. I always request to be in a building near transportation (the main building).
Fast Pass and Ride Planning
Plan for which rides you want Fast Passes for ahead of your 60 day mark if staying on property. You can make all of your reservations for the entire trip 60 days before check-in. There are some rides that will fill up even before you can get to them (the most popular few). I would use this website to check on the availability leading up to my 60 day mark. Some things were no longer available when I needed them so I had to make adjustments. It was better to know going in ahead of time rather than being surprised.
You can only make 3 reservations ahead of time and they must be for the same park. You have to use them all before making a new one so I try to plan them one right after another (because the times can not overlap). Be aware of lunchtime reservations though! Also, in all parks but Magic Kingdom, there are rides considered “Tier 1” and you can only book one of these for a fast pass. The other two must be from “Tier 2” so be aware of what those are. A google search will tell you.
I always plan my first fast pass at least an hour after park open, that way you have time to ride 2-3 of the rides you couldn’t get fast passes for but get long lines later in the day. The first hour of the park opening usually has the shortest wait times.
Dining Reservation Tips
Always plan ahead of time before your 180 day mark to choose your restaurants you want to eat at. Then, the night before, make a tab for each restaurant you want in the order you want to make the reservation. Make hardest/earliest reservations first. That way, when it opens up you are ready to go. You can make reservations for your entire trip 180 days from check-in if staying on Disney property.
Is dining plan worth it?
The last two trips I have not gotten a dining plan and have done the math and saved about $20-25 compared to dining plan costs. However, I would’ve gotten more food on the dining plan than I bought. We are trying the dining plan in May and are trying to maximize it in everyday possible to get the most for you money. So I would say that it definitely can be worth it if you maximize it! But you also need to want all the food that comes with a dining plan.
Magical Express Reservations
Don’t forget to make Magical Express reservations online or by calling. You need flight numbers before you can do this. But it is super easy and they will send you all the information. You do not need to do it at booking but don’t forget to add it later.
Well that’s my list for now. I am sure there will be more Disney planning tips posts in the future (I mean it’s a big place), I am always happy to answer any questions and talk Disney all day long so if you have any – do not hesitate to reach out. (And your questions might give me ideas for future posts!)
Thanks for catching up!