Phew! Planning a Walt Disney World trip is a lot of work! There is so much to think about! And while the planning and looking at guidebooks and websites is fun, in that back of your head your wondering "Did I forget something?" And let's be real...you may have. But you're in luck! I gonna help you with what the top 5 things to do when planning your Walt Disney World trip!
The good news is, you may have already done some of these thing! (Depending on where you are in your planning.)
1. Figure our when to go, and where to stay
This is a big one! And it seems obvious, but it's still a great place to start. I talk about choosing a resort in the article Choosing A Disney World Hotel. There is a lot to consider when thinking about this. And that article goes over it all.
You also need to think about when to go. Sometimes you don't have a choice because of a school schedule, or even a work schedule. But other times you can choose. I cover choosing a date to go in the article How To Start Planning Your Disney Trip. If you are looking for how big crowds are, a great website to visit is www.touringplans.com. That is where I go, and they are masters at knowing what to expect as far as crowd level. They have been doing it for a long time.
2. Create A My Disney Experience Account
Once you have figured out when and where to stay and made that reservation, the next thing to do when planning your Walt Disney World vacation is set up a My Disney Experience account. And then you are going to download My Disney Experience to your phone.
Why is that important? That is a great question! It's important because almost all of the rest of your Disney World vacation planning will be done from My Disney Experience
This is where you are going to make all of your reservations. Want a dinner at Be Our Guest, do it in My Disney Experience. Want to eat in Mexico? You got it, My Disney Experience. What to attend that fireworks dessert party (which you should totally do!)? Do it in My Disney Experience?
You also make reservations for special events and tours from My Disney Experience. So that Keys To The Kingdom tour you think looks great (and it is great), you can book that here. Want to go to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, get them here.
This is also where you are going to make your FastPass+ reservations!
There is also something in Walt Disney World called Memory Maker! There are photographers and cameras all through Walt Disney World, and they will take your picture. They tap your magic band and VOILA! The picture shows up in your My Disney Experience! (We'll talk about Memory Maker in another article.)
My Disney Experience does so much more! There are maps of the parks! It shows you where the restrooms are located. You can see wait times for the ride your going to next! The app also shows you when the bus is going to arrive at your resort! It does so much, that there is no way to cover it all here. There will be a future article about it so you can learn what it is all about.
My Disney Experience...GET IT! (and it's free!)
3. 180 Days - Make Reservations For Meals And Special Events
So when planning your Walt Disney World trip, the 180 day mark before your trip is very important! That is the day you can start making dining reservations.
Why is that so important? Well, I'm telling you now, if you want to have dinner at Be Our Guest, or breakfast with Cinderella in the castle (yes...in the castle!), you have to do that first thing on this day. Reservations go fast! REALLY FAST!
It's not that you can't get a reservation someplace, just maybe not at the special place you had your heart set on.
I know it seems crazy to plan which park you are going to be at on which day (check out crowd calendars), however some things you just can't wait. Don't get me wrong, you can get a dining reservation someplace on the day you want it, but it won't be for that extra special place you want to eat.
This is also the time to make Character meal reservations. A lot of those go pretty fast too! I'll talk about character meals in another article.
Just trust me, and make those reservations!
4. 120 days - Purchase Park Admission
This is the time to buy your park tickets. I have a whole article about buying park tickets called Disney World Park Tickets - So Many Choices! It is a great article about the different tickets you can get and helps you decide which tickets you need.
You can buy your tickets either in your My Disney Experience, or get them from a third party vendor that may sell them at a slight discount. Once you link them to your My Disney Experience, your magic band becomes your ticket!
5. 60 days - Make FastPass+ reservations
The last major thing to do is to make your FastPass+ reservations starting 60 days from your arrival (or 30 days if you are staying off property).
This is important too! Especially if you want to ride some of the big rides like Flight Of Passage at Animal Kingdom, or Seven Dwarves Mine Ride at the Magic Kingdom. I don't know anyone that wants to wait in line for several hours to ride something. Not fun.
So to prevent that, you get FastPasses. And you need to do it as early on that day as possible. The two rides I mentioned are not easy to get. They go really fast. We will talk about a FastPass+ plan in a different article to help you out.
Finally - Get Memory Maker!
I talked about this with the My Disney Experience, but I think Memory Maker is great add on if you can afford it. You will get all of the pictures that Disney Cast members take to download.
If you don't buy it, you can still buy individual pictures. Also, the pictures still show up in you My Disney Experience app. So will at least get to see them, and then decide what you want, and what you don't want.
I hope this helped with planning your trip to Walt Disney World! If you have any questions, leave a comment, and I will be sure to respond. Also, sign up for The Goofy Guy Newsletter to stay up to date with everything that is happening here. I would love to have you as part of the gang!