We recently returned from a holiday to the wonderful Walt Disney World in Florida. As this was our second visit this time around we were much more prepared. So I thought I would give you some tips if you are planning to visit and are feeling like you don't know where to begin...
The best thing to do to prepare yourself for Walt Disney World is to do some research. There are some wonderful books available online for example the Birbaum's Official Guides. But I found the best place to get my tips and ideas for what I wanted to do on the trip is YouTube. The Tim Tracker regularly visits the parks and offers loads of useful advice. Warning. You WILL become addicted. There are also plenty of groups on FB including Disney World Florida for Brits as well as some beautiful instagram accounts.
My little boy got his wish in Hollywood Studios!
You may be going to Disney with friends or like us with young children. Every person on the trip will have different things they want to ride, see and eat. So I sat my family down and asked them to give me an idea of what they would like to do. My daughter really wanted to ride Test Track in Epcot. Whilst my son really wanted to meet Buzz in Hollywood Studios. Make a list and keep this handy for when you book your fast passes.
3. My Disney Experience
If you are staying in a Disney Hotel like we were it's a good idea to link up to My Disney Experience as soon as you can. This is the place where you can customise your all important Magic Bands. These bands will do everything from open your hotel room to keeping track of all your fast passes and helping you to get photos around the park with Memory Maker.
Make Magic Hours count with low crowds and great photo ops!
4. Make A Plan
It is possible to book dining reservations via My Disney Experience 180 days in advance. My Disney Experience is available to all guests even if they are not staying at Walt Disney World. Disney hotel guests get to access Fast Pass+ a little earlier (60 days rather than 30). You also only get magic bands if staying at a Disney hotel (cards if not). It allows you to manage your holiday booking and make day by day plans.
If there is somewhere you particularly want to eat it's a good idea to book up the meal as soon as you can. Popular meals at venues such as Be Our Guest in The Magic Kingdom may fill up quickly. Fast passes enable you to ride a certain ride at a certain time. These are invaluable and will make your trip run much more smoothly.
Disney vlogs helped me find this gem of a photo op in the Harambe Market, Animal Kingdom
5. Get Organised
Prior to my trip I noted what meals we wanted to have, what rides and experiences my family wanted to go on and made a little spreadsheet. On the sheet I had each day of the holiday we were there and then roughly planned out what we wanted to do on what days. To be even further organised you may want to add in any days that parks have extra magic hours. This means if you are staying on site you can get in earlier or stay later. You could also pop in any snacks you wanted to try or instagram photos you wanted to take.
Living my best instagram life at The Galatic Wall in The Magic Kingdom
6. Book Those Passes!
The day the fast passes came out I took my spreadsheet and went through and booked what we wanted to do. Focusing on the rides that we were really excited to try. You can get three passes a day. You needed worry about sticking to a rigid plan as if you download My Disney Experience to your phone it is possible to alter passes whilst you are on holiday. We did this quite regularly but it was reassuring to know we had times to go on some of the more popular rides such as Avatar - Flight of Passage in Animal Kingdom.
I made sure I planned in time to have one (OK three) Night Blossom's in Pandora, Animal Kingdom
7. What To Pack
Disney World is all about having fun. You will be surprised when you get there that a lot of families all wear matching t-shirts and that includes Dads, Uncles and Grandads! So it's a great time to embrace your inner child. Rather than buying stuff whilst we were there I hit places like Primark and Uniqlo to get all our Disney inspired outfits. It also made preparing for the holiday really exciting. I will chat about how to make the most of your trip with younger children in my next post.
You can't beat Mickey approved matching t-shirts!
8. Manage Your Expectations
It is possible to over plan your holiday. It is impossible to do every single thing you want to do. There are four theme parks and two water parks to cover so be realistic. Return to your list about what each member of your party wants to do and that's a good goal to achieve. Anything more than that is a bonus!
9. Have FUN!
For me part of the excitement of going to Walt Disney World is the preparation. I love trying to work out which rides I want to go on. Organising surprise meals for my children. And picking out silly t-shirts for my husband. It's all part of the process. In the months leading up to our trip we would sit down together as a family and watch vlogs on YouTube. Shouting out what we would like to see when we were there. Now we are home I am already thinking about our next Disney trip and I can't wait to start organising it all over again!
To find out more about my spreadsheet and organising please check out the below video
This post was written in partnership with Walt Disney World
who sprinkled some extra pixie dust on our recent trip