You've made the first step and decided to take your family on a magical Disney vacation! That's fantastic and I am so happy for you. But...what now?
That's where I come in! I'm Mikayla and I adore all things Disney! I will be your guide in touring the parks, learning the basics and sprinkling that extra little bit of pixie dust everywhere you go!
When to start planning?
Ideally, you want to start planning a Disney vacation 6-12 months or more in advance. Personally, I'm a bit obsessive when it comes to planning things, so I started planning and gathering information about 18 months in advance. But you totally can get super deals 6-12 months out too!
To go with a travel agent or nah?
A B S O L U T E L Y!!! I made the mistake of not using one the first time around and did everything myself and stressed out about almost every detail! However, when you use a travel agent specializing in Disney (LIKE ME) you will not have to stress out about anything! They will take care of all the planning for you and all you will have to do is pack and go.
Also, you don’t pay anything for using their services! They are paid directly through Disney when you book with them, so please! Reach out and use a travel agent specializing in Disney for your next trip!
Click here for your free, no-obligation quote on your ideal Disney (and/or Universal Studios) vacation!
These babies are a necessity if you plan on dining at table service restaurants around Disney parks. You can begin booking them 180 before your trip begins, whether you are staying on property or not! However, if you are staying on property, you can book your advance reservations for the entire trip instead of one day at a time. You can make those reservations via the MyDisneyExperience app or online or by calling 407-WDW-DINE.
Disney Dining Plan
Speaking of food...let me tell you a great option! The Disney Dining Plan is a great way to prepay for your meals while you are in the parks! It's a breeze to have everything planned out and not have to worry about a single thing! And! They recently revamped the plans to include alcoholic beverages for the adults and more snacks throughout the parks! Everything is linked through your MagicBand, so it's really the easiest thing ever!
These little babies are not only cute as buttons, but they are uber functional too! They are able to keep your DDP information, credit card info for purchases, check in for FastPass+, unlock the door to your resort room, connect your PhotoPass pictures to your account and of course, allow you entry into the parks and water parks. MagicBands are hands down, a necessity for traveling in the parks seamless and effortlessly!
FastPasses are amazing! They are electronic passes that allow you to skip the lines that can get to be hours long! You can create up to 3 per day in advance. After you use the 3, you can get more, 1 at a time! If you are staying on property, you can reserve them up to 60 days in advance! And for fantastic rides like the ones in Toy Story Land and Flight of Passage, you'll want to get in on them as early as possible! Not staying on site? That's okay, you can still get them in advance too! Just 30 days before the date you want to reserve it for!
Related: Best FastPass Choices for 2019
What does Walt Disney World have to offer?
As I'm sure you know, Disney World is amazingly huge. Actually, it's 40 square miles encompassing all the properties. That's as big as the city of San Francisco! Within that small city, there is a multitude of things to do! 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, more than 25 hotels, 3 golf courses, and countless amazing restaurants and shops to explore! Whew! I got exhausted just thinking about all the things to do!
Transportation on Property
Disney is huge. We've covered that. Now how do you get around something that large though? Good thing Disney has thought of everything for you! There are so many choices. Monorails, shuttles, Minnie Vans, boats, ferries and buses! All of it is free except the Minnie Vans and is easy enough to find! And of course, if you are driving, you can use taxis, your car or Uber/Lyft. You can find everything about transportation in detail here.
To & From Airport Transportation
Disney's magic can even begin as soon as you step off the plan with their Magical Express! When you stay at a Disney World resort, the shuttle from the airport in Orlando to the resort is complimentary! Just another bit of pixie dust from the mouse himself!
Disney has recently undergone a shift in how their tickets are sold, but it really seems to be in the best interest of everyone! You still pay for the amount of days you will be there, but now you have the option of pre-selecting the dates you will be there or you also have the option of a flexible ticket purchase. You also have the option to make any changes to the dates, or upgrade the amount of time after you make a purchase! So many options!
You also have an option where to buy them! I bought mine from Disney directly as well as from Undercover Tourist (who is an authorized Disney Travel site). And I'll tell you what, both of them were the easiest processes ever. And a rep from UT even called me the same day I ordered the tickets to confirm everything and make sure that I hadn't ordered the wrong amount! Such personalized service!
I think that just about covers everything you need to know at a very high level! I don't want to overwhelm you even more than you already might be! Disney can be so crazy huge to plan, but it will pay off in the end! Seeing the faces of your kids standing in front of Cinderella castle is absolutely priceless! Trust me, I know the feeling ya'll! Brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it!
Okay okay! I'll let you go now! Let me know in the comments what you are most looking forward to on your Disney vacation!