Planning Your First Disney Vacation

There is so very much you need to know if you are going on a Disney vacation. I’m always afraid that I’ll overwhelm people, but the fact is that a vacation to Disney is very different from a vacation to the beach, where you only have to book your hotel and sit on the beach all week. Ah! So relaxing! Disney will actually be a lot more relaxing if you plan it out before you go.

It’s important that you realize just how big Disney World is. You must use some form of transportation to get from your resort to the theme parks, with a few exceptions. Transportation will be traveling on a highway. Yeah, it’s big. To get from your resort to a park will take from 12-20 minutes, sometimes longer if you have a sick child with you.

You’re not going to be able to see everything in one trip. If you try to, you’ll run yourself ragged and you won’t be able to enjoy what you do see.

Book a full seven days if you are able to. Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom can be comfortably done in a day and a half, while Epcot and the Magic Kingdom need 2 days each.

Get to the parks at least 30 minutes before the park you are visiting is scheduled to open. They often open early.

Your plans should be set more than 180 days before your trip. To put this in perspective, a trip planned for September should be planned in April! At 180 days, you can reserve your meals. You can book your room even earlier. Why would you want to do that? Well, because other people will be doing that, and if you don’t, you may find that your choice is already taken! So plan which parks you’ll be visiting on different days ahead of time, so that you can try and eat at that park. Wait til later than 180 days out, and you will end up planning your trip around where you can get a dinner reservation. Below I have the top 4 things to plan, in order of importance.

Also, there is a whole website, just for first timers here: They get very detailed about everything, including making dining ressies. Here it is:


Tip from my daughter, about Hollywood Studios: Go to Toy Story Mania first and instead of just walking there, take big steps.

1> The first thing you need to do is plan when you are going. The best months to go are in the fall. Keep in mind that if you go over a holiday, not only will you pay more for your hotel and possibly meals depending on where you eat, but it will also be busy. Even President’s Day in February is crazy busy. Summer and Christmas through New Years will be sardine-like.

2> Book your resort. There is nothing like staying on Disney property, if you can. It helps you not to lose the magic during the trip.

3> Plan your trip out. You can find websites online that will tell you which days to go to which park. The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World publishes a book every year, and it gives you several touring plans in the back. So what I’m saying is plan out each and every day you will be at Disney, down to where and when you want to eat and when you want to ride what. If this sounds crazy to you, all I can say is trust me!

4> Dining Reservations. Go online or call 180 days in advance, with a list in hand of where you want to eat and what time you want to have your reservations. My husband is so hardcore, that he takes off a day from work in order to be able to book dining reservations for the times he wants. Yep, people are booking 180 days in advance at like 6am. If you want to eat at Be our Guest, the Castle or Chef Mickey’s, this is what you have to do! CRAZY, but true!

Lastly, if you have any Disney questions, don’t be afraid to ask me! I love to help!

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