Practicality is the name of the game, as we all are in unique situations and can’t afford the same time or budget of everyone else in the planning process. This is all about taking a step back and realizing that the Top 10 Advanced Dining Reservations to get ASAP and the Top 10 Snacks on the Disney Dining Plan are great lists…they may not represent the reality of everyone in our readership.
TIP #1 – FLORIDA IS HOT!
If you’ve never been to Walt Disney World or Central Florida before, it’s important to realize the weather may be different than you’re used to. When I worked in EPCOT, my first day was December 4th 2007…and I got a sunburn!
You may think that we’re coming from a “well you should just know” stand, but the biggest complaint that we see on forums and on Facebook are from folks who didn’t understand that the weather may affect your decision to stay in the park from open to close. Knowledge is power, in this case, so pack sunscreen and hydrate yourself on your trips, whether that’s summer, February or October.
TIP #2 – KNOW YOUR OPTIMAL REST PERIODS.
Do you have a sleep schedule that you’re used to before you go on vacation? It’s impossible to just turn your alarm from an 8 am wake-up call to a 6 am without going to bed earlier. If you’re not able to change your bed time, then look at naps mid-day.
This is a practical solution to feeling like you’re running a marathon on vacation and then “needing a vacation from your vacation”. This usually is a sleep-related issue which takes a little bit of planning and give-and-take in your schedule.
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TIP #3 – DON’T READ EVERY PLANNING BOOK!
Ok, so this is a controversial one, but we’re coming to you with a reasoning that will hopefully be received with compassion. The 2023 version of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World is 840 pages from cover to cover. Inside, you’ll find touring plans, dining reviews, attraction guides, and 34 pages dedicated to just the INDEX of subjects, restaurants, and accommodations.
Len Testa and Bob Sehlinger (and the entire team) spend countless hours, days, months and in fact..years…putting together everything that you could ever want to know about trip planning for any situation. The practical tip is to use a book as a resource and build your own vacation around suggestions and ideas…but please don’t use it literally…as your situation is unique!
TIP #4 – LOOK AT THE REFURBISHMENT PAGE
It’s important to do this before you start getting your kids excited. This is quite simple, but do you want your family to be upset if they are expecting to see Splash Mountain….but it’s closed and will be turned into a Tiana themed attraction.
We went on a vacation where Pirates of the Caribbean was closed for maintenance, and although it was announced before the window reservations opened, with support on every site talking about how it would be closed for a period of time…there were still families that were in absolute meltdowns when they couldn’t ride the attraction. Just do yourself a favor and be prepared for what’s open or closed, and how to just bypass that section with your family during the planning.
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TIP #5 – VALUE IS IN THE EYES OF THE BEHOLDER.
What does this mean? Well, quite simply…when a guest goes to the Magic Kingdom for the day, they have a number of attractions or experiences that they need to accomplish (or check off their list) in order to feel like they had a good day. When things impact that number, which sits at around 10-12 experiences a day, then you feel like you got ripped off and you’ll leave disappointed. You can’t/won’t be able to experience everything in the Magic Kingdom in one day…
Looking for the PRACTICAL tip is easy for this one. Have a list of 14-16 attractions/experiences that you want to accomplish, and then when you cross off 10-12, then you’ll feel like you had a great day and even more important…you’ll have a reason to come back!
TIP #6 – AN EXPERIENCE DOESN’T NEED A QUEUE LINE
“We have to do Pirates of the Caribbean, then Space Mountain followed by Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Jungle Cruise….”
Having a list that includes attractions only is actually missing the point of the Disney theme parks.
By incorporating these expert tips into your Walt Disney World vacation planning, you can optimize your experience and ensure a memorable trip. Prioritize practicality, consider your unique circumstances, and make informed choices to create a personalized itinerary that meets your