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Five Essential Tips for Planning Your Disney Vacation

Five Essential Tips for Planning Your Disney Vacation brian-mcgowan-s6LBr-B0ffE-unsplash 1  Photo by <a href="">Brian McGowan</a> on <a href="">Unsplash</a>

Here at The DIS, we do our best to provide you with the best planning resources possible, taking an in-depth look at everything from dining options to attraction recommendations. However, sometimes, as experienced Disney travelers, we like to check back in with some of the basics for those of our community planning their first Disney vacation. Planning your first trip to Disneyland or Walt Disney World is a very exciting time, and it is natural to try and fit in as much of the magic as possible. Here are five of my very best basic tips to help you get the most out of your time away!

Leave Yourselves Open, Unscheduled Time

One of the biggest mistakes that I see people make with any travel plans is packing too much into a small amount of time. The best part of Disney is exploring and experiencing the new and unexpected. Turning the corner and seeing a Disney character greeting guests or stopping to see the parade pass by. If you don’t leave yourself time to find those moments, you might feel rushed and frustrated. Remember to leave blocks of time without reservations and tight park-hopping plans to allow for that magic to find you.

Don’t Miss Out on Rope Drop

Often, I see friends and family booking character dining and other reservations in the morning on their first day, but by the time they arrive in the park, the best opportunity to explore without the crowds has passed. Plan to get to the parks early around Rope Drop (first opening) time, especially on your first day, to make sure you get those initial moments you’ve been dreaming of. Breakfast reservations are great for another time when the anticipation for the day ahead isn’t at its highest.

Five Essential Tips for Planning Your Disney Vacation aubrey-odom-kgDcxWs5ZmA-unsplash  Photo by <a href="">Aubrey Odom</a> on <a href="">Unsplash</a>

Photo by Aubrey Odom on Unsplash

Leave the Shopping Till the Afternoon

While a walk through the shops of Main Street, U.S.A. in Magic Kingdom might help pass the time until the rope comes down, resist the urge to pick up your favorite items until the end of the day. Unless you have spotted a limited edition item that will sell out during the morning, everything will still be there later in the day. Shopping in the morning can make your time in the park so much harder as you manage to carry your goodies on and off attractions. Pick up those special items on the way out of the park in the afternoon or evening.

Skip Elaborate Dress-Ups for Kids

We’ve all seen the marketing videos with the beautiful young girl spinning in slow motion in front of the castle. Cinderella’s dress swirls around her, with not another soul in sight to disturb her. It’s a cute idea but not realistic. If this is your first trip to Disney, the experience can be very overwhelming for kids, and adding uncomfortable costumes to the mix might make everything harder. Instead, try taking a page from the Disneybounding handbook and pack character-inspired outfits in practical styles and materials that will help them feel special without any itchy tulle. Comfortable, moveable, and breathable clothing is the name of the game, and those happy, genuine smiles will be worth so much more than the perfect costume.

Keep Your Backpack Light

Stick to the basics when it comes to packing your backpack. Layers for everyone in your group, including light outerwear that can be tied around the waist, help to keep your bag under control. A small bag of essential medications, a portable charger, a drink bottle, room-to-store hats, etc. Keeping things minimal helps to make your bag light and manageable. Try to resist bringing kid’s toys and other unnecessary things with you during the day; they might be easily lost and add to what you need to carry. You can get free water at just about every quick service location; however, that isn’t always with you in the long line when everyone needs to hydrate. Don’t skip the water bottle.

While you are planning, don’t forget to make the most of our community by visiting our Disney discussion forums here.

Zoë Wood is a travel writer from Sydney, Australia. Since her first visit to Disneyland at the age of 6, she has spent her years frequently visiting Disney Parks and traveling around the world.

Join Zoë as she lets you in on all the tips, tricks, anecdotes, and embarrassments that arise from her family adventures.


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