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9 Tips for Planning a Disney World Vacation

Planning a trip to Disney World can be a bit overwhelming with all the accommodations and ticket choices before you arrive and then all the Park choices and ride options once you get there. These tips will guide you through the different choices available for planning a Disney World vacation and then have more time to enjoy your Disney trip while there.

how to plan for a Disney vacationPin

A Disney vacation can be fun for everyone! It isn’t just a place for parents to take kids. Adults, singles, grandparents and more can enjoy Disney! The first place to start when planning a Disney vacation is to research.

How to plan the perfect Disney trip

A Disney vacation can be fun for everyone! It isn’t just a place for parents to take kids. Adults, singles, grandparents and more can enjoy Disney! The first place to start when planning a Disney vacation is to research.

There’s so much to see and do so it’s important to read up on the Disney parks and make a flexible plan of where you want to go and what you want to see. First order the Disney planning DVD and the free maps that are available on the Disney web site. Then go to the library and find the Unofficial Guide to Disney. There are also a lot of other books on Disney that will make a great reference for your planning. Finding an online guide to planning a Disney world vacation is very helpful, especially if this is your first trip to Disney.

There are many sites that can help you with your planning (DisBoardsAllears, etc.). These boards are filled with people who live, eat and breath Disney and who have traveled to the parks many times. Why not dip into their vast knowledge and learn from the “experts”? You can post a question on most of these boards and have many answers within 20 minutes. Also, a lot of time there are codes and saving plans listed on the sites. There are great tips on how to save money on your trip.

You should also find out information about your hotel and other activities for family fun (miniature golf courses, water parks, Disney Springs, and the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, among others) at the Walt Disney World website.


After you have researched and read the web, take the information to your travel partners and/or kids. Let them see all the options (on-site resorts vs. off site hotels; Disney dining plan vs. taking snacks to parks; etc…) Get the consencus of what everyone want out of their Disney Vacation.

Then take what everyone wants and the information you have gathered from the web, Disney and your library books and let an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, like OMC Blogger, Jeremie from Pure Magic Vacations help you plan your magical trip! They are free and can really help walk you through your Disney vacation.

Minnie Mouse at the Disney ParadePin

Disney world vacation packing list

Now that you have booked your room, tickets and everything, it is time to start thinking about what you need to take. Go back to the web sites you researched on and find the packing lists that people have compiled. They are a great way to start thinking about what to pack and will help you not forget anything.

Collect everything you need for your trip over the months and throw in a suitcase or box designated for vacation items. This will help when it is finally time to pack. Everything will be in the same place and you won’t forget anything.

Get The Kids Involved In Planning The Disney Trip

A fun way to get kids involved in the Disney planning is to make a paper chain (one link for everyday) and on each link write some fun facts about Disney or something to do for the trip (i.e. pick up sun screen). Each day they take a link off and either get a fun fact or an activity to do (i.e. go to store with Mom to get sun screen). This will help buid the anticipation for the trip.

Tips for Planning a Disney World Vacation

The best way to plan a Walt Disney World vacation, is to have fun in the planning too! These tips will come in handy!

1. Disney World Accommodations

When visiting Disney World, you have the choice of either staying on-site or in a nearby location.

The Disney on-site resorts are normally more expensive, but they have taken extra efforts to help extend the whole Disney experience through decor. Their best amenities is that all Disney hotel guest are eligible for an hour early (or up to 2 hours late) admission at one of the theme parks daily.

There are literally hundreds of off-site hotels in the Disney World area, with many serviced by the airport shuttle and offer free service to Parks.

Walt Disney World Grand Floridian Resort and SpaPin

2. Disney Tickets

Children ages 3-9 qualify for a child ticket while everyone aged 10 and up must buy an adult ticket. There are two main ticket choices to choose from which range from one day to a season pass. You can purchase tickets for one park or all four and can add on a water park option as well.

The Magic Your Way Base Ticket allows entrance into one theme park per day while the Park Hopper Option allows each ticket holder the ability to go from Theme Park to Theme Park on the same day.

3. Inside Disney World

On your way into the parks, all of your bags will need to be checked before you head to the entrance lanes and WAIT in line.

Once inside, the first thing you need to do is get a guide map and a times guide for the day. These are available right past the entrance, at Guest Relations and in most of the shops. This will tell you the parade, fireworks and character-greeting schedule to help you organize your day. Each park also has stroller rentals and bathrooms with baby care centres.

Use your guide map to see where your favourite Disney rides are located. You can either join the crowds and run there or, hop on the Disney train at the main street station and ride there. You can also print our Disney Park Planner Printables‏ that will allow you to enjoy the park and plan out the perfect Disney Vacation!

Dumbo The Flying Elephant Ride at Magic Kingdom WDWPin

4. Disney World Rides

Your children’s ages will heavily influence which parks you’ll spend more time in. Their ages will also influence what you do in each park. If you’re in the Magic Kingdom with toddlers, rides like “it’s a small world” and Dumbo the Flying Elephant will take top priority while with older children you should start with rides like Pirates of the Caribbean and Splash Mountain. If you’re traveling with children in two different age groups, it might be easier to separate to ensure each child gets to see whatever rides they wish.

The popular rides at Disney World can have unbearable lines but you can cut that time down with timing. For short lines, hit the most popular rides early in the morning, during dinnertime, right before closing and during the parades.

5. Disney Genie+ service

The other way to spend less time in line is to purchase the Disney Genie+ service. In addition to getting all of the great features that come with the complimentary Disney Genie service, the Disney Genie+ service will offer even more convenience and flexibility, for $15 plus tax (USD) per ticket per day.

Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane Entrances

As per the Disney World website “This new service, offered at more than 40 attractions and experiences throughout Walt Disney World theme parks, lets you select the next available arrival window for Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane experiences! You may make one selection at a time, starting at 7:00 AM on the day of your visit (experiences are subject to limited availability). If your theme park ticket includes the Park Hopper option, you can select Lightning Lane arrival windows across multiple theme parks.”


Lines in Disney World are usually unavoidable, especially in the summer season. With young children waiting in these lines can seem longer. You should take note of which rides are included in the Genie+ service. If you’re a Disney resort guest, you should also take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours, where a particular park will either open earlier, or stay open later in the evening for Disney guests and lines are greatly shortened with the reduced number of people in the parks.

Of course waiting in multiple lines is inevitable, and it is common to see children playing with small handheld video games or toys, playing a game with their parents or having a small, healthy snack, all of which can help the boredom. And remember once they’re on the ride, the waiting will have been worth it!

Story Book Dining at Artist Point with GrumpyPin


You’ll want to make reservations at any restaurant you want to have a meal in to ensure you’ll get a table with little waiting (reservations can be made 60 days in advance). When travelling with young children, you’ll want to pick restaurants with a fun theme, like the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater (movies play as you have dinner in “parked cars”) or the Prime Time Cafe (where you eat in the kitchen of a kooky 50’s family). These restaurants are very kid-friendly and offer kids an exciting time! There are also many character dining experiences to choose from explore them all and pock one that best meets the needs of your family.


Weather in Disney World can be unpredictable; the sun might be blazing one minute and the next you could find yourself in a rainstorm. When it is hot, there is almost no relief from the sun except for indoor rides (since most of the lines begin outside, the air conditioning begins once the line moves inside the building), stores and restaurants, so be prepared. If you go to the park in the day, when it is most hot, make sure you bring sun block (and reapply it as directed by the bottle), sunglasses and lots of water to keep all the members of your family from the ones in the stroller to the ones pushing the stroller hydrated! It is important to stay hydrated and take breaks in the air conditioned relief as needed.

Disney World also sees frequent rainfall. Don’t let this deter your time at the park since rain usually means only outdoor rides (like Splash Mountain or Test Track) have to close to accommodate the weather. Grab a poncho (either ones you buy yourself at a local drugstore, or ones you can buy at the park) and make your way to the rides that are still open often you’ll see shorter lines too! And chances are you’ll find a rainy day in the Disney park is just as fun, and produces just as many memories, as a sunny one!


Especially in summer, Disney can be very hot. It can also be very overwhelming. Long days at the parks can take its toll on the kids, and as a result, the parents. That’s why you should take your time and stick to your child’s home schedule, including naps and meals. Don’t be afraid to go back to your room and take a break, or even spend the afternoon at the hotel, until the sun goes down so the kids will be more comfortable. Either of these options will prevent the children from becoming overtired and cranky.

Disney is large, and it is impossible to see everything, so taking a little time will not hinder you from seeing anything you want to see. Plus, with Disney’s bus transportation Monorail, or Skiliner, getting to and from your Disney hotel to the park is easy!

how to plan for a Disney vacationPin

Planning a trip to Disney world is time consuming, but well worth the effort! Disney World has something for everyone: if you want it fast, slow, wet, dry, scary or bland they have a ride for you! Hoping these tips on how to plan a vacation to Disney world will help you to have a magical time on your Walt Disney World vacation. Hard to believe it all started with just one mouse named Mickey!

Revised November 18th, 2022

Lyne Proulx
Lyne Proulxhttps://ottawamommyclub.ca/
Lyne Proulx is a Certified WEBB Bodywork Pet Practitioner, Certified Infant Massage Instructor (CIMI), Certified Professional Wedding Consultant, and an Event Planner. She loves all things Disney and is an avid teaholic and chocoholic. She coordinated the Annual Infant Information Day/Early Years Expo for the City of Ottawa for 8 years. She was the Queen B of the BConnected Conference, Canada's Digital Influencer and social media Conference in Ottawa and Toronto. She was also the co-chair of the Navan for Kraft Hockeyville 2009-2011 committee that organized five community events within 6 months, and helped Navan reach the top 10 finalists in Canada. In April 2011, she received the City of Ottawa Mayor's City Builder Award.

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  1. I went to Disney World when I was 22 and even though I couldn’t do the rides because I’m in a wheelchair, I had a great time just seeing everything and of course the Dole Whip. It’s a great experience !


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