Top Disney World Planning Tips


Posted on December 21st, 2016 by Rachel Jackson

A trip to Disney World can be the holiday of a lifetime – but with so much to do you need to make sure you have planned in advance.

With the introduction of the Magic Bands, planning for your Disney World holiday can seem a bit daunting, knowing you can book your restaurants and fast passes so long before you actually set foot in the “happiest place on earth”.

I like planning and being organised and even I felt a bit overwhelmed at times but if you plan it right you can use the Magic Band to get the most out of your visit, spend much less time queuing and more time enjoying the Disney Magic.

There are two main differences to consider when booking your Disney Holiday – whether to stay “on-site” in a Disney resort or off-site in non Disney accommodation. And both of these options can be booked via and raise a free donation for the causes you support.

Although it may often cost more to stay “on-site” you get the advantage of not only being in the Disney bubble for the whole duration of your holiday, but you get to use the Magic Hours where the parks are open early (or late) just for those guests staying in Disney accommodation. During the Magic Hours the Disney Parks are much emptier, the ques are very short and you manage to go on far more rides than during normal opening hours. The other main difference is that you can book your dining reservations 180 days before your arrival date (as opposed to 60 days before arrival for those not on site) and you can book your FastPasses 60 days before arrival (rather than the 30 days prior to arrival for those guests not staying on site).

If you are anything like me you will be at your computer armed with your colour coded planned itinerary ready for when the booking window opens. And when the booking window opens the bookings are made thick and fast so it is worth researching and planning where you want to go.

Another major decision is if you want to purchase the Disney Dining Plan. This is sometimes offered free for some dates at various hotels.

Once you know where you are staying, and with what food option, the next thing you need to select is which type of Park Ticket is best for you. We knew we would want to spend our time in the Disney Parks due to age of our children but alongside the Disney Park Ultimate tickets there are also Universal Packages, Kennedy Space Centre, Gatorland, LegoLand – you really could fill a month in Orlando. As my experience is off the Disney Park my blogs are centred on those parks (but I look forward to doing another blog in a few years covering Universal when we return with older children…)

After we had decided on the Disney Ultimate ticket I spent many evening reading and researching to try and get an idea of how many days we would want to spend in each park. Once you know that, you can start mapping out an idea of which park you want to be in on what day, select a restaurant for your Table Service Meal (if applicable) and then your FastPasses.

We wanted to do a lot of character meals so the Disney Dining Plan was the right option for us and we booked a lot of character meals, where our children could get the desired characters autograph while we relaxed and ate our dining rather than queuing in the midday sun.

  1. Decide if staying on or off site?
  2. Which Ticket Package is best for you?
  3. Disney Dining Plan? Is it right for you?
  4. Estimate the number of days you want to spend in each park
  5. Schedule which park you plan to be in on what day – it is worth booking in “rest days” as you really do walk miles when you holiday in Disney, we clocked up on average 5 miles a day while we were there
  6. Select your preferred restaurant for each day (if booking a Table Service Meal)
  7. Select your FastPasses for each planned day
  8. Book your Dining Reservations and FastPasses as soon as your booking window opens
  9. Remember all the other required admin such as ESTA application, holiday insurance,  hotel parking.
  10. Enjoy!


There are currently no comments for this post

Leave a comment