You can’t help but feel magic in Walt Disney World Resort, which is why it lands on the top of so many family vacation bucket lists. But between booking hotels, making reservations, and keeping track of your little-ones in Disney World’s 40-square-miles, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. So, where do you start? Our AAA Dream Maker consultants are here to help. They can customize the perfect itinerary and give crucial time-saving tips.
Check out ten tips our Dream Makers have put together to make your Disney vacation feel like a walk in the park—or should we say, “theme park?”
1) Make reservations early.
Start planning ahead of time to be sure you secure availability at the park. You’ll also want to be sure to snag the perfect room at the perfect resort. We recommend you start planning at least six months in advance, although the sooner you start planning, the better!
Another helpful tip is to make dining reservations early. You can reserve dining 60 days before arriving at Disney.
2) Download the My Disney Experience app.
Downloading the My Disney Experience app allows you to control various aspects to create a seamless experience. Here’s what the app can do to assist with your vacation.
- Take advantage of online check-in straight from the app. Don’t waste time waiting in lines trying to get to your room when you could be out enjoying the parks!
- All mobile food ordering is on the app. You can check your reservations, check-in 20 minutes early, and make changes to your reservation.
- Order your MagicBands. MagicBands add a touch of magic to your vacation by unlocking special surprises, personalized just for you, throughout the Walt Disney World Resort. Your MagicBand enables you to travel lighter throughout your vacation. Use it to enter the parks, unlock your Disney Resort hotel room, and buy food and merchandise.
- View your Memory Maker photos taken throughout your time at Walt Disney World Resorts.
- Check wait times for attractions.
The My Disney Experience app in the past allowed guests to access their FastPass. FastPasses are not offered at Walt Disney World at this time.
3) Have an early or late flight?
Don’t haul your luggage around or linger in the hotel lobby. The bell service will happily hold your luggage until your room is ready or until you take off for the airport. Enjoy the extra time to explore.
4) Practice makes perfect.
Walt Disney World Resort is as cautious as it is meticulous with its face mask policy. Everyone ages two and up must wear a facemask. If you have little ones that aren’t accustomed to wearing facemasks, practicing keeping masks on can make your time at the parks stress-free. Start a few months out from your departure date by having the mask on for a short period of time and work your way up to a more extended period.
Buying a mask with a fun print that your child loves tends to help the mask stay on. Disney has child (and adult) masks with fun patterns for purchase that everyone will love!
5) Shave a few minutes off the queue.
Start in the back of the park and work your way to the front to avoid peak crowds. When selecting a line, remember left is best—the left line is typically shorter than the right.
6) No FastPass?
While FastPasses are not being offered at this time, our Dream Makers have a strategy for you instead!
Write a list of your must-see attractions and rides, then start with those right when the park opens. The parks fill up quickly, but you should save a significant amount of time by visiting the popular rides first.
7) Take advantage of the Rider Switch pass.
Parents with children who can’t ride any longer have to miss out on the fun—Not with Rider Switch Pass. Here’s how it works:
- One parent or guardian waits outside with their younger child.
- Another parent or guardian lets a cast member know they need a Rider Switch pass.
- After the ride, hand over the pass to the parent or guardian waiting, and they can go through the past pass lane with up to two other riders.
8) Take a walk on the wild side… in the morning.
You can experience an authentic African safari the Disney way. While this experience is incredible, no matter what, be sure to ride Kilimanjaro Safari either in the morning or later in the day. The animals are typically less active in the afternoon, and there tend to be more people queueing up.
9) Decline Mousekeeping.
Don’t get us wrong. All Walt Disney World Resorts have exceptional sanitizing and housekeeping standards, and typically we’d be hyping them up. Guests that want to keep limited contact beyond their group bubble can decline Mousekeeping to have minimal outside exposure. Just head to the front desk, opt-out of the service, and request “Service Your Way.” You can request towels and toiletries from the front desk.
It’s always a good idea to bring your own sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer to assist with keeping a clean experience throughout your trip. However, we always recommend using these products on any trip.
10) Buy all the souvenirs you want.
We’ve all been there. You want to bring home a few souvenirs from your vacation but don’t want to lug them around the park with you all day. Parks will hold your purchases and allow you to pick them up upon departure.
Experience the magic of Disney without the stress of planning. Talk to a AAA Dream Maker consultant to craft the perfect vacation for your family.
Special thanks to Jolene Ahlgrim
, Sale Manager of our Gahanna agency, who helped keep this blog up-to-date with current regulations and changes to the Walt Disney World Resort experience.