1. Pick your dates:
2. Decide where to stay:
If you’re staying on site, you’ll get Complimentary Airport Pickup and Return. Disney’s Magical Express Service picks you up at Orlando International Airport and takes you to your Disney Resort hotel. In addition, the service lets you bypass baggage claim and have your bags delivered to your Disney Resort hotel room.
3. Plan which parks to visit and when:
which days. Once you plan where you’ll be and when, make a short itinerary for each day which includes where you plan to eat at each park and which rides have the longest lines. Get to the park early and hit those first (either line up or grab a FastPass). Lines tend to be shorter closer to park closing as well.
Rides with the longest lines by park:
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Tower of Terror (our favourite ride of all!)
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
Toy Story Mania
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Buzz Lightyear’s Ranger Spin
Peter Pan’s Flight
FantasyLand has now opened at MK. It looks amazing!
*Research the height restrictions for the rides to avoid wasting time lining up for those your littlest ones can’t get on. You can find that info here.
4. What to eat:
This can be the most confusing part of the planning and the sooner you make reservations and get this part organized the better. Make all dining resos online here We did a character buffet late lunch at MK at the Crystal Palace and it was fabulous.
The free dining plan includes (daily per person):
- 1 Quick Serve —think fast food/cafeteria
- 1 Sit Down —think real restaurant or all-u-can-eat buffet and some have “Character Meals.” This means while you dine, Disney characters rotate through the dining room, stopping briefly at your table to chat (ahem, mime, because they don’t speak) and sign autographs
- 1 Snack. Snacks are rather eclectic. These can include souvenirs like giant lolly pops, a bowl of oatmeal in the quick serve dining room, an ice cream bar and many other things. You can ask for a list of what is considered to be a snack at your hotel’s front desk.
5. Coordinate park visits and restaurants:
6. Fast Pass:
This is fantastic and the best way to avoid lining up! Read this dad’s description about how the Fast Passes work.
7. Other fun things to do:
- Horse drawn carriage ride across the Magic Kingdom (free)
- Parades–you have to see at least one, the same goes for fireworks though we missed them
all due to a sleepy six year old…
- Resort hop. You can use your keycard to access any of the hotels on site so if you tire of your hotel and want to explore. For example, if you’d like to watch the MK fireworks but you don’t have a park pass for that evening, you can relax on the Polynesian Resort beach and catch them from there.
8. How do you pay?
9. Final tips:
- Bring autograph books to bring along to all the parks with you. I like the ones that also have photo pages so you can insert trip photos later to make a Disney Vacay scrapbook.
- Don’t feel like you have to go to a park every day. We saved a day to lie by the pool all morning and then spent the afternoon and evening wandering around, watching performers, shopping and dining in Downtown Disney.
- It rains a lot in FLA but don’t let a little rain keep you away from the parks. In fact, lines are shorter on rainy days. Pack or purchase a poncho and have at it!
- Hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, water bottles (we used the unlimited refills mugs from the hotel’s dining plan….filled with coffee in the morning, rinsed and then filled with water all day) wipes and snacks and a backpack to carry it all in.
- There is absolutely no way you’ll be able to do everything in one holiday. There is so much to do at Disney you’d need months to cover it all. So relax, enjoy each moment as it comes, and know that if you miss a parade or an autograph signing or a certain ride or anything you imagined yourself doing, you can do it next time!