PLAN! I can’t say it enough. Gone are the days of winging it my friends. Now, more than ever before, you must put some kind of plan in place if you expect to have a magical experience where you can cross all your “must dos” off the list and get the most out of every day. The Walt Disney World Resort has made it nearly impossible to be spontaneous AND productive during your days in the parks. With dining booking 180 days in advance and FastPass+ times booking up to 60 days in advance, you will be sorely disappointed if you have not secured either of these ahead of time…because most people are, in fact it will seem like everyone has, but you.
Now, you may not care whether or not you dine with a character, meet a certain princess or ride a particular attraction. If that is the case, you needn’t worry. Maybe you visit often. However, most who dream of taking a Disney vacation have very specific goals, dreams and ideas of what magic they want to experience. Even the largest amount of Pixie Dust isn’t going to align the stars to create that perfect trip, for someone who hasn’t put a plan in place. While it is possible to get “lucky” once or twice, it’s been my experience that luck always favors the prepared.
The thing is, it’s overwhelming. Rope drop, extra magic hours, park hoppers, Dining Plans, FastPasses, MyMagic+, Magic Bands, My Disney Experience, the best parade views, show times, streetmosphere, character greets, refurbishment schedules…where do you even begin? Well, if you are like me and live for the research and plan development, chances are you already know the resources. WDW Magazine, yourfirstvisit.net our Disness Meetings, Chat Rooms, etc. and our Daily Agenda Book to keep all your plans organized and build that golden itinerary. (It’s 5 star rated on amazon.com and you can read reviews there or here.) 🙂
However, if your head is spinning right about now, you’ll want a travel consultant with extensive, up-to-date information and knowledge on all things Disney. Of course I can help you with that, at absolutely no cost to you (Disney pays me) and I would be happy to send you a quote. But, you may know of someone else or a friend may have recommended someone to you. That’s perfectly fine, just make sure they know what they are talking about. Interview your agent.
Ask them when THEIR last visit to Walt Disney World was. (It should have been within a year’s time) Ask them if they will help book your dining and advise you on FastPass+ selections and help you set up your My Disney Experience Account. Ask them if they will promotion check for you if a better deal becomes available than the one they booked for you. These are all questions you need to be asking before you book with anyone. You will need help building your itinerary and making smart choices for your family. Each family is like a snowflake, all wonderful, all different. You will need a tailored plan specifically for yours. Don’t settle for an agent that will not provide it. You’ll also want to inquire about an agency’s booking incentives, which are gifts provided to you, as a thank you for your business. We have a great booking gift package, which includes, among other wonderful things, a copy of our Daily Agenda Book and an erasable pen.
No matter which route you take, control your destiny and build a plan yourself or with a pro. At very least do the following:
- Know in advance the park opening and close times
- Review the Refurbishment Schedule so there are no unpleasant surprises
- Find out which parks have extra magic hours (and take advantage of them if you have Park Hopper tickets)
- Make a few dining reservations
- Secure FastPasses for the major attractions
Trust me, you will be glad you did! Happy trip planning 🙂