Are you overwhelmed with where to start planning your next Walt Disney World Vacation? It can seem like information overload for sure. Having been to Disney World many times over the years I can promise you that it gets much easier with a little research and practice. When I go to help a friend plan their trip, I break down the main initial planning effort into these steps:
Disney World Trip Planning Process
- When do you want to go?
- Peak-season, off-season, holidays?
- Where do you want to stay?
- On-site or Off-site (I always vote on-site due to the FastPass+ availability, Magical Express transportation, bus/monorail service to and from the parks, and overall Disney magic you get at these resorts)
- How many days do you want to visit the parks?
- Do you want to go to all of the parks? If not, let’s pick the ones you want to see and plot which dates you’ll be at each park based on crowd calendar recommendations like those from touringplans.com.
- What are your kids’ ages and interests (Princesses, Star Wars, etc.)?
- Do you want to book any interest-related extras like Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique?
- Do you want to eat at table-service restaurants (which include character dining) or do you prefer a counter-service where you just walk up that day?
- If you would like to eat at table-service restaurants you need to start making reservations six months in advance of your reservation date. If you already have less time than that you are going to need to hawk that reservation website like it’s your new day job or use a Reservation Finder Tool like the one on touringplans.com.
- When is your FastPass Date?
- Make note of when you will be 60 days out from arrival (for on-site guests) and 30 days out from arrival (for off-site guests) so that you can make your coveted FastPass+ reservations for rides that you don’t want to wait in line for! For those who don’t know, a FastPass is like a golden ticket to beat the line. They are pretty magical. When you have used up your initial three passes you can get on the MyDisneyExperience app and get more.
Once you’ve answered these basic questions and chosen your general vacation plan you’re ready to dive deeper into details. This is when you choose magical extras for your trip and learn about tips and tricks to make your stay more efficient and enjoyable. The best resource to do this is to explore blogs like mine (and many others), the Disney World website, and Pinterest for unique ways to make your Disney Vacation the best one ever!