Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Walt Disney World: Planning, Packing and More

In January of 2014, I published my book Walt Disney World Tips n' Tricks.  All my posts have been modified and are now chapter previews.  To read all my best advice order my book on Amazon or paperback currently through CreateSpace.

 Thanks for reading!

Shhhh.  I have a secret.  We're going back to Walt Disney World. 

I decided I needed some sun.  Hubby decided he needed to hear the Epcot music.  We both decided we will not tell our munchkins about this trip....yet.

We are advocates of telling kids when they are able to count down within reason.  If we tell our kids too soon, they ask hundreds of thousands of questions and ask how long until we leave every. single. day.

It's rather exhausting.

While I have been to Disney every year since I can remember, I know most families are overwhelmed with planning the trip.  Here, I want to outline how I prepare.  It's nothing fancy, just some tried and true tricks that save us money and keep us sane.
Chapter 6: Preparing, Planning and Counting Down

Disney is overwhelming. There is an overabundance of fun waiting at every turn. Planning a “first ever” trip to Disney is no small task. When you add in the cost, the planning, the logistics of getting around and the ages of everyone on the trip, Disney planners usually want to throw in the towel and cry.
            It’s just too much to figure out. 
 What parks? When? Why? Who put me in charge of this?
            Stay with me, and let’s get this show on the road.
Three Months Away or More
            If you plan on eating meals in Disney restaurants, you need to make advance reservations. You can make these reservations online ( or via telephone. I cannot stress this enough, especially if you have the dining plan. Choose where you want to eat, and reserve your tables. If you wait too long to make reservations, you will be eating at 9pm with Chef Mickey.
            Even worse, you won't be eating with Chef Mickey at all.
            Do yourself a favor and take time to think about where you want to eat, and reserve your tables online. To date, Disney restaurant reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance. Considering there are many Disney planning fanatics out there, the sooner the better. I keep a separate folder in my email for all trip related confirmations.  
Two Months Away
            Around this time, I finalize plans. I buy park tickets and check park hours. I make an outline of what time each park opens and where our meals are for the day.
            Remember my folder full of email confirmations? I make an itinerary with the tentative plans for every day of the trip. I list the day, what park we are going to, what time it opens, and any dining reservations WITH the confirmation number.
            On my itinerary I also add flight information for beginning and end of stay, and hotel reservation confirmations. This becomes our guide for the trip, and keeps us sane. Every night of the trip, Hubby asks where we are going the next day. He asks what time dinner is and what time we have to leave the villa in the morning. Having an itinerary is essential for us to function in Disney World.
            Disney’s website has an excellent
“My Disney Experience tab that will keep track of your family, reservations, desired attractions and more. This is quite possibly my favorite planning feature on any website in the universe.
            I swear.

Order Walt Disney World Tips n' Tricks for the full chapter and much more Disney advice for families!


  1. My packing tip: When they're small, each outfit can be packed in a gallon-sized bag (including socks and undies) and then squished down to near flatness. Yes, this may mean there is some ironing...or not, depending on the humidity! Kids can find their own outfit (labeled with their name, so daddy doesn't try to shove big girl into little girl's tee...again) and then you have oodles of empty gallon bags for wet clothes/packing snacks/making ice packs, etc.

    Also, buy dollar store merch with the Disney characters. This can help defray the need for a gift shop stop every night. (I may have even gotten that tip from YOU!) ;)

    1. Yes - great idea with the baggies!!!! I'm on it! :)

  2. Thanks for the great tips. We are planning our first Disney vacation with our kids (1,2,4) for June (since my husband is a teacher). I'm such a planner and like to have things organize so I'm starting to plan now and already have our food reservations. We are taking your tip on the Tusker House at 8:00 and so we can go straight to the park. Can't wait

  3. We're a week away from our 14 hout drive to wdw. Any last minute advice?

  4. Thank you so much! my husband and I went to the magic kingdom (My first time ever to Disney)on our honeymoon. He is graduating in December of this year. We decided that to celebrate properly we have to go back to Disney we are taking our (by that time) two and a half year old and a six month old plus my bestie (who has also never been, she is gonna help with our girls.) We are starting to save now and work on the plans as we go, and I ran across your blog on pinterest and am so thankful I did because you are going to save me so much stress and hard work, by giving such great advice

    1. I'm so glad - thanks! Enjoy every minute!


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