Did you know that people vacation in Florida at places OTHER than Walt Disney World? Hard to believe, right? Well – it’s true – and Florida actually does have a TON to offer outside of Walt Disney World, but if you are planning to head to the sunshine state for your next family vacation, I highly recommend you try and work some WDW time into your schedule. And don’t worry if you can only spare one day to spend at the Happiest Place On Earth – follow my plan below and you will make it a day to remember:
Plan To Be There The Whole Day: Check out the Park schedules ahead of time to see when your favorite parks open and close – and plan to get there before opening and stay until closing – it may sound nuts, but if you’re going to spend the time driving to the Park, and spend the money on parking, theme park tickets, food, souvenirs, etc – you might as well get your money’s worth and make a full day of it!
Dress For Success: Make sure you are wearing loose, comfortable clothing when you head to WDW – and that includes socks and broken in sneakers (a full day at the Parks in flip flops is NOT something you want to try, trust me!), hats, sunglasses, hoodies, ponchos – basically anything and everything to help protect you against the unpredictable Florida weather
Pack Wisely: Aside from the clothing, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of sunscreen (and that you actually use it – like all day), water bottles, snacks – basically anything that will make your day go more smoothly is a plus – and if you’re crafty you can usually get all of this into one backpack/tote bag (Click here for more info on what to pack for the Parks!)
Don’t Try To Do It All: It’s possible to see all 4 Disney Parks in one day – but it’s not recommended, especially if you have kids or a larger party you’re traveling with. While I do recommend you spring for the Park Hopper option when buying your park tickets, I would try and stick to 2 parks maximum in one day – otherwise you will just get burnt out and we all know that’s when the meltdowns start (for the kids AND the adults!)
Here’s the Itinerary for your one day whirlwind WDW trip:
-Start out your day by arriving at the Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion, and the People Mover rarely have a long wait and are all good picks for later in the morning once the crowds start to arrivewhen it opens – and head straight to your top attractions and rides and get those ridden first thing while the waits aren’t too long. Then you can take a breakfast break (a good money saver here would be to bring it with you!), and plan your next move – rides like
-Plan to take a bit of a break with a nice sit down lunch – if your family is into characters, then maybe a buffet with Pooh and friends at the Crystal Palace would be the ticket, or if you have a princess fanatic in your family then a meal fit for royalty awaits you at Cinderella’s Royal Table (where you dine INSIDE the Castle!). There are tons of places to eat, and almost all of the sit down restaurants take Advance Dining Reservations – so be sure you are planning ahead and booking your meal well in advance
-Once the post lunch rush hits and the sun is high and relentless in the sky – you might want to escape and hop a bus over to Downtown Disney – where you can do plenty of shopping at their huge selection of shops, or take in a new release at the AMC movie theater, or do some bowling at Splittsville. It’s a place that’s a lot less fast – paced than the Parks and you can take your time and enjoy something indoors if you wish
-After you’re all shopped out, why not head over to Earl of Sandwich or Wolfgang Puck Express for a quick but delicious dinner, and then head back over to the Parks to finish out your day? I recommend taking some time at Disney’s – and I recommend utilizing the fastpass system so that you can experience some of the more popular rides – like Tower of Terror and Rock’N’Roller Coaster. The park lights up beautifully at night, and it’s a great place to spend the evening
This is obviously just a suggestion as to how you might want to structure your Day at Disney – but the overall idea is that you want to see as much as you can without getting burned out. For me, two parks and downtown Disney is the perfect amount – and I like doing the Downtown Disney portion in the middle of the day, it breaks it up a bit better and is more of a break than being at the Parks all day. If you have small children or a larger party, you might want to skip the second park and focus your time on the Magic Kingdom and then dinner and an evening at Downtown Disney – it’s really up to you, but either way, I encourage you to try and come to Disney World whenever you’re in the area – even if it’s only for a day!
Stay tuned right here on ChipAndCo.com next week for ideas on how to spend a Day at Disney World without the kids!
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