I am a planner – I like making lists, and I like having a lot of time to get ready and organized for things. I realize that not everyone is like me, but when it comes to certain things, like planning your Disney vacation – I HIGHLY recommend you plan as far in advance as possible, and here’s why:
More Time To Pay It Off/Save Up: This one is first on the list for a reason – vacations are expensive, and a trip to Walt Disney World is no exception. Travel, hotel, park tickets, transportation, food, souvenirs, incidentals – the costs all add up – FAST! I like to book my Disney trip as early as possible so that I have some time to save up money for paying off the trip, and also for costs incurred while I am actually there on vacation. It might seem easy to throw it all on a credit card – both for the trip booking and then the on-site costs, but I personally don’t recommend that – and if you book the trip 10 months in advance for example, that gives you time to save up actual money for the trip – instead of racking up debt. Not sure how to start saving for Disney? Check out some tips here.
Research Time: There is SO MUCH information out there about Walt Disney World – and that’s because the place is HUGE and FULL of things to do/see/eat/experience. So if you’re headed to Disney for the first time, this tip is especially important for you – you gotta do your research. Figure out where your family might like to eat, what rides they might like or dislike or not be able to do (due to height/health restrictions, etc), where you might want to stay, and in doing all this, you will get an idea of how much there is at Disney (this will help you to not get overwhelmed upon your arrival!). Even if you’re a WDW veteran, you’ll want to check out the newest versions of the Disney guidebooks, and the newest updates on Chip And Co so that you know what changes to expect this time around.
Planning – Research’s Best Friend: Planning out your trip goes hand in hand with doing research – once you have done some reading and have an idea of what’s out there, you can start making an itinerary for your trip. It doesn’t have to be fancy or down to the minute – including what parks you want to visit on which days and what rides are on your “must do” list is enough to keep you on track. You’ll want to make Advance Dining Reservations 180 days before your trip, and you’ll want to make your fastpass+ selections in advance as well. You can get the kids involved in the planning too – let them help pick where to eat, and let them each pick a favorite ride to reserve a fastpass for.
Packing: I have a theory on why people hate packing so much – and it’s because they wait until the last minute to do it, inevitably forgetting something important, and cursing the whole packing system as they are stuck on vacation without their phone charger/pills/camera battery. One way to avoid all that headache is to plan ahead with your packing too – make a list a month or more ahead of time so that you can add to it as you remember those little things you need to pack, and start the actual packing process at least 2 weeks before your trip. Obviously there are some things that can’t be packed until last minute, but at least you’ll have your list handy before you leave to make sure you don’t forget anything! Check out more packing tips here.
It’s FUN: Ok, like I said, I know not everyone is as freakishly organized or into planning like I am – so you may be seriously doubting my claim that planning ahead is fun – but remember, you aren’t planning ahead for something boring – you’re getting ready for a trip to the happiest place on earth! All of these things – saving money, researching and planning, packing, making lists, making your ADR’s 180 days in advance, customizing your magic bands – it’s all part of the Disney vacation experience, and they are all things that will get you excited and pumped for your trip!
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