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by Neverland Diva

If you recently made the choice to embark on your first trip to the Walt Disney World Resort, let me be the first to say, Congratulations! You’ve likely been dreaming of this moment for quite a while and now you’re ready to start planning! This is a magical experience, but can feel overwhelming. The Walt Disney World Resort is large, and planning is crucial to making yours and your family’s dreams come true. Trust me when I tell you that having an itinerary will not ruin it; it will be your savior!

So, where should you begin? Well, I have an answer for that! Here are some of my recommendations to help you get started!

When would you like to travel?

Depending on your work or school schedule, you may not have much of a choice in when you vacation. That’s okay. Even during the busier times of the year, you can still have a fabulous experience, if you plan accordingly!  Find a good crowd calendar to help you figure out attendance trends throughout the year.  Consider researching weather as well; Florida can be brutally hot in the summertime, but much more pleasant in the Fall.  You’ll also need to consider when major holidays and school vacations take place, as these tend to be busier times to visit (and often a more expensive time as well).


Should you stay on or off property?

What are the perks of choosing a Walt Disney World resort?  When staying on property, you have access to Disney’s Magical Express transportation from the Orlando International airport, Extra Magic Hours, the Disney Dining Plan, and transportation to and from resort hotels and theme parks.  Compare on and off property options- perhaps you plan to rent a car and don’t feel that the free transportation is enough of a perk.  Compare costs- perhaps a hotel off property is a less expensive option, and if you plan to visit other theme parks in the area, that might just be a perfect option for your family!  I personally like to completely immerse myself in the world of Disney and prefer an on property resort.  Starting my morning with a character wake-up call and being “welcomed home” at the end of a long day, is pure magic!  I love being isolated from the outside world, and Mickey soap and towel animals are pretty much awesome!
What kind of ticket package should you get?

There are many different ticket options ranging from single day to 10 day Park Hopper with Water Park Fun and More! What does all of this mean? Which water park do I pick, and will I have time to fit that into my day? Will I really have the time to Park Hop?  These are the questions you may be asking yourself as you stare at a page full of options. Once you decide the when and where, now is the best time to consider how you will spend each day.  How many days would you like to stay and how many of those days do you want to spend in the Parks?  Are you going to visit all 4 major Theme Parks or just concentrate on a couple?  No matter which option you choose, do not miss out on Fastpass+!  If you choose to stay at a Walt Disney World Resort, you can begin booking ride options 60 days prior to your arrival and if you’re off property, 30 days!


Where should you eat?

Personally, this is one of my favorite parts of trip planning! It’s important to know where you want to eat and if that particular restaurant happens to be a fan favorite. Will you be purchasing the Disney Dining Plan?  Dining reservations can be booked 180 days prior to your arrival date and believe me, people will be online when that window opens ready to snag that coveted table!  There are so many incredible dining options, it can be difficult to narrow down your choices!  Researching menus and guest reviews is very helpful in determining which restaurants are best for you and your family!


It’s important to remember to set realistic expectations for your visit.  Understand going into it that you will not be able to see and experience everything in one trip, even if you plan out every last detail of every day.  Don’t over book yourself, and leave some room for spontaneity. If you have small children, allow time for naps in the afternoon and try and schedule a pool day where you can relax and enjoy the amazing resort you spent so much time picking out.  Enjoy every minute preparing for your fairytale adventure and remember that this is your vacation- it’s meant to allow you to reconnect with your family, enjoy moments of relaxation and create magical memories that will last a lifetime!