Once you’ve decided to go to Disney, it can get overwhelming trying to figure out what to do next. This list will help you make sure you’ve got everything done before your Disney vacation so you can relax during your visit.
Learn the Lingo
It can seem like folks who’ve been to Disney before sometimes speak another language. TTA. ADR. FP+. TTC. If someone told you to park at the TTC, go to MK and meet you at PoC, would you know they were asking you to park at the Ticket and Transportation Center, go to the Magic Kingdom and meet them at Pirates of the Caribbean? Don’t get overwhelmed if you don’t get it right away – there’s a lot to learn! Thankfully most of it is pretty universal among the different Disney planning sites. I’ve also broken a lot of it down to help you.
Determine Your Budget
Sit down and figure out what you’ll be spending on your vacation. If this is a trip you’ll need to save for, set up goals and put plans into place of how you’re going to save money for the trip without adding additional stress for yourself. Not sure what to include in your budget? Here’s a good list of things to help you get started.
Set Up My Disney Experience
This is the hub for all of your official Disney reservations. Take the time to set up an account. You’ll be able to access your resort reservations, Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs), and FastPass+ (FP+) reservations. Spend some time getting familiar with the app because you’ll be using it while you’re at Disney too. You can access park hours, wait times, character appearances, and lots of other important information that can help you during your visit.
Make a Touring Plan
Spend some time reviewing the parks hours for your visit. If you’re staying at a Disney resort, make note of the Extra Magic Hours (EMHs). These are times the parks are only open to resort guests so you want to make the most of them. Think about how much time you’re planning to spend in the parks and where you want to spend that time. Knowing this will help with lots of other information you’ll need to decide on before your visit.
Make Advanced Dining Reservations
Because you’ve got an idea of what parks you’ll be in on different days, you’ll have an idea of where you’d like to eat as well. Look back at your budget and see what you decided on as far as dining in the parks. 180 days from your check in date, you can begin making ADRs. Some of the most popular spots will fill up as soon as the booking window opens. Don’t let that stop you. Keep checking back to see if something opens up if your first choices aren’t available. People cancel reservations all the time because their plans change.
Purchase Your Tickets
Purchase your tickets as soon as you can. Having your tickets is vital to the next step: making your FastPass+ selections. Your tickets won’t be active until you actually use them to enter one of the parks so don’t worry about them expiring before you’re able to use them.
Make FastPass+ Selections
For rides that are on your must do list, make FP+ selections as soon as you’re able to. In order to do this, you’ll need to have an idea of what parks you’ll be visiting on the different days of your visit. For guests staying at a Disney resort, you can make FP+ selections 60 days before you check in. Guests staying off Disney property can make FP+ reservations 30 days prior to their arrival. Simply load them into your My Disney Experience account and be ready to go!
Plan Your Outfits
Many guests will coordinate their outfits while visiting Disney. There are tons of tutorials about how to make your own custom Disney shirts to wear on your vacation. If that’s not for you, consider ordering the shirts. I use Magical Run Concierge and have always been more than happy with the products we’ve received from them. LulaRoe also makes super cute pieces with Disney prints. LulaRoe Martin Party is my favorite place to get my pieces from. They aren’t just looking to sell you something. It’s got to be the right something. The perfect something just for you.
Choose a Resort
Spend time researching the different resorts available to you. Once you pick the one that best fits your budget and plans, be sure to reserve it early. Many resorts only require a small deposit giving you time to make additional payments or save up for the balance. Not sure if you should stay at a Disney resort or not? This post will help you compare your options. And this post will help you choose the best Disney resort for your visit.
Make Additional Reservations
If you’re going to do anything extra during your visit, make sure you make the necessary reservations. You don’t want your daughter to be excited about getting her princess makeover at the Bibbidi Boppidi Boutique only to find out they don’t accept walk up appointments or are full the day you’re visiting. Here are a few of the extras that you’ll need to reserve before you get to Disney:
- fireworks cruise
- custom birthday or celebration cake
- makeover experiences (The Pirate’s League, Bibbidi Boppidi Boutique, ect)
- fishing excursions