Destination USA

My 10 Top Tips for when you have booked a holiday to Walt Disney World

Posted on
January 16, 2018

Planning a visit to Walt Disney World in Florida takes lots of planning to ensure you get the best out of your time there.
There is no doubt that Disney does magic in bucketloads, but depending when you travel, it can also be extremely busy so it is important to book some of those must visit attractions before you get there.

My Top Tips when you have booked a holiday to Walt Disney World

1. Download the My Disney Experience App
As soon as you have booked your holiday, download the My Disney Experience App which is available on iTunes and Google Play.
It is easy to use – simply create an account which allows you can manage your booking, before you get to Disney.
Once you are there, the app also gives you opening times, park maps, parade times, locations of rides, real-time queue lengths, allow you to book restaurants and ride fast passes and display any photopass photos you have had taken. It is the ideal companion for any visit to Walt Disney World, but be warned, it does drain your battery on your phone so I would recommend taking a powerbank for any on-the-go phone charges.
My Disney Experience
2. Fast Passes
It does seem early in the list to mention booking fast passes and for the majority of the rides, you are fine to book when you arrive, however, for new rides such as Pandora; Avatar Flight of Passage, the Na’Vi River journey and the soon to open Toy Story Land these book up extremely quickly and you can expect queues of up to 3.5 hours.
The FastPass+ system is better than any we have in the UK by far. Not only is it free to use, but it lets you reserve access to select attractions, entertainment and more up to 60 days before check-in when you have a Walt Disney World Resort hotel reservation (30 days in advance with standard entry tickets).
You are given three FastPass+ per day initially, so book three early ones and once they are used you can book three more. They can be used for rides and character meet and greets.
Walt Disney World
3. Magic Bands
The magic band is a watch-like band you wear on your wrist which is linked to your My Disney Experience account. You use it to unlock the door to your room, gain entry to the parks, get your photo pass pictures, gain fast pass access to rides and even pay for your meals.
You are automatically allocated grey ones, but you can request different colour ones before you arrive or pay extra for themed ones which are available in the shops on site. They come in one size, but are fully adjustable to fit both children and adults, by removing the outer strap for the kids!
Disney Magic Band
4. Dining Plan
The dining plan is worth its weight in gold as it is a great way to budget for food and drink whilst you are in Walt Disney World.
Having a dining plan is the equivalent of staying half board and can be found FREE during selected promotion periods. For each night of your stay, each guest receives:

  • 1 waiter service meal
  • 1 self-service meal (can be used for breakfast or lunch)
  • 1 non-alcoholic drink per meal
  • 2 selected snacks
  • Refillable mug (can only be used at the hotel)

There are over 100 locations to choose from and character dining is included with the waiter service meals. Self-service meals are great for casual dining or pit stops in the parks and snacks are available at Quick-Service restaurants and outdoor food carts throughout the resort, including drinks, popcorn, crisps, ice cream, sweets, biscuits and fresh fruit. In fact, we didn’t spend any extra money on food and drink whilst we were there.
Walt Disney World
5. Disney Memory Maker
Getting photo’s of all the family together is always a challenge as one of us is always behind the camera. Disney’s Memory Maker solves this and is something that a lot of english theme parks could learn from.
Costing an additional $149 for the family, it is an incredible new way to enjoy unlimited digital DisneyPhotoPass photos captured at hundreds of locations throughout Walt Disney World Resort, including select attraction and dining locations. We had pictures taken all over the parks and the photographers are easy to spot in their uniforms.
The photos are conveniently connected to your online Disney account with a touch of your MagicBand or card and you can even have Magic Shots one which featuring Disney Characters and effects, added to your photos.
Walt Disney World
6Plan Your Stay Around Extra Magic Hours
On designated days, the Disney parks open early or stay open later for guests staying at Disney Resort hotels. These are called ExtraMagic Hours. Plan your stay with these in mind and you will get crowd-free access to the best rides. We walked straight onto three or four during this time and it is also the best time to book the Jedi Training Academy. which is not included in the FastPass+ system.
Jedi Training
7. Travelling between parks
Did you know that Disney World is occupies 47 square miles – the size of Greater Manchester?
Disney provide buses to and from each resort from each hotel which run approximately every 20 minutes. I cannot fault the service at all, the buses were fully air-conditioned and each driver we met was happy and jovial. They do get very busy though, especially at the beginning and the end of the day, but the adults always gave up their seats for the kids.
If you want to travel between Magic Kingdom and Epcot, there is also the Monorail system which operates between the two and some of the Disney Deluxe resort hotels.
Walt Disney Bus
8. The Weather
Florida is known as the Sunshine State and the weather when we went in August is hot, hot, hot!
Disney know this and I was surprised to see that most queuing areas were not only undercover, but also had giant fans to keep the air moving and you cool. Indoor rides were all air-conditioned and if you were starting to get too hot, sitting in a cool theatre for half an hour for a show was the perfect way to cool down.
Shops and toilets (restrooms) were air-conditioned, plus cold water was available at water fountains throughout the park.
I have heard stories about the rain in Florida and we did see heavy showers and thunderstorms most afternoons, however, not only is it a relief from the heat, the rain is warm so is actually quite pleasant and apart from one afternoon, they last less than an hour. We did buy poncho’s for the worst showers though as it is far too warm to wear rain jackets.
Walt Disney World
Friends who have been to Walt Disney World advise that April is the best time to visit for milder temperatures, as the average daily temperature can reach highs such as 28°C (83°F), with minimum temperatures of 15°C (53°F), but it normally sits somewhere in between.
9. If you are taking an under 5, take a Buggy
Sebby is 4 and can walk quite a distance but by day 3 he was shattered and wanted carrying everywhere.
Disney is hard on everyone’s legs, especially when cramming it into seven days like we did, so I would recommend you take a buggy or hire one. It costs $15 per day for a single and $30 for a double and was a real blessing.
Walt Disney World
10. Take a break!!
If there is one thing Disney is, it’s full on!
On days in the main parks, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom, we were at breakfast at 7am and in the parks for magic hours by 8am up until the evening shows, meaning we were not back at our hotel until 10pm most nights.
I would recommend a minimum of a 10 day to 14 days to get the best out of a Disney break and I would strongly recommend that you take a day to relax in between park visits, or go for half a day and return to the hotel in the afternoon to chill by the pool.
Walt Disney World
The water parks; Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach are very good for wind down time, but make sure you wear lots of sunscreen!
Walt Disney World
What is your top tip when visiting Walt Disney World?
Walt Disney World

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25 Comments
  1. Reply

    Talya

    January 16, 2018

    This is something that is definitely on our bucket list and it’s so great to get your wisdom and advice on how to make a trip there a success!

  2. Reply

    Helen

    January 16, 2018

    Aww I’ve never been to Disney World, but it looks beyond magical! I really want to take our children there one day 🙂

  3. Reply

    Sonia

    January 16, 2018

    We haven’t booked a trip but these tips are all great and I’d like to think I’d be needing to use them in the future 🙂

  4. Reply

    Laura - Dear Bear and Beany

    January 16, 2018

    Great tips! I’m booking mark this, as I hope that we get to take the girls soon x

  5. Reply

    Sarah Bailey

    January 16, 2018

    These sound like some awesome tips, I like the making sure you have a buggy for little ones, it must be such a long way for little legs to walk around.

  6. Reply

    Cath - BattleMum

    January 16, 2018

    I genuinely had no idea how big Disney World is until I read this post and often wondered why people booked a 14-day holiday there. Now I know why! I’m a little scared if I’m honest of my son asking to go there!

  7. Reply

    melissa major

    January 16, 2018

    I have never been before but would love to go with my family one day! I will be keeping this tips in mind

  8. Reply

    Ali Rost

    January 17, 2018

    How cool that they use magic bands. So nice for kids especially because they (probably) won’t lose something that’s attached to their wrist. If they need a snack or a cold drink, they can flash their band and away they go. x

  9. Reply

    Rhian Westbury

    January 17, 2018

    I have never been to Disney before but I know if I did I’d be as prepared as I could be like pre-booking everything I could x

  10. Reply

    Yeah Lifestyle

    January 17, 2018

    This is a great and comprehensive post. Bookmarking it for when we go, thanks for sharing. The photos are lovely as well.

  11. Reply

    Emily Leary

    January 17, 2018

    We headed to Walt Disney World a couple of years ago and absolutely loved it! We found the FastPass system so useful and really helped us to pack more into our days.

  12. Reply

    Joanna

    January 17, 2018

    I have actually never went to Disney World. I would love to though but I don’t have children and non of my friends are interested in the experience unfortunately. Your tips are very welcomed though.

  13. Reply

    Mayah Camara

    January 17, 2018

    I went to Disney Land in Paris. So many people think it’s a place for kids when in fact the entire family can have an amazing time! I bet you made some wonderful memories! xx

  14. Reply

    laura dove

    January 17, 2018

    This is great advice! Everyone I’ve spoken to advises a dining plan, I think its something we would do if we ever get to go!

  15. Reply

    Sarah Ann

    January 17, 2018

    There’s nothing more exciting than book a trip to Walt Disney World. Love their Dining Plan and it’s great you can book your reservations in advance – huge weight off your mind!

  16. Reply

    hannah

    January 18, 2018

    I’ve been to Disney World many times and think the dining plan is very good. I’ve always had the regular one, but if I were to go again I’d go for deluxe. You can’t beat 3 meals a day. The only thing that lets Disney World down is that Fastpass Plus system. I really cannot stand it, things gets booked out months in advance and that’s before you get onto parks like Hollywood Studios that group attractions. When you are booking your three Fastpasses, If you pick one attraction you cannot pick another from the same group. For example if I want to go on Tower Of Terror I won’t be able to ride something that is in the same group such as Toy Story Mania or Rock N Roller Coaster. And then by the time another Fastpass is available, all have gone for the day. The older system wasn’t like that at all. For me a holiday is meant to be relaxing, with Fastpass Plus it revolves around schedule after schedule.
    It isn’t an improvement to the old system and I think Disney could learn a lot from Universal, especially the perks it offers its on site guests who stay at the top three hotels over there. You could pay hundreds at night to stay at the Grand Floridian and still get nothing extra. If I pay to stay at Universal’s Portofino Bay or Hard Rock Hotel I would get free Express Unlimited Passes for my stay. Fastpass Plus is one of the reasons I prefer other Disney parks around the world such as Disneyland in California and Disneyland Paris. They still use the older system which is much better and less restrictive. Plus Disneyland, California is the only Disney park that Walt Disney ever visited.

  17. Reply

    Danasia Fantastic

    January 18, 2018

    Disney World is such a magical place your tips are definitely the ultimate list for us to keep in mind.

  18. Reply

    Nichola - Globalmouse

    January 18, 2018

    Aaah I love your photos, makes me want to go back to Florida. I totally agree, having the longest trip you possibly can so you’re able to mix it up a bit and rest is the way to go.

  19. Reply

    Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes

    January 18, 2018

    Great advice for a hassle-free trip! What a fab idea the magic bands are too!

  20. Reply

    Baby Isabella

    January 18, 2018

    This is a fascinating post as we’ve never been to any Disney park, so its great to read about the inner workings and to plan to get around and save money. Fingers crossed we’ll make our first trip this year!

  21. Reply

    Stephanie

    January 18, 2018

    Brilliant tips for people who are visiting Disney. Amazing fun trip!

  22. Reply

    Fashion and Style Police

    January 19, 2018

    Thanks for the tips. Plan to visit with the fam one day. I know the kids would love it.

  23. Reply

    MISS CHLOE L CILIBERTO

    January 19, 2018

    I absolutely LOVE your tips. We’re planning a trip too Disney World this time next year and I am bookmarking ALL of your posts on it so I can plan us the best trip. x

  24. Reply

    emma white

    January 20, 2018

    oh I so wish we were planning a trip here it is a place on my bucket list so I will use this post one day for sure

  25. Reply

    Louise

    January 23, 2018

    Honestly love this post I need to come back to it again when I plan my trip as I know all these tips will really matter closer to the time. Great post!

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KARA GUPPY
Bournemouth

Are we nearly there yet? is a new online blog run by me, Kara Guppy, and is named as such thanks to my daughter Eliza who always asks that very question when we are less than 5 minutes up the road heading off on our adventures. You may know me from my other family blog chelseamamma.co.uk