You did it! You’ve booked a trip to the most magical place on Earth! Now it’s time to start preparing for your Walt Disney World Vacation, but are you wondering how people prepare for Disney World vacations?
Preparing for your Walt Disney World vacation is quite easy and can be a lot of fun. It can also go a long way for making your trip even better. Here are my top 5 tips for preparing for your Walt Disney World vacation.
5 Tips for Preparing for your Walt Disney World Vacation
1. Get Out and Walk
One thing many people are not prepared for at Walt Disney World is the amount of walking they’ll do. Walt Disney World is twice the size of Manhattan, so Imagineers have been able to really spread things out. Plus with the way Fast Passes work now you’ll likely find yourselves going back and forth across the parks all day long.
If you, or even more likely your kids, aren’t used to walking than you’re going to tire yourselves out early. Plus the last thing you want at the back of Epcot is for your child to say they’re too tired to go on and they need to be carried. Trust me when I say you don’t want to go there. Spend time before your trip going for some walks as a family so you can all build up your leg muscle and the stamina you’ll need to enjoy yourselves. My mother used call this “getting our Disney legs ready.”
2. Watch Movies That Go Along with the Park Attractions
Not surprisingly a large number of the attractions in Walt Disney World are based on Disney movies. A few, like Pirates of the Caribbean, actually have movies based on them. You may want to spend some time preparing for your Walt Disney World vacation by soaking up some movie magic. You won’t have a bad time if you haven’t seen many Disney movies, but you’ll likely enjoy some things more if you have. For example, you likely won’t get much out of the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House in the Magic Kingdom if you haven’t seen the movie Swiss Family Robinson. It would still be cool to look at.
To help you I’ve made printables for each of the four theme parks that tell what movies go with which attractions in that park. Feel free to download them to have as a reference. Each park is a separate download, so you don’t have to download all of them if you won’t be visiting all four theme parks.
3. Prepare Young Kids for Disney Characters
Disney characters are a big part of Disney, but not every kid likes them. I for one was completely scared of them. We have all these pictures from a trip when I was three where my mom is standing next to the characters holding me, and I’m leaning away as far as I can crying. Yeah, you don’t want that kid.
There is no sure fire way to make your child comfortable around the characters, but there are things you can try. One way is to show your kids pictures of the characters. Another way is to show them videos with the characters. The video that worked best for Nick was the Disneyland Sing Along video. What I love about it is that it has the costumed characters, but you can still hear their voices. This way Nick was able to connect that the characters he saw in the video were the same ones he knew from the cartoons he watched.
4. Do Your Research on Walt Disney World
If vacationing at Walt Disney World is new for you than you’ll want to spend some time researching it. There is so much to see and do at Walt Disney World. I can guarantee that you’ll have a better time if you know what’s there and what things your family wants to do. Plus you may pick up some great tips along the way that will help make your vacation even better.
There are a lot of great resources out there. Besides all of the Disney planning information you can find here at Rock-A-Bye Parents some other great sites are
I also would recommend buying a Birnbaum’s Guide to Walt Disney World. This is a Walt Disney World approved guide, and it is stuffed full of great write ups on everything. Even though I’m an old hat at Walt Disney World vacations I still love to get a new Birnbaum book for our trips. If you have older elementary age kids there is even a Birbaum’s Guide to Walt Disney World for Kids by Kids. This is a really fun resource that will help your kids feel like they’re part of the planning process.
5. Make a Game Plan!!!
I can’t stress this one enough. While going wherever the wind takes you can be fun it usually doesn’t work at Walt Disney World unless you’ve done it a lot. Once you’ve done your research you should sit down as a family and make a game plan. What attractions are on top of everyone’s list? You don’t want to miss any of those. Are there any night shows you want to see? Which day are you going to which park?
You’ll want to figure all of this out so you can make book Fast Passes and make priority seating reservations. Some Disney restaurants book up quickly, so you want to make your reservations as early as possible to get the ones you want. If you’re staying on property than you can book you reservations up to 180 days in advance. You don’t have to plan your day down to the last minute (although I’m crazy like that), but have a general idea of where you’re going to go and what you’re going to do.
6. Bonus Tip: Plan to NOT do it All!
I have one last piece of advice for you. Don’t kill yourself doing it all. That’s when people get tired, tempers get short, and little ones get weepy. The push to see it all is what causes people have a bad time at Walt Disney World. Even if you think it may be the only time you’ll ever go you will still have a better time if you don’t push yourselves to see everything. There is too much at Walt Disney World to make that even possible. Take breaks throughout the day too. This will give you time to relax and cool down. Most of all….have fun and enjoy the time with your family!
Resources for Preparing for your Walt Disney World Vacation:
- Birnbaum’s Guide to Walt Disney World
- Birbaum’s Guide to Walt Disney World for Kids by Kids
- Disneyland Sing Along video
- The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World
More Useful Posts for Preparing for a Walt Disney World Vacation:
Looking for more information for planning your Disney vacation? Check these posts out!
- 10 Way to Save on Walt Disney World Dining Costs
- Top Ten Tips for the Perfect Quick 3-4 Day WDW Vacation
- Walt Disney World Dining Plan: Is it Worth the Cost?