We’re pretty much always planning our next trip to Disney World (whether it’s wishful thinking or actually on the books). If you’re lucky enough to be doing the same, we’ve got some tips for you!
There’s a lot going through your head when you plan a Disney trip — everything from what Fastpass+ reservations to make (or maybe even what a FastPass+ even IS!) to where you’re going to stay. When you’re making those big decisions, it can be easy to forget some details. So, don’t let these seven VERY important things slip your mind!
1. Travel Insurance Could Be A Good Idea
The first thing you might be forgetting is a pretty commonly overlooked option. But it might be a good idea to consider travel insurance — ESPECIALLY with the travel climate right now.
If you’re headed to Disney World soon, you might be worried about local government restrictions, travel changes, or other unforeseen circumstances. That makes sense — the chance of an interruption to your vacay plans is def a little higher than usual.
Opting for travel insurance will have you paying a little extra to protect your vacation.
Disney actually offers travel insurance to U.S. residents through a partnership. You can also usually spot travel insurance through airlines or other companies, or you can talk to your travel agent about it! We love Small World Vacations for when we want to get the most out of our vacay with a travel agent!
2. Transportation Can Take FOREVER In Disney World
When you’re getting all of your plans laid out, you definitely don’t want to forget about how long it takes to get around Disney World. After all, Disney property is HUGE and though we love Disney transportation, it can take a looooong time to get from one place to another. So, keep in mind that it could take an hour or more — door-to-door — for you to get anywhere in Disney World (unless you’re going somewhere walkable).
Why does this matter when you’re getting your Disney plans put together? It is SUPER important to remember transportation times when you’re planning your reservations. You gotta make sure you have enough time to make it where you need to be on time! You don’t wanna miss that FastPass or dining reservation because you didn’t pad in extra time to get there! (And you REALLY don’t want to miss the opportunity to get that Rise of the Resistance Boarding Group because you didn’t get into the park on time. Sometimes it’s easiest to take alternative transportation to make sure you get there on time.)
So, give yourself enough time to get from reservation to reservation when they’re really far away from one another. It might be a little difficult to make it from your FastPass for Space Mountain to your dinner at Jiko if you haven’t left enough time.
3. Park Hours Vary Drastically
If you’re thinking of visiting at a new-to-you time of year, remember that park hours vary by season! This one can be easy to forget (even for the pros). Keep in mind that the parks close a little earlier in the slower seasons and certain seasonal parties can have a big effect on hours — especially for Magic Kingdom. Alternatively, busy times like summer often mean the parks can be open LATE. And that means Extra Magic Hours go even LATER.
So, you probably won’t be spending a lot of late-night time in the parks in January; and you might see Magic Kingdom close at 6PM multiple nights a week around Halloween and Christmas to make way for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
A lot of trips are being rescheduled right now, so if you plan on being in Disney World at a different time than you’re used to, make sure to check out those park hours! You can find them on the Disney World website.
4. Take Advantage of Discounts That Pop Up Closer To Your Travel Dates
Another one we’re guilty of missing out on all the time…but you shouldn’t! It’s SUPER common for people to forget that discounts can pop up closer to your travel dates! If you’re being proactive and getting your Disney trip booked waaaay in advance, you might not spot any discounts that apply to the dates you’re traveling. That doesn’t mean more discounts won’t show up!
Disney will often announce discounts closer to the dates they apply to, so keep checking after you book! If the discount applies to dates, rooms, or packages you’ve already booked, we suggest calling to see if you can get that discount applied to your reservation. This isn’t always possible, but sometimes Cast Members are able to rebook your reservation in order to apply the discount. Since the possibility of savings is there, we suggest giving it a try!
And, if you’re nervous about missing discounts after you’ve booked, consider booking with a travel agent. Like we said earlier, we love Small World Vacations. They’ll help you get all of your bookings lined up AND they’ll do their best to make sure you don’t miss out on any discounts without you having to lift a finger. Did we mention it’s FREE to use a travel agent? Pretty hard to pass up if you want to make sure someone is doing all the hard work of checking on discounts FOR you!
5. Just Because You Missed The FastPass Or Dining Reservation You Wanted Doesn’t Mean You Won’t Get One
It can be a real bummer when you try to get that Advance Dining Reservation 180-days out and the one you want is gone! The same can be said for when you try to book those hard-to-get FastPasses and they disappear before your eyes! But DON’T FORGET, just because you don’t get the reservations you want when you first try, doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find one later.
Keep checking the FastPass and dining listings in the weeks and days leading up to your trip. Options change ALL THE TIME (because people are canceling reservations all the time) and you never know when someone might drop their Flight of Passage FastPass or fireworks time reservation at California Grill.
In fact, even check throughout the DAY that you’re hoping to snag that coveted reservation! Seriously, hard-to-find FastPasses and dining reservations open up even on the day-of, so if you keep refreshing those pages, you never know what you might be able to snag.
6. Disney Has “Holidays” That Can Really Drive Up Crowds
Ok so most people know that Disney gets pretty crowded on holidays like July 4th, Thanksgiving, and Christmas; but did you know that Disney has their own set of “holidays” and special events that can drive up crowds too?
Disney hosts all sorts of celebrations — some officially and some unofficially, like Dapper Days, Gay Days, and runDisney events. Events like these are SERIOUSLY gonna ramp up the crowds. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye out for big attraction openings, the first few days of the Epcot festivals, and big anniversaries. It WILL get packed!
If you’re not the kind of Disney-goer who likes to contend with big crowds, make sure you check Disney’s social media, calendar, and our reporting here on Disney Food Blog to make sure your trip doesn’t overlap with a runDisney Marathon Weekend or any other big Disney “holiday!”
7. You Should Schedule Downtime
And last but certainly not least, don’t be afraid to schedule downtime. In fact, you SHOULD schedule downtime! If you want to make the most out of your Disney vacation, having some time to rest can be IMPERATIVE to keeping everyone in a good mood.
This is especially true if you’re traveling with kids. Naptime could be a MUST for your family. Disney is a LOT of walking in the Florida heat and your littles will likely get tired. In fact, even if you’re traveling without kids, you might want to schedule in some time to rest. Hey, sometimes us grown-ups need naps or a dip in the pool too!
On top of that, the parks aren’t the only cool places to hang in Disney. We absolutely LOVE to plan a day to hotel hop and visit Disney Springs. This can be a great way to still make the most out of your vacation while chilling out a little bit. Since you don’t have to pay entry fees, you won’t feel as pressured to be on the go constantly if you’re spending a day at Springs or the resorts.
So, there you have it! Make sure you don’t let any of these easily forgettable things slip your mind! All 7 of these easily forgotten tips can really help take your Disney trip to the next level. We’re all about maximizing time and ensuring that you know the BEST ways to have a smooth trip, so we really hope these helped ya out!
What do YOU always feel like you forget when planning for Disney? Tell us in the comments!