We just recently came home from a wonderful weekend in Walt Disney World where we got to photograph our sister, Tina, get engaged to her boyfriend Rick! We planned a secret trip with her (and Steph’s) parents to watch this proposal play out and capture some memories! As a bonus, we got to spend the rest of the weekend in Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Disney Springs! Today we have a few tips for planning your Disney trip that could really come in handy!
1. Resort & Dining Plan
We stayed at Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort and it was a blast! It also gave us access to the Walt Disney World dining plan! The Dining Plan, to us, is key. It averages out to about $60 per night that you stay in the resort. With this, you get 1 quick service meal, 1 table service meal, 1 snack, and a refillable mug. Each table service meal does come with an entree, a drink and dessert so you are truly getting a full meal! We easily ate $60 worth of food per person per day making it worth it to us. Disney food is expensive and with the food we ate, we would have spent more if we didn’t have the dining plan. I mean, Steph got a $32 steak for dinner. Just the steak was half of what the meal plan cost per day. It really allows you to get the best food on the menu without having to worry about how much it’ll cost you because you already paid for it. One other important thing: make reservations! It’ll save you time in the park and you can plan things around your dinner reservation!
2. Have a Break Day
Having a break day is a great idea! When Steph and I went two years ago, we sandwiched Epcot in between our first full day in Magic Kingdom and our last day in Hollywood Studios. A break day is necessary to us because it lets us refuel and relax, but still having a ton of fun in a Disney Park. Animal Kingdom and Disney Springs are also great places to go for your break day! These are “lower key” parks and attractions that don’t demand all of your attention and full brain capacity. Another idea would be to get a Park Hoppers Pass and do half the day in one park and then shoot over to Epcot for dinner and the rest of the evening.
3. Plan Ahead & Fast Pass
The night before you go to the park, ask someone at the front desk for a map to the park you are going to the next day. When you get back to your room, start planning out what your day will look like and what rides you will Fast Pass along with figuring out exactly where the Fast Pass is located in the park. You should go there first! Plan you Fast Passes around meals and dinner reservations. Decide the night before what attractions are most important to you and circle them on your map to make sure you get there! Lines can eat up a lot of your day making Fast Pass a huge time saver!
4. Show Up Early
From what we hear, each park actually opens a little earlier than what is listed on their website! We showed up to Magic Kingdom expecting them to open at 8AM and they actually opened at 7:30! You can get an extra 30 minutes in the park beating the crowds who are showing up at the opening time. This will give you time to get to the Fast Passes first or by skipping those altogether and getting to the rides you wanted to Fast Pass!
This also applies for your return trip on the magical express. If you decide to do Disney Springs or another park the day you are supposed to fly home, make sure you leave yourself enough time for Disney Transportation to get you from the park to your resort so you can catch the Magical Express to the airport. Missing this could mean disaster and an extra cab fare! We nearly missed our Magical Express last weekend!
5. Be Flexible
Remember to be flexible! Disney is a wild ride and sometimes you just have to go with the flow and let the moments happen. Don’t try and force anything. We tried to get on a ride at Hollywood Studios and the wait time said 30 minutes, but we found as we got in line that it was actually 75 minutes! We decided not to wait so that way we could spend more time doing something we’d enjoy more than standing in line. Make the most of each moment and spend your time doing what you think you’ll love even if that means not getting on a ride you Fast Passed because something better came up!
6. Bonus Tip!
Bring ponchos! It rains randomly in Orlando, Florida and you don’t want to get caught in Disney World with soaking wet clothes that you’ll have to spend the rest of the day in! You can buy ponchos on Amazon.com, Walmart or Target for super cheap! We promise you won’t regret it!
March 3, 2016