Planning a Disney vacation can be super stressful! From booking hotels, to creating reservations, to making sure you family has coordinating outfits for each day…
Okay, maybe not that last one.
Here are the 9 things you need to do before going on your Disney vacation.
1) Make your dining reservations – one of my favorite parts of any Disney vacation is the food! From incredible dinners, to desserts, to special treats and under-rated finds, there is something for every appetite, budget, and culinary desire. Guests are able to begin booking dining reservations beginning 180 days before their trip. I highly suggest marking the 180 day mark on your calendar with a big red circle or Mickey sticker! Reservations for the most popular restaurants fill up quickly so don’t leave your dining options to chance. If you aren’t able to book your top choices on the first try, don’t give up! Guests are constantly editing and revising their reservations up to the day of their trip, so try back every couple of days (or 3 times a day if you are really dedicated) and see if anything has opened up.
2) Book your FastPass+ options – FastPass+ is such a great way to plan your day and make sure that you don’t miss out on anything on your must-do list. Guests staying at a Disney resort hotel are able to choose FastPass+ options beginning 60 days before their trip. Do you want to meet Anna and Elsa? Excited to ride Seven Dwarf Mine Train? Want to beat your high score on Toy Story Midway Mania? Well, get back out that red market and those Mickey stickers and mark your calendars so you don’t forget to log-in and choose your options as soon as you are able to.
3) Have a movie marathon – Before our trip, we decided that we were going to watch every Disney movie we owned in preparation. We quickly discovered that we have A LOT of Disney movies! The full list of what we watched is coming soon. This is a fun (and free if you already own the movies) way to build excitement for your trip and help ease the pain of waiting.
4) Pack your bags – Some call it organized, others call is obsession, but my suitcase was packed a full two weeks before my trip. I even went so far as to place each day’s outfit in a Ziploc bag with a label on it. Think of yourself as Disney Santa Claus – make your list and check it twice!
5) Do your research – If you have food allergies, are travelling with small children, or are a picky eater, make sure to do you research before heading on vacation. Know where you can get a gluten free meal, what the height restrictions for different attractions are, and what restaurants your whole party will be able to find something delicious at. Check out the average temperatures in Orlando before you leave (hint: it does get cold during the winter months in Florida) and pack accordingly.
6) Plan your days – Once again, there is a fine line between organized and obsessed and I definitely crossed it for this trip to Disney. I made a 9 page itinerary. Yes, you read that right. 9 pages. Each day of my trip from arrival to departure was nicely typed out including park openings and closings, parade schedules, meal options, FastPass+ times, and other information. I then put this itinerary in my Disney Vacation Binder (don’t judge me!) that included menus, reservation confirmations, Pressed Penny maps, and other information. You don’t have to cross into the land of obsession like I did to have a well-planned out trip. Just go with the amount of planning that you are comfortable with.
7) Go Shopping – At first it may seem a little strange to go shopping before you take a vacation where you will no doubt, be going shopping! However, there are so many useful things that you can buy before you trip to save you time, money, and stress during your trip. Pick up items like ponchos, Ziploc bags, and snacks before your trip and your pocketbook with thank you later. For more ideas, check out my post about what to purchase at the Dollar Store before heading to Disney.
8) Get crafty – Not everybody has the crafting gene, but for me, doing little crafts and projects is a way to get excited for the trip and help to pass the time while waiting for the days to tick by. I have an Etsy shop where I make Disney themed hair bows, so my crafts often involve pulling out my ribbon supply. Depending on what season you are traveling in, there are so many different Disney crafts to choose from. Check out these Mickey and Minnie flower pots or search Pinterest for other ideas to get those creative juices flowing.
9) Be Incredibly Excited – Don’t let the stress of planning and booking tickets get you down. Be excited! Think about that churro or Dole Whip that are waiting for you and smile to yourself throughout your long work day just knowing that you will soon be “walking right down the middle of Main Street USA.”
How do you prepare for a trip to Disney? Do you obsessively plan like I do or are you more of a go-with-the-flow type of traveler? Let me know in the comments!