13 Things You Need to Know Before Your Disney Vacation

Transportation

To and from the parks

Getting around Walt Disney World during your vacation can be very simple as long as you put in the research ahead of time. Not every resort has the same method of transportation for every park. Some resorts have boats, pathways, the monorail. Some resorts only offer bus transportation. Before you head to Disney, check to see which options your resort offers and how long your approximate travel time should be.

Buses to and from Walt Disney World

When you’re staying at a Walt Disney World resort you can get free transportation from the Orlando international Airport to your Disney resort. This service is called Disney’s Magical Express. You simply provide your travel agent with your flight number or the cast member booking your reservation. If you’ve done the booking yourself, call (407) 939-1936 to make your reservation.

Park Hours

Disney World’s Theme park hours change from month to month. Thankfully they release these hours 6 months in advanced so you have plenty of time to use this information in your planning process. You want to know the park hours so you and your party are there for park open which gives you less wait times, getting into the park and for the attractions. Be really ambitious and get there before park open to gain early access.

Height

No every ride can be rides by all guests. There are height requirements for many attractions. Be aware of the heights of the members of your party ahead of time to make sure you don’t plan for rides that can’t be ridden.

Dining

If you want to eat at one of the many sit down restaurants during your days at Disney World then you’ll need to make sure to make reservations ahead of time. You won’t be able to walk up to a restaurant and expect to be seated. You can begin making reservations 180 days ahead of time. If you’re planning on eating at the quick-service restaurants found around the resort this won’t be necessary. But you may want to check out the menus ahead of time to be sure the restaurant offers menu items you like.

Tickets

Buy your tickets ahead of time. This will save you time and money. If you buy your park tickets the day of they actually cost more, and you’ll have to wait in line to purchase them. So buy them online ahead of time through the Disney World website or through the MyDisneyExperience app.

The size of Disney World

Disney World is huge. To get from area of Disney World to the other you are going to require transportation. Whether that means bringing or renting a vehicle or using the transportation provided. With the exception of walking from Epcot to Hollywood Studios, you can’t walk to all the parks and resorts on property. If you’ve visited Disneyland California before, Disney World is so much larger and will therefore take more time to get to and from each area of the property.

The size of each Park

Each of the parks are very large. Even though you’ll be riding plenty of rides, and be sitting to enjoy stage shows, you will also be doing your share of walking. So make sure to be prepared by wearing proper footwear, clothing and keeping yourself hydrated.

Special Events

There are special events always happening at Walt Disney World and they sometimes affect park hours and availability. For example, Magic Kingdom hosts Christmas and Halloween parties every year. When these events happen the park closes to all other guests. Which means the park closes earlier on these dates. So when you’re planning, try to steer clear of parks that have special events being offered.

Characters

Characters can be found at each of the four theme parks, at select resort dining locations and a couple of special free resort character experiences. Not all characters sign autographs and not all characters appear at the same places all day long. For specifics on a particular character you want to meet research ahead of time where and when you can expect to meet them.

FastPasses

FastPasses are available to all guests who have purchased park tickets. FastPasses allow guests to skip the long lines. Pick three FastPasses for each day of your park days. For guests staying on property you can book FastPasses 60 days prior to your vacation. Guests staying off site can book FastPasses 30 days before.

MagicBands

MagicBands are available for FREE for guests staying at a Walt Disney World resort. These MagicBands can be customized to have your name written on the inside of the band. You can choose between a variety of colours or pay a fee to upgrade your MagicBand to one with characters on them. These MagicBands will be your room key, your park pass, you can make charges to your room and redeem dining plan credits. MagicBands will automatically be given to you, and a random colour will be chosen for you if you don’t select a colour preference. MagicBands will arrive at your home before you leave for your vacation or they will be waiting for you upon arrival.

Photographers

At plenty of places throughout the parks you’ll see photographers strategically placed to take those iconic photos. They have their own cameras but that doesn’t not mean they won’t use yours. Simply ask the photographer to take a picture with your phone or with your camera and they’ll gladly do so. When they take a picture with their camera, they’ll scan your MagicBand so you can choose to purchase and download any pictures you like.

Wait Times

Wait times are a given. If you arrive first thing in the morning then the wait times will be minimal, but as the day progresses they will be longer and longer and longer. So be prepared with things to do while you’re in line. Play games of I spy, bring a pack of cards, play Heads Up, eat some snacks, reapply sunscreen, plan out what you’re going to eat at the restaurant you’re dining at. You’re going to have to wait many times throughout your park day.

MyDisneyExperience

The app for your Disney vacation and Disney vacation planning. MyDisneyExpereince app is where all your reservations will be stored, FastPasses will be stored, any plans you create will be found here. This is also where you can make all those plans. While you’re at Disney World, you can also use this app to locate yourself and get directions to places you want to go. Once you start thinking about planning your Disney vacation, download the app to help you create your plans.

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