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8 DO’s and DON’Ts for Planning Your Daily Schedule at Disney World

Planning your days at Walt Disney World is a lot of fun!  I highly recommend that you have a bit of plan together and do some of the leg work before you go so that you can your family have set their expectations for everything that will be considered must do attractions and they are prioritized into the schedule.  It can be overwhelming though, and you can quickly take it too far…. So here are some great DO’s and DON’Ts to help you with your planning:


8 – DO check park and fireworks hours.

This is very important.  As you are planning your days and determining where you want to spend your time, you will definitely want to make sure you plan wisely depending on which parks may close earlier than others.  Sometimes there are also special events that can have parks closing early, and you may not want to plan that particular park on a day that it closes early.  You also need to check the fireworks hours so that you know when those will be on particular night.  This will help make sure that you work these shows into your schedule since they only occur at set times each night.  These shows are all amazing and you won’t want to miss them!

7 – DON’T forget to check Extra Magic Hours.

Extra Magic Hours are a great perk to staying at one of the resorts at Walt Disney World.  Resort guests receive either early entry (usually an hour) or entry after park closing (usually 2-3 hours) to a designated park per day.  There is a schedule that is published pretty far in advance, but could be subject to change.  You can use this schedule to help determine which parks you want to visit on particular days and how to get the best use out of the extra time when you can expect less crowds.

“Let the Magic Begin” at Magic Kingdom Park

6 – DO determine what parks you will be at compared to the tickets purchased.

You will want to plan your days such that they match your park tickets purchase.  If you didn’t purchase park hopper tickets, then be sure that you don’t plan meals in multiple parks or parks you don’t plan to visit on that particular day.  If you purchased the Water Park Fun and More Option, then you will want to plan time in to do those activities so that you get that value out of your passes.  If you map out your plans, you may determine that you don’t need Park Hopper tickets, which can save you a little bit of money!

5 – DON’T forget to include transportation time and logistics.

Many guests forget to calculate the time that it takes to get from place to place around Walt Disney World.  It takes time to wait for the bus, monorail or boat.  Then you have to wait the time to make the journey.  If you are going to a park, then you have to get through security, through the park entry and then walk to your starting location.  If you are making FastPass+ selections and dining reservations, you will want to consider all of these logistics.  This is also important to consider if you will be park hopping.  Many guests feel like too much park hopping takes too much time out of the day.


4 – DO plan your dining reservations to fit within your daily schedule.

First, you should definitely try to make your dining reservations as early as you can!  The popular dining locations and times book up extremely fast.  All hope is not lost if you don’t get them right away, since spots open up here and there, but you will feel more relaxed if you get them and know they are taken care of.  Second, you will want to ensure that your dining selections work with your plans.  You will want to make sure that the locations line up with the parks you plan to visit, that they don’t conflict with evening shows that you want to see, that they aren’t too early or late for your family and that you don’t plan too many meals, especially too close together, in a single day.  All of these can add extra stress to your schedule, so they are pitfalls you will want to avoid.

3 – DON’T plan too much in the day where you feel rushed or stressed.

While it is definitely wise to have a little bit of structure to your day and have an idea of how you plan to approach the day so that you can see and do as much as possible.  That being said, you definitely don’t want to over plan yourself.  Leave extra buffer time in your schedule so that you have time to be a little bit spontaneous and take in everything going on around you.  Don’t plan more than 2 table-service meals in a single day, and for some even that is too many!  Don’t do too much park hopping as you feel like you are spending more time taking Disney transportation than you are spending enjoying the parks. All of these things can make a huge difference.

2 – DO make FastPass+ reservations, and make them work for you.

If you are staying at a Disney resort you can start making your FastPass+ selections 60 days before your trip.  If not, you can start making them 30 days before your trip.  You should definitely make them as soon as you can so that you get the busiest attractions.  Make the FastPass+ options work for you by only booking FastPass+ for the attractions you plan to enjoy that typically have the longest lines.  This will save you the longest wait times.  Be sure not to book them during times when you have dining reservations, and if possible, book them during the middle part of the day when lines are typically at their longest.  You also may get to snag an extra FastPass+ after those are utilized.

1 – DON’T drastically change your family’s normal habits.

If your family isn’t typically early risers, then it may not be a good idea to plan early mornings every single day.  The same is true if your crew likes to get to bed early in the evenings.  Adrenaline will help keep you going for a bit, but after a few days your crew could get tired and crabby if they aren’t getting enough rest.  It is great to work in a day at the resort, playing at the pool, for that very reason!  Try to keep some normalcy to your routine so that everyone isn’t totally thrown out of whack on vacation!

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About Christy Caby

Hi! I’m Christy, and I am a wife and mother of 2 young boys (ages 5 and 2). I first fell in love with Disney when my mom took me when I was a child. After that I proceeded to go to WDW for my senior trip with my friends, and I completed a year in the Disney College Program (working in merchandise at Mickey’s of Hollywood at Disney’s Hollywood Studios). I shared my love of Disney with my now husband and sucked him in. He proposed at Disney, we honeymooned at Disney, we started bringing our boys before they were born and then as early as 8 weeks old. We then continued to vacation to Walt Disney World 2-3 times per year. We decided that what makes more sense than just moving to Orlando so that we could live the Disney life and be here for all of our favorite events and seasons every year. That is exactly what we did! Now we are at the parks a couple times a week and go for most events and major holidays. We can’t get enough and get to experience Disney in a whole different way. I love to share this love and passion for all things Disney with the world and hope that I can help others appreciate the magic that Walt Disney World has to offer!