8 Things You Need to Do BEFORE You Leave On Your Walt Disney World Vacation

Deciding to go on a Walt Disney World vacation is one of the best ways to make an ordinary day seem extraordinary. Once the dates have been set, guests can spend weeks and months eagerly anticipating the trip and dreaming of all the amazing experiences waiting to be enjoyed. To make the most of each moment and have a truly magical vacation, there are certain things that guests need to do before leaving home. From planning and prioritizing to researching and packing well, certain actions are necessary to ensure a great vacation. Here are seven things to do before leaving for a Walt Disney World vacation.


1 – Choose The Right Hotel

The first thing to do once a Disney vacation is in the works is to pick the right Disney Resort. This decision can seem daunting since there are over two dozen options to choose from, but one way to make a decision easier is to figure out a budget. By knowing how much they want to spend each night of the vacation, guests can then narrow down their choices to the Deluxe Resorts, which are the most expensive, the Value Resorts which have the best deals, and the Moderate Resorts which fall somewhere in the middle. By knowing which price category is best for them, guests can then choose between a handful of Disney Resorts in that option instead of two dozen.

2 – Purchase Tickets

Do not wait until you arrive at Walt Disney World to purchase your tickets. Not only will you waste precious time purchasing them on property, but you also can’t purchase Disney Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lanes until you have tickets. So if you wait to purchase tickets on your first morning, by the time you purchase tickets, you may miss out on purchasing Individual Lighting Lane attractions (they sell out early in the a.m.) and you’ll lose hours of being able to book Disney Genie+. There really isn’t any reason to wait to purchase tickets ahead of time!

3 – DO Consider and Budget for Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Purchases

While it’s not right for everyone, you may want to consider paying for Lightning Lane access, a new paid option now available to guests at Walt Disney World. Lightning Lane is the old FastPass lane, and there are two different paid options that you can choose (along with different attractions) to access it. The first option is to purchase Disney Genie+ for a day or each day of your visit. It costs each person anywhere from $20-$39 per day, depending on the day of your visit. With Genie+, you can access the Lightning Lane at select attractions at each park (one at a time and once per day). There are over forty total Genie+ attractions. The second option is to purchase Lightning Lane with the a la carte method for individual attractions. There are attractions at each park that are NOT included with your Genie+ purchase. They must be purchased separately, and pricing ranges from $7-$25 per attraction per person. While we encourage you to consider these options for your family, do keep in mind that you do not have to purchase either of these options to enjoy these attractions. The standby queue is available for all attractions. 

Mine Train

4 – Book Advanced Dining Reservations

Guests who enjoy full-service meals while in Walt Disney World need to book Advanced Dining Reservations as far in advance as possible. Advanced Dining Reservations can be booked up to 60 days in advance and are absolutely necessary for popular full-service dining locations, which tend to fill up quickly. Some of the most popular locations that are the first to fill up are Roundup Rodeo BBQ, Le Cellier Steakhouse, California Grill, Space 220, ‘Ohana, and Be Our Guest Restaurant.

5 – Learn About the Parks

Before arriving at Walt Disney World, guests should make sure that they know as much as possible about the parks. By knowing where things are located ahead of time, guests will be sure to save lots of time easily moving around the parks and not having to stop to ask for directions or consult a map constantly. In addition, guests familiar with certain attractions and experiences in the parks can know which attractions don’t appeal to them or are too thrilling for their taste.

6 – Make A Must-Do List

With so many amazing attractions, dining, shopping, and entertainment options in Walt Disney World, it is impossible to experience it all on one vacation. Guests need to make a must-do list before leaving home, outlining which experiences are absolute must-dos on their Disney vacation. By knowing which experiences can’t be skipped, guests will be sure to make time for those options and not miss out on anything that they are really looking forward to.


7 – Make A Schedule

Guests should also plan on making a tentative schedule before leaving home that details which park or parks they will visit each day. By organizing their desired locations and Advanced Dining Reservations into one schedule, guests can be sure to save time once on vacation that would otherwise be wasted each morning attempting to make a plan for the day ahead.

8 – Pack Well

The final task for guests to accomplish before leaving home is to pack well! Plenty of items are completely necessary on a Walt Disney World vacation, and making a packing list is the surefire way not to forget anything at home. Guests should be sure to pack the essentials like light and cool clothing, comfortable shoes, convenient bags, sunscreen, band-aids, phones, electronics chargers, and medications. By packing the important things, guests will have a magical vacation without mishaps!

For a no obligation, FREE Quote on a Disney vacation package, please contact our travel partner Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-0227 (407-442-0215 for Spanish). You can also request a FREE quote online by Clicking HERE.



Katy is a huge fan of Walt Disney World and has been visiting yearly since she was an infant. With many trips under her belt, she loves to take her time in the parks and discover lots of small details and secrets in between attractions.
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