Disney Basics

6 Steps To Planning A Disney Vacation

Booking a Disney vacation by yourself isn’t as difficult as you think. We’ve boiled it down to 6 easy steps!

#1 Pick a Date

Disney is always crowded—it just depends on what degree of crowded you can tolerate. Disney will be more crowded on weekends and when school is not in session and less crowded during the week and when school is in session.

#2 Create a Disney Account

Go to www.mydisneyexperience.com. Create an account and download the app on your phone.

#3 Resort & Tickets

The team agrees that staying at a Disney hotel is the better experience. Once you have a date, book a resort and buy tickets on My Disney Experience. You can buy both as a package or individually—whatever is cheapest. If you want to prepay for all your food, you can also add a meal plan.

Disney hotels are more expensive than non-Disney hotels. However, Disney hotels come with perks like transportation to and from the airport, luggage service, closest proximity to the theme parks, a much higher level of customer service, transportation to and from the parks and Disney Springs, early access to FastPASSES, and Extra Magic Hours (Hours only Disney hotel guests can enter the park. A golden opportunity for those who dislike large crowds.).

If you stay on property, you can easily go without a rental car on a Disney vacation. It’s an easy way to save a few hundred dollars.

#4 Dining Reservations 

180 days before your trip you may book dining reservations. But don’t panic. You don’t have to know where you’re eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner 6 months before you travel. This far in advance, just make dining reservations for the places you feel are “must-dos”. There are also a handful of restaurants that book up fast like Chef Mickey’s, Cinderella’s Royal Table, ‘Ohana, Beaches and Cream, California Grill, Prime Time Café, Be Our Guest, and the dinner show Hoop Dee Doo Review. So, grab these reservations early if they interest you.

#5 Drive or Fly

If you’re driving, you’re all set. Just know, you will be charged a daily resort parking fee. However, all theme park parking fees will be waived during your stay.

If you are flying, book airline travel about 4 months in advance. Fly into Orlando International Airport (MCO). There’s a free bus—the Magical Express—that will take you to Disney and haul your checked luggage. (Seriously, you get to skip baggage claim. Disney will collect your checked bags and deliver them to your room.) 

Make sure to register your flight arrival and departure times for the Magical Express at www.disneymagicalexpress.com.

#6 FastPASSES

FastPASSES are the thing that stress people out the most. BUT YOU DO WANT FASTPASSES, SO PAY ATTENTION HERE!

FastPASSES are basically “tickets” to cut to the front of the line. 

60 days before your reservation starts, Disney allows guests to book 3 FastPASSES per person

When your 60-day window opens, be on the My Disney Experience website or app to reserve your FastPASSES as soon as you are able. Being on time is critical if you want FastPASSES for the most popular rides: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain, and Splash Mountain at the Magic Kingdom; Flight of Passage, Kilimanjaro Safari, and Expedition Everest at the Animal Kingdom; Slinky Dog Dash, Toy Story Mania, and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios; and Test Track, Soarin’, and Frozen at Epcot.

Some rides, for whatever reason, have unusually long waits. So, consider FastPASSES for Peter Pan or Jungle Cruise at the Magic Kingdom, Navi’ River Journey at the Animal Kingdom, Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios, and Spaceship Earth at Epcot.#

That’s it. Six steps: Date, Disney Account, Hotel & Tickets, Dining, FastPASSES, and Travel!

Once you get there, you will be overwhelmed with stuff to do and cast members (a.k.a. Disney employees) tripping over themselves to make you happy. If you ever need advice or guidance, just send us an email at info@mainstreetpopin.com.

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