While many vacations are more fun when you don’t do much planning, Disney is the exception to this rule. Lack of preparation can turn an enjoyable vacation into one where you end up spending most of your vacation waiting in long lines and not being able to find a table service restaurant. If you’ve never been to Disney before, here is a beginner’s guide to planning a Disney World vacation.

Start planning your vacation early

Disney is a costly place to vacation, so you’ll want to start planning for your Disney vacation as soon as you can! The earlier you can set dates, flights, and hotels, the better the rest of your trip will be. Making these decisions early will help you know just how much you need to save for your trip, and help you get those advanced dining and FastPass selections you want.

Skip the expensive resorts

If you are looking at staying onsite at Disney World, I encourage you to stay at a Value Resort for your first visit. There is a lot to see and do at Disney World, and the chance of you spending a lot of time in the room is slim! Value resorts are a fraction of other Disney properties, but you still get all the perks of staying onsite such as advanced FastPass reservations, Extra Magic Hours, MagicBands, and free transportation to the parks.

Use the free transportation

Free transportation is going to save you a TON of money while visiting Disney World parks! They have monorails, buses, ferries, and they are all pretty fast. These options run throughout the day, and they are on a set schedule. Look up these schedules ahead of time so you can take advantage of the free transportation options that Disney has to offer.

Book dining and FastPasses early

You can start booking dining reservations for your trip 180 days in advance! As soon as this window opens, go ahead and take advantage! You can cancel your reservation up to 24 hours in advance without a charge, so go ahead and book those hard to get reservations for dining now and then change them later if you need to. FastPasses are 30 days for offsite and 60 days for onsite guests, so again, book the hard to get ones first and then change them if you need to.

Talk to a Disney travel agent

Disney has free travel agents onsite that can help you book everything from your dining to your FastPass reservations! If you don’t know what option is right for your family, it might be better to go with a certified Disney travel agent. They will be able to answer some of your questions and help you make decisions that will work for all members of your family. This is a must when planning a Disney World vacation.

You don’t have to be a seasoned Disney expert to plan a great trip to Disney! Follow these tips, and you’ll have a leg up on all the other people visiting the parks for the first time.

Do you have any tips when planning a Disney World vacation? I would love to hear them in the comments below.

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beginners guide to planning a Disney World vacation