Disney World Planning Tips – Part 2

by Lisa on Wednesday: Sep 30, 2015

In case you missed it, check out part 1 of my Disney World trip planning series.

As I mentioned last time, my fiancee and I just returned from our (somewhat) annual trip to Disney World, and after planning our trip so many times, I decided I wanted to compile all the information I’ve been collecting here on the blog.

Next up:

Dinner Reservations

Do you need to make dinner reservations in advance of your trip? The answer is a resounding YES! It is extremely difficult to walk in to a sit-down restaurant at the parks (and some hotels) and expect to get in. There are some exceptions, but more often than not, you’ll be left scrambling and/or wandering the park looking for any place that will take you. Trust me, I know from personal experience. I’ve found that Magic Kingdom is a prime offender here because there are so few actual sit-down restaurants.


Of course, if sitting down for a meal isn’t a priority, there are tons of quick service places that will always be available, so you won’t starve.

Generally, you are able to book reservations 180 days out. If it’s important to you to eat at a specific restaurant, I would recommend doing so. It takes a lot of pressure off while you’re actually on your trip and you can book everything through the website or the My Disney Experience app (where all your FastPass+ reservations are stored as well).

When looking for places to eat, don’t forget to check out Downtown Disney as well as any of the resort hotels – most of which have very nice restaurants to offer.

What to Pack

There are a few key items that I never go without when on a Disney trip:

  • An umbrella or a poncho.  Florida is a rainy place, and it can go from sunny to pouring at the drop of a hat. I can’t even count how many times we’ve been at a park when the sky just opened up.The first few times, I was without an umbrella/poncho and I got DRENCHED. Now when we go, I make sure to have my small travel umbrella in my purse for the whole trip, while D takes along a hoodie.They do sell ponchos at the parks, but in the event of a sudden storm, you don’t want to be wandering around trying to find one.
  • Sunscreen. This goes without saying. It’s Florida!
  • Comfortable shoes.  This past trip, I took my FitBit with me for the first time. Knowing that we always walk a ton during these trips, I was extremely curious to see what the totals would be.Well, after 8 days (2 of which were travel days), the grand total came out to be 55 miles! Also, it’s important to bring more than one pair of shoes so you can alternate when one pair inevitably starts to bother your feet.
  • Bandaids/Medicine.  Whenever we go on a trip anywhere, I feel like I pack up our entire medicine cabinet to take with me. I like to be prepared for anything – a sore throat, a cold, allergies, bug bites, stomach issues, etc.  I pack all of that up in our suitcases, and for our days at the parks, I make sure I have a subset of those things in my purse (tylenol, advil, tums, etc.) so that we’re covered if something comes up while we’re out.Bandaids are also a must have – see the above note about comfortable shoes 🙂  It is very possible you’ll end up with blisters from the excessive walking (and sweating), so it’s best to be prepared.
  • Hand sanitizer. So, the first year we went to Disney, the last two days of the trip I had a vicious cold. Two years ago at the end of our trip, D came down with a sore throat and bad cold symptoms.  This year, we made it to the end of our trip fine, but the day we were flying home, D started sneezing and coughing. Two days later, I had caught the same bug.The moral of the story here is: Disney is a germy place.  We bring and use hand sanitizer on every trip, though obviously that’s not always enough.  But anything you can do to ward off the germs is worth trying!

Disney World is such a fun place, and I really believe that if you put the time in to plan and prepare ahead of time, you can fully enjoy all it has to offer while you’re there.


Next in this series, I’ll talk about transportation within Disney, PhotoPass and special events.


Any tips for keeping germs at bay while traveling?

One Response to “Disney World Planning Tips – Part 2”

  1. Love Disney World! We were planning to go next week, but then my son said he didn’t want to go because the cub scouts have a hike on that Saturday and that he couldn’t possibly miss it!!!! Can you imagine that?! A 6 year old turning down a trip to disney???? Just not heard of!! LOL!

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