I understand what kind of mindset you are in when you are trying to plan out your very first Disney Vacation. You want to experience everything and plan the perfect vacation. I don’t want to be the one to burst your bubble, but there is no way that you will be able to experience everything Disney has to offer. You could go every day for one year, and there will still be things that you have missed.
So what is my advice? Don’t plan everything.
Is that bad advice? I mean, I’m a Disney Planner. It’s what I do! And I absolutely LOVE it!
But, with all the Dining Reservations, Fastpasses, parades, shows, fireworks, and everything else that goes on in the course of a day, you would think that everything should be planned down to the minute in order to do as much as you can. But, like I said earlier, it’s not possible to do it all, so avoid the inevitable meltdowns of trying to do too much and don’t plan everything.
Does that mean you shouldn’t make restaurant reservations or utilize FastPass? Absolutely not. I 100% recommend dining reservations and using Fastpass. Just be careful to not plan so much that your whole vacation is spent sprinting from one thing to another without enjoying where you are in the moment.
When it comes to making dining reservations, my advice is simple. Pick a couple sit down meals, and leave the rest of your meals for quick service, snacks, or food that you have brought into the park with you. The biggest complaint I’ve heard has to do with making too many reservations. They feel like they spent their entire vacation sitting in restaurants. While I love Character Meals as much as the next Disnerd, there are other things that I want to experience while I am on vacation. While the meals are delicious, how hungry are you going to be when you’ve been walking around all day in the Florida heat? But, unless you enjoy paying a pesky fee for not showing up to your reservation, you will go and eat anyway. This is why I like Quick Service meals. They give you the flexibility to eat when you want, wherever you want. The same goes for bringing your own food into the park (yes, you’re allowed!) But, it’s completely up to you. If you go to Disney to eat to your heart’s desire, then Bon Apetit.
I love FastPasses! It’s incredibly flexible and they let you plan as much or as little as you would like. Everyone gets 3 FastPasses per day to bypass that horribly long line and enter another line to ride the popular rides in much less time. Once you use up your initial 3 FastPasses, you will be given 3 more. Super popular rides go fast, so if you are a ride-enthusiast like I am, I suggest booking those fast passes as soon as they are available for you to do so (30 days before your trip, if you stay off site, or 60 days before your trip, if you stay on site). You will be given a time to show up fo your ride, but you don’t have to show up exactly at that time! Seriously, this is why I love FastPasses! They give you a leeway of one hour, and sometimes a little more than that if the FastPass line is on the longer side. So, if you REALLY want to ride It’s a small World, but you have a FastPass for Dumbo coming up soon, you have some flexibility to possibly do both. But, what if you are having so much fun that you don’t want to leave where you are to run to a ride you have on FastPass? You also have the flexibility to switch it for another time, if one is available. Like I said, Popular Rides go really fast, so there may not be an opportunity to change it to another time. It’s really up to you. Plan, change, and then change again.
Disney is a wonderfully magical vacation spot. However, it can get really overwhelming really fast. Remember to relax, when possible, and HAVE FUN! After all, you’re at Disney World!