Planning Tips for a Disney World Vacation with Kids

Experience magical moments and make lasting family memories by taking a Walt Disney World vacation! These planning tips for your next Disney trip will help your family and kids have a fun and adventurous time with plenty of pixie dust.

Make a spreadsheet schedule.

Create a spreadsheet schedule for your Walt Disney World vacation far in advance (at least 6 months) and bring copies with you on your trip. Dinner reservations can be made 180 days in advance of a Disney resort reservation.

Plan out your dinners first and reserve the restaurants that are harder to get: Be Our Guest, Cinderella’s Royal Table (located inside Cinderella’s Castle) Chef Mickey’s, Akershus, California Grill (perfect for watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks), and O’hana.

In your schedule, note the time frame you will be at the different Disney parks each day, your FastPass+ reservations (see below), nap and pool breaks, dinner reservations, and shopping trips to Disney Springs.

Pack clothes in Ziploc bags.

Make the morning vacation routine easy by packing your toddler’s outfits in Ziploc bags. Label each bag with the day of the week. Kids can help plan their outfits in advance and get excited for the trip!

Plan theme park days and schedule FastPass+.

Guests with regular theme park admission can also make three FastPass+ reservations. FastPass+ allows guests to skip the standby lines for attractions, shows, and character meet-and-greets. Schedule FastPass+ at kiosks within the Disney theme parks or use the My Disney Experience App to plan ahead. Staying at a Disney resort hotel allows you to schedule FastPass+ up to 60 days in advance (rather than the standard 30 days, with a ticket or annual pass). Once your initial three reservations are used, you can continue making more (pending availability).

Keep your schedule flexible, and try to make the most difficult FastPass+ reservations first: Avatar Flight of Passage, Na’vi River Journey, Slinky Dog Dash Roller Coaster, Alien Swirling Saucers, Toy Story Midway Mania!, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Frozen Ever After.

Use Extra Magic Hours.

Extra Magic Hours is a special perk for guests staying on property at a Disney resort, and means you enter the park an hour before the official opening or stay an hour later. As noted above, guests with park tickets can only book three initial FastPass+ reservations—and many are within the same tier (For example: you can’t book Frozen Ever After and Soarin’ Around the World at Epcot in the same day, or the Slinky Dog Dash Roller Coaster and Alien Swirling Saucers at the all-new Toy Story Land park in Hollywood Studios). So take advantage of this special hour and get in a couple more rides with little to no wait during your Disney vacation.

Keep kids entertained during long ride lines.

Pack small games, toys, and books for kids to keep them engaged during long wait times. Personalized Disney storybooks help toddlers experience the magic of Disney as they wait. Your child will love seeing his name in the story with favorite Disney characters!

Order meals with the My Disney Experience Mobile App.

The My Disney Experience App now lets you order quick service meals online. Save your feet, find a comfy spot to eat, and order with the tap of a button. Pick up your meals at the regular pick-up counter and save yourself the hassle of standing in line. Tip: Always ask for a cup of water. Water is conveniently free at most restaurants and snack carts.

Take advantage of Disney PhotoPass® and Memory Maker.

Disney PhotoPass photographers are posted around the parks to capture your favorite family vacation memories! You can view your photos online or in the My Disney Experience App. Photos are downloaded when your photographer scans your ticket card or MagicBand. Memory Maker is an additional service that offers unlimited digital downloads of your PhotoPass photos. When the vacation is over, preserve your special memories by including your family photos in personalized children’s storybooks!

Attend special events during your Disney World vacation.

Special ticket events at Disney’s Magic Kingdom park include festive parades, unique firework shows, specialty snacks, and exclusive character meetings. Toddlers will love dressing up in Halloween costume at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, watch the Halloween parade, and go trick-or-treating. Watch Elsa from Disney’s Frozen transform Cinderella’s Castle into sparkling icicles at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and wave at Santa during the Christmas parade. If you can keep your kids awake long enough, Disney After Hours is a new three-hour event that allows a very limited number of guests in Magic Kingdom park. Ride the attractions with no wait and explore the park with almost no one around you!