Updated: Jun 17
Let's just get one thing straight: Walt Disney World is not just for kids, it's for people of all ages! With four theme parks, two water parks, Disney's BoardWalk, Disney Springs, and a variety of outdoor activities, there's something for everyone! Planning a WDW trip can be kind of chaotic, so here's a guide:
I recommend ditching the meal plan and just eating wherever you want, when you want. Definitely make a reservation for Liberty Tree Tavern at Magic Kingdom. It's an amazing, all you can eat, family-style restaurant serving what I call "Thanksgiving food" 😂. They have turkey, corn, mac and cheese, pot roast, green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, and rolls 😋. Disney World also has a feature on their app where you can order food from quick service restaurants and pick it up at any scheduled time. This is super useful if you just want a quick bite to eat between fast pass times. Also, definitely make a reservation for a restaurant that offers character dining, like The Crystal Palace. It's such a fun experience!
If you're staying at a WDW resort, don't forget to buy a refillable mug. Once you buy it, you have unlimited refills at WDW resorts. Unfortunately, you can't get free refills with the mug at the parks, but the parks offer free cups of water.
Buy the PhotoPass! After you scan your Magic Band (you only get a Magic Band if you're staying at a WDW resort) and look at your photos you will want to download them without the watermarks. With the PhotoPass you'll be able to download ride photos and photos taken by park photographers.
If you have the time, plan to spend 5 days at the parks. Spend 1 1/2 to 2 days at your favorite park(s) and a day each at the other ones. My family usually spends around 2 days at Magic Kingdom and one at the rest of the parks. Make sure you buy the Park Hopper if you think you'd like to go to 2 parks in one day, otherwise, you'll only be able to go to one park per day.
A great thing for families to take advantage of is the Rider Switch Service. If your child is unable to go on a certain ride (and that ride offers Rider Switch), one parent can go on the ride while the other parent stays with the child. Once the ride is over, the parents switch and the second rider doesn't have to wait in line.
If you stay at a Disney World Resort, which I highly recommend, you're able to select Fast Passes up to 60 days before check-in. You're able to select 3 Fast Passes per day and once those are used, you can select more passes at kiosks around the park. Select Fast Passes for your favorite rides and the popular rides.
Here are the Fast Passes I would get in advance for each park:
Animal Kingdom- Expedition Everest, Avatar Flight of Passage, DINOSAUR
Magic Kingdom- Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan's Flight
Epcot- Frozen Ever After, Test Track
Hollywood Studios- Rock 'n' Rollercoaster, Slinky Dog Dash, Toy Story Mania!
p.s. on Rock 'n' Rollercoaster, keep your head back when you take off 😉
Walt Disney World is fun for people of all types and ages. The costs of visiting the parks and staying at the resorts can add up, but with these tips you can save and make the most of what you pay.
Note: Disney Resorts offer fun activities for visitors to take advantage of during their stay. There are movie viewings, s'mores making, and much more! Something to keep in mind when planning accommodations for your trip.