Booking your family’s first trip to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., or Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif., is an exciting experience. But with lots of options and limited time, planning the perfect getaway can also be quite daunting. Lucky for you, we’re here to sprinkle some pixie dust and help you make the most of what will surely be a magical vacation.
Stay at a Disney Hotel
Did you know that there are more than 20 Disney owned-and-operated resort hotels and Deluxe Villa Resorts to choose from in Walt Disney World alone? From the modern and artistic to the charming and whimsical, there’s a hotel for every family—and budget. Whether you choose luxury at the Grand Floridian or value at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, staying on property is a memorable piece of the ultimate experience. The incredible accommodations, beautiful landscapes, gorgeous pools, fabulous amenities, and convenient transportation are parallel to none. And did we mention there are perks and discounts—including early or late access to parks.
Plan Ahead of Time
A week might sound like a long time, but it is hard—if not impossible—to cram everything into seven days and nights. Map out your family’s “musts” (parks, attractions, rides, events, parades, restaurants, shops, etc.) in advance so you can have a loose schedule to follow. But don’t get caught up in the go-go-go; allow yourself to enjoy the moment and embrace a bit of spontaneity.
Breakfast with Mickey? Lunch at Cinderella’s Castle? Dinner at an authentic Hawaiian luau? A pampering princess makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique? All of these options—and many others—add up to unforgettable Disney experiences. But all too often visitors forget to make reservations. Believe it or not, you don’t have to wait until you’re on property to arrange for many meals and activities. This is something you should try to do when initially booking your trip. Reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance.
The old days of waiting (and waiting and waiting …) in line for your turn on a ride are long gone, thanks to FASTPASS. This service offers you the freedom to enjoy the whole park while still virtually waiting your turn for a popular attraction. In short, it means less time in line and more time to explore Disneyland or Walt Disney World. Win-win.
Make Time to Relax
Walt Disney World and Disneyland are chock-full of fun experiences waiting to be had, and a lot of your time will be spent finding and embracing your inner kid. But don’t forget that this is your vacation too, Mom and Dad. So make time for a little rest and relaxation. Both resorts are also home to world-class golf courses, top-notch spas, amazing restaurants, and upscale boutiques that cater to your more sophisticated whims. And did we mention that select hotels offer Children’s Activity Centers where kids can have supervised fun while parents enjoy an evening to themselves?