10 Tips for Visiting Disney World in Florida
Use this podcast and tip sheet to plan your trip to Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and/or Animal Kingdom at Disney World in Florida.
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The accompanying podcast features 10 tips for visiting Disney World. Contact
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Kingdom Strollers is the mentioned preferred Disney World stroller rental company.
Tips for planning your visit to Disney World:
Step One – Ticket Choices and Dates of Travel
Consider your ticket options before you decide when to go and where to stay. Here’s why:
Ticket choices can impact the exact dates of when you decide to visit the parks and the prices you will pay for Disney resorts. There are three prices of regular tickets based on season of travel. Disney labels these seasons Value, Regular or Peak. So, if you wish to visit Disney during holiday seasons or in the beginning part of the summer, then you will be visiting during Peak Season. At Peak Season time the parks will be the most expensive and the most crowded, but the parks will be open later in the evening and have more entertainment options than during the other seasons.
If you would like to go from park to park on the same day, you will need a Park Hopper Option ticket. These tickets allow you to visit more than one park on the same day, but you pay a price for this flexibility. Multi-day passes are discounted off of the per day price. The more days you purchase at one time, the cheaper the ticket price per day. Multi-day passes must be used within 14 days of first use of the ticket. They do not provide any dining or resort discounts.
You may want to consider purchasing an Annual Pass if you plan to visit the parks for more than a five days or for a few days or more over a two-year period. If you decide to purchase an Annual Pass, you will be eligible for significant Disney hotel discounts of up to 40 percent off, as well as 20 percent dining discounts at many Disney restaurants both inside and outside of the parks, and free parking at the parks. Only one family member needs to purchase an Annual Pass to get the discounts. Currently, a Platinum Annual Pass for ages 3 and up is good for 365 days from activation at all parks on all days. If you would like to visit Disney two years in a row, you might want to consider one pass to cover two years of vacations. For example, if you visit the parks one year at the end of June and the following year at the beginning of June, both years would be covered by one Annual Pass.
Magic Kingdom – On selected evenings in September and October, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party will take place at the Magic Kingdom. On selected evenings in November and December, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party will take place in the Magic Kingdom. On these evenings, the park will close early and an additional ticket charge will be assessed. Annual Passes do not cover this ticket; so all participants must purchase admissions.
Epcot – Be sure to take a look at the many special offerings unique to Epcot throughout the year. These special festivals are included in the price of admission, although add-ons such as special wine and/or food tastings and special dining or special ticketed events are available for additional charges. Some highlights include:
Epcot Festival of the Arts – Culinary, visual, and entertainment arts weekends – tastings, art shows, Broadway entertainment, and classes in arts, calligraphy, origami, glass blowing and more – in January and February.
Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival – Special flowers, including floating gardens and topiaries; free Garden Rocks concerts on Fridays through Mondays; weekend appearances by gardening gurus; outdoor kitchen displays; and special dining menus with farm-to-table meals. – in March, April, and May
Epcot International Food and Wine Festival – The largest Epcot event of the year, this festival brings in chefs, presenters and guests from throughout the world. Food and wine tastings, concerts, cheese tastings, special dinners prepared by world-renowned chefs, culinary demonstrations, beverage seminars – now through mid-November
Check here for special events at all parks, tickets for special events, and dates of special events when they are released:
Of course, you need to think about the weather in deciding when you will go to Disney World. Remember that from about mid-June through early September, Orlando is not only hot but also incredibly humid. You may want to plan to take a break at the pool or even to relax inside at your hotel room during the mid- to late afternoon hours. If you are not used to the Florida heat and humidity, and even if you are, this can be a big consideration in planning your day and enjoying your trip.
Set up your Disney account so you can personalize your Disney planning, set up your itinerary, download and link the “My Disney Experience” app, and link all your tickets and reservations. More information and website link here:
Disney has a calendar for all park options and all ticket prices that can be accessed here:
Step Two – Make Your Hotel Reservations
Once your have decided which ticket type you would like to purchase and when you want to go, then make your hotel reservations. Again, there are options for you to consider. For example, like the parks, Disney hotels are the least expensive during Value Season and are most expensive during Peak Season. Peak Season prices can be double Value Season pricing. If you stay at a Disney resort, you will have the option of making ride and attraction “reservations” called FastPass+ reservation 60 days in advance. This can be especially helpful if you want to visit some of the more popular attractions or ride some of the more popular rides rather than spend your valuable time waiting. (If you have purchased tickets in advance, but if you do not have a Disney hotel reservation, you can make FastPass+ reservations 30 days in advance.) See Disney’s facts here about FastPass+:
Disney hotel guests also benefit from Extra Magic Hours. During this time, a theme park will open early or stay open late for an hour or so late just for Disney resort guests. Disney resort guests also get free parking at all the parks, free transportation via bus and resort monorail throughout Disney World.
See my post and podcast here for information for hotel options in and near Disney World.
Step Three – Make Your Dining Reservations
Make your lunch and/or dinner reservations for your Disney dining experiences. You can make reservations for Disney restaurants 180 days in advance. You will need to provide a credit card number to reserve. If you cancel less than 24 hours in advance, you will be charged $10 per adult for no-shows, so remember to cancel if you change your mind. Annual Passholders receive up to a 20 percent discount on 45 different Disney restaurants, so be sure to let your server know if you are an Annual Passholder. Dining reservations can be made on the Disney app or here:
See my post and podcast here for information about 18 Disney Springs Dining options:
See my post and podcast here for information about Epcot World Showcase Dining:
Step Four – Purchase Your Tickets and Make Your FastPass+ Reservations
Once you have purchased your tickets based on your Step One considerations and are within the 60-day window for Disney resort guests (30 days for ticketholders without Disney resort reservations), then you can make your 3 FastPass+ reservations. FastPass+ choices must be made at the same park on the same day. Note that after you use all three of your FastPass+ choices, you can get on your MyDisneyExperience app, log in to your account, and select one more choice. After you use that FastPass+ you can select yet another if any more FastPasses are available. Note that there are a limited number of FastPasses allotted per day per attraction.
Finally, if you are having difficulty deciding on ride choices based on your special needs, concerns, or ages of children, you may want to check out YouTube videos. Search on ride names and you will find videos of just about every ride at Disney. Many contain videos of the complete ride.
For more information about Epcot and Magic Kingdom, check out Dr. Loe’s books:
Paperback and Kindle Book:
Epcot 2018 – Kindle book $3.99, Amazon paperback $6.99
One Perfect Day in Disney World: Magic Kingdom 2017 – Kindle book is $2.99
Dr. Loe’s Amazon/Kindle Author Page Link for these and other books is:
Every effort has been made to ensure that the content provided is accurate and helpful for our readers at publishing time. However, this is not an exhaustive treatment of the subjects. No liability is assumed for losses or damages due to the information provided. You are responsible for your own choices, actions, and results. Please contact us with updates and suggestions based upon your experiences so we can improve new editions. This planning guide is not affiliated with Disney.
© 2017 Leader Institute for Educators LLC. All rights reserved.