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When I decided that I was going to do a series of Disney posts counting down to our next Disney vacation, I asked my friends on Facebook what they wanted to know about a Disney vacation. And one of them through me for a loop, she wanted to know how to go on a Disney vacation without the overwhelming amount of planning that seems to be involved.
As someone who loves planning the vacation just as much as I like taking it, it’s hard to imagine not planning anything. But then I remembered the first time we took Jackson to Disney World, the trip was pretty much a whim that I didn’t do too much planning. So here goes, challenge accepted how to plan a Disney Vacation without Planning.
How to Take a Disney Vacation Without Much Planning
Buy a Guidebook. I get it you don’t want to plan but you can’t take a trip to a place you haven’t been without knowing something first. I recommend The Unofficial Guide to Disney World with Kids. This book offers great tips and touring plans. Read the plans you don’t have to follow them but this book is full of great advice. Even someone like me who has been 20 + times gets a lot out of it.
Go During the “Off” Season. While I get this may not be possible but if you can go when it’s not crazy busy you will definitely see and do so much more without planning. We tend to visit in October and in January which are great times to go and avoid crowds. Also check out a Disney crowd planner so you can determine when it won’t be crazy busy. Avoid summer if possible.
Get to the park at opening. Even with a plan I think you should get to the park at opening. One you get to see the park open, at the Magic Kingdom this experience is particularly magical and I get teary eyed every time I experience rope drop. Two because the park isn’t crowded yet, you have first dibs on rides. The first time we took my son we got to the park at opening most days with no Fast Passes or plans and were able to ride about 6 rides or more before we took a break for lunch.
Take a Break. Just cause you have no plans doesn’t mean you need to run through the park trying to do it all. Break around lunch time if you got to the park at opening then you will be heading out as everyone is pouring in. Go back and enjoy the pool or the resort or take nap.
Get a Park Hopper. The park hopper allows you to go to more than one park a day. This will cost you a bit more per ticket but it is definitely worth it not to be locked into one park for the whole day. Having to see only one park for day will definitely leave you feeling like you must do it all. Having the hopper gives you freedom to go with the flow without feeling like you need to check things off, so that you can finish a park.
Dine Quick Service Style. Disney is known for having many really great dining options but many restaurants require reservations 180 days in advance and they mean it. But Disney also has a lot of great Quick Service dining options that can be just as fun and delicious as the sit down meals, without the need for reservations. Quick Service meals, also known as counter service offer great eats at a lower price and shorter dining experience. In the coming weeks I will share my favorite Quick Service meals.
There’s an App For That. Have you checked out the My Disney Experience App? This app is a must have for traveling in the parks. It has maps, wait times and you can make Fast Passes and meal reservations from it. Use the app to check wait times while on the go.
Always Ask. If you don’t have reservations for Be Our Guest but you happen to be near there at dinner ask what the wait is, I have heard plenty of stories of people being able to walk in. And this goes for any of the restaurants. Don’t assume because you didn’t plan that you are shut out of all the reserved activities. If there is something you really want to do call guest services and ask. On a few trips I’ve made last minute reservations at great restaurants and gotten my son a hair cut at Harmony Barber Shop with just a few days notice. So don’t think you are shut out, after all this is Disney magic does happen.
Just Go. Seriously just go, don’t plan, don’t worry, don’t stress. It is vacation after all and I really do believe that the best memories are the ones that weren’t planned.
My sons first trip to Disney was completely unplanned and it was easily the best vacation of our life. You have to remember that whether you plan every moment or go with the flow the memories you make along the way are what you will remember not thing things you might be missing.
Want more Disney Tips and Tricks, visit my Disney Travel posts for more!