Sarah Hina provides the common sense, Disney provides the magic, in this simple but thorough guide to getting the best bang for your buck while maximizing your time at Walt Disney World. Take it step by step...
You don't need a 900-page tome (unofficial or otherwise) or a degree in statistics to plan a spectacular vacation at Walt Disney World. You do need the best advice for getting there, staying there, eating there, and playing there, clearly and concisely told, and up to date for 2020.
Starting with perhaps the most crucial decision to be made about your trip—when to go—Hina takes you through a foolproof, easy-to-follow, step-by-step plan for maximizing your magic and minimizing your stress.
With special chapters on finding fun things to do outside the theme parks and how to become an overnight guru on the MyDisneyExperience app, you'll have all you need to keep a smile on your face, from the time you pack your bags to the final happily ever after.
Your great big beautiful Disney World vacation is only a step away!
Step One: Choosing the Length and Dates of Your Trip
Step Two: Step Two: Booking Accommodations
Step Three: Picking the Right Ticket at the Right Price
Step Four: Deciding on the Dining Plan
Step Five: Choosing Transportation That Works for You
Step Six: Using the MyDisneyExperience Site and App
Step Seven: Selecting FastPass+ Reservations
Step Eight: Booking Advance Dining Reservations (ADRs)
Step Nine: Making a Date with Memory Maker
Step Ten: Developing a Touring Plan
Step Eleven: Lining Up Entertainment in the Parks
Step Twelve: Adding Extras Your Family Will Love
Step Thirteen: Planning for Fun Outside the Parks
Step Fourteen: Packing for Your Trip
Step Fifteen: Last-Minute Tips and Reminders
I fell in love with Walt Disney World on our first family trip in 2008, when our children were tiny and their wonder felt larger than life.
Sometimes, as it turns out, the magic is real.
Many trips later, that love for the Mouse has blossomed into a full-time career as an author and Disney travel agent. And while our daughter and son are now teenagers, and more inclined to choose a ride on Space Mountain over Peter Pan’s Flight, their enthusiasm for our vacations has never wavered in the years since they first hummed along to “It’s a Small World.” Walt Disney World has become our family’s home away from home—familiar, yet still full of endless delights that surprise and astound us.
And like any home, our loyalty gets tested on occasion. For while I dearly love the drop on Splash Mountain, eating Dole Whips in Adventureland, meeting Goofy on Main Street U.S.A., and ending our night by watching fireworks explode over Cinderella Castle, I don’t love long lines, crowds, paying too much for meals and feeling overwhelmed by the need to micromanage what’s supposed to be a family vacation.
If you’re here because you’re stressed about any of those things: welcome. You’ve come to the right place. Planning a Walt Disney World vacation—particularly in the months following the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge—should be exciting, and not scary. The key is to take things step-by-step.
My aim for this planning guide is simple: by the end of your trip, I want you to love Walt Disney World as much as my family does, and the way to do that is to avoid the traps so many first-time and repeat visitors fall into—either by preparing too little, and getting blindsided upon your arrival in the parks, or by planning too much and forgetting to have fun in the process.
Over the years, I’ve researched and perfected proven methods for minimizing wait times while touring the four theme parks, discovered which resort accommodations offer the best perks and most desirable amenities, learned how to score the hardest-to-get Walt Disney World dining reservations, and arrived at some simple tricks for sticking to a budget when you’re in a place that seems designed, at every turn, to take your money. And much, much more.
And now I’d love to share what I’ve learned with you.
Sarah Hina is a writer, photographer, and Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. As a young girl, she enjoyed her family’s yearly trips to Disneyland so much she couldn’t bear to leave the park at night. Later, as a wife and mother of two kids, her passion for Disney’s storytelling and innovation grew and strengthened through frequent family vacations to Walt Disney World, where she loved rediscovering the magic of Disney’s theme parks through her children’s eyes.
Now she’s excited to share her experience with other Walt Disney World guests, in the hopes that her tips and insights will make their Disney memories as special as her own.