The Beauty of FastPass+

If you’re a frequent Disney World visitor or follower, you know exactly what FastPass+ is and all of the benefits associated with it. However, I’m still mind blown by the amount of people who still don’t know FastPass+ exists OR how to use it to the best of their ability. FastPass+ is a tool that can make your vacation that much more perfect by avoiding some of those unnecessary long lines we all know and (don’t) love. Below are my favorite tips and tricks to make FastPass+ your best friend on your next Disney World vacation.

First and foremost, it’s important to know how FastPass works and when you’re able to book yours. FastPass is a way for you to schedule a time to ride a certain ride at a park, check in during your scheduled time, and skip the majority of the long line rather than wait in stand by. You are able to book up to 3 FastPasses at one park per day you have a ticket for. Whether you’re setting aside one park per day or park hopping your way around Disney World, it’s important to remember that you CANNOT combine your 3 rides into different parks to begin with. My first bit of advice for you is to schedule your FastPasses at the park that you are starting your day at.

How far in advance are you able to book FastPasses? If you’re staying on Disney World property, you will be able to book your FastPasses 60 days before the first night of your trip. If you are not staying on Disney World property, you will be able to book your FastPasses 30 days before. I have heard rumors that certain Deluxe hotels have offered 90 days in advance for staying at Club Level, but I have not personally done so to comment on that. Comment below if you have! On the day of your FastPass booking, you will be allowed to book at 7:00 AM EST (Disney World time) so make sure you know how that time converts to your own time zone!

Planning 101: You should start planning your FastPasses as soon as you land on which parks you plan to visit which days of your trip. It doesn’t ever hurt to start planning sooner rather than later. The only way it might affect you is getting you really excited and then having to wait another month before you can even start your booking (aka if you’re me.) Once you’ve settled on the parks you plan to visit each day, go ahead and start planning out your FastPass choices per day. Like I said before, I would recommend booking at the park you are going to start your day at. Even if you are only spending half a day at a park, book there. Why? Well, once you have used your 3 pre-booked FastPasses for the day, you can move on a book one at a time for the rest of the day at ANY park. For example, if you are splitting a day between Hollywood Studios in the morning and Epcot in the evening, book your 3 FastPasses for Hollywood Studios. Once you’ve used those 3, you can book a 4th for a ride at Epcot that evening. Once you use your 4th, you can book a 5th, and so on and so forth.

In your planning process, try not to worry about booking any FastPasses until at least 1.5 hours after the park opens. This first 1.5 hours the park is open will be a lot lighter as far as crowds and lines go. Don’t waste your “skip the line” pass when there is hardly any line to skip! However, keep in mind the 3 FastPass rules as well. While you shouldn’t book super early in the morning, don’t wait to have your first FastPass start in the afternoon. If you do that, you won’t be able to book your 4th FastPass until the evening, and you will have much less to choose from. Keep in mind that when booking a FastPass, it will always give you a one hour “window” rather that a specific time. Since this is the case, you will not be able to schedule FastPasses any less than one hour apart.

My advice here? Plan to have your first FastPass about 1.5-2 hours before park opening. Then, schedule each of the following FastPasses immediately after the others window ends. For example, if you have Space Mountain at 10:45, plan to book Peter Pan at 11:45 and Jungle Cruise at 12:45. Come 12:45, you will be done with your 3 FastPasses and able to book one at a time from there. Throughout your planning, as well, keep in mind the layout of the park. In the above example, we started in Tomorrowland, followed the map around to Fantasy Land then went to the other side of the park to Adventure Land. This is a lot smoother of a plan than if we has flipped Peter Pan and Jungle Cruise. We would have to start in Tomorrowland, hike to the other side of the park to Adventure Land, then come back to the Fantasy Land side of the park. This won’t always work out perfectly, because it will depend on what is available and at what times, but having it planned and prepared beforehand is key.

FastPass at each park is a little bit different. At Magic Kindgom, you can choose any 3 attractions and plan to book those. Magic Kingdom has the easiest system because it is the park with the most attractions, and people’s preferences will absolutely vary depending on your parties age range and interests. Each of the other three parks now has a tiered FastPass system. Animal Kingdom is the most straightforward of them all. The Avatar rides are tier 1 and the rest of the rides at tier 2. You can only pick one Tier 1 FastPass and the other two will be tier 2. So, basically, you’re picking one Avatar ride and two of anything else. Or, of course, if you’re not interested, you can pick all three as tier 2. The same will go for the other two parks as well. At Epcot, the tier 1 attractions are Frozen Ever After, Test Track, and Soarin’. The rest of the rides are considered tier 2. The same booking applies as Animal Kingdom. Hollywood Studios is the most recent change and, let me tell you, it’s a killer. Tier 1 attractions are all of the Toy Story Land rides, Rock n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. Tier 2 is Star Tours and all of the other shows. Therefore, you can only book one of the rides between Toy Story, Rock n’ Roller Coaster, and Tower of Terror and two of the other options. This is all important to keep in mind, and an extra reason why you should really plan out your strategy.

Now you’re at the morning of booking. You login to My Disney Experience at 7:00 AM Disney World time and you’re ready to go. Do not be alarmed if some of the more popular attractions are no longer available when you book. Even at 60 days out, we could not find FastPasses for Slinky Dog Dash or Flight of Passage. Also be warned that there are a lot of people booking FastPasses at the same time as you. We logged on before 6:00 AM (cst) and refreshed the page every minute as we got closer to 6:00 AM. Even being that diligent, we were frozen on the loading screen for a good 10 minutes before we were able to get on to book our FastPasses. That’s going to happen, but you just can’t let it ruin your planning process. There are still ways to snag those holy grail FastPasses, and I’ll go over that later.

Start with the most difficult rides first. My list of the rides to book ASAP goes as follows: Flight of Passage, Slinky Dog, Seven Dwarfs. After that, most rides should be pretty attainable. Start with your tier 1 attractions first. Most, if not all, of your tier 2 should be really easy to snag. This is why it’s important to not just go in order of your trip when it comes to booking. Get those difficult, tier 1 attractions done first and then go back to book the rest. Prepare yourself to have it not go perfectly. I can almost guarantee you will not find every single ride you want at the exact time you want it, but going in with a plan, with backup options, and with the general knowledge you’ll gain from planning will greatly help you when you have to make changes.

Now, your FastPasses are booked, your pretty happy, but there’s just one ride you really wish you would’ve gotten. Don’t be alarmed! If you booked 60 days out, here’s a little tip for you. Check the FastPass availability every day, but especially around the 30-35 days out mark. 30 days in advance is the last time people are able to cancel or change their vacation without financial penalty. That being said, you may have families canceling last minute or changing last minute, and those FastPasses will become available to the public! Also, I can’t guarantee that this is true, but a little part of me believes that Disney may hold out some FastPass times for those super popular rides to release around the 30 day out mark for those 30 day in advance people. I may just be speculating, but I have read a lot of posts and blogs who say that they’re still able to snag Slinky Dog or Flight of Passage at 30 days out, even when it was completely booked up after 10 minutes on our 60 days out day. Anyway, just keep a close eye on this as much as you can! About 30 days before our trip in January, I found a FastPass for Flight of Passage at the EXACT time we had already booked for Navi River Journey. It was super easy to just make the switch to Flight of Passage online.

You’re there. You’ve officially arrived in Disney World for your vacation. Day one, you’re hitting Hollywood Studios. You just scanned your magic band for your third FastPass of the day. Get out your phone! If there is any sort of line that you have to wait in before you ride your FastPass ride or watch your FastPass show, get to booking that fourth FastPass! If there is anything available in a nearby time slot for a ride you’re interested in, go ahead and book it. The sooner you book, the more likely you are to have some options. It may seem silly, but even waiting until you’re off the ride or the show ends could limit the available options. While I’m not a super big fan of the tiered FastPass system, I will say it seems to be doing it’s job, especially at Hollywood Studios. I’m a frequent checker of the “available FastPass+” tab on my TouringPlans app. Today, September 23 at 11:45 am Disney time, Hollywood Studios has quite a few FastPasses available for Alien Swirling Saucers, Rock n’ Roller Coaster, Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror, and more! With the former tiered system, I can tell you there were not this many day of FastPasses available. Forcing people to choose one options between Slinky Dog, Toy Story Mania, Alien Swirling Saucers, Tower of Terror and Rock n’ Roller Coaster does leave a lot of time slots available day of.

FastPass+ involves a decent amount of planning, being prepared for disappointment, and some getting used to. But I’m not kidding when I say that it can and will become your best friend if you use it properly. It still amazes me that people are either unaware or unsure of the FastPass process. As much as it would benefit me not to share my tips and tricks with you all (and leave more FastPasses for myself) I wouldn’t feel right not sharing it with others. Get that FastPass+ planning started!

Villains After Dark

If you haven’t year heard about the new Villains After Dark event being offered at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, I’m here to help fill you in, give my opinion, and let you know if I think it’ll be worth it.

Last week, Disney Parks Blog announced a brand new, After Hours type event that will be hosted at the Magic Kingdom this summer. Villains After Dark is a play on the current Disney After Hours events that are currently taking place at Magic Kingdom. After Hours, not to be confused with Extra Magic Hours, is a separately ticketed event that takes place on scheduled days. The event begins at 7:00 pm and extends until 3 hours past the closing time at Magic Kingdom. With limited numbers of tickets sold to these After Hours events, guests get the opportunity to have the park virtually empty. Most, if not all, of the major rides are open and wait times are significantly lower across the board.

My boyfriend, James, and I went to our first After Hours event in January at Magic Kingdom. The amount of rides we were able to hit between 7:00-11:00 was crazy. The only ride we really had a wait for was Seven Dwarfs, which is to be expected. However, even that was only about a 10 minute wait and we managed to get on it twice. If you want to hear my overall opinions on After Hours, check here for the blog I wrote breaking it down!

Villains After Dark sounds like it will be your standard After Hours event, just with a twist. There will be a special stage show hosted by my very favorite Disney villain, Hades. Our favorite Festival of Fantasy parade dweller will also be around. Maleficent the Dragon will be unleashed and roam around the park during the course of the event. You never know where you might spot her. This event will also offer it’s own unique merchandise, food, and beverage options. Disney Parks Blog also informed us that Space Mountain and Pirates will have some overlays that are “Disney villain” themed.

With all that being said, the price for Villains After Dark will be slightly higher than that of your standard After Hours event. After Hours at Magic Kingdom will cost you $125 per adult, while Villains After Dark will top that at $139 per. It’s now up to guests to decide if the unique qualities of this event are worth the additional $14 that it costs. For me, it’s basically a no brainer. Magic Kingdom will likely not be offering a separate After Hours event throughout the summer, so Villains After Dark will be the only opportunity for an After Hours event. Also, After Hours prices did go up after one year of events, so the price increase for these specially ticketed events kind of comes with the territory. There’s every chance in the world that once the fall/winter comes along, standard After Hours events at Magic Kingdom will run in that $139 range, so you may as well take advantage of the prices and get a unique experience with it!

The one thing I could see with this event is how the little ones may feel about it. I love the Disney villains, and I think a special stage show involving them is going to be awesome. However, your little ones may feel differently than I do. When I was little, I can’t say I would have loved the idea of watching the “bad guys” and seeing a spooky, fire-breathing dragon wandering around the park, sneaking up on me. With the darkness surrounding you in the late, nighttime hours, it could be a scene that is just too scary for some little kids to enjoy.

If you’re heading to Disney World this Summer on an adults only trip, or you know that your kids will enjoy the event, I think it’s definitely worth looking into if it can fit in your budget. Summer is a hard time to visit Disney World as the parks can get super crowded and that Florida heat/sun can be unbearable. If you can, check out this event to avoid some of those crowds and be able to enjoy Magic Kingdom in the coolness of the night.

Kicking Back & Relaxing in Disney World

None of us want to admit it, but we all need a way to relax during our busy Disney World theme park days. Every time I plan a trip, I tell myself that I won’t need to take many breaks and I can be go, go, go the whole time. Good one, Megan. Taking breaks doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy something great that the park has to offer, though. There are definitely ways to enjoy the park without having to be on your feet.

Find a show to go to. Every single park has them. From the Indiana Jones stunt show to Country Bear Jamboree, there are more than enough in-park shows that you can sit back and enjoy. Plus, some of these shows are quintessential Disney. I seriously cannot take a trip to the Magic Kingdom without parking my butt at the Carousel of Progress. It just wouldn’t be a real Disney World trip if I didn’t. The shows that are offered in Disney World are a truly great way to get out of the sun (or rain), sit down, and relax while still feeling fully immersed in that Disney magic that we all know and love.

Stop and have a drink or a snack. The parks are full of options. Plus, a small snack or quick drink requires a lot less planning and waiting than going to a quick service or table service meal. A nice, cold Dole Whip always hits the spot, and you can feel like you have a good excuse to sit down and relax. It seems really silly, but it’s hard to take a seat in the parks when you feel like you don’t really have a “reason” to do so. Having a quick snack or sipping on a cold drink is a GREAT reason to want to pop a squat and relax somewhere.

Take full advantage of the rides that take a long time. I love Rock ‘n Roller Coaster as much as the next person. But you’re on and off in what feels like 60 seconds. Whereas you can hang out with Br’er Fox, Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Bear, and all of the Briar Patch pals over at Splash Mountain for a solid 15 minutes. When you really need to feel rejuvenated, but you don’t want to waste your time, head over to one of the attractions where you know the wait will lead to a nice, long ride. Those 10-15 minutes can really help your feet.

If you’re on Disney World property, take a midday break at your resort. This was really hard for me to grasp on our recent trip. We only have 3 park days and I wanted to get as much as possible out of every single moment. Looking back, though, I don’t think I could have survived if we didn’t take those midday breaks at our resort. For Disney World Resort guests, there are so many other theme park perks that taking a couple hours to go back and relax in your room, hang by the pool, and just get off your feet is so worth it. Think of it this way, if you have Extra Magic Hours that day, you potentially have upwards of 13 hours to spend at the parks. Even if you go back to your resort for a full 3 hours, you still have 10 hours of park time each day. You can get a lot done in 10 hours.

The most important thing, of all, is just to remind yourself that you don’t want to burn out. It’s really easy on the first couple days to be very all-go, no-stop. You’re so excited to be back in the most magical place on earth that you don’t want to stop. However, if you keep that up, you’re going to end up burning yourself out by the third or fourth day. Take time to find ways to relax. There’s definitely ways to do so without wasting your precious Disney World time.

How to Make The Best of Disney World Transportation

Staying at a Disney World resort comes with its perks. You get to head into the parks early or stay out late for Extra Magic Hours, you get the benefit of immersing yourself in Disney for your entire trip, and you get complimentary bus, boat, and/or monorail service from your resort to the various Disney World theme parks, water parks, and Disney Springs. Some will say the Disney World transportation is unreliable. I’m here to tell you how to take advantage of the transportation, and what options you have when you’re visiting Disney World.

I personally love the fact that the Disney resorts give you the different transportation options. Even if it’s not something I use every single time I go anywhere on Disney property, having the option is a huge plus for me. But, inevitably, we will all have a time during our Disney World trip where we sit back and wonder if waiting in the transportation line is really the best use of our time.

One time I would say you should ALWAYS take advantage of Disney World transportation is when you aren’t in a time crunch. For me, at the end of any given night, I never even thought about grabbing an Uber or finding a different way back to our hotel. The parks are closed and I’m in no rush to get back to my resort. Now, this isn’t necessarily going to apply to EVERYONE. If you have small kids, they may be fussy and needing to get to bed. If that’s the case, then maybe alternative transportation IS your best bet. For me, however, I know that it makes very little difference if I get back to my resort at 11:20 or 11:30, so I’ll save that extra cash to buy me a late night snack.

One time I would say you SHOULD consider taking alternate transportation is if you’re running a little bit late on a morning where you’re headed to Magic Kingdom. While this could apply to any park, keep in mind that you usually have to wait in the parking lines in order to get through to the entrance. The Uber ride may save you time initially, but you’ll come to a bit of a halt when you reach the parking lot entrance lines. I specifically say Magic Kingdom here because of the (maybe sneaky) way you can avoid all of the crazy park entrance lines. Instead of taking an Uber, Lyft or taxi to Magic Kingdom, you can take it to the Contemporary Resort. After doing this last time I visited Disney World, I really don’t think I will ever go back to taking the bus on a Magic Kingdom morning. The Contemporary has it’s own walking path right up to the Magic Kingdom entrance. The best park? The walking path has it’s OWN security checkpoint! It was easily the shortest security line we waited in the whole trip, and we got to walk right past all of the long security lines at the Magic Kingdom entrance. For a pretty cheap car ride, this was definitely worth it.

Every other time, the transportation is really up to you. I, for one, think that taking advantage of the transportation systems is a huge perk of staying on site. If you can plan ahead, it can really make your trip a lot more streamlined. Plus, it’s free. I’ll take a free bus, boat, or monorail over wasting gas and paying for parking any day. With Uber, Lyft, and taxis available, you always have a second option if the Disney transportation just isn’t working out. However, overall, try to look at the Disney transportation as your friend, not your foe.

Theme Park Backpack: What to Bring

I can’t go a day in a theme park without my trust backpack behind me. I’ve said this in previous blogs, but it really amazes me that my family used to travel to theme parks when I was a kid with just fanny packs. I think in our later years, my mom graduated to a drawstring bag, but still! How is it that at 24, I needed a full size backpack for just myself and my mom managed a family of 4 in a fanny pack? Maybe the times have changed. I honestly don’t know. But, what I do know, is what you have in your backpack or bag on your theme park days is really important. I’m not going to mention the obvious things here. Of course you need your wallet, your phone, your magic band, etc. This list is some of your not so obvious, must-haves.

  • Snacks: ALWAYS PACK SNACKS! You will be hungry. Probably more hungry than you are on an average day. Having snacks will prevent you from having to spend money every time you’re hungry. Now, you’ll spend money on just meals and snacks you really want to eat.
  • Sunscreen: Even in the more modest months, I would say sunscreen is a must-have. If you’re going in Florida Winter, bring a little travel size sunscreen. You definitely won’t need a full bottle, but there could always be a random day where it’s very hot and sunny. Be prepared!
  • Water Bottle: This one is a no brainer. There’s water fountains all over theme parks. Don’t be that person who spends $5 on bottled water every time you’re thirsty. Put a TON of ice in your water bottle before you leave your hotel, and continue to fill up on free water during the day.
  • Ponchos: I was totally, 100% the person saying “I won’t wear a poncho in Disney World.” Are they cute? Not really. But it’s so much more convenient than an umbrella. It’s more compact, it’s easier to walk around with, and it’s the one place in the world where you won’t be judged for wearing a poncho. Extra pro tip: buy cheap ponchos somewhere outside of Disney World. If you really want a poncho with something Disney on it, some of the stores (Target, Walmart, etc.) around Disney will have ponchos with Mickey or Minnie on them. They’re a little pricier than the standard ponchos, but they are A LOT cheaper than the ones in the parks. Or, splurge on the park ones if you want. To each their own!
  • My Must-Have Makeup: Read this blog for my must-haves and why I say so. Just out here plugging my other blogs 😉
  • Flip Flops: Again, this one is good year round just in case. We all love Splash Mountain. What do I not love about Splash? Just the thought of it getting my feet wet with gym shoes and socks on and being forced to walk like that all day. Blister city. Avoid all of that annoyance by packing a cheap pair of flip flops. Throw them on before you get in line, and you’ll be able to put on your dry shoes and socks after the ride is over.
  • Extra Socks: On that note, always pack extra socks. Even if you don’t do water rides, and you stay dry all day long. They say one of the best things for your feet is to just change your socks. Even though you didn’t do water rides, the gross truth is that your feet are still sweating and causing that moisture to be contained in your socks. Switch them out for a fresh pair once or twice. Yes, that may mean you pack 15 pairs of socks for 5 days, but it’s a lot better than having painful, blsitery feet. Take it from me.
  • Portable Charger: This is huge. Having a portable charger in the 21st century is a must. I brought 3 every day on my recent trip. Even though 90% of the time I didn’t have to use them, it was the comfort of knowing they were there if I needed them. I never had to worry about my phone dying. First World problems, I know. But that’s the reality a lot of us live in, so we may as well be prepared.
  • Plastic Baggies: This is my inner mom coming out at ya. I’m 24, but I am so Mom in Disney World it’s almost unbelievable. Plastic baggies are a must have for water rides, especially in the summer. For those of you who don’t know, they tend to turn off or lessen some of the water features on the water rides during the colder months. If you were guaranteed to get soaking wet even in the 50 degree weather, no one would want to go. Having plastic baggies for your electronics is crucial in ensuring they will also make it through the water rides. Again, there’s a chance you never even touch them, but they take up virtually no space so it doesn’t hurt to have.
  • Clothing Additions (depending on the season): This really depends on when you’re going, but I think any season could benefit. If you’re going in the dead middle of the summer when it’s the hottest, you may want to bring extra shirts. Long theme park days in the sun = sweaty. A fresh shirt could do you good. If you’re going in the winter or fall, it could be warm during the day but get cool at night. Pack a long sleeve t-shirt or a sweatshirt to save yourself from a pricey gift shop trip.
  • Deodorant: My only explanation will be a little math equation. Long days + sweating = smelly. Smelly + deodorant = not smelly anymore. You’re welcome. Math lesson, over.

I’m sure there are things on this list that I didn’t mention. Anything you think is crucial that I left off? Let me know!

Why Disney World After Hours May Be Perfect for You

Disney After Hours events are a relatively new thing that Disney World has started to do. I believe it was around the beginning of 2018 when Disney World started to offer a hard ticketed, limited attendance event to anyone who was willing to cough up the extra cash for it. What started at just Magic Kingdom has now spread to both Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios as well. After attending one of these events last month, I’m here to share my thoughts on After Hours.

After Hours, for me and my boyfriend, was a Christmas gift from my parents. With such a short trip to Disney World (5 days, 4 nights, and 3 park hopper tickets), I really wanted to make sure that we maximized our time there and got to experience everything that we wanted to. This was going to be our first trip to Disney World together and, as two avid Disney fans, we really wanted to make sure it was extra special. Not to mention, I just needed that perfect castle pic, too.

Our After Hours event took place on a Monday night. For us, we were able to get in the park as early as we wanted since we had our park hopper ticket already for that day. All we had to do was head to one of the in-park locations to get our wristbands for the night. Having that park hopper to get in early was a really good thing for us, and it really helped us get everything we wanted done that night. However, if you don’t have either a Magic Kingdom ticket or a park hopper ticket, you won’t be able to enter for your After Hours event until 7:00. If this were the case for us, I don’t know how I would have felt. We would have gotten from 7:00-11:00 only for the night. Keep an eye on this when you purchase your After Hours tickets. If you go at a time that is typically warmer, the parks tend to be open later. You will always be able to get in at 7:00 (as of now) for the event, but how late your event goes really depends on the time of the year. I have seen some events that are as late as 1:00 AM. 7:00-1:00 AM is a good 6 hours of park time. It may be worth it for you to avoid a normal, daytime ticket altogether and just opt for the After Hours ticket that day instead.

Crowd level for this event was awesome. Even though many people who had attended After Hours events in the past said it was busier than usual, I still thought that being able to walk on virtually every ride (and wait maybe 5-10 minutes for Mine Train) was a huge plus side for this event. It’s not often that you can walk right onto Big Thunder Mountain or Space Mountain without a Fastpass. I really do think that we probably got more done as far as attractions go at this After Hours event than we did the full day that we had at Magic Kingdom later in the trip.

After Hours is a really good idea for people like us. What I can’t imagine is spending that kind of money on the event when you go with a larger group or as a family. It’s significantly harder to coordinate where to go next when there are a lot of different personalities that you have to cater to. When it’s just one or two of you, like us, it doesn’t take a lot of decision making time when choosing where to go next. It’s also a really late night event. Like I said, ours only went until 11:00 at night, and even I was ready for bed after that. I can’t imagine a kid being able to make it until 11:00, 12:00 or 1:00 am for that event. And, honestly, if you don’t plan to make use of all the time you have there, I really don’t know if spending the money is worth it.

All in all, I REALLY loved the Disney After Hours event and I’m looking forward to doing it again. When you are taking a short trip to Disney World, I think you really get good bang for you buck when it comes to the event itself. Especially when you throw complimentary ice cream novelties, popcorn, and coke products into the mix. To be honest, free stuff always makes everything better! I wanted to share my thoughts on these events because I know that, when planning a Disney vacation, people really want to know what others think. But YOU know the best how this event will work for you.

Have you been to an After Hours event? Tell me about it! Did you think it was worth the money? What would you change?

How I Like to Pack for Disney World

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Packing for Disney World requires a lot more preparation than you may think. Disney World is in the heart of Central Florida. So, of course, it’s going to be hot, right? That means just throw some shorts and t-shirts in a checked bag and you’ll be on your way. Well, my playbook for packing is a little bit more in depth.

The most important thing to me is that you ALWAYS have some sort of carry on bag. Even if you are checking 1, 2, or maybe even more bags through your airline. Why? It’s not that you need the extra luggage space, necessarily. On your way to Disney World, if you stay at a Disney World resort, they will handle all of your luggage for you. As soon as you drop it off at the counter at your hometown airport, it will be handled by a bunch of other people to get it from your airport to Orlando airport and then to your Disney World resort. If you’ve never been a person who has had their luggage lost, consider yourself lucky. But, take the advice from someone who has. ALWAYS have a carry on bag with at least 1 day worth of clothes for your entire group or family. There is nothing that would bring my mood down more than getting to Disney World so excited to back and realizing that somewhere, my luggage was misplaced and it won’t get to me until the next day. If you didn’t have that carry on bag, you’d be scrambling trying to piece together how to make it work. The carry on totally solves that problem.

Bring a backpack! I have no idea how my family used to survive our long Disney World trips with just fanny packs back in the 90’s-early 2000’s. On my most recent trip, both my boyfriend and I had our own backpacks and they were usually full or close to it. Yet somehow a family of 4 was able to survive in fanny packs? The times have definitely changed. Especially with the increased prices of everything. The last thing you want to do is have to buy snacks, drinks, and clothing items every park day because you didn’t come prepared with what you need in your backpack. Having an extra sweatshirt, your trusty water bottle, and some ziplock bags full of snacks helps you save any money that you may have HAD to spend on those necessities. Your backpack is your right hand partner on a Disney World vacation to help you be the most prepared day after day.

Lastly, make sure you leave some space in your checked bag(s). We all tell ourselves that we’re not going to overspend on souvenirs. But have you seen the new World of Disney at Disney Springs? You tell me how you take even one lap around that place and don’t pick something up. Seriously, tell me how you do that. i really need to stop walking by everything I see, touching it, and going “aw this is cute.” It’s a problem. I’m working on it… (Okay. No, I’m not.) Disney Springs has really evolved into such a great shopping center that it’s become a must-do of any Disney World vacation. When it comes to how shopping at Disney World has changed since I was a kid, Disney Springs is really it. It’s no longer about buying just Disney merchandise. There are so many great stores and shops in Disney Springs that you may just walk into one because something you’ve been needing or wanting is there. So, now, you have to plan for your Disney merchandise as well as a normal shopping day. The extra space in your checked bag will save your life.

Of course, this is just a general overview of how I like to pack for Disney World. There’s a lot more that goes into it. How do I decide what outfits to wear and bring? What if it’s going be hot during the day buy cool at night? I want to have options, but how do I fit it all in my bag? What essentials must be on my packing list? All of these things will be discussed over time on my blog, and I’ll continue to give you the best advice on planning, preparing, and packing for your Disney vacation. Have any specific questions about packing? Comment below or contact me!