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Is there anything more exciting than your first trip to one of the Disney parks? The innovation and magic of the world of Disney is an experience unlike anything else.

However, if you’re planning your first trip, you may be feeling overwhelmed. With so many parks, rides, things to do, and hotels, it can be confusing to know where you should start.

Your family is sure to have an incredible time at the happiest place on earth, but it helps if you know a few Disney hacks. If you’re wondering how to plan a Disney trip, keep reading for seven top tips.

1. How to Plan a Disney Trip? First, Try to Stay on Property

If your budget allows, try to stay at a Disney hotel, rather than a hotel or condo off-site. Yes, Disney’s own accommodation is generally more expensive than staying elsewhere, but the incredible benefits it offers make it worth it.

Disney hotels mean the magical experience starts as soon as you arrive. All of their hotels have elaborate themes, pools, dining options, and really feel like you’re already in the parks.

Also, you can access the complimentary resort transportation, much easier than trying to drive to the parks each day. It drops you off right at the front entrance!

Resort guests are also able to get premium access to dining reservations and Fast Pass bookings, so it’s the best way to ensure you get all the perks.

Becoming part of Disney Vacation Club also offers these benefits, plus more—read more about it in this post.

2. Book Your FastPass in Advance

Disney’s FastPass system allows you to book a time to go on your favorite ride, without waiting in line. Guests are limited to a certain number of passes at a time—one you’ve used those passes, you can then get more.

If you purchase your park tickets in advance, you can book your passes in advance. Wait times for popular rides, like the Haunted Mansion or Space Mountain, can often run between one-two hours, and you don’t want to spend all day at the parks waiting in line.

Take time to understand how the passes work and book them in advance for the rides you just can’t miss!

3. Be Prepared for Crowds

Everyone loves the Disney parks, and they tend to attract a crowd—most of the time. Although crowds can be a nuisance, it’s best to just expect that the parks will be crowded and enjoy it anyway.

To minimize crowds, try to avoid visiting during summer vacation, weekends, or holidays. If you’re heading to the Magic Kingdom, some of the most popular rides include Thunder Mountain, Dumbo, and Pirates of the Caribbean—try to head to these rides first to get the shortest possible wait times.

4. Bring Refillable Water Bottles and Snacks

Although Disney has some amazing snacks, like turkey legs and Dole Whip, snacking all can be expensive. If you don’t have a Disney Dining Plan, consider bringing some snacks into the park to save money.

Also, most of the Disney parks are located in a hot climate, so you’ll need plenty of water to stay hydrated while walking around all day. Instead of buying overpriced bottled water, simply bring your own water bottle—there are plenty of places to refill it within the parks.

On that note, you’ll also want to wear comfortable shoes, since a day at Disney involves miles of walking each day!

5. Sometimes, Single-Rider Lines Mean You Get on Faster

A top tip for your trip to Disney is to look for single-rider lines. If you and your party are willing to split up when going on rides, you may be able to get on rides much faster if you hop into the single-rider lines.

These lines are to place single riders on rides where there may be just one open seat, ensuring the ride cars are at capacity.

At Disney World, you can find single-rider lines on rides such as Expedition Everest, Test Track, and the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

6. Download the Disney+ App

The easiest way to manage all of your park tickets, FastPass times, and reservations is with the free Disney+ app. You can create an account and use it to keep track of everything you need for your Disney vacation.

Even better, you can use the app to check out wait times for each ride in real-time. If there’s a ride you’re eager to do, just check on the app and see how long it’ll be—much easier than walking all the way to the other side of the park and finding a huge wait!

7. Stick Around for the Evening Shows

A good tip for making the most of each day is to visit a park in the morning, then head back to your hotel in the afternoon for rest. Then, come back in the evening in time for the evening entertainment.

This works well, especially with tired kids. Many families try to do everything and stay all day, but end up heading home around 4 or 5 pm due to cranky, tired kids.

For this reason, the parks can sometimes be less crowded in the evenings, meaning shorter wait times for lines.

The best reason to stick around in the evenings is for the entertainment. Generally, each park does an evening show, usually containing a parade with your favorite characters, music, singing, and fireworks.

Make Your Next Vacation a Magical One with These Top Tips

Disney is truly one of the most magical places on earth, for both kids and kids at heart. Now that you know how to plan a Disney trip, start organizing a dream come true for you and your family.

From meeting your favorite characters, the thrill of the rides, amazing entertainment, and more, you can’t beat the fun of a vacation at Disney. We’ll see you there!

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