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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TCNJ chapter.

    Disney is known as the most magical place on earth, until you have to start planning for your next visit. As with most vacations, you have to plan very far in advance, but with Disney, it just seems more stressful. From going to Disney over 15 times and planning a trip myself, here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned throughout the years. 

Before doing any of these things, plan out your ENTIRE TRIP before booking anything. This will save you a lot less stress and anxiety. This includes where you’re staying, the parks you plan on going to which days and the dinner reservations. 

1. Book your room 180 days before your desired visit date. 

     180 days seems a little ridiculous, but Disney rooms book FAST. Also, depending on what time you want to go, they may book even faster, so make sure you pre plan your trip before even booking the hotel room if staying on property for this reason. If you are a Disney Vacation Club Member like myself, it may be a little easier to get a room, especially because of your timeshare, but be prepared so you can get your top hotel! As an example, for my March trip, I booked my hotel room in September and was able to get the hotel I wanted!

    Here are some of my favorite hotels to stay at on property: 

  • Boardwalk

  • Beach and Yacht Club

  • Wilderness Lodge                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

2. Make your dinner reservations as soon as you book your hotel.

       Again, booking 180 in advance, especially for a dinner reservation may be extreme, but popular restaurants get filled easily. If you are staying on property, you are able to book your reservation up to 180 days. There are a lot of good restaurants in the parks, so a good idea would be to either plan your dinners from the parks you plan on going to, or vice versa. If some of your favorite restaurants are in Disney Springs, though, you will not have to worry about staying in the park because you do not need a pass to enter. Right after I booked my hotel room in September, I looked at my plan of what parks my friends and I wanted to go on each day and planned our reservations based on that list. I am going to Disney on St. Patrick’s Day, so I had attempted to make a reservation at Raglan Road in Disney Springs, which is an Irish Pub. I tried making a reservation as soon as March 17th was an option and it was completely booked, so this is me giving a warning to make your reservations as soon as possible. 

    Here are some of my favorite restaurants:

  • Raglan Road in Disney Springs

  • Ohana in the Polynesian Resort

  • Le Cellier Steakhouse in Canada in Epcot

3. Buy your park passes at least 60 days before your trip

This is a fairly new thing for Disney, but you are now able to book your fast passes before you are even in the parks. You used to have to rush to your favorite rides as soon as you get to the park to grab the Fast Passes and then plan your day around that, but now you are able to book your Fast Passes up to 60 days before your trip. This is when you pull out your list of parks you want to go to because this will now officially determine which park you go to on each day. There are some rules in picking out Fast Passes like in EPCOT because you cannot book 2 Fast Passes in the same area of the park, or some of the rides you want may not have a Fast Pass available for that specific day. Also, you are limited to two Fast Passes per person per park when ordering them in advance. For the big rides in EPCOT like Test Track and Soarin’, you are only allowed to pick one of those rides due to the fact that they are both in the Land area of the park. Yet, you are able to book a Fast Pass while at the park through the Disney World app. 

    Here are some of my favorite rides from each park (I’m not a roller coaster person, so these rides are motion sickness person friendly):

  • Magic Kingdom

    • Pirates of the Carribean

    • Haunted Mansion

    • People Mover


    • Journey into Imagination with Figment

    • Soarin’

    • Test Track

  • Hollywood Studios

    • Toy Story Mania

    • Slinky Dog Dash (I haven’t been on but I’ve heard great things)

    • Star Wars- The Adventures Continue

  • Animal Kingdom

    • Avatar Flight of Passage 

    • Dinosaur

    • Na’vi River Journey

4. Booking Flights and Magical Express

Flights can be booked whenever you can find the right pricing for you, yet don’t forget to also book your Magical Express if you are staying on property! Magical Express is a free transportation bus that will take you straight to your hotel from the airport. When taking a Magical Express bus, you do not even have to worry about going to baggage claim because your luggage will be picked up for you by a Disney representative and they will “magically” appear in your hotel room after your room is ready. When filling out your Magical Express information, it will ask you to input your Disney Hotel name, so make sure you have your hotel confirmation number!

5. Magic Bands

Magic Bands are a fairly new thing that have been introduced to the world of Disney and they have definitely made a difference in your visit. They used to be exclusive for Disney Vacation Members as a trial run, and then they got good feedback, they opened it up for the rest of travelers. Within the Magic Band, you can access Disney Parks, use your fast pass, connect your credit card for purchases and so much more. It replaced the paper Fast Passes Disney used to have and also the card Park Passes. You can control everything that is on your Magic Band by the Disney Vacation website, or the app. The best time to get them is no more than 45 days before your arrival, so they can be shipped to your house and you can use them as soon as you reach the entrance to Magical Express in the airport. 


Now since most of your stressful planning is complete, here are just some fun outfit ideas, must have snacks and fun Disney facts!

1. Disney Bounding and Cute Outfits

    Disney Bounding is something that has been created ever since Disney banned people over the age of 12 from dressing up in full costume. Disney Bounding is when you dress similar to the character without wearing a head to toe costume. If you were to dress as Jasmine, wearing a teal outfit with some cute accessories portrays the idea of Jasmine, without screaming who you are dressing up as. It is believed that Disney made this rule to stop the confusion for the little kids by thinking all dressed up adults were real characters hired by Disney. Here is a website for even more ideas on how to Disney Bound with some of your favorite characters: https://disneybound.co 

2. Disney Snacks

Disney snacks are also a must when walking throughout the Parks. Whether its a simple Mickey shaped pretzel to the famous Dole Whip, Disney snacks are a staple in making your trip fun. Most of these snacks are found throughout any park, and are definitely photo-op friendly. Spoon University made a list of the top 20 Disney snacks you need to have before you die: https://spoonuniversity.com/place/20-best-disney-world-snacks

3. Disney Fun Facts

    We can all agree that Walt Disney was a genius. Not only was he obviously the inventor of Disney World and Land and everything in between, but he was also a mastermind when it came to Disney Secrets and planning out the parks. Not only are there hidden Mickeys throughout the park, but there are other fun facts as well. One of my favorites is that when designing the parks, Walt Disney ate a banana and an apple while walking to test how many steps it would take him from start to finish. His idea was that he wanted a garbage bin every few steps so it would minimize waste throughout the parks and people would not have to hold their garbage for a long period of time. So, next time you’re in the park, count how many steps it takes from one garbage can to another. I believe Walt Disney decided on 30 steps. 

 If you want to know more fun facts about Disney here’s the link: https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/family-vacations/walt-disney-world-secrets

 And if you want to know where all of the hidden Mickeys are, here’s the link for that: https://www.wdwinfo.com/wdwinfo/hiddenmickey.htm


Hailey Ruderman is a Journalism and Professional Writing Major, graduating in 2021. She dreams of writing for a big magazine like Seventeen or Billboard. She loves going to concerts, listening to music, doing crafts, writing and binge watching TV shows.
President of HCTCNJ, Panhellenic Delegate for AXiD, Communications Major with Marketing/Management Minors!