Home » 5 Bizarre Skills You Need to Plan the Perfect Disney Vacation

    5 Bizarre Skills You Need to Plan the Perfect Disney Vacation

    FastPass Plus Kiosk

    Planning for a Disney vacation can feel roughly equivalent to planning a wedding, a high-powered corporate event, or even a strategic battle. Armed with binders full of printouts, constantly checking their cell phones for last-minute updates, seasoned Disney veterans are easily spotted making their way through the parks according to a strict timeline. But how do you get there? What skills do you need to ensure a perfect Disney vacation? Here’s a light-hearted look at how to make your planning a success.

    1. Calculating 180 Plus 10, 60 vs. 30, and deciphering plenty of acronyms

    FastPass Plus Kiosk

    First-time visitors logging into Disney fan forums can easily become overwhelmed by the numbers. To get the best dining reservations, you need to be online 180 days before your trip. But if you’re staying “on property,” you can book 180 plus 10 days out…not 190 days before the start of your vacation, but 180 days before your trip you can book 10 days worth of reservations.

    For FastPass Plus, you can book 60 days in advance if you’re staying on property, but only 30 days ahead if you’re off property. That only works if you’ve already purchased your tickets and linked them to your MDE account. If you want to wait and buy tickets when you arrive, you will be stuck trying to get whatever you can during your trip.

    2. Logging on after midnight but before 12:01 a.m.

    Logging In

    So you’ve made it to the designated day for making that dining reservation at Cinderella’s Royal Table or that FastPass Plus reservation for Toy Story Midway Mania. Now you just have to master the art of beating everyone else who wants those same reservations to the punch. If you log in too late, you’ll miss out. If you log in too early, the system won’t let you complete the reservation—and by the time you back out and start over, you’ll be too late. To avoid this Catch-22, practice logging in just after the turn of midnight a few nights prior to booking your experiences. Hopefully you don’t have to get up too early for work the next day!

    3. Deciding what you will want to eat 6 months in advance

    Tony's Town Square

    So what’s the biggest problem with booking reservations 180 days out? How on Earth are you supposed to know what you will want to eat on which day? A hearty meal might sound like a great idea right now, but what if you’re overtired and overheated 180 days from now? What if you keep your kids out till 11:00 p.m. at Downtown Disney the night before, and they’re too tired and cranky for that 7:30 a.m. booking at Cinderella’s Royal Table? There’s no easy way around this, so give it your best guess and try not to worry. Plan a mix of heavy table-service meals and lighter options to keep you from getting bored throughout the week.

    4. Predicting the weather, your physical condition, and other day to day influences

    Magic Your Way Tickets Image (c) WDWDreamin.com

    The other major problem with booking dining reservations so early, which is compounded by the need to book FastPass Plus reservations well in advance, is that it takes flexibility off the table. In days gone by, a park hopper ticket was all you needed to give yourself plenty of options. Is it raining on your Animal Kingdom day? Hop over to Epcot and spend the day exploring enclosed pavilions. Is the Magic Kingdom unusually crowded? Switch over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios instead. Now, with everything carefully choreographed months in advance, changing parks on the fly can completely derail your entire plan. There’s not much you can do about this, but try to minimize the effects by only pre-booking your true must-dos. Leave as much unplanned time in your schedule as possible to allow for day to day challenges.

    5. Prepping to walk a marathon

    Plan to walk for miles

    First-time visitors often have trouble wrapping their brains around just how much walking a Disney vacation truly involves. According to bloggers and Internet reports, the average day at Disney generally requires 7 to 10 miles of walking, while more hard-core walkers report upwards of 15 per day. Even using the lower end of the estimates, during a week-long visit you could easily rack up more than 50 miles of walking! Unless you plan to use a wheelchair, scooter, or stroller, it is important to get in shape in advance. Think of Disney as a marathon rather than a sprint, and make sure you factor in proper hydration and blood sugar levels. Nothing kills a good time faster than dehydration, hunger pangs, and muscle cramps.

    Seasoned Disney veterans have tried and true techniques for planning the perfect trip, while newbies can easily become overwhelmed. No matter where your level of previous experience falls, however, you can always learn something new to make your next trip a bit more special. What skills do you use? What’s the one tip you would give someone trying to plan a Disney vacation? Share your thoughts in the comments!