wdw planning seasons 14
  • On Jun 19, 2019
    Jsh from MD Asked Note: This answer was provided prior to the change to planDisney and may still contain references to Disney Parks Moms Panel.

    When do you know enough planning is enough? I'll be at Disney World with my family for Christmas, and I'm trying to do everything, and am getting overwhelmed with all there is to do, and have done, while there.

    Hello Josh.

    I know that planning a trip to Walt Disney World can sometimes feel overwhelming. Especially over Christmas because you want everything to be perfect for your family. I actually go every year over Christmas and understand the pressure, so I am here to help! First, take a deep breath. Your family is going to have a great time, I can assure you of that!

    Here is how I plan out my Walt Disney World vacation over Christmas:
    1. Select your Walt Disney World vacation package and select which resort you'll be staying at
    2. Take a look at the park hours calendar and decide which Walt Disney World Theme Park or Parks you'd like to visit on what days. This doesn't have to be a fancy itinerary yet but an idea will help you know where to make dining reservations at. I plan my days according to morning Extra Magic Hours because the parks are very busy during this time of year. During Extra Magic Hours, the parks are only open to Walt Disney World Resort Hotel Guests and it's unbelievable how much you can get done during this time!
    3. 180 days in advance (which is very soon for you) you are able make dining reservations. Try to pick restaurants that coordinate with your itinerary above. So for instance if you are visiting Magic Kingdom Park for a full day, pick something either in that park or one of the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels around it like 'Ohana at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort or California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort. This is going to cut down on your transportation times and allow you to enjoy the parks for longer. When you call to make your dining reservations on your 180 day mark focus on your must do's first, like Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. Those meals are going to get booked up the fastest and then you can fill in the days around them.
    4. From your 180 day mark until you can make your FastPass+ selections fine tune your itinerary. You do not need to plan out every second of the day but have an overall idea of what you want to do when. For example, know which day and time you want to see the Candlelight Processional at Epcot or what time you're going to want to see the Christmas parade at Magic Kingdom Park. 
    5. 60 days in advance, if you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel, you are able to make your FastPass+ selections. By now, you know what Parks you are going to which days so this should be a breeze. My best piece of advice is to pick selections for late morning or early afternoon when the parks are at their busiest. I always start my FastPass+ selections around 10:00 a.m. and try to knock all three of them out in a row. Keep in mind after you've used up your 3rd FastPass+ selection, you are then on a rolling system which means you can select one at a time from there on out. 
    And that's all of the planning I do. We've been going over Christmas for many, many years and I can tell you that it works. Everything else we just let happen organically. After our FastPass+ selections are over and someone wants to go to the pool for a bit - sure! Want to grab another FastPass+ for Haunted Mansion if it's available - sure! If you have key pieces of your day planned out like where to go, FastPass+ selections, top must do's like a parade and dining reservations everything else just fills itself in. 

    I know you are going to have such a great time. Focus on the key details and then just enjoy the rest. I hope this helps. If you have any other questions about planning a trip over Christmas, I'd love for you to come back and ask me.  
thumbnail image for Jackie

Meet the Panelist: Jackie, North Carolina

I love all things Walt Disney World.  In fact, since becoming Annual Passholders, my family of 3 is always hopping in the car for a quick trip to visit with Mickey Mouse!  I've been known to make the 8 hour each way drive to Walt Disney World (in one day!) to indulge in a Mickey Waffle or enjoy a sunny day at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park.  I may have a small family, but we are always up for some BIG fun at the Walt Disney World Resort.   Learn More About Jackie

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