Health and Wellness

20 Walt Disney World Tips | Vacation Planning

Walt Disney World is one of my favorite places. I was fortunate to go there several times as a kid. Most recently I went to WDW for the 2009 National Association of EMS Educators symposium and I went back in the Fall of 2010 for a week with my family. The NAEMSE symposium is returning to WDW in August 2012 and I am planning another visit with my family in January 2013 to run the Disney Half Marathon and Marathon (appropriately called the Goofy).

Since we have been recently we have had friends and family ask us for our Walt Disney World vacation tips. Below is my list of tips, but I know many of you have tips as well that I can share and even apply on my upcoming trips. Please share your tips in the comments.

  1. Order Disney vacation planning DVD.
  2. Plan to stay in the park at one of the Disney hotels so you can take advantage of the free airport shuttle, extended hours for park guests, and free bus transportation between the hotels and the theme parks.
  3. Do the Disney meal plan. We signed up for the  one snack, one quick service meal, and one sit down meal per day and had more food than we could eat.
  4. Keep an eye out for promotions that include a free or reduced cost Disney meal plan.
  5. I see no need for a rental car if you are going to stay at Disney for the duration of your vacation.
  6. We stay at the “moderate” hotels. If I can afford it next time I will stay at a deluxe resort on the monorail line to cut travel time to the theme parks.
  7. We didn’t have a need for a park hopper pass. Our kids are young and there is plenty to do in a day at a single theme park.
  8. Character meals, which can be reserved with the Disney dining plan, are a blast. Our favorites were at the Land in Epcot, the Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom, and the Cinderalla buffet at the Polynesian.
  9. Fly Southwest because bags fly free.
  10. Bring one bag of breakfast and snack foods. Use this same bag for bringing souvenirs home.
  11. Try to be up and going early enough to be at a park when it opens – the rope drop is fun.
  12. Use the fast pass to maximize ride time and minimize wait time.
  13. Plan your park visits based on which parks have extended hours for WDW hotel guests.
  14. Just like anything in life, wear comfortable shoes.
  15. Let Disney photographers take lots of photos of your family/group.
  16. You can bring snacks and water bottles into the park.
  17. We left the park each day to return to our hotel to nap, swim, and recharge.
  18. The fire works at each theme park are well worth it. Check the schedule and stake out a good viewing spot.
  19. EMS professionals that use Twitter make sure to connect with @JEFF_EMT before your visit. Jeff is an EMT for Reedy Creek Emergency Services, a fantastic host, and a huge Disney. Give him a shout out before you go.
  20. Look for tips from Disney bloggers. Lots of people visit Disney way more often than I have and have more tips and vacation planning advice.
Meeting a friend at a Disney character meal
Meeting a friend at a Disney character meal

By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.