Jan 112012

By: Dena Burkett

Today I am going to give you a glimpse inside my tactics for planning a Disney trip. I know that everyone plans for their Disney vacation differently, whether it is your first time or tenth time. I am hoping that some of the things I do can help make your future trip easier and more magical.

The first thing I do when I find out when I am taking my trip and where I am staying is to start making up my itinerary. It may seem like a lot of work or a waste of time (I get grief about it from family) but I love having it! It keeps everything in order and in one place. I put the park hours on it along with reservation confirmations, flight information, any other information I would like readily available, and of course, what we plan to do each day. Now, I will tell you that we sometimes stray from it, but for the most part, we follow it to a T. I also print out the hotel information, Magical Express information as well as any other documents I think I might need. I put everything in a red, Disney-decorated  folder that I use every time we go. That way everything is in one place and I can easily find it during the trip.  Doing something like this, whether it’s in an actual folder or perhaps saved on your phone in an app like Tripit, can really be a life-saver!

When packing, I always try to match my outfits to the parks. For instance, I always wear a Minnie Mouse shirt in the Magic Kingdom. I always try to wear safari colors or patterns when going to Animal Kingdom. Don’t forget making shirts to wear on the plane ride. My family and I always make at least one shirt when going to Disney. Last time we made them for the plane. The time before that, we made them with my Goddaughter’s dancing pictures on them because she was dancing in Disney. They are easier than you think to make!  Places like Michaels sell easy iron-on transfers that make making coordinating shirts a breeze!

I also make sure to use my backpack that I take to the parks as my carry-on for the plane, in addition to remembering to dress for the parks.  I do this because our hotel room is usually not ready when we get there and we head right to the parks.  If you have what you need when you land you won’t have to wait around.  Just take your luggage to Bell Services (if you have it with you.  If you used Magical Express, it will be automagically delivered to your room later, usually within around 5 hours of you landing) and have them store it until you come back.

In addition here are some other helpful hints that may make your trip to a Disney park a little more enjoyable.


*  Put your name and phone number on your cameras/electronics. I put a clear mailing label on my camera and it helped when I left my camera in a restaurant in the Magic Kingdom.

*  Ask for Disney gift cards for holidays and birthdays. There is so much you will want to buy!

*  I like to make breakfast reservations in the theme parks for around 8-8:30 am so we can get in the park earlier than it opens. Just be sure you make the reservation for when the park doesn’t have extra magic hours in the morning. Being in the parks before the crowds is breathtaking, not to mention the picture opportunities!

*  Make sure to check out www.themouseforless.com.  There are a ton of tips that have been compiled in addition to resort reviews, a list of refurbishments and more! There are even menus available for you to peruse for every restaurant on Disney property.

*  Buy a small battery-operated fan from Wal-Mart or a dollar store, especially if going in the warmer months. You will need one! Although the ones in Disney are pretty and have a strap, they are bulky and expensive (about $14) and don’t work any better than the cheap ones.

I know there are many more tips and hints that people can offer for the most magical time. I invite all Disney fanatics to post some of your best ideas.  Below you will find a sample of my last itinerary.  Hope your next trip to visit the mouse is spectacular! Happy Planning!


Disney World Itinerary


Monday, June 20th

Flight @ 6:45 am (flight # 1633 6:55 am-9:12 am)

Get Magical Express to hotel

Early check-in (get “Key to the World”)

Head over to Hollywood Studios since they have EMH tonight

Hollywood Studios EMH: 7 pm-10 pm


Tuesday, June 21st

Breakfast @ Boma (AK Lodge) 8:30 am


MK EMH: 8 am-9 am

Epcot EMH: 9 pm-12 am


Wednesday, June 22nd

Crystal Palace 8:25 am # 40356

Spend some time in MK


Dinner @ Ohana 6:45 pm

AK EMH: 8 am- 9am

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  4 Responses to “A Peek Inside My Disney Vacation”

  1. I do the same idea, with the Itinerary. I do a master sheet and then day by day details are listed on an index card which is then hold punched onto a ring so that each day I can remove that specific index card that shows the park hours for that day, restaurant reservation confirmataions etc.

  2. Awesome info! I am planning my family’s first WDW vacation for mid-late August. We have our air taken care of but what is the best time of year to get the best deal on rooms and which website should I be checking dailing? We would love to stay at the Polynesian but the prices are thru the roof. Is there a way to get discount rates on the deluxe resorts?
    Thanks a bunch!

  3. We do alot of the same things that you do but, I never thought about putting a label with my name etc. on the camera, excellent idea that I will definately try. Part of our pre-vacation prep. includes keeping a rubbermaid container in the corner of my bedroom starting a few months before vacation for trip items that I pick up here and there. For example when I see shampoo, body wash, toothpaste etc. on sale I pick them up (even if it’s 2 or 3 months before vacation) and just store them in the rubbermaid container so that there is no “huge” toiletry/misc. shopping bill days before we leave. My #1 must pack hotel item that is always placed in the rubbermaid container first (it’s actually stored in there for each vacation) is a powerstrip. The powerstrip is great because we have so many things to charge(cell phones, cameras, i-pods etc.) and there is never enough outlets in the hotel room, with a powerstrip everything charges at the same time.

  4. I like your itinerary, I do the same thing!.. we use the dining plan for the past few years, love the value and convenience. Sometimes, though , we like to spend a day or two off property, so I pack our roll away cooler, it is a collapsable cooler attached to wheels similar to a carry on, by velcro..we just leave the wheels at home and pack the cooler (think large lunch bag with a sturdy bottom and side pockets for napkins and condiments) and ice sleeves. The sleeves fit nicely into the small freezer space in our room,(they are hard plastic and light weight when not frozen) and this gives us the convenience of grabbing some sandwiches and drinks for our off property outings without shelling out more money for food!

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