disney family vacation planning essentials

Disney Vacation Planning Essentials

What is Essential?

When planning a family vacation to Orlando most people, especially planner-types, like to focus on where to stay, where to eat, and where to go to have the most fun. These are very important issues to consider. However, even more importantly which I would deem as the “essential” vacation planning issues have nothing to do with where to go, where to stay, or where to eat.

Besides having the necessary items you need and a well-organized itinerary for your Orlando theme park vacation, a family vacation at Orlando’s theme parks tend to be the most fun and memorable when you plan for the following:

1. Let All Your Hair Down

It is not the places you go that make your vacation fun and memorable, it is the attitude you have when you arrive there. The most essential part of making your family vacation memorable and fun is the attitude you and your family come with. Too often families leave Orlando looking like they need a vacation from their vacation. Either they were so frustrated things did not go as planned or they really do not understand the purpose of a family vacation. Don’t let that be your family by not sweating the small stuff. So what if your room is not ready when you arrive. Get over it! When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. This is the right attitude to visit Disney with your family.

2. Appreciate Those That Serve You

The men and women working in the hospitality industry are often over worked and under paid. It is the nature of the hospitality industry. It takes many people and moving parts to keep things running well so you and your family have a nice vacation. An act of kindness or kind word can make the people trying to serve your family have a pleasant day. In turn, they will be motivated and encouraged to serve you and your family. Most of the time, members in the hospitality industry hear about the guests’ problems and issues, much less frequently do they receive praise and encouragement. What will be most memorable during your family vacation to Disney will be the interactions and funny moments you had with your family and the people you meet in Orlando. It is better to serve, than to be served. Keep that in mind.

3. Keep it Real

When you finally arrive in Orlando, keep your expectations in-check. Remember there is no such things as a perfect vacation. If you seek to have everything exactly the way you envisioned and planned, you are setting yourself up for a major letdown. Many frustrating moments will occur for you and your family. Something will go wrong. So, let yourself enjoy the experience and focus on the important things like how wonderful it is to have the opportunity spend quality time with your kids and spouse. Remember to turn that frown upside-down!

What is Important?

Now that you have your head on straight, the following cover the important family vacation planning issues from a physical perspective.

1. Budgeting

Create a budget and be conservative with your estimates – add more verses less cost. The Orlando Vacation Budget Template is a vacation planning tool that has been created to help you and your family create and stick to a budget during your vacation. When creating this vacation budgeting tool a 20% buffer was added for unexpected and miscellaneous expenses. Another budgeting tool to consider is Disney’s Budgeting & Planning Tools. The best reason to create a budget for your family vacation is so you don’t regret going on vacation afterwards.

2. Use Trusted Resources

There are vacation experts that have given their life to family vacation planning at Walt Disney World. They are a wealth of knowledge and will save you countless hours. Plan to use these trusted resources. Several of the resource I would recommending using can be found in the article called, Top 5 Disney Vacation Planning Resources.

3. Plan Well, But Within Reason

Do your due diligence and plan your vacation well.  I recommend spending 10-15 hours of planning time on the important physical things such as where to stay and eat. Often families that are already in Orlando trying to secure accommodations get easily frustrated and overwhelmed. At the same time, families that spend countless hours planning their vacation, can easily get disappointed when something does not go as planned. Also See: Top 5 Disney Vacation Planning Resources.


(1) Make plans to come to Disney with the right attitude and expectations.

(2) Take the time to appreciate those that serve you and your family.

(3) Do you research and create a realistic budget.

(4) Expect something will go wrong, and turn problems into memories instead of allowing them to be letdowns.

Hope the above recommendations provide the essential vacation planning ideas you need to have an amazing vacation at Disney. If you have any additional ideas or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment below.