The best Disney Vacations happen when you’ve taken the time to plan and think through your vacation days. From choosing restaurants to deciding what shows are important or if Disney Springs is part of this vacation. Take a little happy virtual vacation of your own, by planning for your next Disney Vacation with these printable Disney vacation planners, whenever that may be.
Why you Need to Do Some Disney Vacation Planning
Going through the details of a Disney Vacation plan isn’t so that you can show up and follow a list of things to do. A carefully crafted plan actually allows you to go off-script! Because while you can definitely decide to hightail it to a different restaurant, ride, or park- you can do so knowing that you have a backup plan already in place! As opposed to not planning at all and wandering around at 9:30 at night, wondering who has pizza available because there were no tables available at Be Our Guest last minute.
We speak from experience here. As planners by nature, we also love winging it! We love having rides planned out but if the Trolley Show catches our fancy instead, we’re able to re-arrange things. Or if we find our favorite ride has no line, we like we stay flexible! We bank on at least 1 sit-down meal a day during the hot months of a Florida Vacation. But love knowing that if we decide to just stay at the resort instead, we can cancel dining reservations up to 11:59 p.m. the day before the reservation to avoid a charge.
Having a plan means that you can just show up and enjoy your vacation, instead of using the in-park time to find dining, stand-in ride lines, or waiting for shows. And we find Disney vacation planners to be very helpful when planning your First Disney Vacation.
Getting Started Planning a Disney Vacation
We’ve written before about the 12 steps needed to Plan a Disney Vacation. But sometimes it’s a little easier if you actually have the steps right in front of you as you go! Thankfully, we’ve just pulled together everything you need in our new printable Disney Vacation Planners . This can help you tackle the Disney Planning Timeline, organize all your travel details, and compare prices on resorts, packages, flights, and more. The planner can also help you get clear on which restaurants you want to reserve and which rides are the most important. You can start writing your Disney bucket lists, and packing lists, and decide which characters to see and which snacks to try.
How to Maximize Your Disney Vacation Planning
Getting in your Disney Planning research early is EASY! Here are all the sections on our Blog that you can read through ahead of time. Take notes in your printable Disney planner and you’ll be ready to book that Disney Vacation when the parks reopen!
Disney Budget Planning Sheets
You can use some good old-fashioned math to determine how much that next vacation is going to cost at all levels! From car rental to dining plans to resort packages. Definitely keep an eye on all the Disney special offers and be sure to read up on the cheapest and most expensive times to visit Walt Disney World.
Read: Planning a Disney Budget
Shop: Disney Basic Planner
Compare Disney Resorts
Choosing a Disney Resort is so much FUN!!! You can check out the price levels of each kind of Disney Resort but also be sure to browse our Disney Resort Reviews below. We absolutely LOVE Caribbean Beach and Pop Century and Port Orleans Riverside and oh so many more!
Choose your Rides for Each Disney Park
Choosing rides is by far one of the most necessary parts of a Disney Vacation. And sometimes also the most confusing. It’s important to have a good Disney Ride Strategy and prioritize the most popular rides. But the whole planning process around picking rides doesn’t have to be difficult! It’s planning like this that makes sense when you have to be up for a rope drop race to your favorite ride or are just willing to pay for it through the Lightning Lane Pass program. Check out the Rides and Attractions Planner for Lists of Rides in Each Disney Park.
The Best Dining Reservations to Get at Walt Disney World
Getting dining reservations at Walt Disney World ranges from easy to practically impossible! While we can always count on open availability at Tokyo Dining ( thank goodness) that elusive Ohana or Be our Guest Reservation is sometimes harder to get. Thankfully we’ve done a round-up of all the dining options you have whether it’s quick service or table service in each Walt Disney World park in our Disney Dining Planner below. So you can highlight, keep track and choose your favorites for your next vacation.
Shop: Disney Dining Planner
Planning One Day in Each Disney Park
We’ve talked before about how while we love the Park Hopper Ticket for convenience at Walt Disney World, you DON’T really NEED IT, when you plan correctly! And it can save you so much money. Planning a full day at each park, or a half-day at a park and a half-day at the resorts is a great strategy for making the most of your time ( not being transported between parks) and money! Pick your park and read up on what there is to do in each. You can grab touring plans for all four Disney Parks below. Or if you’re ready to go all-in, grab our Basic or Deluxe Disney Vacation planners- both include the Water Parks and Disneyland parks touring plans too.
Picking the Best Disney Rides and Attractions
Deciding what to do on a Disney Vacation can get overwhelming! Thankfully, we do a wrap-up of our favorite bucket list items below. And have added everything you can choose from in one place in our Dining and Attractions Planner. So, read through our recommendations and then highlight your favorites. That way you can be ready when reservations need to be made.
Shop: Lists and Plans Planner
Walt Disney World Festivals Vacation Planners
Nothing makes a Disney Vacation extra special like an Epcot International Festival. While there are some that may disagree, we love nothing more than having an excuse to visit Walt Disney World just because a new festival – with new snacks, shows, food, and experiences- has arrived. We look forward to these festivals every year, but they do take some planning. Thankfully, we already share menus for the Outdoor Kitchens at each festival here on the blog, as soon as they are announced. And now we’ll be sharing them in both A5 and Letter formats as free printables for your planner. But as festivals include more than just food, you can also plan all the extras. Which rides and dining will be included on your festival day? There are so many bands, which ones will you see? Which classes and seminars will you take? Each World Showcase country gets a section so you can add your must-do items whether ride or food-focused. We’ve also added spaces to jot down must-try coffees or snacks. Again, we publish all these fun things on our blog, so you can stay in the know. Check out all our Festival Planners below.
Festival of the Arts
The Festival of the Arts is such a fun festival! We love that it happens during the cooler months of January and February in Florida. And we adore the many artist booths across World Showcase. If you’re looking for a cute original postcard, print, or full-size artwork, you will find it at the festival. This festival also includes outdoor kitchens, a community mural space, special merchandise, and the Disney Broadway series. So many things to plan for. Be sure to grab the planner to chart out your days and read all about the Festival below.
Flower and Garden Festival
Ahhh, Walt Disney World’s EPCOT International Flower and Garden Flowers. Nothing says spring and new beginnings like attending the Flower and Garden Festival. We love the creative topiaries, the amazing fresh foods at the outdoor kitchens, and all the fun merchandise. You can also head to the Garden Rocks concert series, the Butterfly garden, and play Spike the Bee’s Pollen-Nation Scavenger Hunt Game! We definitely think this festival deserves a couple of days of your vacation.
Food and Wine Festival
The Food and Wine Festival is a favorite of ours! We build it into our annual Halloween time trip and love taking a couple of days to see, do and eat all there is to discover here. With some of the best food kitchens, we sometimes don’t even need dining reservations on festival days! We do, however, always love a good ride on Soarin’ so usually build that into our day. Planning this festival is all about figuring out what to eat, what rides you can fit in between, and be sure to tackle what you can in each country as you visit them. This is why we’ve included a box for each country in our planner. Whether you’re tackling foods to try, rides, or a show, the best time-saving strategy is all about maximizing each country as you visit it. Make sure to add your must-do’s in each World Showcase country in the planner, so you don’t miss a thing.
Festival of Holidays
The Festival of Holidays is all about holiday storytellers, the best holiday desserts, the Candlelight Processional and somehow fitting it all in. With Epcot being so close to the Disney Boardwalk we also always make time for the Boardwalk Resort Christmas Decorations. This means our time at the festival needs to be strategic! Especially if we’re going during the busy crowded holiday weeks. Deciding our must-try foods, storytellers, and activities ahead of time always helps.
Walt Disney World Parties Disney Vacation Planners
While it’s true that the holiday parties at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom do cost extra, they are definitely worth at least a one-time experience. And often to save money, we just won’t buy a park ticket on our party day and spend time at the resorts or Disney Springs instead. This makes less of a dent in our vacation budget and allows us downtime to gear up for the busy party evening.
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is by far our favorite event of the year at Walt Disney World. We love the Boo to You Parade, the party snacks, and the super fun ride overlays with special music and experiences you don’t get at any other time! Our biggest complaint? We would love this party to be longer! There is never enough time to ride all rides, eat all the snacks, and meet the characters. For that reason alone we think it’s important to make a priority list of your Must-Do rides, snacks,, shows and characters. Some of your favorites will have lines and you don’t want to spend expensive party time waiting in line! Read the tips and grab the planner to get a handle on your party day.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
Nothing says the holidays, like a visit to Walt Disney World. Frankly, we do love this party. The Once Upon a Christmastime Parade is catchy and beautiful, and the new fireworks show gets you in the holiday mood. Another Disney party that costs a pretty penny, we need a strategy for this one every time. There are always more snacks than we have time to try and merchandise we just can’t wait to ogle. And then of course the cookie and cocoa trail leaves us in danger of running around the park standing in lines to get all the cookies and cocoa we can find. Is that really necessary? Or a good use of expensive party time? No. Picking the must-do rides, snacks, and shows ahead of time keep us in check and helps us feel like that $100+ dollar ticket was worth it. Make sure you have a plan!
Disney Vacation Packing Tips
The nitty-gritty part of every vacation is all about those packing lists, the travel activities, travel snacks and making sure you grab the photos you want to remember your magical vacation. Thankfully we have pulled together planning pages for everything you may need to keep your vacation ultra-organized. Check out our best packing tips and the details you will be happy you thought of ahead of time.
The Most Important Disney Vacation Tips
Planning a Disney Vacation is supposed to be FUN, not stressful. For some extra peace of mind check out all our Disney Vacation Tips to get you and your family ready ahead of time. And read up on some of our most important vacation tips!
Disney Vacation Planning for your Next Disney Vacation
There you have it! All of our best tips, strategies, and planning tools to get for your next Disney Vacation. Here’s hoping you can tackle your planning with fun and ease. We’ve shared tons of links in this post to help get started. Got questions? Let us know. We are always fans of streamlining our vacation plans so we can get down to what’s most important. Having Fun! Happy Planning!
Disney Planners and Supplies
Want to grab everything you need for your planner?
Shop Disney Vacation Planners at Polka Dot Pixie Shop
While you don’t need to purchase anything additional, enjoying the Disney Vacation Planning process is all about having the right tools and mindset. Grab a cute binder, fun pens, and the right kind of paper. Make yourself a cup of tea, put on your favorite Disney soundtrack and start planning.
Here are some options to get you started.
For 8.5 x 11 sheets. What We Use.
- Pre-Hole Punched 8.5 x 11 paper: https://amzn.to/2ywolbE
- Pre-Hole Punched 8.5 x 11 paper: https://amzn.to/2VrI0m9
- 3-Ring Binder: https://amzn.to/2zmll2d
- Padfolio: https://amzn.to/3cC1pX8
For A5 sheets- What We Use.
What else? What We Use.
Rochelle Mariah is a writer, designer and photographer with an MLIS in Information Science and a B.S. in Arch and Design. Determined to make Planning a DIY Disney Vacation easier she makes lots of lists and drinks lots of coffee. When not designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's watching old movies and planning the holidays. She has been traveling to Disney destinations since 2010.