Ultimate Planning Guide for a Disney World Vacation in 2025

Ultimate Planning Guide for a Disney World Vacation in 2025

Heading to Disney World in 2025 means new experiences, rides, restaurants and more. It also means finished projects like Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, and a slew of updates across the parks and resorts. Add in special new perks, like Free Water Park admission on Check-in Day for Disney Resort guests, and fewer crowds, due to the opening of Universal Studios EPIC Universe, and a Disney World Vacation in 2025 may be just what you’re looking for. Here’s everything you need to know when planning a 2025 Disney World vacation.

Prince Naveen and Tiana at Festival of Fantasy Parade

While previous years at Walt Disney World have seen lots and lots of changes, 2025 will hopefully settle as new things finally complete. The major rides, like TRON, and Tiana’s Bayou Adventure are open, and will have lower lines. Other updates like the Country Bears Jamboree refresh, Zootopia replacement for A Bugs Life and Little Mermaid Musical Adventure are all complete by 2025. Meaning that the big projects in store, like the Animal Kingdom expansion, and Magic Kingdom Park expansion will all be taking place out of sight of the park goers. Hopefully. So what will Disney World have in 2025, that will make it worth the visit?

If you’re taking a Disney World Vacation in 2025, there are a few things to know right off the bat. It’s not a heavy construction year! Woohoo! In fact most of the major construction projects will be completed. Major ride refurbishments are done, and the EPCOT reimagining is complete. However, you can still expect some things around the park that will affect your vacation.  The major projects on the docket at Disney World in 2025 

Hollywood Studios Disney World

Disney World Changes in 2025

2025 brings several changes anticipated changes  at Walt Disney World that may, or may not  affect your vacation. We’re tracking them here, so you can keep an eye on what’s happening. 

  • The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train rollercoaster moves to Genie+
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind drops it’s virtual queue
  • TRON drops it’s virtual queue
  • Free Water Park admission on Check-in Day is available for Disney Resort Guests
  • Stormalong Bay and Shipwreck Pool at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts are CLOSED from January- June 2025.
  • Zootopia Show debuts in the Tree of Life Theater, replacing A Bugs Life.
  • 2025 Disney World Bounceback Discounts
  • Disney Park Pass Reservations still required for Annual Passholders
  • Good to Go Days for Annual Passholders, still expected

Moana Journey of Water EPCOT Park

Disney World Vacation Planning in 2025

Planning a Disney Vacation typically involves a lot of steps. As such, consider this your checklist for a Disney World Vacation in 2025. And if you go through this post, answering all the questions, you’ll have a complete Disney Vacation planned in no time. Getting some basic questions out of the way first will help nail down your Disney Vacation Planning for 2025. And we’ll share some details along the way so you can make the best choices as you tackle this vacation planning project.

Disney Vacation Planning Checklist

  • Set up a My Disney Experience Account on the Disney Website
  • Choose How to Get There ( Fly/ Drive)
  • Choose Where to Stay ( Pick Your Resort)
  • Buy Your Tickets or Vacation Package
  • Get Your MagicBands
  • Book Your Transportation
  • Build Your Disney Itinerary
  • Book Dining Reservations
  • Add Special Event Tickets
  • Decide What to Pack

How to Plan a Disney World Vacation in 2025

It’s true that with all the vacation considerations like transportation, resorts, and when to visit planning a Disney Vacation may begin to feel a little more like work than the magical experience you looked forward to. No worries. We have you covered. If you’re looking, we have a free 12-Step Disney Planning Guide for getting your Disney Vacation planned and booked. And if you’re not ready to do this on your own, be sure to work with a Disney Travel Agent.

Get a Disney MagicBand+

In order to make the most of everything Disney Parks has to offer, then having a Disney MagicBand+ is necessary. It can open your resort room, scan you into your lightning lane rides, interact with the Golden Statues in the parks, and more.  You can buy these ahead of time at Disneystore.com, in the parks, and at a discounted rate when purchasing a Disney Vacation package.

When do you want to Visit?

Choosing the right time to take a Disney World Vacation in 2025 can make or break your vacation. Take a look at our Disney Calendar of Events to get a handle on the holidays and events that may be happening during your stay. Things like runDisney marathons, festivals, and holiday weekends can all interfere with the best-laid plans. So, as you’re figuring out work and school schedules, compare them against the calendar to see what may conflict with or support your Disney Vacation. Be sure to check out the Best Time to Visit Walt Disney World post. And if you’re hoping to be in the parks during a certain festival, party, or holiday, take a look at our Year of Walt Disney World Events to get a glimpse of happenings each month. And if you haven’t nailed down a month yet, check out what you can do each season at Disney World. 

How Long Will You Stay?

We always recommend staying on vacation as long as possible. Obviously. But since everyone has a “real life” to get back be sure to check out our post on How Many Days Should You Stay at Disney. This will give you a good idea of what you can fit into your vacation without feeling rushed. And give you some insight into what you may want to skip if you need a shorter vacation. The sweet spot tends to be between 7-12 days to help you really make the most of your vacation. 

How will you Get There?

Will you be driving or flying to Disney? Perhaps you are considering taking the train? We sometimes recommend driving to Disney, simply for convenience and safety. If flying you will need to consider airlines, the cost for each person, and additional transportation once you arrive in Orlando. Keep in mind that there are new ways to get from Orlando International Airport to Walt Disney World that will cost you. 

Who is included in your Travel Party?

How many people are going with you on this vacation? Is this a Disney adult trip or a family trip? Will you have pets that need boarding during your stay? Think of things ahead of time. It will be important that each person in your party has a My Disney Experience account. Before you do anything else, take some time to get these set up if you have not already! 

Disney Yacht Club Resort

Disney Resorts in 2025

With over 25 resorts at Walt Disney World, at a variety of price levels, there are many places to stay on property at Walt Disney World. Are you looking for something fun that feels like Disney, as an All-Star Resort? Or something more relaxed and island-like like Caribbean Beach Resort? Perhaps you want glamourous accommodations at the Grand Floridian or animal viewing from your room at Animal Kingdom Lodge? Maybe you’re hoping for tons of ease and convenience and want a resort within walking distance of Hollywood Studios Park and EPCOT. Maybe check out the Boardwalk Inn? Think about which resort will make your Disney Vacation feel special. 

Choose Your Disney Resort Based on Cost

Choose Your Disney Resort Based on Transportation

Staying on Disney Property Disney Resort Perks

If you’re going back and forth on whether to stay on-site or off-site at Walt Disney World, the Perks of Staying on Property at Walt Disney World over the last few years have changed. Currently, Disney Resorts Perks for Guests Include

Stay at a Disney Value Resort if…

If you’re visiting Walt Disney World during less busy times of the year, like early January, February, and September ( and all the other lower crowd times at Disney World), then you’re safe to stay at a Value Resort and save some money. We highly recommend Pop Century Resort as it’s one of the best and is now also on the Disney Skyliner line. A word of warning though, during busy times of the year and through the summer months, value resorts are filled to the brim with school groups, spring breakers, and international groups and can be very noisy and busy. Read our Disney Value Resort Reviews. 

Stay at a Disney Moderate or Deluxe Resort if…

If you’re ready to graduate from Value Resorts to Moderate Resorts, we definitely have our favorite Disney Moderate Resorts to consider. But, Walt Disney World during the busiest times of year is best spent in the more expensive resorts. Disheartening yes, but sleep is important. While many clubs, groups, squads, etc. will all pile themselves into the cheapest resorts possible during the busy times of the year if you’re just hoping for a nice vacation spring for the higher-end resorts. They are less affected by the crowds. So at least while the parks may be crowded, your resort experience can be relaxing. We like the Boardwalk Inn best for its easy access to the parks and quiet relaxing atmosphere. Read our Disney Deluxe Resort Reviews.

Early Theme Park Entry for Disney Resort Guests

Available to Disney Resort Guests, Early Theme Park Entry is a perk that allows guests to enter the parks 30 minutes before the official park opening time. Early Theme Park Entry Crowds will still be high. So, we recommend getting to the gates at least 30-60 minutes before your early theme park entry time if you’re hoping to rope-drop popular rides like Rise of the Resistance or Flight of Passage. 

Extended Evening Theme Park Hours

For Disney Deluxe Resort Guests, extended theme park hours are available for a couple of hours after regular park closing. At Magic Kingdom Park this means guests can typically stay from 11 pm to 1 am. At EPCOT guests can stay from 9 pm to 11 pm. Neither Animal Kingdom nor Hollywood Studios are currently included in this benefit. Be sure to check the Extended Evening Theme Park Hours Schedule.

All Star Movies Resort Disney World

Disney Tickets and Vacation Packages in 2025

When choosing your Disney World Tickets as part of your vacation package there are a couple of things to consider that may help you save money, or help you save time. Here are some things to consider for your Disney World Vacation in 2025.

Will you Want to be in the Parks Every Day of your Vacation?

If you’re looking to save some money at Disney consider exploring the parts of Walt Disney World that don’t include a park day. We love taking time to meander through the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds and stop by Wilderness Lodge for a coffee. Planning a Disney Monorail Resort day or Disney Boardwalk Resort day are also things we like to do regularly. Heading to Disney Springs and boating over for beignets at Port Orleans French Quarter gives you an insider’s look at all things Walt Disney World and can really make your trip feel more than just a checklist. Choosing this route for a typical 8-day vacation could easily have only 5 tickets allowing you a few days to be outside of the parks. Consider your Disney Arrival Day and Disney Departure Day as free days, without tickets, to just explore. 

What To Do At Walt Disney World Without a Park Ticket?

When planning a Disney Vacation it’s important to build in times that don’t mean racing around the park all day. As such we love skipping the parks on Arrival Day and Departure Day. This means we can take time to do things that don’t require a park ticket. From Mini Golf to Walking Paths, we’ve rounded up some fun ways to just take it easy on vacation. Check out our Walt Disney World Without a Park Ticket post for some ideas to help you save money and have fun, without the crowds.

Are you Adding a Park Hopper Ticket?

Do you need to be in more than one park per day? The Walt Disney World Park Hopper Ticket is an extra add-on ticket per length of your stay, so can get very pricey as an extra perk if you have several people in your travel party. The Park Hopper Ticket allows you access to more than one park per day and is an added convenience. As Walt Disney World is made up of 4 parks, this could allow you to spend your morning at Magic Kingdom and your evening at Hollywood Studios. We usually skip purchasing this ticket and plan for one park per day. There is so much to do in each Disney Park that it feels inopportune to leave halfway through the day.

However, if you’re trying for a short Disney trip and will not get all the parks in during your vacation, then this may be a ticket you consider. Be sure to keep in mind the travel time between parks, if you’re on a schedule. As Disney transportation is complimentary, it is something to streamline if you’re hoping to Save Time at Disney World. 

Are you Adding a Water Park and Sports Ticket?

Walt Disney World has 2 water parks; Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. They are open year-round. If you are traveling during the extremely hot and humid summer months of Florida, then a Disney Water Park ticket added for each person in your travel party may be a good idea. Just like any Disney park you can go and stay all day. If you are traveling in the Dec- February months, however, it does get a little chilly in Florida and a water park ticket may not be needed.

The Sports portion of this ticket also allows you access to the golf courses and is a great way to get a little bit of variety if you’re looking for a more complete leisurely vacation. The sports complex ticket gets you access to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course, Disney’s Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course, and Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course.

Are you Adding Event and Party Tickets to your Vacation?

While the EPCOT festivals are FREE and included with your park tickets for the day, other events like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party are extra. For events like these, since special event tickets can often be as expensive as regular Disney tickets, we recommend skipping your day park ticket on the day of your special event. This will save you some money and allow you time to explore Disney Resorts, Boardwalk, or Disney Springs. Here are some additional events to consider adding to your Disney World Vacation in 2025.

Are you Adding a Walt Disney World Tour to your Vacation?

Another way to make your Disney World Vacation in 2025 extra special is by adding a Tour. We most like the little tours that don’t take a ton of time, but still give you a behind-the-scenes look at Disney World, in all its glory. Tours can range from tens of dollars to hundreds of dollars per person. So be sure to do your homework if you’re thinking of adding a Disney World Tour to your trip. Here are a few of our favorites. 

Costa Mesa Salad at Summer House Disney Springs

Disney Dining in 2025

One of the biggest expenses of a Disney Vacation in 2025 is food. Whether it’s the $10 breakfast and coffee, the $15 lunch, or the $40 dinner, something will catch you off guard when it comes to the cost of food. Disney snacks alone can be close to 8 dollars each, and you have to consider that’s just for 1 person.

Check out our Disney Dining Budget post for details on how to budget your Disney food expenses. We typically say plan for between 70-100 dollars per person per day. But of course, check out the dining budget post for alternative things like packing meals or sticking with only Disney quick-service meals. Be sure to check out the Best Disney Restaurants on a Budget and all of our Disney Restaurant Reviews for ideas on what to book and where to eat, and how much it will all cost. 

If you’re interested in pre paying for your food at Disney World, you can grab the Disney Dining Plan! This doesn’t tend to be any cheaper, unless you get the Free Disney Dining Plan, but is a great way to help make your vacation feel more all-inclusive. Since the dining plan allows you meal allotments it makes it easier to budget ahead of time your food costs. 

Dining Reservation Timeline

The Disney Dining Reservation window for guests is 60 days before the first day of their vacation. We recommend reserving the most popular restaurants as soon as the window opens. As dining reservations are increasingly difficult to obtain during the busiest times of the year. Check out all of our Disney Restaurant Reviews to see which ones you want to add to your vacation. 

Tommorowland Speedway Disney Ride at Magic Kingdom

Disney World Rides in 2025

While you ay not be able to book any of your Disney rides ahead of time, there are a few things to know before you go. First, Rides at Disney are Free to Ride, when you choose to use the Standby Line. If you’re hoping to skip the line that is available via the Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane service. Rides Strategies in 2025 include aiming for popular rides at meal times, and during parades, arriving early, or staying late, and making a plan of which rides in each park are on your must-do list. This can help you keep an eye on high priority ride wait times in the My Disney Experience App throughout the day. 

Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane

Disney’s newest planning tool, Disney Genie, can be found within the My Disney Experience App and allows guests to have everything about their vacation at their fingertips. Complete with AI features that prompt you towards potential rides, shows, and other opportunities based on your favorite experiences. The Disney Genie Service is free. But the Disney Genie+ version has a variable cost per person, per day. Typically between 15-25 dollars per person per day. Though depending on demand and time of year, this can go as high as $35.  The Disney Genie+ version includes additional features and built-in Lightning Lane options that allow guests to choose 2 lightning lane passes per day. Note that each member of your family will need to have a My Disney Experience Account and Disney Genie+ activated on each account to take advantage of the services included. Select rides are available for individual Lightning Lane purchases. Read more about Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane.

Disney Bus with Figment

Disney World Vacation Transportation in 2025

It’s easy to use Disney Complimentary Transportation during your stay. Every Resort offers Disney Bus, and select resorts offer boat transportation, the monorail train, walking paths and the Disney Skyilner as other options to get to and from the parks and Disney Springs. This is one of our favorite ways to stay in the Disney bubble on vacation.

Figure out Your Transportation to and from Orlando International Airport

You are on your own in regard to transportation to and from the airport to Walt Disney World. Of course, if you are driving to Walt Disney World then you can skip this step. If not be prepared to factor in transportation costs as needed. Whether that be a rental car or Uber, or Mears Connect, if you’re not driving to Disney, add this to your planning. 

Should you Rent a Car for your Disney Vacation in 2025?

We’ve talked about the pros and cons of Driving to Walt Disney World before, and still stand by those realities. Flexibility is key, and since all guests will have to figure out transportation to and from the Orlando International Airport to Walt Disney World, do what is best for you. If you are driving be sure to take note of  Disney Parking Fees

Disney gift Cards with Cash Back

Disney World Vacation Cost 2025

Just like everything Disney Vacations are getting more expensive. With a price hike at least once a year, it’s best to local in lower prices now and adjust your vacation later. The next price hike for Disney World comes in October 2024. That said, here are a few things to help you get the most value for your Disney World Vacation in 2025.

What is your Maximum Disney Budget?

A big thing to consider is your overall Disney Budget. Whether you are going into your planning with a maximum number you can’t go over OR just a general idea of costs you can stomach here are a couple of things to know.

Disney World 2025 Bounceback Offer

If you’re staying at at a Disney Resort in 2024, then you have the chance to take advantage of the Disney Bounceback Offer. Available Select Dates in 2025, you can received scaled discounts depending on where you stay for arrival during any of these dates. 

  • January 2 to January 8, 2025
  • January 13 to January 16, 2025
  • January 20 to January 23, 2025
  • January 26 to January 30, 2025
  • February 2 to February 6, 2025
  • February 9 to February 13, 2025
  • February 16 to February 19, 2025
  • February 23 to May 22, 2025
  • May 26 to July 2, 2025
  • July 7 to August 28, 2025
  • September 1 to September 30, 2025
  • October 26 to October 31, 2025

Animal Kingdom Harambe Market

Disney Vacation Booking in 2025

If you’re looking at this list and wondering where to start, grab our printable Disney Deluxe Planner for a fill-in template that will get all your thoughts and ideas in one place. You can also bring all these questions to a Disney travel agent to get help with your vacation planning. 

How do You Book a Disney Vacation?

Once you have gone through the entire planning process you are ready to book. You can do this quite easily by visiting the Walt Disney World website, putting in your dates, selecting your resort, and choosing your tickets. 

  • Disney World Packages (Resort Room + Tickets): A $200 dollar deposit is required to hold your vacation. The remaining balance is due 30 days before check-in. You can add the Dining Plan (when available). You are able to add Memory Maker. Your Disney Vacation can be canceled and refunded up to 30 days before your trip. Magical extras are included.
  • Disney World Room Only: The deposit is your first night’s resort rate at the time of booking. The remaining balance is due at check-in. No dining plan is offered at checkout. Tickets purchased separately cannot be refunded, though the date of the tickets can be changed. No magical extras.

Can I book A Disney Vacation Now?

YES! Check out our Disney Timeline for all the details. In general, a Disney Resort room can be booked about 16 months in advance and Disney Packages for each year are usually released the previous summer. If you’re planning a Disney World Vacation in 2025, you can book it now. 

Disney World Cancellation and Change Policies

Be aware of Walt Disney World’s cancellation policies. If you cancel less than 30 days before your trip there is a fee of $200. If you cancel less than 6 days before your trip the fee is the first full night’s room rate. You can change the date of your vacation up to 30 days before your vacation. Check out the Disney World website for all of Disney’s Cancellation policies. 

Flower and Garden Festival Lady and the Tramp

Disney World Vacation Tips 2025

Planning a Disney World Vacation in 2025 should be easy. And a great year to visit. However, be aware that certain things always make vacations to Disney easier. Here are some of our best Disney Tips for an easy vacation. 

Book Your Vacation Early

We share this with the knowledge that travel is at an all-time high, and if you are competing with just about everyone for rooms, rides, food, and space.  So, if you’re hoping for a Disney Vacation in 2025 and beyond book as early as you can! You can always adjust days, or add special offers along the way without any fees up to 30 days before your vacation, just by calling Disney. 

If Flying, Book Your Flight Early

Airline fuel is expensive. As such, airline travel is getting more and more expensive! That said, just like hotel and car rental, if you are flying to Disney, be sure to book it as far out as you can. Try to select arrival dates of Tuesday or Wednesday- which are generally the cheapest flying days. At the latest, try to book your airline travel at least 45 days before your vacation mark for the best price. If you’re looking to avoid bag costs, try Southwest. If you’re looking for non-stop flights, we recommend Spirit. And if you’re anywhere near a Jet Blue hub, that’s the airline to choose. 

Try a Travel Agent

Don’t be afraid to use a Disney Travel Agent if it all starts to feel overwhelming. Trust us, we get it. You’re trying to run your life but really need a vacation, the last thing you have time to do is plan a vacation. Especially with the changes at Walt Disney World including new transportation options, park hopper rules, and crowd levels. There are more things now than before to consider when planning a Disney World Vacation in 2025. With many things changing regularly, it is good to have a travel agent on hand to help. 

Visit During Low Crowd Times

A Disney Vacation in 2025 should see average crowds. But beware of summer when Tiana’s Bayou Adventure opens. You can expect high crowd levels through the summer and into fall as a result of this new attraction. Check out our Best Days to Visit the Disney Parks for a monthly breakdown of what is happening throughout the year. 

Planning a Disney World Vacation in 2025

Sure, planning for a Disney Vacation in 2025 may feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Grab a cute journal or planner and just get started. Once you’re confident you’ve answered some of the big questions here, you’ll be ready to start booking your Disney vacation in no time! Are you planning even farther ahead? Check out the 2025 Disney Events Calendar for everything that may be happening during your next trip!

Disney World 2025 Planning Guide

Co-Founder and Director at Polka Dot Pixie Co LLC | Website | + posts

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.

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