Planning the Perfect Disney World Vacation: Creating Your Itinerary

Now that you know when you're going and where you're staying on your fabulous Disney World vacation (and you've created a budget and started saving your pennies!) the real fun begins - the planning of your Disney week. As odd as it might seem, it's important to decide which parks you'll be in on which days. Now that Disney has created the Fastpass+ system, you can pre-book 3 attractions. That, along with booking restaurant reservations, requires some pre-planning and decision making about where you'll be each day.

And, if you're like me (and many others!) you'll want the lowest crowd level possible. It's no fun standing in long lines and crowded restaurants when you can do a bit of planning and choose days that will be less crowded. You'll be happy to know that there are a few tricks and tips that make choosing the best park days fairly simple.

Planning a Disney World vacation doesn't have to be difficult. With these tools and tips you'll be planning like a pro (includes free printable planning pages)!

Your Disney World vacation itinerary

Now that you've chosen when & where to stay, it's time to get down to planning that trip!

Have I mentioned easy WDW yet? The website and the message board are invaluable places for planning. And it's the best place to figure out how to plan your perfect low-crowd, time-saving week.

The first step - find the crowd calendar for your vacation

Go to the easy WDW website (linked above) and down the side you'll see crowd calendars for each month. If the calendar for your vacation isn't up yet, you can use the previous year's calendar as a reference.

There is lots of great information on that calendar so you can start planning out where you'd like to go each day. You'll want to look at the recommended parks for each day and get an idea of what days work for your trip.

For a week-long Disney World vacation, we like to have two days each at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot and one day each for Hollywood Studios and the Animal Kingdom. Fit in the extras if you have time (water parks, mini-golf, shopping at Downtown Disney - there are lots of choices).

Click on the image below to download a free copy!

Choose your evening entertainment

Before getting my days fully planned, I like to take a look at the evening entertainment options and fit those into my schedule.

Of course, you could add the Park Hopper option to your tickets (which allows you to visit 2 theme parks in one day) and just 'hop' over to your evening entertainment choices.

But I'm frugal and would rather spend that money on something else! So, I make sure that I find the best days for that evening entertainment first and use that to guide my choices. (This step is especially important if you're visiting during a less busy time of the year when some evening shows are only scheduled a few times a week.)

After I've chosen those evenings and first few parks, I fill in the week with the rest of the park choices, using the easy WDW recommendations as my guide for finding those optimal days.

Pick your restaurants

If you haven’t already, you’ll want to head to All Ears and check out the menus (that’s my husband’s favorite step!). Once you have a rough plan mapped out for your Disney World vacation, you’ll know where you’ll be each day and can choose restaurants accordingly.

It’s important to know that you can begin booking Table Service restaurants 180 days before the first day of your vacation. This is an essential step if you are planning to reserve a more popular location. No need to call – you can book restaurants right from the My Disney Experience page.

Where do we go from here?

Now that you have your trip booked, you’re budgeting, and you have your itinerary planned (always subject to change, of course!), it’s time to plan each park day! You’ll have to wait until tomorrow – so be sure and come back!

Travel Binder Printables

Taking a family trip?

Keep your kids happy while you travel with a few fun activities!

Print these pages, slide them into page protectors and put them in a binder. Include a few dry-erase markers and you have a great surprise for your kids on travel day.

Tonia L

Hey! I'm the owner of Happy Homeschool Nest - a website devoted to helping homeschool moms balance the needs of homeschooling with managing a healthy and happy home.