Everything Walt Disney World

Parks, Food, Resorts and More

The List: Must Haves, Nice to Have, and Maybe.

What do you really need for your Disney vacation?  Here are a few things I’ve found:

Must Haves:

1.  Easy to store rain poncho/coat.
2.  Two pairs of comfortable shoes.
3.  At least one table service reservation at a good restaurant on Disney property.  
4.  Basic understanding of how the resort works:  Fastpasses, dining reservations, transportation.
5.  Unless it’s the hottest time of the year (May through October), clothing that you can layer if it gets cold at night. 

Nice to Have:

1.  Park hoppers.
2.  Your own car.  Unless you’re staying off site or at Ft. Wilderness, then it’s a must have.
3.  Tickets to nighttime events, like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
4.  A kitchen/kitchenette in your room.
5.  At least one character dining experience, especially if you have kids.

Only if you have extra time/money:

1.  Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Pirates League, fireworks cruises and the like.  Your park tickets give you so much value, your kids don’t need the extras unless you can do it without worrying about the cost.
2.  Deluxe accomodations.   They’re great and I love them, but don’t feel bad about staying at a moderate or a value resort.  You’ll be surprised at how nice they are.
3.  Eating at Cinderella  Castle.  Eating in the castle and Cinderella herself are the real draw, as the food isn’t that great.  Getting a reservation can be impossible unless you call first thing in the morning 180 days out.  Can’t get a reservation?  Try the Princess Storybook Dining at Epcot or Cinderella’s Gala Feast at the Grand Floridian. Both are easier to book, have good food, and receive high marks for their character interaction.
4.  Fireworks Dessert Party.  Great desserts and a nice view of the Wishes, but for a little more money, you can have an amazing dinner at the California Grill on top of the Contemporary Resort and watch Wishes from there.  If you your budget and time only allows you to do one, pick California Grill.
5. Photopass. Take your own pictures and save over $100.  Most people are happy to take a photo of you and your family if you ask.


  1. AJ, I’m the same way. I love having my own car, but I don’t tend to miss it on shorter trips.

  2. Nice list, the only other thing I would add is getting your tickets as early as you can. Theme Park tickets, especially Disney go up once a year (usually in the summer.) Getting your tickets in advance guarantees that you don’t have to pay the extra money per ticket if you bought them before the ticket increase. Disney has openly said that they will be charging $100 for a one day ticket in the next year or two. Take a look at my 10 tips for saving money while traveling in Orlando.

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