How To Survive A Walt Disney World Vacation In 2023


How To Survive A Walt Disney World Vacation In 2023Over the last few years, Disney World has made many changes and it’s been very hard to keep up. I took my, son, sister, niece, and mom to Walt Disney World over spring break and despite being extremely crowded, we had an amazing time. I am fortunate in that I’ve been a travel planner for Pixie Dust and Pirate Hooks, LLC since 2015, which made for a smooth trip.

In this post, I am going to give you some tips and tricks for having the BEST TRIP EVER. 

Knoxville doesn’t offer the most convenient transportation to Disney. Most flights from Knoxville fly into Sanford NOT Orlando. That causes a lot of confusion because the Sanford airport does not have transportation to your hotel. The most affordable way to get from Sanford to your hotel is Uber, but most Ubers don’t have carseats. The main options are to either drive, fly into Orlando with pre-arranged transportation to your hotel, or fly into Sanford and Uber or rent a car. 

One of the most controversial topics when it come to Disney is hotels. I find there’s a big divide between “I’m only going to my hotel room to shower and sleep I don’t need anything fancy” vs. “I want to watch fireworks from my bedroom.” (We watched fireworks from our hotel and I cannot put into words how special that was!) Regardless, I suggest you find the hotel that fits both with your wants and your budget.

Park tickets have changed drastically over the years. You can no longer choose which park you want to visit whenever you feel like it (I was notorious for changing our plans the night before). Now, you have to make park reservations in advance and some park days book to park capacity. We chose a 4-day park hopper which worked out amazingly for this trip.

Here is an example why the park hopper price will always be worth it to my family:

  • On Tuesday, our pre-booked park day was Epcot. It was more crowded than I had ever seen. Mid-day, I remembered Magic Kingdom was closing at 9pm that day (which is why most people didn’t choose that as their park day. I agree: who would want their Magic Kingdom day to be cut three hours short?!).
  • After 2pm, we decided to park hop to Magic Kingdom; the crowds were so low that we rode more rides in four hours than we did the entire day before. That day alone made the park hopper worth it. If you choose to not purchase the park hopper, you will select a base ticket. I always recommend a 4-day park pass as Walt Disney World has marketed it very well and there are big attractions at every park now.

Here are some of the top attractions each park offers:

  • Magic Kingdom is where you will find Cinderella’s Castle, Jungle Cruise, It’s a Small World, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain and the newest ride, TRON.
  • Epcot is home to the “Big White Ball or Golf Ball” and two new rides: Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. It also has Frozen Ever After, Ana and Elsa Meet ‘n Greet, and Test Track.
  • Animal Kingdom is where you will find the Tree of Life (my favorite), Kilimanjaro Safari where you will see real animals, Expedition Evert, Pandora: The World of Avatar, and some amazing shows.
  • Hollywood Studios has had the biggest overhaul over the past few years and is splint into two huge locations. It’s here where you will find the most diverse crowd. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is home to anything and everything Star Wars. The other location is Toy Story Land where you find yourself in Andy’s backyard. Hollywood Studios is still home to crowd favorites such as Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™.

Each of these parks offers something special for the entire family. 

If you’re planning a trip to Walt Disney World anytime in the next 150 years, you will have to download the app. The whole trip will be almost 100% planned from the app. You can unlock your hotel door, book some attractions, make dining reservations, and order quick service meals, which is my favorite.

Quick service meals is basically the “fast-food” of Disney. These are the dining locations which don’t require reservations. Our family protocol in years past was Dad stands in line praying he remembers everyone’s order, and my sister and I would try to find a table which sometimes took longer than ordering the food took. Now, you can order your food from the app, leisurely go find a table, and when your food is ready, you walk up to the pick-up window. It’s by far my favorite change they have done since 2020. 

Other things you can do from the app are check ride wait times, make your Genie+ reservations or Lightening Lane (this requires a completely separate blog dedicated to it), make/cancel dining reservations and you can even join the walk-up list at some popular restaurants. You are able to look at and download your Memory Maker photos, use the park navigation map, find specific food items (Cheeseburger Spring Rolls? You can use the app to find where they are sold!). My other favorite in-app experience is the Mobile Checkout. Once you have found all of the items you want to buy, you simply open the app, scan all of the items, check-out, and then find the “Mobile Checkout” door. As you exit, they will scan your phone, hand you a bag, and off you go. 

Walt Disney World has changed drastically in the last 10-15 years. My goal is to help my clients be prepared, excited, and relaxed. A Disney World vacation should not end in peril. Whether you find a trusted Authorized Disney Travel Planner or you manage the plans yourself, Walt Disney World research is a must. You will want to find out park hours, extra magic hours, places your family may want to eat, expected weather (we had an 89F degree day and a 62F and rainy degree day), packing lists, etc.

Whatever you do, don’t let Walt Disney World overwhelm you though. The memories your family will make will last forever.

Previous articleSpiritual Traditions Add Value To Your Family
Next articleFive Reasons To Stop At Buc-ee’s
Kailey Ryan
Hi, my name is Kailey. I am a Registered Nurse turned high school Health Science Teacher. I am a proud wife and mom of 1. My sweet Brady (any football fans?) was born in August 2018. I am a Knoxville native and absolutely love the area. Where else can you drive to a beach, major city, or mountains in less than 6 hours? I married my husband in May 2017, we have known each other since he was 16. I love all things true crime, Disney, crafts, and Mexican food . If we aren't at work you will find us traveling or planning our next trip. We have a passion for traveling and our goal is to visit all 50 states. I do also work as a travel agent. I absolutely love planning vacations for families. I have been a travel agent since 2016. At the end of the day all we have left are memories, I make sure each and every family creates lasting memories. I'm most certainly not an expert on being a mom, but I hope to add some experiences and outlooks being a "millennial mom".


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here