Back in college, a couple of friends and I went to Disney World on our spring break. I volunteered to make the arrangements and plan our itinerary. At first, I wasn’t sure how much planning I should do, if any at all.

Can you go to Disney World without Planning?

Because of its size and complexity, it’s not a good idea to go without doing your due diligence and having a strategy.

If you go without planning, then you will miss out on some of the best aspects of Disney World.  You should always book your hotel, dining reservations, and FastPass choices well in advance of your arrival.  Otherwise, you run the risk of not getting the reservations you want.

Let’s take a closer look at why preparing for Disney World is the smart move.

Great Disney Vacations Require Preparation

Disney World is a vast resort with endless possibilities. Some people wonder if they can just “wing it” and figure it out once they get there. I don’t think that’s a wise strategy. In fact, I think that a Disney World vacation with NO planning is a terrifying proposition.

Surre, for some people, figuring it out once you get there may sound like an adventure. Maybe the idea of getting lost in Magic Kingdom – or eating at a random restaurant – heightens your sense of excitement. Or maybe checking in to the first resort you see sounds fun. Well, I’m here to tell you that, NO it won’t. Not at Disney World anyway. Arriving at Disney World without any preparation may just ruin your trip.

Going to Disney World without any planning could mean different things. Maybe your planning to book your trip within a week or so of your arrival, or not booking anything in advance. It could mean that you book your hotel room and park tickets but leave your dining and FastPass+ reservations on hold.

Whatever the case, the “early bird catches the worm” is definitely the case at Disney World. You better prepare early or you’ll get left behind.

Why use a Disney Travel Agent

If the idea of planning a Disney trip sounds intimidating or terrifying, let me assure you that there’s really no reason to feel this way. This is true because there are Disney travel agents to put you at ease.

Disney travel agents can book your hotel reservations, theme park tickets, dining plan, Disney stroller rentals, and much more. Plus, it’s their job to dish out helpful advice about where to eat, where to stay, which rides are priorities, and what else to see and do at Disney World. 

If you’ve never been to Disney World before, or if this is your first trip as an adult, then you should consider a commission-free DISNEY travel agent on your next trip.  These people are dedicated Disney specialists (and Disney fanatics) and they’re there to help at every step of the way.

Even if you’ve been to Disney several times, why go it alone when you can rely on a Disney expert to help you plan and book every aspect of your Disney trip? It’s really a no brainer!

Which Disney Travel Agency do I recommend?

There are a lot of Disney travel agencies out there. Most of them do a great job but there are some that are better than others.

The best Disney Travel Agency is The Vacationeer. They will book your hotel, tickets, regular dining, character dining, events, FastPasses, and help you get the lowest rates. It’s crucial to book these EARLY.  Contact The Vacationeer for a free quote.

If you don’t know what how FastPasses work, what Extra Magic Hours is, or the benefits of staying at one of the Disney World Resorts, then you either need to brush up on your Disney terminology OR just rely on a Disney travel specialist. They can even plan honeymoons, Disney school trips, reunions, and more!

Can you go to Disney World without FastPass reservations?

You might have the impression that you’ll just pick a line and check out the rides as you go along. Well, being spontaneous at a Disney World theme park may not be the best idea.

Disney World’s most popular rides almost always have lines, but some days are certainly less crowded than others.

You will encounter long lines on Disney’s most popular attractions no matter what time of year you go. With that in mind, you should always make your FastPass reservations as soon as possible and choose the most popular rides in the park. This is because there are limited FastPass slots for each attraction, and the most popular attractions go the quickest.

Use the My Disney Experience app to make your Disney FastPass+ selections for attractions, shows, and more. Reservations may be made up to 60 days before you arrive (recommended) or 30 days if you are staying at a non-Disney property.

Again, a Disney travel planner can help you choose the best FastPasses if you are unsure. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking.

Best FastPasses for 2021
  • Animal Kingdom: Avatar: Flight of Passage, Exhibition Everest
  • Hollywood Studios: Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Slinky Dog Dash
  • Magic Kingdom: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain
  • Epcot: Frozen Ever After, Soarin’

See our Magic Kingdom rides, Epcot rides, Animal Kingdom rides, Hollywood Studios rides, and Best Disney World Rides for Kids pages.

Can you go to Disney World without Advance Dining Reservations?

Disney World has become a destination for foodies.  There’s something for everyone, including casual to fine dining, American fare to African fare, Disney character dining to pool bars, and lounges.

You can either opt for a Disney Dining Plan or just pay-as-you-go. The Disney Dining Plan requires that you book in advance but the pay-as-you-go strategy works fine without planning. That is unless you decide to eat at table service restaurants.

If you are planning on dining at table service restaurants, you should make your advance dining reservations as soon as you’re able to. Disney World allows guests to make their Advance Dining Reservations 180 days before their arrival date. It’s important that to always make your dining reservations early because many restaurants will sell out. 

You’ll be glad you planned your dining reservations way in advance. Trust me!

For the information on the best Disney World restaurants, see our Magic Kingdom restaurants, Epcot restaurants, Animal Kingdom restaurants, and Hollywood Studios restaurants pages.

Can you go to Disney World without Hotel Reservations?

Disney World has 3 tiers of resort hotels on its property. These include Disney Value Resorts (cheapest but great for young families and those on a budget), Disney Moderate Resorts (mid-price), and Disney Deluxe Resort (expensive but impressive properties with big rooms, nice restaurants, and other fabulous amenities). There are tons of options. However, don’t expect to get a room at the last minute.

Most on-property hotels will get fully booked. If you plan to stay at a Disney resort, then you must plan ahead and make your reservations early. Otherwise, you run the risk of not getting a room at all.

On the other hand, you will be able to get an off-property (non-Disney) hotel room at the last minute but it’s just not the same as staying at a Disney resort. Plus, you’ll miss out on some of the perks like Extra Magic Hours and free transportation to and from the airport.

Stay on property and book early!

No Planning during Crowded Times

Disney World is crowded for most of the year, but there are times of the year when it’s less crowded. The most crowded times are usually holiday weeks, weekends, and school breaks, especially over February vacation, Spring Break, July 4th, Christmas, and long weekends. Try to avoid these times if you can!

If you don’t plan ahead but still go to Disney during crowded times, you WILL have difficulty getting reservations.  In fact, it’s difficult to get a reservation anywhere during busy times.

It’s no fun being turned away at the door. That’s why it’s so important to plan ahead when it comes to every aspect of your trip: hotel reservations, theme park, and water park tickets, dining reservations, FastPasses – EVERYTHING must be planned in advance or your trip just won’t be as magical as it could have been.

It doesn’t matter if you are travel with your family, a church group, small children, or teens, every trip should be planned.

See our Disney World Crowd Calendar, Best Time to go to Disney, and How to Plan a Disney Vacation articles to get you started.

Ready to Book your Trip?

If you are ready to start planning your Disney trip then we invite you to read through our pages or contact The Vacationeer. The travel agents at The Vacationeer are ready to answer your question, give you a vacation quote, and book your trip at no extra cost!