How to Make the Most Out of a Weekend in Walt Disney World

This past weekend I had the opportunity to spend less than 48 hours in Walt Disney World. If I am honest, I was a little apprehensive about only being there for a couple of days. I wondered if it would be worth it or if I should hold off until I could spend more days there. I decided I would jump at the chance to take in even a little bit of magic and try to knock a few things off of my Disney Bucket List (look out for a blog post coming soon!).

How to spend a weekend at Walt Disney World
Want a picture with the Mickey Mouse balloons? Just ask the Cast Member if you can take a picture with them and they will usually make it happen!

I wound up having a blast over the weekend and want to share a few tips if you’re thinking about spending a weekend at Disney.

Make a list of your “must do’s”

The first thing I did when planning my trip was figure out what my “must do’s” are each time I am at Disney. Try thinking about your past trips and what you would have been really upset about missing out on. Maybe it’s riding your favorite attraction or grabbing that snack that makes your mouth water just thinking about it! Either way, take a few moments to think about it and then write down your top 5. Use these as your base for planning out your days.

I am a firm believer that you should only write on Disney stationery.

Research what is going on in the parks

Before you make any solid plans for your weekend getaway, make sure you research what is going on in the parks during that time. If you do a quick Google search on “Walt Disney World/Disneyland [month you’re visiting]” you will get a good idea of any special events taking place that 1. might impact crowd levels and 2. you might want to attend.

I was lucky enough to get to attend the Flower and Garden Festival and Epcot while I was there. There are a ton of food and drink offerings that I couldn’t pass up – like this Caribe Rose Hard Cider from Florida Beer Company, available at The Odyssey Pavilion!

If you attend any Festival, be sure to pick up the Festival Passport – it will include all you need to know to enjoy!

Take advantage of Extra Magic Hours

If you are a Disney Resort guest staying on property or at one of the Disney Springs Hotels you have the opportunity to take advantage of extra time in the parks. The crowd levels are lower during these times and it means additional time playing in the parks!

Extra Magic Hours are available both in the morning and evening and the schedule can be found here and on your My Disney Experience App.

Some attractions may not be operating during Extra Magic Hours. Be sure to check before you go!

Plan, but go with the flow

Talk about contradictory! But it’s the truth – making the most of a short time in the parks is all about planning out your must do’s, so that you don’t miss out on them, but then going with the flow.

When we woke up on Saturday morning I knew that I wanted to see Illuminations that evening and try a new restaurant. Other than that though, I was open to whatever! My brother, who I was traveling with along with my sister-in-law and boyfriend, suggested we go tour the Four Seasons Orlando (located on property) and have lunch over there before heading to Epcot. We wound up taking a Minnie Van to the Four Seasons and having lunch at Plancha, somewhere I had not been before (CHECK!).

After touring the Four Seasons (side note, I NEED to stay here one day – have you all checked it out? It’s beautiful and the service was phenomenal!), we decided to take a Minnie Van back to our room at Old Key West so that we could freshen up before heading to Epcot. Before going to our room though, we grabbed a Mickey Bar at the General Store (CHECK!).

That evening we were lucky enough to view Illuminations from a window seat inside at Spice Road Table (CHECK!), completing a fun and relaxing day that would not have been so if I had tried to stick to a tight schedule.

Plancha has a wide variety of options on the menu that tend to lean towards the “American” category.

Think of this trip differently

When I left for my weekend getaway I thought of it as being completely different than my usual 5 to 7 day vacations. To me, this trip would be a way to tide me over to my next visit, while allowing me the opportunity to experience the Flower and Garden Festival and check out the construction for Galaxy’s Edge. Setting that expectation meant that I wasn’t upset when the line for Space Mountain was way too long to wait in or that there were no reservations available for Hoop Dee Doo.

No matter how long you are at Disney, always make sure to stop and take in the beauty of this incredible place!

Have you done a weekend trip to the parks before? What are your tips for making the most of your time?