This is part one of my weekly blog about what to know before you go. Feel free to add anything else you can think of as well.
This cannot be stressed this enough, plan before you go. If you are traveling to Walt Disney World at a time when school is out, do not wait until a month before your trip to Walt Disney World to start your preparation. It is a must to begin the process at least 3-6 months in advance. Many people make the mistake of thinking that they will be able to walk right into the parks, walk onto every ride with minimum wait time, get the resort they want, and get into any restaurant to eat whatever day and time they feel like. If you are vacationing during the peak seasons (Spring Break, summer, and Christmas) this strategy will not work, and you may be very disappointed.
What should you know before you go? You should plan, plan, and plan. There are several factors that you must consider before you go, the first being the weather. Orlando weather in general provides a great climate most of the year. The exceptions are in the summer months, when come mid-afternoon you will most likely need to find air conditioning as a way to refresh yourself and cool down. The summer months also supply the most rainfall. It seems that every day during the summer you can expect an afternoon shower or thunderstorm for a few hours.
Now that you have an idea about the weather you will encounter, a good tip for packing would be to pack for the coldest temperatures as you can always take layers off. One big mistake that many tourists make is thinking Orlando is warm all year long and all hours of the day and night. I have seen many visitors show up at the parks wearing a t-shirt and shorts in December because they did not pack any warm clothes. They are left to shiver and freeze until it warms up or spend $40 -$60 on a sweatshirt.
Walt Disney World also has different crowd patterns each day. Historically each park has more visitors on certain days of the week. The reason for this varies for everyone. Many times people will arrive at Walt Disney World on a Sunday and the first park they choose is the most famous, Magic Kingdom. Thus Monday is a busy day for that park. A park may have Extra Magic Hours (EMH) on a certain day of the week all year and that may factor in as well. Does that mean that every Monday the Magic Kingdom will be packed? No, it doesn’t. Times change and every season at Walt Disney World can bring about different touring patterns, so make your daily plans according to what works best for you.