The cold season is in full swing, and that means most full-time RVers have headed south. In many cases, Florida is the destination of choice for the winter months, and for good reason. After all, Florida offers some of the warmest winter weather in the country. It also offers amazing beaches, beautiful national parks, and of course, renowned parks like Disney World and Universal Studios.
If you’ll be spending your winter in Florida, we highly recommend spending some time in the magic of Disney World. However, what we don’t recommend is heading in unprepared. There are some things you should know before visiting the most magical place on earth in order to make your visit as wonderful as possible.
Here are our top tips and tricks for anyone planning to visit the mouse.
Make campground reservations early
First and foremost, it’s important that you secure those campground reservations as soon as you possibly can. This is especially true if you plan on staying in Disney’s onsite Fort Wilderness campground.
That said, all of the Orlando area parks book up in the wintertime, and this can make things difficult for those RVers who prefer to fly by the seat of their pants. If you really want a good experience at Disney World, you’re going to want to go ahead and make those reservations, even if reservations aren’t usually your style.
Consider an Annual Pass
Will you be spending the entire winter in the Central Florida area? If so, you may want to consider purchasing an Annual Pass rather than daily tickets.
An Annual Pass pays for itself pretty quickly when you’re visiting the parks regularly, meaning it could save you quite a bit of money. This is especially true if you—like many full-timers—happen to be a Florida resident and can get one of the much less expensive Florida resident passes.
Know the parking situation
Parking at Disney World is not cheap, and you will want to go in knowing what to expect. Standard parking is $25 per day at the theme parks. However, Annual Passholders park for free, meaning you’ll save even more money by buying that pass.
There are places in their lots for RVs to park, and although you will have to pay extra to park such a large vehicle, a $25 discount will apply if you have an Annual Pass.
Bring your own food
The fact that you travel with an RV means you always have a kitchen with you no matter where you roam. Take advantage of this fact by preparing and packing meals to take into the parks. Outside food and drink are allowed (as long as no glass is involved) and there are plenty of spots to enjoy a packed meal.
Considering how expensive the in-park eateries are, this is an awesome way to save money.
Seek out the slower times
While Disney World is always busy, there are definitely times when the place is busier than others. Seek out those slower times in order to fully enjoy the parks without the huge crowds.
Early December, mid-to-late January, and most of February (with the exception of President’s Day weekend) are all good wintertime months. Things are pretty slow during these times, and the weather tends to be pretty awesome. Other times with lower crowds include September, October, and most of November.
As far as the time of day goes, crowd levels will be at their lowest in the early morning and late evening. For this reason, we highly recommend arriving at the parks before opening, taking a break in the middle of the day, and returning around dinner time.
Better yet, if you have an Annual Pass and plenty of time to explore, go only in the morning or late at night to avoid becoming overly tired and burned out.
Snag FastPasses and dining reservations now
Even when you visit during the slower seasons, there will be plenty of other people at the park. Luckily, Disney has a nifty little system called FastPass+ which allows you to reserve a few ride times and skip those lines almost entirely. This, in conjunction with dining reservations, should help you keep wait times to a minimum.
The catch? The best FastPass+ and dining reservations will go quickly. So you will want to grab the ones you want most as soon as you can.
If you’ll be staying onsite, you can book FastPass+ as early as 60 days out. Everyone else must wait until 30 days out for FastPass+ reservations. Meanwhile, dining reservations can be made a full six months out from your visit.
Take your time
Our last tip is one that many people have a hard time with: Take your time.
There are tons of things to see and do Disney World. In fact, a person could stay in Disney World for months and still not do it all. Trying to make sure you do everything is just stressful and no fun at all. Instead, relax and take your time, making sure you give yourself an opportunity to take in the little details and live in the moment.
Disney World is truly magical and worth taking the time to experience. You can learn more about staying at the Fort Wilderness Campground in our previous article here.