How to Do Walt Disney World Without Planning a Thing

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People are going to get mad or think I’ve gone mad, but I have a confession. I have taken my kids to Walt Disney World (and Disneyland) without planning a thing. Not one single thing, Y’all.

How to Do Walt Disney World Without Planning a Thing

Do Disney World Without Planning

Yep. I did it. No character meet and greets, no restaurant reservations, nothing. The only planning involved is buying the park hoppers, booking a hotel, and getting there. That’s it. As we settle in for the evening upon arrival, I ask the kids, “What park do you want to go to first?” We discuss the choices and make a decision. BOOM! We have a plan.

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom with sisters

Once we arrive at said Disney park, the question then becomes, “Which way first?” The kids think about their favorite rides and where they are. We typically choose the first ride we want to go on and then head that way. BAM! We are doing it!

Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom

Along the way, we might happen upon a Disney character or discover another ride that looks like fun. That’s okay. There is no set schedule to deviate from. We just take a little detour and then get back on our way towards our original destination.

hugging Mickey Mouse at Walt Disney World

Oh, and if we get hungry? We look around where we are and find somewhere to eat. Then, we eat. (Note: we do buy Disney gift cards to stay on budget when it comes to eating at the parks).

riding flying Dumbo with my daughter

As the day goes on, we evaluate how everyone is feeling. Do we need to rest for a bit in the room? Anyone want to take a break and go for a swim? Are we ready to head to a different park? The opportunities are endless at Disney World, right?

Let it Go with Minnie Mouse

Plus, with our “no expectations” way of doing things, every part of the trip is magical. We aren’t pulling the kids from one ride to the next to make a dinner reservation. No standing in lines for a picture with characters. (My kids get excited just to SEE them. No pics or autographs needed unless readily available to them). Just a whole lot of memories being made.

Disney World - Epcot with the kids

Now, again, I get that some people need to plan the trip. They want to make sure they experience as much as possible. If this is your one and only shot at visiting a Walt Disney World park? Absolutely! Our first trip we had one day. One park. Magic Kingdom. Completely spontaneous visit. It rained the whole day but we just pushed through and enjoyed every minute.

WDW Family Vacation

Also, food restrictions? Yes, restaurant reservations are essential. Or, at the very least plan meals according to the food services available to you at the parks. This last trip though? We walked up to Be Our Guest and asked about cancellations. We were seated right away and enjoyed one of the best restaurants in the park… without a reservation!

dinner at Be Our Guest at Disney World

That’s how we do it. I may be too laid back for some, but the kids have enjoyed every trip to Walt Disney World without complaints. Before the last day we ask if there is anything else they want to do before we leave. Yes? We do our best to get it done. No? Well then, we did it all!

tired after long day at Walt Disney World

BOOM! Done.

Last notes?

  1. Buy a Memory Maker PhotoPass! No camera needed. Stop by the photographers in the park and get pictures at the best photo spots! Plus, you get pictures (and sometimes video) from most of the rides. Priceless memories captured.
  2. Download the My Disney Experience app. You will be able to find dining, rides, even restrooms near you at any point within Walt Disney World. This comes in extremely handy when you are “playing things by (Mickey) ears!”