Planning for Disney World in 2024

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If you’re going to Disney World in 2024 this blog post can help you with meal prep, resort stay, ride selection and other information that you’ll find helpful in your planning! Just for reference, our kids are ages 7 to 13. Riding as many rides as we could fit in was TOP priority. We’re a family of 8 (10 when you include the grandparents) so affordability + efficiency was very important to us.

Tips for strategizing your next Disney World trip in 2024!

The food:

Not only is food at Disney expensive, but if your kids are there to ride rides, stopping for food is an inconvenience. The more you can prep in advance and bring with you, the more time (for rides) and money you’ll save!

For breakfast we meal prepped Stay Fit Mom Breakfast burritos, muffins and sheet pan pancakes. Really any muffins or Grab and Go make ahead breakfasts from our Meal Prep Cookbooks will be a HUGE benefit to your family. We also brought oranges and apples, paper plates and utensils. Our hotel room didn’t have a microwave so we packed our air fryer. Each morning every person had 1 burrito, 1 muffin or pancake, AND 1 piece of fruit. Having this big breakfast helped fuel us for what would be eating like rabbits the rest of the day!

We made two full loaves of Peanut butter & Jelly sandwiches every day at the park. That was 20 Peanut butter & Jelly sandwiches each day for a total of 60 PB & J’s all three park days! Not a single one was left.

We had one large package of beef jerky and one large package of pretzel thins to share each day. We did purchase the refillable popcorn. It was $13 the first time and $2.25 for every refill.

On our 2nd day, we packed Hawaiian rolls and had ham & cheese sandwiches for the whole family for lunch. We packed a large cooler for the car. We were able to get back to the car easily at Hollywood Studios as self parking is close to the park.

Tips for strategizing your next Disney World trip in 2024!

Other than splurging on Chef Mickey’s character dining the first night (we booked this months prior to our trip with the Disney concierge) we only ate at the parks for treats. We drove off the park (Chick fil a and Cheweys) for other big meals. Other treats at the Park we enjoyed: Dole Whip from Aloha Isle (Magic kingdom: next to Pirates of the Caribbean), churros (at Hollywood studios next to Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, and Ice cream (Epcot: L’Artisan Des Glaces in France). Having a plan for our food made the experience very enjoyable and we didn’t have to book dining through the app at all.

Tips for strategizing your next Disney World trip in 2024!

The Stay:

We wanted to stay on Disney Resort Property because we knew that would mean early entry access for the rides. You get to go into the park 30 minutes earlier than non-resort stayers. That 30 min early entry essentially means you get one free amazing ride with minimal waiting. To maximize affordability we stayed at the Disney All Star Sports Resort. There are definitely resorts closer to the park that would make your trip more convenient though. We also drove our own car to the park each day so we wouldn’t have to depend on the resort busses. Staying on resort property also grants you free parking into each park. This also meant we could leave a cooler of food in the car. We didn’t go back to the car on our 1st (Magic Kingdom day), but we did on our 2nd (Hollywood Studios) and 3rd days (Animal Kingdom and Epcot).

The Rides:

I was told we went on one of the busiest weeks of the year with Disney races happening, and while it was crazy crowded, we still managed to ride just about everything we wanted to (minus a few things I’ll mention below). We got three day park hopper passes.  We did Magic Kingdom day 1, Hollywood Studios day 2, and Animal Kingdom + Epcot Day 3. 

We did a “Rope Drop” strategy for every day. Rope Drop means that you arrive 30 to 45 minutes prior to early entry. You’ll wait in a big crowd of people until the Disney cast members release the rope then you race as quickly as you can to hit up your first ride of the park. So long as the ride is operating, you’ll move through quickly making it feel like you get a “free” lightning lane pass. Check the opening times for each of the parks you’re going to as they are subject to change.

We purchased the Genie + passes for every day right around 6:30AM the morning of, and while Genie + doesn’t mean you won’t have to wait for any rides, it does allow you to bypass the lines on some, while waiting for others. Click HERE to learn about Genie+. 

The newest rides, Tron and Guardians of the Galaxy, are only offered through Virtual Cue and/or lightning lane purchase. Click HERE to learn more about that. The only lightning lane we purchased was Guardians of the Galaxy on the final day because we couldn’t get into the virtual cue for that ride with the way we had our schedule planned. 

Day 1:

Magic Kingdom Day

I’ve listed the order of our Magic Kingdom day (along with star ratings) below if you just want to skip to that. In order to get everything on this list accomplished we were out the door of our hotel room at 6:30AM and got back for bed time at 10PM. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, being a Disney Mom takes the stamina of an Olympian!

We got into the Virtual cue for Tron right at 7AM which felt miraculous given what I’d heard about the crowds! Our ride time was anytime between 3:50pm to 4:50pm which meant we had to build the rest of our day around that. Right after booking our Virtual Cue, we made our first Genie + Pick. Knowing we were going to “Rope Drop” Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, we made Big Thunder Mountain Railroad our 1st Genie + pick. After hitting up Seven Dwarfs Mine Train for our Rope Drop ride we waited in line for Peter Pan’s Flight. While in line we made our next Genie + Pick for Space Mountain (which we would ride later in the day). After Peter Pan’s Flight we headed to wait in line for Haunted Mansion. While in line we booked our 3rd Genie+ pick Pirates of the Caribbean. Then we made our way over to Frontier/Adventure land. At Frontier Land we got to head right through the lightning lane for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to utilize that Genie + we booked first. Then we went to get in the stand by line for Jungle Cruise, but because we were with Grandpa (who needed a scooter for the whole trip), we were able to get in a (skip the line) return time without using a Genie + pick! Score! Next we took a break from the rides to enjoy the noon Parade. After the parade, we headed back to ride the Jungle Cruise, then got some dole whip at Aloha Isle before cashing in on our Pirates of the Caribbean Genie + Pick. After that it was time to head toward Tron. While in line for Tron, I booked our last Genie+ pass for Buzz Lightyear Ranger Spin. After Tron, we headed straight to Space Mountain to cash in that Genie + pass. After space mountain we had some time to kill before Buzz Lightyear Ranger Spin so we randomly walked into Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor. It was SO unexpectedly funny! One of our kids said it was his favorite thing of the entire day. After that we divided up and did Tomorrow Land’s People Movers with the little ones and the big ones did Carousel of Progress. Then we headed to our Genie+ pick Buzz Lightyear Ranger Spin for our final ride of the day. We took the shuttle to Disney’s Contemporary Resort to Chef Mickey’s Character dining for our 7:55pm Dinner Reservation.

Tips for strategizing your next Disney World trip in 2024!

I’ve included a star rating for each of the rides and even the meals, courtesy of the kiddos. This might help you to prioritize when building your own schedule.

  • 7 Dwarfs Mine Train (Rope Drop), 4 stars
  • Peter Pan’s Flight, 3 stars
  • Haunted Mansion, 4 stars
  • Big Thunder Mountain RailRoad (Genie +), 3.5 stars
  • Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade, 3 stars
  • Jungle Cruise (Wheel Chair pass for check back), 3 stars
  • Pirates of the Caribbean (Genie +), 5 stars
  • Aloha Isle for Dole Whip, 3.5 stars
  • Tron (Virtual Cue), 5 stars
  • Space Mountain (Genie +), 4 stars
  • Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor (one of our surprisingly favorite things), 4 stars
  • Tomorrow Land’s People Mover, 2 stars
  • Carousel of Progress , 2 stars
  • Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin (Genie +), 3.5 stars
  • Chef Mickey’s Character Dining at Contemporary Resort, 5 stars

Day 2:

Hollywood studios

I’ve listed the order of our Hollywood Studios day (along with star ratings) below if you just want to skip to that. In order to get everything on this list accomplished we were out the door of our hotel room at 7:30AM and got back for bed time at 9:30PM.

There are so may good rides at Hollywood studios and it seemed more crowded than the other parks. We could’ve chosen to rope drop a variety of rides, but because we didn’t want to pay for an additional lightning lane (and our kids had been binge watching Star Wars right before the trip), we decided to “Rope Drop” Rise of the Resistance. It was my FAVORITE ride out of all the rides at Disney World. It’s not just a ride but an experience. I heard that it cost 1/2 a billion dollars to create!!

Our first Genie Plus pick of the morning was Tower or Terror that we got scheduled for midday. After riding Rise of the Resistance we headed over to Slinky Dog Rollercoaster to wait. While waiting we booked our 2nd Genie + ride Smugglers Run that we’d end up having scheduled for later at night. After Slinky Dog we headed to wait in our longest line of our trip, Mickey and Minni’s Runaway Railway. We waited over two hours for this one. At this point in the day it seemed like all of the rides had a 120 minute + wait time. While waiting we booked a Genie+ for Star Tours later on in the day. We headed for Churros after that long wait! Grandpa and I then went to Beauty and the Beast to save seats for the family while everybody else cashed in on the Genie + for Tower of Terror. We thoroughly enjoyed Beauty and the Beast but our crowd probably would’ve preferred the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular if the times would’ve worked out better. Next we cashed in on our Genie+ for Star Tours (this ride made me motion sick). In the Star Tours Gift Shop they had a “build your own light saber” station for $29.99! Most of the boys spent their chore money on that for their Disney World souveniere. After that we went back to our car for a lunch break. From here the big kids and the little ones separated again. The big kids decided to wait in the single rider lane for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and the little ones watched the Frozen show. We had some time to kill before our last Genie + ride so we headed for one more stand by line, Toy Story Mania. We finished our Hollywood Studio day with Smuggler Run and it didn’t disappoint! Galaxy’s Edge (Star Wars Land, as we called it) is just so well done! We left the park for another late dinner. This time at Chewey’s.

Tips for strategizing your next Disney World trip in 2024!
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (Rope Drop), 5 stars
  • Slinky Dog Dash, 4 stars
  • Mickey and Minni’s Runaway railway, 3.5 stars
  • Churros, 3 stars
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (Genie +), 4 stars
  • Beauty and the Beast, Live on Stage, 3 stars
  • Star Tours- The Adventure Continues (Genie +), 2 stars
  • Build Your Own Light Saber (Star Tours gift shop for $29.99), 5 stars
  • Lunch at the car
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith (kids did single rider), 5 stars
  • Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, 4 stars
  • Toy Story Mania, 4 stars
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (Genie +), 5 stars
  • Dinner at Chewey’s outside of Disney Parks, 3 stars

*The one thing that we wanted to see and missed was the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. 

Day 3:

Animal Kingdom & Epcot

I’ve listed the order of our Animal Kingdom & Epcot day (along with star ratings) below if you just want to skip to that. In order to get everything on this list accomplished we were out the door of our hotel room at 6:45AM and got back for bed time at 10:00PM.

Tips for strategizing your next Disney World trip in 2024!

We had to start this day at Animal Kingdom simply because Animal kingdom closes early, but this came at a cost. We couldn’t get into the virtual cue for a park we weren’t at. We knew that Guardians of the Galaxy at Epcot was a must do, so we splurged and purchased an individual lightning lane for this ride early in the morning with a return time of 4:25PM to 5:25PM. We had planned to Rope Drop Avatar Flight of passage at Animal Kingdom which made our fist Genie + pick of the day for Na’vi River Journey with a return time 11:25PM to 12:25PM. We got right on Avatar Flight of Passage and loved it then ran our way over to Everest. The kids that wanted to got to ride it twice with hardly any wait! Then we headed over to Kilimanjaro Safari. We really loved this ride and seeing all the live animals! We exited the ride and were conveniently positioned to walk the Gorilla Trail which I loved too! During this, I booked our next Genie+ Soarin’ for a return time 3:50 to 4:50 in Epcot. After the Gorilla Trail we watched The Lion King show and the sun warmed us up just enough for the kids to ride the Kali River Rapids. After the rapids we headed for the car to grab lunch at Chick fil a (off Disney property) and then switch parks over to Epcot. We arrived at Epcot right around 2:30PM and started with Spaceship Earth. Then we utilized our final Genie + and headed over to Soarin’. After Soarin’ we headed to ride Guardians of the Galaxy with our lightning lane passes. It was an awesome ride just as we had heard! There were two rides left at Epcot that we really wanted to ride. We opted for Ratatoullie, but this meant we missed out on the Test Track. Ratatouille the kids enjoyed, but it was another one that made me motion sick. After Ratatouille we had planned to explore Epcot, but saw that The Great American Experience Show was playing. We watched that, then grabbed some ice cream at L’Artisan Des Glaces and snagged a great spot for the fireworks show, Luminous The Symphony of Us, in the Japan area. The firework show was breathtaking and the perfect way to wrap up our trip!

Animal Kingdom:

  • Avatar Flight of Passage (Rope Drop), 5 stars
  • Expedition Everest- Legend of the Forbidden Mountain, 4 stars
  • Kilimanjaro Safari, 4 stars
  • Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, 4 stars
  • Festival of the Lion King, 3 stars
  • Na’vi River Journey (Genie +), 4 stars
  • Kali River Rapids, 4.5 stars


  • Spaceship Earth, 3.5 stars
  • Soarin’ Over California (Genie +), 3.5 stars
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, 4 stars
  • The American Adventure Show, 2.5 stars
  • Ice cream: L’Artisan Des Glaces, 4.5 stars
  • Luminous The Symphony of Us (Fireworks show), 5 stars

*The couple things that we wanted to see and missed were The Test Track at Epcot and Tough to be a Bug at Animal Kingdom.

I hope this debrief helps you more than it overwhelms you! We really made some core memories to last a lifetime but also at certain points were more tired and grouchy than we’ve ever been. Averaging around 25,000 steps a day, we ended up walking close to 38 miles in a 3 day time period! You got this, Disney mama!

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