Disney World Vacation Tips – Ok, you’ve decided you really want to go to Walt Disney World! Now, how do you make it happen? Planning a trip to the most magical place on earth can be a very big task. Even those who have been there many times may find themselves undecided about the options available. Do not worry, we’re here to help! Here is a 6 step planning!
Of course, our first recommendation is to get in with Uncle Orlando who will be able to guide you through all these decisions with ease, but take a look at these tips to book your magical vacation. We also recommend that you try to book your trip 6 months in advance to help ensure your hotel, restaurant and entertainment choices, however, with some flexibility, last minute travel may be the most magical of them all!
Step 1: WHEN TO GO?
Choosing the best time of year to take your family to Walt Disney World is a very personal decision. Are your children in school? Can they miss a few days of classes for a vacation? Or do you just prefer to travel when they are on vacation? Many factors come into play here. The crowd levels in the parks vary greatly throughout the year and part of planning a great trip is understanding the best times of the year to visit the “World”. Holidays will always have much higher crowd levels. For example, the week of Christmas and the weeks before and after Easter has the highest levels of crowds of the year. September has historically much lighter crowd levels, the resorts are generally cheaper and the weather is amazing! Checking out what important events are happening in the parks is also necessary. Do you have a Marathon on the weekend? Star Wars Weekends? You need to be aware that events in the parks can affect your trip.
Step 2: WHERE TO STAY?
When planning a vacation in Walt Disney World, the hotel possibilities seem endless. Disney hotels have various shapes, sizes, and designs, some of them will surely fit your budget and your family’s needs. Resorts in Walt Disney World are available in three categories:
Luxury Villas: These larger resorts have rooms that can accommodate up to 9 people with great options for larger families or two families traveling together. They have 1 or 2 bedrooms, kitchen, laundry room and plenty of space!
Luxury Resorts: Many of the luxury resorts like the Polynesian Village and The Beach Yacht Club can accommodate up to 5 guests in a standard room. These resorts offer larger rooms, private balconies, beautiful pools with water slides and multiple transportation options. They also have more dining options, including restaurants with table service on site.
Moderate Resorts: These resorts are a great “middle ground”. Most rooms have two queen beds, great amenities, but the size of the room is slightly smaller and no balcony. They have incredible themes, great pools, and varied dining options.
Economy Resorts: These rooms are the cheapest but still give you the magical experience you are looking for. With fun themes like Art of Animation or All Star Sports, these rooms accommodate 4 people and some resorts offer family suites.
Nothing can go wrong when choosing a Disney hotel of any level. There are advantages to staying at a Disney hotel. Transporting the resorts to the parks and anywhere else within the “World” is very convenient. Extra Magic Hours are available for resort guests to enjoy the parks early in the morning or late at night, without the crowds. Parking is free for guests and having the whole “Disney experience” is the best advantage of all!
Step 3: MEALS
If staying at a Disney hotel, you will have the option of a meal plan. There are different levels of plans for you to choose. Some plans offer 3 meals in buffets per day, another 3 meals with table service per day. Finding out what meal plan (if any) is right for you can be confusing. We are here to help you with this decision.
From Mickey waffles and Dole-Whips to dinners in 5-star restaurants, the food at Disney is an experience in itself. Reservations can be made 180 days in advance of your trip and will help ensure that you can choose the restaurant that you both want to meet.
Step 4: TICKETS
Your next choice involves your tickets to the parks. How many days do you plan to spend in the parks? Do you want to be able to have breakfast at the Magic Kingdom and dine at Epcot? These types of questions come to help you choose your tickets. Disney calls “Magic Your Way” tickets because you can choose the way you want to visit the parks!
The basic tickets allow you to visit a park (there is 4 total) per day. You can go out and re-enter the park all day, but it must be the same park.
The Park Hopper options allow you to change parks the same day. This gives you much more flexibility for dining and event options. If you would like to fight Darth Vader at Hollywood Studios at noon, but watch Wishes at the Magic Kingdom after dinner, Park Hopper is the option you will want! The Park Hopper option is more expensive for this.
You also have the option to add water park tickets. The Water Park and More Fun ticket include visits to Disney’s water parks: Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, miniature golf and access to Disney, an indoor theme park. Water parks close during certain periods in the winter months so it is necessary to check park times before buying these tickets.
Step 5: PLAN YOUR ITINERARY
This is probably the most important step in your vacation planning. Decide which park you are going to visit, on which day, choosing your FastPass + and coordinating your meals can be stressful! Remember to keep in mind that you are having fun with so many options! Try not to overburden yourself or your family. The FastPass + system allows you to choose 3 attractions 60 days in advance (if you stay at a Disney hotel). This is a great way to make sure you will be able to enjoy your favorite attractions without a long wait. If you already have your planned meals in the parks, plan your FastPass + long enough to include your meal plans.
Step 6: ADD MAGIC AND HAVE FUN!
There are many magical extra things that you may want to include in your trip. See the fireworks shows and parades with reservations, Christmas parties, etc. Maybe your little princess would like a make-over in Bibbidi-Bobbidi Boutique, or else your pirate might want a treasure hunt in Adventureland. While some of these activities have some extra expense, they can actually add a lot of magic to your trip. Memory Maker is another great idea to enhance your trip. This service gives you all the photos you take at Disney in one place. There are extra magic poses and ideas to make your photos more special. Leave your camera at home and have photos of the whole family together!
Now that your planning is done, get ready to enjoy your amazing vacation at Walt Disney World! Absorb everything, laugh loudly and do not forget to give Mickey a hug!