Ok, you have decided that you really want to go to Walt Disney World! Now how do you make that happen? Planning a trip to the most magical place on earth can be very overwhelming. Even those who have been there many times before may struggle with all of the decisions and options available. Don’t worry, I am here to help! I am going to break down your planning into 6 easy steps!
Of course my first recommendation is to contact a travel agent with World of Magic Travel who will be able to guide you through all of these decisions with ease, but take a look at these tips to get yourself ready to book your magical vacation. I also recommend trying to book your trip 6 months in advance to help guarantee your first choice for resort, dining and entertainment, however, with some flexibility, last minute trips can be the most magical of all!
Step 1: WHEN TO VISIT
Choosing the best time of year to take your family to Walt Disney World is a very personal decision. Are your children in school? Are you willing to take them out of school for a vacation? Many factors come in to play here. Crowd levels 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 Christmas week and the weeks before and after Easter will see the highest crowds of the year. September has historically much lighter crowd levels, the resorts are usually cheaper and the weather is amazing! Check the Disney website or contact your travel agent to find out if any major events are happening when you are looking to travel. Is it Marathon weekend? Star Wars weekends? These will still be great times to visit but you need to be aware of major park events that may affect your trip.
Step 2: WHERE TO STAY
When looking at a Disney World vacation, the resort possibilities seem endless. On-site Disney properties come in many shapes, sizes and designs so finding one that fits your family’s needs should be easy. Walt Disney World resorts are available in three categories:
Deluxe Villas: these larger resorts have rooms that can sleep up to 9 people and area a great options for larger families or 2 parties traveling together. They have 1 or 2 bedrooms, kitchens, laundry and a lot of space!
Deluxe Resorts: Many of the deluxe resorts like the Polynesian Village and The Beach and Yacht Club sleep up to 5 in a standard room. These resorts offer larger room size, private balconies, beautiful pools with water features and slides, and multiple transportation options. They also have more dining options including table service restaurants on site.
Moderate resorts: These resorts are a great ‘middle ground’. Most offer 2 queen beds, great amenities but slightly smaller room sizes and no outside private space. They have amazing themes and great pools with varied dining options.
Value Resorts: These rooms will be the least expensive but still give you the magical experience you are looking for. Each has fun themes like the Art of Animation’s Little Mermaid room or All Star Sports with, you guessed it, sports everywhere! These rooms sleep 4 with some resorts offering family suites.
You cannot go wrong choosing any level of Disney resort. From Deluxe to Value, you will experience Disney cleanliness, quality and great customer service. There are perks that come with staying on property at Walt Disney World. Transportation from the resorts to the parks and anywhere else within the ‘world’ is free an convenient. Extra Magic Hours are available for resort guests only to enjoy the parks early in the morning or late at night without the crowds. Parking is complimentary for guests staying on site, and getting the ” whole Disney experience” is the best perk of all!
Step 3: DINING
If staying on Walt Disney World property you will have the option of a dining plan. There are different levels of plans to choose from or you can just pay as you go and not use a dining plan at all. Some plans offer 3 counter service meals a day, others 3 table service meals per day. Figuring out which dining plan (if any) is the best fit for you can be confusing. Click here for a breakdown of the dining plans offered at Walt Disney World to help make your decision easier.
From Mickey waffles and dole-whips to 5 star, chef’s-table dinners, the food at Disney is an experience in itself. Reservations can be made 180 days in advance of your trip and will help guarantee you get your first choice in restaurants and reservation times.
Step 4: TICKETS
Your next choice involves your park tickets. How many days do you plan on spending in the parks? Do you want to be able to have breakfast in the Magic Kingdom and dinner in EPCOT? These types of questions come in to play when choosing your tickets. Disney calls them ‘Magic Your Way’ tickets because you can choose the way YOU want to visit the parks! Base tickets allow you to visit one park (there are 4 total) per day. You may leave and re-enter the park throughout the day but it must me the SAME park. A Park Hopper options allows you to move from park to park within the same day. This gives you a lot more flexibility for dining and event options. If you would like to fight Darth Vader in Hollywood Studios at noon but catch Wishes Spectacular in the Magic Kingdom after dinner then the Park Hopper is the option you will want! The Park Hopper is a more expensive options so if you are on a budget, keeping a Base ticket is a great way to save a little money. You also have the option to add on water park tickets. The Water Park and More option includes visits to Disney’s water parks Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, mini-golf visits and a trip to Disney Quest indoor interactive theme park. The water parks close during certain times in the winter months so check out the park schedules before you purchase these tickets.
Step 5: PLAN YOUR ITINERARY
This is quite possibly the most important step in your vacation planning. Deciding what park to visit on what day, choosing your fast pass times, and coordinating your dining can be stressful! Remember to keep it fun! Try not to overextend yourself or your family. The Fastpass+ system allows you to choose 3 fast passes per day 60 days in advance. This is a great way to make sure you will be able to enjoy your favorite rides without a long wait time. If you already have your meals planned in the parks, plan your fast passes to give you ample time to include your dining plans.
Step 6: ADD SOME MAGIC AND HAVE FUN!
There are a lot of magical extras you may want to include in your trip. Special fireworks viewing parties, parades, Holiday parties like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Maybe your little princess would like a make-over at the Bibbidi-Bobbidi- Boutique, or how about a pirate treasure hunt in Adventureland? While some of these activities are an extra expense, they can really add a lot of magic to your trip. The Memory Maker is another great idea to enhance your trip. This photo service gives you all of your Disney pictures in one place for you to do with as you please. There are extra magic poses and ideas to make your pictures more special. Leave your camera at home and get photos of the whole family together!
Now that your planning is done, get ready to enjoy your incredible Walt Disney World Vacation! Soak it all in, laugh out loud and don’t forget to get a hug from Mickey Mouse!
A World of Magic Travel agent like myself can help you navigate all of your planning decisions for FREE! I love talking/planning Disney and I will be able to find you the best options to suit your vacation ideas! Contact me to turn your Disney dream into a reality! .
Let our friends at Destinations to Travel help you book your next Disney Vacation. They are the preferred Travel Agency of Chip and Company and Disney Addicts, and who we use ourselves.
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