So you’ve decided to go to Walt Disney World– congratulations! This is going to be an exciting trip for you but it does require some planning. We know this can seem overwhelming but we’re here to make the process as simple as possible for you. Read on to get a step-by-step tutorial on how to plan a DisneyWorld vacation.
Step One: Pick your dates
First and foremost, figure out when you want to visit. When it comes to a Disney World vacation, not all dates are created equal. Many families visit in the summer because the kids are out of school. If you’re planning to do that, remember that crowds are going to be higher than they would be at other times of the year. That said, there are simple ways to get around the crowds like using your FastPass+ efficiently and getting to the parks as soon as they open.
Step Two: Decide where you’re going to stay
There are many options but the ones you’re going to see advertised over and over again are Disney World hotels on Disney property. They’ll tell you that there are many advantages to these hotels, and there are – but you can get those some advantages from hotels off property and pay half what you’d pay to stay on property.
If you’re a smaller family, then staying in a Disney good neighbor hotel is a great option. You’ll have a resort pool, great amenities, and most have free shuttles to and from the parks. On the other hand, if you’re a larger party, or you simply want more privacy, you can find Disney vacation homes for rent starting at $89. These come with private pools, spas, chef’s kitchens – the works!
Step Three: Decide on your Disney theme park tickets
As you’re looking at the Disney vacation package options, you’ll need to decide what Disney World tickets to get. First, decide on the number of days. One thing to keep in mind is that the price goes down per-day the longer the ticket is. For example, it may cost $80 to go from a one-day to a two-day ticket, but the price difference between a nine-day ticket and a ten-day ticket is around $10.
You’ll also have to decide if you want extras like park-hoppers or park-hoppers and more. A park-hopper ticket allows you to visit more than one park per day while a base ticket allows you to visit just one park per day. Adding the park hopper option is around $65 per ticket regardless of how many days you’ll be there. As a result, it often makes more sense if you’re staying for nine days than if you’re staying just a single day – but then again the longer you’re staying, less you may need to park hop!
The good news is that there is a simple solution if you’re having a hard time deciding – choose a ticket without park-hopper and then upgrade at the park if you decide you need it. It doesn’t cost any more than it would to have the park-hopper ticket from the get-go, but it assures that you’re not going to waste money on a service you don’t need. Just be sure that you add extra days or the park-hopper before your ticket has been used up. This means that you must add them while you still have one valid day on your ticket.
The final option in ticket is a new ticket called the 4-Park Magic Ticket. This ticket is good for four days and allows admittance to one park per day. The difference between the base ticket is that this ticket only works at each park once. For example, with a 4-day base ticket, you could visit Magic Kingdomtwo days, Animal Kingdom once, and Epcot once – totally skipping Hollywood Studios. With a 4-Park Magic Ticket, your ticket is good for one day for each park.
Step Four: Pick your Disney vacation package
Once you know when you’re visiting and what type of accommodation will work best for your group, it’s time to pick your Disney vacation package. This is the best way to get the lowest price and to have one company to deal with. Why buy tickets, book accommodations, etc. with separate companies when you can have a single company take care of anything?
Step Five: Make dining reservations
There are many tasty and unique dining options within the Disney parks. They can be expensive but if you’re splurging on your trip, you’ll have no shortage of options. However, it’s nearly impossible to get a table by just walking into a restaurant – you need to make reservations.
The good news is that this is easy to do and can be done online. It does require that you guarantee the reservation with a credit card but as long as you show up, or you cancel the reservation 24 hours in advance, you won’t be charged. If you don’t cancel in time and you don’t how up, you’ll pay $10 per person.
Step Six: Make your FastPass+ reservations
30 days before your trip, you’ll make your FastPass+ reservations. FastPass+ is a unique option that allows you to essentially reserve three rides per day in the same park. You simply go to the website, pick the rides you want and the times you want. Then when that time arrives, you simply walk to the FastPass+ entrance and skip the lines.