Walt Disney World Vacation Tips
Planning a Walt Disney World Trip does not have to be complicated, but with so many resorts to choose from, dining options and activities, you can potentially miss out on a lot. Many people get there and discover something great, only to learn they needed to make advance reservations or planned better. Booking and planning your vacation can be so overwhelming when it comes to choosing sorting package options and working out air travel. These expert tips will help you plan your next Walt Disney World Vacation, stress-free!
1. Book Your Disney vacation through a travel agent
The best advice, especially if you have never been to Walt Disney World before, is to book a travel agent. They will have the best advice and have the freedom and connections to handle everything for you. Travel agents put all of that work in for you, often times at no extra cost. Travel agents take care of everything you need and use their experience to help you plan.
2. Choose your Travel Dates for Disney, Wisely
Two important factors determined your dates– Time of year, and length of stay.
When is the best time of year to visit Disney?
When you visit Disney World is important because seasonality will often dictate weather and crowds. Pricing for travel and lodging will be determined by the time of year. There is no clear cut peak season or off-season for Disney World. It’s a few weeks here and there throughout the year. January is good attendance-wise, as is late February-early March. You’ll have lower temperatures as well. August is another low crowd time but the temperatures and humidity are very high.
Your travel agent can help you determine when to schedule your vacation based on anticipated attendance, weather, and travel fares
How many days should you stay in Disney World?
Your length of stay is crucial to planning out your days. there are 4 theme parks and they are not close together like the Disney parks in other parts of the world. Walt Disney World is twice the size of Manhattan. It takes time to get around between parks and most of the parks are bigger, too. You can easily have multiple day experiences in some of them and others you can take on in one day or less.
In order to have a reasonably well rounded Walt Disney World Experience, you should schedule at least five days, excluding travel. This allows for a full day in each park plus a day of rest to enjoy your hotel theme or go resort hopping.
Should You Buy Park Hopper Tickets?
Park hopper tickets can be great if you want to see more of one park and had enough of the one your in. Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom can be done in under a day, where Epcot and Magic Kingdom can require more time. The downside of park hopping is that it can eat up a lot of time. If you have a shorter trip, a better strategy is to stick to one park per day, especially if you are visiting for your first time.
3. Select Your Walt Disney World Hotel
Staying on property within Walt Disney World is not the Only Option, but it does come with perks such as Mickey’s Magical Express, the transportation systems, and of course the total immersion. You can pay for virtually everything by charging it to your room with your Magic Band, and you can get a cup that entitles you to resort fountain drinks for the length of your stay. Also, as we established Walt Disney World is very spaced out, so location is important.
There are three tiers of Disney resort. Location quality goes down with the value options. Deluxe Resorts have the most prime real estate.
Benefits of Staying At a Value Resort
Value resorts offer budget-friendly accommodations within Walt Disney World. They are farther away from most of the parks, but there is access to continuously running busses. Dining options are quick service. budget savvy families of five or six should stay in the Art of Animation suites. Pop Century and Art of Animation will be connected to the Skyliner gondola system, opening in late 2019.
Benefits of Staying At a Moderate Resort
Moderate resorts are a huge step up in theming and they have more dining options. Moderate resorts have a closer proximity to the parks in their resort area. Resort Areas are zones based on what the hotels are closest to, There is a Magic Kingdom Resort Area, Epcot Resort Area, Disney Springs Resort Area, Animal Kingdom Resort Area, and Wide World of Sports. Moderate resorts are found in the Epcot, Disney Springs, and Magic Kingdom areas of Walt Disney World.
Disney Springs connects by bus and water taxi to Port Orleans, and Saratoga Springs. Caribbean Beach will be connected with Epcot via the Skyliner later this year, but currently now relies on buses. Fort Wilderness in the Magic Kingdom Resort area is tucked away from civilization but connects to Magic Kingdom by ferry.
Benefits of Staying At a Deluxe Resort
Deluxe resorts offer even more theming and amenities. There are also more transportation options, though some are just within a short walking distance of their park. The dining options include signature dining. Some of which are extraordinary experiences. The room entrances are all indoors as opposed to the motel style architecture of the value and moderate hotels.
From Boardwalk, and Yacht and Beach Club, you can walk to Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You can also travel between parks and resorts on a water taxi.
From Contemporary you can walk to Magic Kingdom. You can also take the monorail, which is the primary transportation to the park from the Contemporary, Ticket Center, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian.
Other transportation includes ferries that cross the lagoon and also go to Wilderness Lodge.
Related: Disney World Hotel Reviews
4. Disney Dining Plan and other add ons
Dining plans are not designed to save you money and usually have guests scrambling to get their “money’s worth”. The Dining Plans come in tiers which are tied with the top of resort you chose.
Very likely you will spend less money on food than you think, This is why most people feel pressured to buy more under the plan. Sometimes the Dining Plan is included for free with the cost of your vacation package. When free dining is offered, I would absolutely take advantage of it. Ask your travel agent for more info and whether it applies to your upcoming trip.
Related: Is The Disney Dining Plan Worth It?
Make sure you secure your dining reservations in advance. Bookings open up 180 days before your arrival and they can fill up fast. Book your FastPass+ as early as 60 days in advance, and don’t hesitate.
Memory Maker is another add on you can purchase with your package. It gives you access to ride photos and professional photographers all over the parks. You can have them take pictures with your own camera for free, but the paid package provides much more professional quality.
5. How To Use the My Disney Experience App
Download and use the My Disney Experience App. It contains everything including dining reservations and FastPass+. you will use and refer to the app throughout your trip to access photos, mobile order at select quick service locations, check current weight times and secure day of FastPass+. In addition to current park info and keeping track of your plans and photos, the app lets you shop exclusive Disney merchandise. Make sure you familiarize yourself with it before your departure.
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I personally love the Dining Plan because it eliminates the worry of how much to budget for meals. I really wish Disneyland would get on board with a Dining Plan as well!!!