Planning a trip to Walt Disney World can be overwhelming! So many options, so many things to see and do, where do you start?
Time of Year
The first thing to think about is the time of year you would like to go or that you can go. The busiest times are typically when schools are out and around holidays (i.e. Christmas/New Years, Thanksgiving, summer, spring break, etc.). The slowest times are typically, the second week of November, December, or January. The last week of January into the first week of February is also pretty slow. December, January and February tend to be a little chilly with the lows being around 48 and the highs around 70 degrees. And in the middle of summer, the average is 72 degrees as a low and 89 degrees as a high.
Other than the crowds and weather, another thing to consider are the events that are taking place during the various times of year. I will touch on that more a little later. My favorite time to go is in the fall, either in October or November/December. In October it's still pretty warm so enjoying the water parks and pools is still possible. I also enjoy the International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot that happens in October through November. But In November and December you get to experience the parks and resorts decorated for the holidays. It's beautiful! And definitely puts you in the holiday spirit.
If you are flexible in your arrival and departure days, it’s best to look at mid-week for flights. Monday and Fridays tend to be busy with business travelers and weekends are filled with vacationers.
Most of us have an idea of how much we want to spend on vacation. It’s possible to plan a great Disney vacation on a shoe-string budget or by pulling out all the stops. Understanding how much you want to spend in total will help your vacation planner point you in the direction of what resorts will fit well into your budget, and what experiences will be of interest.
A great way to save is through a Disney Vacation Account. Check out all the benefits at disneyvacationaccount.com
Are you one to enjoy the resort amenities or is it just a place to lay your head after a long day? There are difference between the three levels of resorts at Walt Disney World Resort.
The Value Resorts standard rooms have two double beds or one king size bed. The resort itself will have a quick-service dining option and of course, a pool. The theming is larger than life and features many of the Disney characters.
The Moderate Resorts standard rooms have two queen beds or one king size bed. They also are upgrading many of them to also have a Murphy bed so the room will sleep 5. The rooms are also a bit larger than the value resort rooms. The resort will have a quick-service and a table service dining option. The Moderate Resorts also have pools. There is typically more green space at these resorts compared to the Value Resorts. And the theming is a little more serene than the Value Resorts.
The Deluxe Resorts standard rooms have two queen beds or one king size bed. These rooms will be a little larger than the moderates. The biggest difference is going to be in the common areas of the resorts. Almost all the Deluxe Resorts have at least two table-service dining options and many of them are Signature Dining Restaurants. They are also much grander than the moderates or values. Some examples of the deluxe accommodations are, at the Grand Floridan Resort and Spa has a live jazz band that plays on the second story of the lobby in the evening. The pool at the Yacht and Beach Clubs has a sand bottom and a lazy circular river. From the Yacht and Beach Club and Boardwalk you can walk to Epcot. And you are a monorail ride away from the Magic Kingdom at the Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, or Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Each Deluxe Resort has it’s own unique perks.
You also need to decide what parks are you going to go to and how many days will you spend at each. If you take a look at ticket prices you’ll see that the more days you add the less you pay per day.
And don’t forget the water parks! Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Disney’s Blizzard Beach are great ways of cooling off and they have many unique and fun experiences.
And finally, are you likely to want to go to two parks in one day? Then the Park Hopper option should be added to your tickets.
Fantastic food can be found around Disney property and planning your dining reservations early will ensure that you are able to find at table at a time that suits you. Disney Dining reservations can be made up to 180 days prior to your arrival date.
Character dining is a great way to avoid waiting in line to see your favorite characters and enjoy great dining. Many of these experiences are popular and fill up fast so plan ahead!
Disney also has a few different dining plans that you can add to your package that allows you to include some if not all of your food for your length of stay. Depending on your family’s eating habits and what dining experiences you are looking for, it can be a great value.
Events and Tours
There are many events and festivals throughout the year, from running events to the International Flower and Garden Festival, to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party to Star Wars Weekends. Check them all out at:
Some events require separate admission while others are included in regular theme park admission.
Tours are also a special way to see the parks. A guide will take you around various areas of the parks and share the stories, history or inner-workings of that area.
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is another very popular offering. Fairy Godmothers-in-training turns your little one into a princess. The prices range from around $60-$200.
La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil - “Treat yourself to an evening like none other. Mesmerizing performances, breaktaking acrobatics, moving live music and extraordinary imagination date to make the impossible, possible.”
This is just a broad strokes list of things to think about as you are starting to plan. The main things to know when you book are:
-Your arrival and departure dates
-The hotel you would like to stay at and one alternative (just in case your first choice is not available)
-How many days you would like to go to the park, if you want to go to the water parks, and whether you want a park hopper ticket
-Are you interested in a dining plan