Planning a Disney World trip can be overwhelming, especially for first-time visitors. The entire resort spans around 43 square miles (111 square kilometers)—almost twice the size of Manhattan! Thus, preparation is key to ensuring a fun and exciting experience for you and your family.
Disney World offers tons of magical activities, thrilling attractions, and mouthwatering restaurants you can’t find elsewhere. It’s almost impossible to get a glimpse of everything even with many trips, let alone a visit to the resort. This is why planning early and deciding what to prioritize during the trip is crucial.
If you don’t know where to start, you’re on the right page! This post will guide you to planning a great Disney World trip step-by-step, especially as this adventure is becoming increasingly difficult to tackle each year. There are plenty of things to know and understand, and this article will serve as your go-to resource.
If you’re ready, get started and scroll those buttons down!
Buying Disney Tickets In Advance
Ticket prices are typically the same regardless of when you make the purchase, but they vary by when you visit. Also, tickets usually don’t sell out, but they might do twice a year. You might be able to buy your tickets a day before your trip, but this isn’t advisable. This is because of Parks Pass Reservations, a common obstacle for every Disney World trip. Therefore, grab your tickets as soon as possible to lock in your vacation.
It’s a good idea to buy your Disney tickets in advance, as you currently have to book the dates you plan to attend the parks, so you don’t want to arrive and find the date you wanted was full. When buying tickets, consider the bonuses you get with the price, and whether or not you could save by purchasing access to multiple parks at once. These Disney tickets from Orlando Attractions include access to all the Disney parks, and include both Disney Genie and Memory Makers in the price, making them good value.
Considering Your Budget
On average, a Disney World vacation will cost around USD$5,240 for a family of four. This price may already include the following:
- Quick-service meals
- Genie+ service
- Disney value resort (a 7-night hotel stay)
- Standard theme park tickets (a 6-day stay)
Like any other trip, you need to plan for additional expenses like upgrades, extensions, souvenirs, and transportation costs. You might also need to save by shortening your vacays, spending away from parks, staying off-site, or visiting during off-seasons.
Unfortunately, many families end up drowning in debt to experience the magical and magnificent world of Walt Disney. Don’t be like them.
Of course, you’ll never know the budget you need until you decide where to stay, eat, etc. Now might be an excellent time to consider how much you can spend on this vacation. This way, you won’t be left with massive credit card bills.
Choosing A Hotel
Choosing a hotel for your Walt Disney trip involves two steps. First, decide whether to stay in a Disney hotel. Then, pick what type of accommodation you want.
What is a Disney hotel? It’s an accommodation owned and managed by Disney. Also, it’s staffed by Disney employees and has restaurants included in the Disney Dining Plan. On the other hand, a non-Disney hotel is any hotel within the property of Disney.
Here are some benefits of staying at a Disney hotel:
- Daily access to early theme park entry
- Evening hour access on select nights (for deluxe resorts only)
- Free transportation to Disney Springs and Disney parks (regular transit only)
- Disney hotel park pass
- Magical, magnificent Disney hotel experience
Of course, staying at a Disney hotel comes at a price. You might need to pay 40-50% more compared to regular hotels within the amusement park.
Booking An Accommodation
Booking hotels isn’t the same as buying tickets. Choosing a third-party discount option for your accommodation is not always a good idea. Instead, compare your prospects’ prices, offers, and features.
If you want to book directly through Disney, experts recommend using a Disney vacation planner. The travel agent will track your reservation and make necessary changes if better offers from Disney appear.
If you don’t want to work with an authorized travel agent, compare the hotel prices in Disney. Sometimes, they keep these details hidden.
However, if you want to book through a third-party service, confirm your booking directly with the hotel. The best way is to link your reservation to your Disney account.
Booking A Flight
Here are some tips to consider when booking a flight to Disney World:
- Choose Orlando International Airport (MCO)
There’s only one reason you should choose Orlando International Airport: low-cost flights. Booking a flight to MCO is significantly cheaper, considering other factors like transportation costs going to and from the amusement park.
- Check Your Transit Time
Consider booking a flight with an arrival time of at least two and a half hours earlier. For example, arriving at 2:30 p.m. might get you to the park by 5:00 p.m. Hopping on a carpool could help you save as much as 45 minutes more.
- Keep An Eye On Your Luggage
Are you planning to buy tons of souvenirs at Disney World? If you do, make you consider having an extra suitcase. This is crucial for visitors flying on a low-cost plane, where the costs of adding a single bag can be massive.
Booking Dining Reservations In Advance
Secure your dining reservations at Disney up to 60 days in advance. Reservations start at 7:00 a.m. (Eastern Time) but may be available as early as 5:00 a.m. This is especially important when it comes to dining at the most popular Disney restaurants.
If you need some dining ideas, visit Walt Disney World’s page for the list of top-tier restaurants.
Exploring the magical world of Disney is one of life’s greatest experiences. However, planning a vacation in this magnificent spot can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! Use this guide when planning a Disney World trip and make your dreams come true.