Things you need to know when planning a Disney Holiday

by Becky from Disney in your Day

Planning a trip to Disney can seem like a full-time job – you have to pick out a resort, make dining reservations, FastPasses, book the Magical Express – and if you’re not familiar with it all this, the talk of Disney can seem like a foreign language! Even if you are able to check off the list and do all the things you need to do to plan your trip, you may not always know the best way to go about doing them. As someone who visits Disney World several times a year and works as a travel agent, I’ve learned quite a lot about what’s most important when planning a Disney holiday! So here are some of my key things to keep in mind if you’re looking to head to Orlando!

Things you need to know when planning a Disney holiday

Things you need to know when planning a Disney Holiday

Time of year matters

Some people are most concerned with traveling during the cheapest time of year. Others want to avoid the Florida summer heat, which can be brutal. And still others would like to plan their Disney trips around other events, like RunDisney races or the Food and Wine Festival. The time of year that you go will play a big part in price and crowds so keep your eye on the calendar. I’ve also written a blog post on the Best Months to visit Disney World, which breaks down what to expect each month of the year.

There are three categories of resorts

Disney has over a dozen resorts, and it can be hard to know where to begin when you are looking at them. Luckily their resorts are broken down into three categories: value (about $100-150 a night depending on season), moderate (anywhere from $170-250), and deluxe ($300 and up). Obviously the more you pay, the more amenities you get, the bigger the room is, etc. But if you have a budget in mind, deciding which category you fit into is a good place to start.

There are advantages to staying on Disney property

You might also be considering a hotel outside of Disney property. My recommendation is always to stay with Disney if you can, and there are a couple of reasons why. You get to book your FastPass+ reservations 60 days ahead of time instead of 30 – that means you’ll be much more likely to get the rides and experiences that you want. Lots of things are included with Disney, such as transportation. They not only have buses that run all over property, they have a complimentary service that will pick you up and bring you back to the airport! At a Disney resort you’ll also get free parking if you bring your own car or rent a car, magic bands, and just the intangible advantage of being inside the “Disney bubble” and having a resort with fun theme-ing.

Dining reservations can be booked 6 months ahead of time

Not only can you book your restaurants 180 days before you travel, you probably should if you want to get your top choices. Some of the more popular restaurants really will book up that far ahead of time. Do your research, figure out where you want to eat, and be ready to book once you are 6 months before your trip.

Ariel Disney princess planning a disney vacation

Park hoppers are a great option

Disney charges one fee for “one park per day” tickets, and the charges an extra fee if you want to upgrade to park hopper tickets (the ability to travel between their 4 theme parks in the same day). I highly recommend park hopper tickets if you’re staying for longer than a few days. You have more freedom to go where you want, hit some of your favorite rides again, and take advantage of the parks that might have longer hours.

You don’t have to pay for it all at once

Disney packages only require a $200 deposit at the time of booking – the remainder of the package is due 30 days before you travel. You can make a payment towards your package at any time. So if you want to wait to pay all of it until you are 30 days out you can, but if you want to make monthly payments towards it you can do that as well.

Still feeling overwhelmed about planning a Disney trip? I’m happy to help walk you through it every step of the way, and provide any recommendations you might want! If you’re looking to book a Disney trip and require assistance, just send me an email at and I will be happy to help!

Becky Disney in your dayBecky is the creator and writer of the blog Disney in your Day, where she tries to put a little bit of Disney into your every day life! She visits Disney World several times a year and while she loves everything Disney, she particularly enjoys going to the parks for the food and RunDisney events. She also works as a part-time travel agent specializing in Disney. When she isn’t doing something Disney related, Becky works as a children’s librarian. Her other hobbies include theater, running, and reading. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!

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  • DippyWrites

    This is such a helpful guide, I had no idea you didn’t have to pay it all upfront!

  • I have never been to Disney before and had no idea about half of this stuff! Thank you so so SO much for sharing!!!!!

    • I’m so glad you liked it, Hayle! You’ll have to add Disney to your bucket list! 🙂

  • Kassie- The Fly Away Life

    Love this! My mom is a Disney fanatic so we have traveled there often in the past and all of these tips are spot on.

    Just went for the first time since Magic Bands came out and I’m not sure I’m a fan. Don’t really like the book fast passes in advance feature but I’m sure I’ll get used to it. So many glitches still!

    • That’s so cool – you’re a lucky girl, Kassie!

      I definitely agree, Kassie. I love MagicBands, but not the FastPass+ service. Too many things that could go wrong!