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
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.
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 BeckyG@castledreamstravel.com and I will be happy to help!
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