Booking a Disney vacation isn’t a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of trip. It takes careful planning and thorough research to get it right. There are many things to consider.
For instance, will you stay at a value, moderate, or deluxe resort hotel? How many days should you reserve park hopper passes? Is it worth it for your family to purchase the meal plan?
This is only the tip-of-the-iceberg so to speak. There are also other accommodations to think about.
This doesn’t need to be stressful though. It can be fun! Here is a simple guide for how to plan your Disney Vacation.
Preparing for Your Trip
The first thing you’ll want to do is to head to the Disney World site. From here, you can set up your My Disney Experience account.
This account gives you options to choose, such as dates, park hopper passes, dining plans, and fast pass rides.
Different times of the year will have different prices. Disney World tends to be most popular during spring break, Christmastime, and the summer.
Choosing dates outside of these times can be beneficial. October, January, and February are great months in Orlando when the weather is warm but less humid.
You’ll want to set a budget and look up airfare. This will help you with deciding what’s best for your family.
Disney World has many options for lodging. You can choose to stay in a Disney resort, off-campus, rent a timeshare, or even rent a Disney Vacation Club property. While you may save money staying off-campus, there are some included amenities to choosing to stay on-campus.
Whether you stay at a value, moderate, or deluxe resort, you’ll receive:
- Magic Bands – This is your key to Disney that has your tickets, hotel room key, FastPass+ access, and linked credit card for dining and snacking on it
- FastPass+ – staying on campus allows you to reserve three rides per day for FastPass+ in any of the four theme parks so you can plan your day easier
- Extra Magic Hours – all guests who stay on-campus receive bonus hours either before or after park hours where your family gets to have a magical experience without all the lines
- Photo Pass – When you stay on-campus you have access to professional photographers who are stationed throughout the parks to provide amazing photos even from your own camera
- Free Delivery of Souvenirs – Purchase any souvenir in the park and it will be sent to your hotel room free of charge so you don’t get stuck carrying it around the park
- Free shuttles to the Park – Staying on-campus allows you to use Disney World shuttles free of charge making it easy to come and go as you please
Of course, If you’d rather skip out on these unique benefits—BE OUR GUEST.
If you have multiple families coming together, or even if you like to have your space once your out of the parks, consider a Disney Vacation Club rental! Some rentals can fit up to 15 people comfortably and come loaded with style, comfort, and a “magic” touch.
To learn more about renting a Disney Vacation Club property, check out this page.
Should You Buy the Dining Plan?
Let’s face it, many families are different. Some families LOVE to eat! They get excited about the idea of dining in restaurants and talking over the day from the table. Other families – well, they don’t.
Depending on which family you have may help you decide whether the meal plan is right for you.
Here are some of the dining plans that Disney World offers:
- Disney Dining Plan – one quick meal and one table meal each day
- Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan – two quick-service meals per day at 100+ different locations on campus
- Disney Dining Plan Plus – a kind of choose-your-own-adventure dining plan where you can choose two quick-service meals, two table meals, or mix-and-match using two meal credits per day
- Disney Deluxe Dining Plan – Similar to plus, but with three meal credits per day
No one knows your family like you. Only you can know which plan is best for your family, but hopefully, this helps you understand your options when it comes to the dining plans.
If you have the type of family you have to drag out to a restaurant, this may not be for you. However, if your family delights in going out to eat, this can be a great option.
The average family of 4 will spend between $70 and $200 per day at the park counting breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The dining plan is recommended if you think you will spend more than $60 per day per person.
If you do purchase the dining plan, you want to make reservations around six months ahead of time, because restaurants book up fast!
One of the big advantages of booking a trip through My Disney Experience is the opportunity to choose your FastPass+ rides in advance. While other visitors can choose 30 days prior, My Disney Experience customers get to choose 2 months in advance.
This is HUGE because many popular rides can book up fast! Bypassing lines at the most popular rides saves time and offers you the flexibility to map out your route for the park.
With three rides each day, you’ll save loads of time waiting on long lines.
Planning Itinerary for a Magical Vacation
When it comes to booking a Disney vacation, it’s important to be prepared. Follow these tips for pulling off a magical trip:
Six Months Out
- Pick travel dates
- Reserve your lodging
- Book dining reservations
Three to Four Months Out
- Decide on tickets
- Purchase for season events (optional)
- Check park hours
Two Months Out
- Make sure everyone has a My Disney Experience Account for FastPass+ booking FastPass+
- Book FastPass+ passes
- Add flight information to your Disney’s Magical Express transportation
One Week Out
- Complete online check-in
- Download Disney Suite apps
- Cancel any dining reservations you don’t plan on using
That’s it! We know it’s a LOT of information, but hopefully, this helps you on your way to creating a magical experience for your whole family.
How to Plan Your Disney Vacation
We hope this article helps you learn how to plan your Disney vacation for an amazing experience.
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