Once upon a time, one could visit Walt Disney World with very little advanced planning. This is no longer the case! Whether it’s your first time to Walt Disney World or your fiftieth, there are a lot of steps to making your vacation great. And if you do most of the planning that is involved before you arrive in Central Florida, you’ll be well on your way to the magic! Hopefully your trip is far enough in the future to really plan it out well, but even if it’s later or last-minute you’ll still need to do some planning.
In this series of blog posts I’m going to take you from day one (deciding to take the trip) all the way through to stepping onto Main Street, USA for the first (or thousandth) time.
Step One- Contact an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.
You’ll be glad you did! There’s so much information on the Internet; some of it is wrong and outdated. A travel planner who specializes in Disney vacations will be there to guide you through each step, including (but not limited to) where to dine, which attractions will work best for your family, where to stay, how long, etc. That’s to say- each step I’m outlining in this series but personalized to YOU! Most planners do this at no cost to you though some do charge a planning fee. It’s up to you to decide which type you prefer.
Step Two- Decide When to Go.
What time of year you visit Walt Disney World can make a huge impact on your trip. Crowd levels (which really aren’t ever low anymore) can make a big difference sometimes. If you are visiting in the summer or the week between Christmas and New Year’s you’re going to have more crowds than the first week of September or the first week of May. If you’re tied to the school calendar then the crowds will be higher. Weather could also be a factor in your decision on when to visit Walt Disney World. It’s hot and humid in Orlando for most of the year!
Step Three- Decide How Long of a Visit.
The average length of stay at Walt Disney World is 6 nights. Much depends on vacation time and cost, sure, but you truly need 5-6 days to do most things. Longer if you want to go to water parks, have a pool day, go off-site to other theme parks such as Universal Orlando or Sea World, etc.
Step Four- To Park Hop or Not To Park Hop.
I am of the opinion that you should always have the option to park hop on your tickets! It is more expensive to have that option, but it allows for more flexibility, especially when you have multiple dining reservations in different places, or when there is a festival at Epcot and you want to pop over and eat around the world. It’s just smart!
Step Five- Decide Where to Stay.
The main question here is on-site or off-site. Off site may seem less expensive overall but when you add in the cost of a rental car and other fees it might not be. Plus you really do miss all of the amazing benefits of a Walt Disney World Resort hotel if you don’t stay in one. And with so many hotels to choose from (and more to come) you’re in excellent hands by deciding to stay on-site!
There’s still a lot more to cover and it will all be explained over the next few weeks! Stay tuned next week for “How to Choose A Walt Disney World Hotel.”