How to plan your Walt Disney World Vacation

IMG_1464Let’s begin by saying that planning a trip to Walt Disney World can be quite a task. We’ve broken it down into 6 posts to help you plan.

  1. When to go to Disney World and how to get there
  2. Where to stay and what kind of package to buy
  3. Booking your trip
  4. When to make dining reservations and where to eat
  5. What is FastPass + and how to maximize it
  6. What to pack and plan on for your trip

But let’s start at the beginning:

When are you going?

This decision will affect so many things about your trip.

  • Are you taking your kids out of school? – Consider going around a state holiday or when your kids have an extra day off.
  • Consider going when the parks are decorated for special occasions:
  • Do you want to go when the parks are less busy? Although Disney does a great job of bringing guests to their parks during all the seasons the best times to visit the parks if you are looking for fewer people is the second half of August, weekdays in October and November (except for the week of Thanksgiving). Undercover Tourist gives a great outline here.
  • When are they offering deals on your room or meal plan? Disney offers deals each season but not until the timing is closer. This is why you may want to book your trip but not make the final payment until 30 days before the trip. This will allow you to request the deal after it is advertised.

If you choose to go during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Frozen Summer, or Star Wars Weekends it will affect the number of park tickets you buy. Some of these events have special tickets that allow you to visit the park with a limited number of guests during special hours. We have found this is the best time to ride some of the busy rides because there aren’t so many people in the park. We have been to both the Halloween and Christmas Parties and they are by far our favorite times to be in the Magic Kingdom. Fewer people are in the parks, there are 2 parades and fireworks so ride lines disappear. We rode Splash Mountain with our oldest son 3 times in a row without getting out of our log. We finally bailed on the fourth ride because we were so wet. If there is a party, we recommend getting a ticket but take one day off your park pass and enjoy Downtown Disney or the pool at your hotel the morning of your party ticket. The Frozen and Star Wars events are included in your park ticket but can affect the number of Anna’s, Elsa’s and Chewbacca’s in those parks.

How are you getting to central Florida?

Domestic Airlines that fly to MCO Orlando International Airport (and allow you to take Disney’s Magical Express):

Jet Blue
US Airways
Virgin America
Sun Country
Silver Airways

You can return a rental car on Disney property. Alamo and National Rental Cars have a shared location at the Car Care Center. If you are planning a day trip and only need a car for the day, a car can be rented here.

You can even take Amtrak from all over the United States to Orlando. But the cheapest seats tend to cost twice a much as flying and it takes almost 4 days to get from the west coast to Orlando.


Step 2 Where to stay and what kind of Vacation Package to purchase……

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