Month: March 2017

Planning for a trip to the World – Part 2

In part 1 of my post, How to plan a trip to Disney World, I discussed Step 1: Where to Start and Step 2: When to Go.  If you need to go back and read that post click HERE

Photo credit: Disney

Step THREE:  Where to stay is best answered by the question, “Do I want to save TIME or MONEY?”  There are significant off-site properties, but those won’t be discussed in this post.  For information and possible discount options for off-site properties, check out this post about one of my favorite sites, MouseSavers.  (Click HERE)

Mousesavers.com

Disney separates their resorts into 3 categories:  Value, Moderate and Deluxe.  Value resorts are the least expensive basic option, however they are also located further away from the theme parks and have fewer perks.  They are still a great option for traveling to WDW as you are still in the ‘Disney bubble,’ however room size, transportation options and amenities are just less.  Value resorts include All-Star Movies, All-Star Music, All-Star Sports, and Pop Century.

Moderate resorts are the ‘middle of the road’ option and offer slightly larger rooms, better transportation options and upgraded amenities such on-site restaurants.  In the Moderate category includes the following resorts:  Art of Animation, Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, Port Orleans-French Quarter and Port Orleans-Riverside.

Courtyard at Port Orleans-French Quarter
Pool area at Port Orleans-French Quarter

 

Deluxe resorts tend to save you in time as they are closer to the resorts, however they also cost significantly more than the other categories.  Deluxe resorts include:  Animal Kingdom Lodge, Beach Club, Boardwalk Inn, Contemporary Resort, Grand Floridian, Polynesian Resort, Wilderness Lodge and Yacht Club (though separate, it is connected to the Beach Club).

Wilderness Lodge

There are two other options not listed above.  These include the Disney Vacation Club and Fort Wilderness Campgrounds.  Disney Vacation Club is the ‘timeshare’ for Disney, where owners use points to pay for their accommodations.  It is possible to rent points if you want to try staying in a DVC Deluxe Villa before purchasing a contract.  Fort Wilderness Campgrounds offer traditional campsites, RV hook-ups and ‘cabins.’

Fort Wilderness ‘cabin’

Step FOUR: Create a plan is where you begin to decide the framework of your Disney vacation.  Details such as which park to go to, where to eat and which rides to Fast Pass (FP+) are important, but realize that this is a work in progress as you will have to adjust your timeline as it gets closer to your trip, once updated information becomes available.

Start with checking park hours on Disney’s website to choose your theme park for the day, then where you want to go.  Once you know where you will be, you can start deciding on FP+ options.  FP+ allows Disney’s guests to choose 3 attractions and use a special entrance to bypass waiting.  You will have to choose a timeframe for your passes and once you use all 3, you can request additional ones, one at a time on that day.  You won’t have to make your FP+ options until 60 days out for on-site guests and 30 days out for off-site guests.

Also, important is deciding where to eat for table-service dining plans.  Currently, Disney’s timeline requires on-site guests to decide where they will eat by making dining reservations at 180 days before the trip.  For certain must-do eateries like Be Our Guest or Cinderella’s Royal Table, it is imperative that you make them at 180 days to guarantee a spot.

Be Our Guest restaurant in WDW

I know this is a LOT of information, but take it step-by-step and you’ll get there 🙂  My next post will address Step 5: RESEARCH and Step 6: Special Events.

Have fun!

How to plan a trip to Walt Disney World

I’m frequently asked where to begin when planning a trip to my favorite place, so it’s time to write it all down for you 🙂

Photo credit: Disney

Step ONE in planning a trip to the World is getting a FREE Disney Parks DVD.  When you order the DVD, you will also get online access to the same DVD footage, so you can start your planning right away.  If this is your first trip (or maybe your fifty-ith) you may want to consider working with a knowledgeable travel agent.  I frequently plan my own trip, however, on occasion it is nice to give someone else your details and let them take care of the rest.  There’s no additional cost for you and plenty of great benefits such as knowing my agent can make all kinds of changes to my reservation if necessary.

Step TWO is deciding what time of year works for your schedule.  Each time of year has its own pros and cons.  January used to be a pretty light month, however if you are going during Marathon weekend, a RunDisney event, expect summertime-sized crowds.

February is a good choice, but park hours may be limited and there may be more refurbishments happening during this month as they ramp up for summer.  March is busy most of the time due to Spring Break, which happens almost every week with people from across the US.  April is surprisingIy busy due to Easter holidays and the Flower & Garden Festival, but still less busy than the summer months.

 

May is the start of summer season, but you can still get around the World without too much difficulty.  June through August is pretty nutso.  I personally hate going in the summer due to the excessive heat and incredible crowds, however it works for my family due to the kids’ school schedule, so we make do.  September is one of my favorite times, but expect frequent rain showers and there is always the possibility of hurricanes.  October and November are my absolute favorite months to travel to WDW because of the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and the International Food & Wine Festival.

  

We also got married at WDW in November, so I’m definitely partial to going during November.  December is absolutely heavenly with the decorations and wonderful Christmas treats.

Check out my next post for Step THREE (where to stay) and Step FOUR (create a plan).

Have fun!