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)

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 theme parks, 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 be able 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!


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