Planning A Disney Vacation: Best Web Sites, Hotels And More

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Going to Disney World can seem like a huge challenge to many. However, following a few guidelines can make it your best vacation ever. It will be a trip that both you and your family talk about in years to come. The key is that once you have decided to visit Mickey, you will need a plan. This plan can be as specific as you need it to be to fit your family’s needs. However, there are a few guidelines that everyone should follow.

If you do a search on the Internet, you will find many Web sites that offer information about Disney World. Of course there is but that is only the tip of the iceberg. The Web site I found to be most helpful when planning our 2005 vacation was This Web site contains forums where people who truly love Disney hang out. Any question you may have will be answered here. You can obtain ideas on how to make your trip as simple or elegant as you want. They offer information on budget savings ideas to where to stay. Use the Internet to research everything you ever wanted to know about a Disney vacation and then some.

Now that you are going to Disney you need a place to lay your head at the end of the day. Disney offers accommodations for all types of families and budgets. The lower accommodations include the Value hotels, such as Pop Century, All Star Sports, Music and Movie to the high end accommodations of the Grand Floridian. Where you stay is going to be up to your budget and what you want for a Disney experience. We personally stayed at Pop Century and loved it. Prices for accommodations will range from $82 a night to over $200 depending on the time of year you visit the world.

Next is how are you getting to Disney? If you choose to fly into Orlando, now is the time to start pricing out airline tickets. Do not rely on just your favorite airline. Check all the airlines that departs from your hometown to Orlando, you never know what deal may come up. Also book early, since you are going to get a better price. Make sure to check the airlines policy if you tickets should sell for a lower price later on. One of the advantages to flying is that Disney offers free ground transportation to your hotel from the Orlando airport. You do not even have to stop at the baggage claim. All you do is show up at the Disney Transportation desk, check in and your off. You bags will “magically” appear in your room a few hours later. This is a great way to get a jump on the parks if you arrive early in the day. If you are traveling with small children one less hassle in the airport.

You may want to book one of the many packages Disney has to offer. These packages include your hotel, ground transportation and tickets. The nice thing is even though it is a package deal you can customize the package to fit your families needs. Disney also gives another little perks for booking a package such as a free 5×7 photo and luggage tags. How fun to get luggage tags from Disney that can be used long after your trip is over? One of the choices with the package is how many days you want park tickets for you? Do you want to visit ever park or just a few. Also you can add on choices such as water parks or Disney Quest (the ultimate video game arena). You can have your tickets very basic, just go to one park a day or you can add the option to hop from park to park – the hopper pass. Either way your tickets will be customized to fit your needs.

Another option to consider adding on to your package is the Disney dining plan. In order to have the dining plan you must stay on site and have at least a 1 day base ticket. The dining plan provides a counter service meal, sit down meal and snack each day to every person in your party for the duration of your stay. This can be a great budget tool for those looking to try some of Disney’s expensive restaurants or who like to do a lot of Character meals. It is nice to show up on vacation and know that most of your meals are paid for. We used this plan and loved it. My son was a big eater and he wanted to try some expensive places. So the dining plan worked perfect for us.

Whether you choose the dining plan or not it is important to make reservations for all your sit down or character meals. So many people do not realize this should be done 90 days before you even leave on your trip. You can call Disney dining to make those reservations right over the phone. Please do not plan on winging your character meals or sit down dinners when you get to Disney. These all fill up fast and there is seldom any walk up service. If you are going during a major holiday you will find yourself eating burgers instead of a turkey dinner if you fail to make reservations. You can find out more information about the food Disney has to offer at Not only does it give you the menu choices at each restaurant but also the cost. This can help decide is the dining plan a good budget deal for your family.

There are many on-line resources as well as books to make your Disney Vacation a “magical” one. My family and I used not only the online resources but also discussed what did we want from our trip. Using the guidelines above made our trip stress free and a lot of fun. I hope you have a “magical” time at Disney World.


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