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5 Steps to Planning a Walt Disney World Vacation

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Five Steps Planning Walt Disney World Vacation

With 47 square miles, the Walt Disney World® Resort is larger than some cities. There are four theme parks, two water parks, two evening entertainment complexes, five golf courses, and over twenty-five resorts. This can be overwhelming to most first time travelers to the Disney World Resort. It’s often overwhelming to those that visit regularly as well!

Here are some tips to help you get started planning your practically perfect Walt Disney World vacation.

Five Steps Planning Walt Disney World VacationStep #1 – Pick your Dates

This is usually one of the hardest decisions when planning your vacation. You have to coordinate everyone’s schedule and then try to find dates that coordinate with low prices, weather, and crowds. There are times of year that Disney will offer additional discounts that will help you save money.



Here are the average temperatures in Orlando to help find the weather temperatures best for you and your family.

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
Average high in °F: 71 73 77 82 88 91
Average low in °F: 50 53 57 62 68 73
Av. precipitation in inch: 2.76 2.83 3.78 2.48 3.31 8.74
Days with precipitation:
Hours of sunshine:
  Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average high in °F: 92 92 89 84 78 72
Average low in °F: 76 76 74 68 60 54
Av. precipitation in inch: 7.09 7.83 6.02 3.31 2.4 2.64
Days with precipitation:
Hours of sunshine:

If your family isn’t used to extreme heat and humidity, chances are you will want to avoid Walt Disney World during the hottest times.

Five Steps Planning Walt Disney World VacationStep #2 – Where to Stay

The Walt Disney World Resort has over twenty five hotels, including Value, Moderate, Deluxe, Deluxe Villas, and campsites. So many options for your family and vacation. When selecting your resort, be sure to choose a resort that fits your budget and fits your family’s vacation plans.

Staying at an on-site Walt Disney World Resort gives you so many extras. Even though it may originally look like the cost is higher you must also take into consideration the following:

Vacation Packages: When you stay at a Disney World hotel, you have the opportunity to purchase a Magic Your Way vacation package. You can add your theme park tickets and even a dining plan to have an all-inclusive vacation experience. Magic Bands give you access to it all with just your band. Walt Disney World Resort will occasionally offer a free dining package which entitles you to a dining plan for free with the purchase of a full priced package.


Complimentary Transportation: You can use Walt Disney World Resort transportation to take you from your hotel to any of the theme parks, the water parks, or Disney Springs, at no additional cost. If you have a vehicle, you will receive a complimentary parking pass for all four theme parks. You can choose from bus, boat, monorail, and other methods of transportation at Disney World to get to your desired destination.

Magical Express: Disney offers complimentary transportation from the Orlando International Airport to your hotel and then back. No need to rent a car when flying into Orlando. Disney’s Magical Express runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Magical Express service will also collect any checked luggage you may have and deliver it to your resort.

Extra Magic Hours: One or more of the theme parks either opens an hour early or stays open two hours late exclusively for guests staying at on-site resorts. 

Magic Bands and My Disney Experience: You can plan and manage your vacation ahead of time with your My Disney Experience account. Customize Magic Bands in your favorite colors and then use your band as your room key, dining credits, parks passes and room charging privileges. The band will be programmed at check in. Schedule your FastPass+ selections before you leave home.

Five Steps Planning Walt Disney World VacationStep #3 – What Tickets to Purchase

Your family must decide what you hope to do before deciding on which park passes to purchase. Disney offers several ticket options, starting with the Basic Ticket called the Magic Your Way Base Ticket. This ticket allows you to visit one park each day. You can select 1 day to 10 days on this Base Ticket, based on the number of days you want to visit the parks.

You can then add some extra options to your Base Ticket. The Park Hopper Option allows you to hop between Disney Theme Parks on the same day. This allows you the most flexibility during your vacation. For example, you can spend the morning at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and then spend the evening at Epcot. Water Parks, Fun & More – This ticket allows you to visit these extra attractions during your vacation. The number of visits for this option is based on the number of days on your tickets.

Step #4 – Dining or No Dining

Disney offers three different dining plans ~ Quick Service Dining Plan, the Basic Dining Plan, and the Deluxe Dining Plan. My favorite is the Basic Dining Plan. It’s the perfect amount of food for my family offering one quick service, one table service and one snack item per day. The dining plan can seem like a lot of money to pre-pay for food but only you can determine if you would really spend that much per person on food (keeping in mind how expensive WDW food is). My family easily spends the cost of the plan and more which is one reason why I am always in Disney Heaven when free dining is offered. It’s a huge savings for my family. If you plan to take advantage of the Disney Dining experiences and character meals then the Disney Dining Plan can easily save you 30% over the cost of paying out of pocket.

Step #5 – Have a General Plan

What does your family really want to do? Without a general plan you will have a more difficult time choosing the right package for your family. Sit down with your family and ask them what they want to do – do they want to move from park to park in one day? Do they want to experience character dining? Will a day at one of the water parks break up your stay? Come up with a general plan of your vacation. This allows you to pick the best package to suit your family.

Once your vacation is booked you will want to make dining reservations, FastPass+ reservations and more! Table service and character meal dining reservations are a MUST and FastPass+ reservations help you make the most of your time in each park.


Kendall Ryder

Wednesday 5th of October 2016

Where to stay is going to be an important part of planning the Disney trip! If you stay in the Disney vicinity, it will make your whole experience Disney-filled! That way you won't ever be away from all of the fun and the magic that Disney World has to offer!