Thursday, August 1, 2013
This Mom's Steps to Planning Your Disney Vacation!!!
Ok - So you have made the happy decision to plan a Disney World vacation! Well, who doesn't want to have the most magical time at Disney as possible?? Here are the first 4 steps to planning your dream vacation!
With each step - please DO YOUR RESEARCH!!
Step 1 - CHOOSE YOUR DATES CAREFULLY!
First look at a predicted crowd calendar for the year you are going and choose your week wisely. For example, HERE is the 2014 Crowd calender from www.yourfirstvisit.com.
If you have school age children you will have to decide whether to pull them out of school only look at weeks when they are out of school already. Obviously the most crowded times of the year are also peek season in prices so you are spending more money to wait in lines longer (and I am talking about hours of waiting) than the low season times.
Step 2- CHOOSE YOUR RESORT THOUGHTFULLY!
In Choosing a Disney resort, there is much to consider - Price, location, accommodations... This will be a large chunk of your budget, and granted you will spend most of your time at Disney World away from your resort, but you should make your resort selection with much research. First you will need to narrow down your search by deciding if you are headed for a Value, Moderate, or Deluxe resort based on their prices and level of accommodations for the number of people in your traveling party.
To get a good idea of what you will be paying, run some different scenarios on Disney's website, (This is why it is good to have your date already decided because you will need to enter that in to get accurate pricing for the resort during your vacation time).
Once you have your eye on 2 or 3 resort options that fit your needs, go out there to the WWW and start looking them up. It's not enough to just read what Disney says about their own resorts, read what others have said too.
Step 3- CHOOSE YOUR HOW MANY DAYS FOR YOUR TICKETS & ADD ANY OPTIONS!
OK - Once the dates and resort finalized - this is when the real fun begins! Choosing tickets!! WOO HOO!
-You can choose to have a base ticket (which gets you into one park, one day)
-or add the Park Hopper option (which allows you to go from park to park on the same day, as many times as you wish)
-or add the Water Park Fun & More option (which allows you the same number of visits to Disney Water parks and Disney putt-putts as the number of days you are staying... for example - 5 Day tickets with the Water park Fun & more option allows your 5 visits to water parks and putt putts)
-or you can go for the whole sha-bang and get the Park Hopper and Water Park Fun and More All together.
Obviously, each time you add an "option" to your base ticket, the price per day increases. But, it is good to know that the more days you buy tickets for, the less they are per day.
-One more option to throw in there is the Non-expiring option. This is attractive to those who are paying for tickets that may not all get used this trip, in which case, you can always use them your next trip.
***PLEASE NOTE**** In my opinion, you should plan for your number of days conservatively, because you can always just pay the difference to add on another day or two to your tickets ONCE YOU GET TO DISNEY! So why not save on the front end and if you get down there and decide you'd like another day in the parks, just pay the extra $$ per person. In the same way, you can always ADD THE NON-EXPIRING option once you get down there. If someone from your party is sick or for whatever reason, all your paid for tickets are not used, simply take them to the resort front desk and they can add on the non-expiration option for any of the days not used.
Step 4- DECIDE ON DINING AND MAKE RESERVATIONS!
First things first, you will need to decide if the Disney Dining Plan is for you and which one to get! (I go into more detail about my opinion of why the Disney dining plan is awesome HERE if you are interested in reading)
Here are the different levels of Disney Dining Plan
Quick Service Dining plan includes:
Two Quick Service Meals, per night of your resort stay
One Snack, per night of your resort stay
One refillable mug
Plus Dining Plan includes:
1 table service entitlement, per night of your resort stay. The table service meal will include an entrée, dessert and non-alcoholic beverage per guest.
1 counter service entitlement, per night of your resort stay. The counter service meal includes the same things outlined for the quick service dining plan.
1 snack, per night of your resort stay
1 refillable mug, per guest
Deluxe Dining Plan includes:
3 meals, per night of your resort stay
2 snacks, per night of your resort stay
1 refillable mug
Once you have decided about your dining options, you will need to be prepared to make any reservations up to 180 days before your trip! Definitely consider Character Dining if you have young kids with you! (Read more about my opinion of the different character dining options HERE)
You can look through all the dining options here:
Hope this has been helpful! Let the magic begin!!