My friends and family all know that I’m a huge Disney freak – and they know how much I travel. Because of this, I’m usually the go-to person when they have questions about Disney parks. Since starting this blog I’ve also encountered lots of people who have no idea where to start.
It may seem daunting and overwhelming, planning a Disney vacation. In actuality, it’s very easy once you figure out the basics! Below are the top 5 questions I get asked about planning a Walt Disney World vacation. This is just a quick summary, and I will update this post as I create more posts specifically correlating to these questions. In the meantime, here is a break down of the top 5 questions that you probably have as well if you’re a Disney newbie. Don’t worry, I’m here to be your pixie guide!
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1. How Much Does it Cost to Go to Disney?
This is the #1 question I get, hands down. Cost is obviously a HUGE factor that will make or break a family vacation. Many people avoid Disney because of this specific reason. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to answer this question because there are many MANY variables that determine the cost of your trip. Some of these factors include:
- What time of year you travel
- How many people are in your family
- Whether or not you do add ons (Disney Dining Plan, Park Hopper, etc)
- Which resort you stay at
And this doesn’t even include airfare or transportation from MCO.
Still, to give you a rough estimate, here is the cost for a family of four, in the first week of June 2019:
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – 7 days, 6 nights. 5 day park ticket with Park Hopper Option and the Disney Dining Plan = $4560
So it’s true that Disney is no cheap endeavor. As you can see, I put a few add ons in that package, such as Park Hopper and the Disney Dining Plan. These are things you can skip for a cheaper price.
If you need help planning and want the cheapest option possible, I recommend calling a Disney travel agent or simply playing around with the deals on the Walt Disney World website yourself. Here are some tips on how to save big bucks on your Disney vacation – and a few secrets on how to get discounts before you travel!
2. When is the Best Time to Visit?
Again, this is mostly down to personal preference. I like to go during the Value Season, when it is the cheapest and least crowded. It’s a little cooler in Florida during this time, but I’m willing to sacrifice for cheaper rates. However, if you’re not able to take off time during the school year, you might want to visit during the summer or during school breaks.
Some people LOVE visiting during the holidays, and others would rather experience the plague than the lines at Disney during Christmas. It really comes down to a few things:
- Which is the more important factor for you – cost? Weather? Crowds?
- When can you realistically take time off of work to travel?
- How much are you willing to spend on airfare? (I always suggest looking at travel sites such as Expedia, which gives you cash back on eBates and can help if you’re tight on the budget!)
3. What are the Differences in the Resorts?
Disney has many different options for resort hotels to fit any kind of budget. The cheapest hotels are the Value Resorts. The next step up is the Moderate Resorts, followed by the Deluxe Resorts. The Deluxe Resorts also have the option to stay in a villa, which includes a kitchen and multiple beds/bathrooms. This will be where you stay if you are a Disney Vacation Club member.
Value Resorts are just as their name says – the value option. They’re the cheapest, but also pack the most people into the smallest amount of space. You won’t find character or luxury dining at these hotels, but if all you’re looking for is a place to sleep, these are a great choice. Moderate resorts are more spread out for a bit more cash, and often have nice theming and a few more dining and recreation options. Finally, Deluxe Resorts are the the whole package – lots of dining, shopping, and recreation right at your fingertips. They’re often very close to the parks as well and have additional travel options including boats or even the monorail!
4. Which Ticket Add Ons Should I Get?
Disney just updated their ticket add ons to two options – Park Hopper and Park Hopper Plus. If you purchase just a basic ticket, you get one park a day. You can exit and re-enter as you please, but you can’t go from Magic Kingdom to Hollywood Studios.
Park Hopper allows you to bounce from park to park during the same day. Yes, you can even go to ALL FOUR parks if you’re feeling daring! This is great if you want to start the morning at Magic Kingdom, go back to your hotel for a nap, and close out the night at Hollywood Studios. Park Hopper Plus, their newest option, gives you that option as well as admission to the water parks. The ticket gives you 5 total visits, so you can spread the water park visits out however you please.
5. Do I Need the Disney Dining Plan?
The Disney Dining Plan is personally one of my favorite aspects of Disney. I LOVE not having to think about the cost of meals while I’m at the parks. The Dining Plan comes in three different levels:
- Quick Service Plan: Each person gets 2 snacks a day, plus 2 Quick Service meals
- Dining Plan: Each person gets 2 snacks a day, 1 Quick Service Meal, and 1 Table Service meal
- Deluxe Dining Plan: Each person gets 3 meals (quick service OR table service) per day plus 2 snacks
There are a lot of things to consider before purchasing the Dining plan. For example, “snacks” include beverages – even water bottles. So your Dole Whip and a water bottle? That’s your two snack credits right there. Some restaurants also require more than one table service credit (like Be Our Guest at dinner). This will obviously leave you one day short, so you have to either pay out of pocket OR just skip that meal.
The best way to judge whether or not you’ll need the plan is to ask yourself – are you REALLY going to eat all that food? I could never imagine getting the Deluxe Plan. If you want to sit down and calculate your projected cost per meal to compare, you can, but I find it almost always ends up saving you money.
In addition, remember the Dining Plan does NOT include tips!
Planning a Disney vacation can seem like a huge undertaking. It is true that there are so many aspects to planning the trip – but if you put in the time, and do your research, you’ll be able to plan an amazing vacation for your whole family. Yes, you CAN do it – even if you’ve never been to Disney before! I hope that these questions gave you a baseline on where to go for your own trip planning needs.
Any additional questions? I would LOVE to help! Drop it in the comments! For more Disney content be sure to subscribe to my newsletter for post updates! Additionally, you’ll get my FREE WDW Planning Checklist as a thank you for signing up!