Staying right in the middle of the magic at a Walt Disney World Resort is the key to ensuring your vacation is fun, carefree and low stress. Fast forward to vacation planning time, you have made the wise decision to stay at a Walt Disney World Resort…now you just need to select and book the best resort option for your family.
1. Know your park plan
Decide on your park plan prior to diving into resort booking so you understand what area of the Walt Disney World property you need to focus your attention on. Staying as close as possible to the park you will spend the most time in will save you the commute time each day. The real idea behind staying on the property is for convenience; make sure you can take full advantage of that convenience by actually using your location to your advantage with smart planning.
2. Decide on your lodging budget
Researching the cost of resorts and deciding how much of your vacation budget will be allocated for resort lodging is very important in the planning process. The great news is Disney resorts that range from value to deluxe outshine “real world” hotels on every level; regardless of the resort you choose you will be happy with your Walt Disney World resort experience. Ensure that you are happy with the resort you choose while staying within your budget comfort zone.
3. Narrow down the size of your travel gang
Having a decisive head count of your travel gang is imperative to booking the correct Walt Disney World resort. Are you looking for a resort that can sleep 5 guests to a room? Would you prefer a set of adjoining rooms? Are you looking for a junior suite that can sleep your whole travel gang with a kitchen and dining area? Knowing a decisive number of people in your travel party and; understanding how much everyone is willing to spend before booking your resort room is very necessary for booking the resort room that best suits your needs.
4. Explore transportation options at each resort you are considering
With bus, boat, ferry, monorail and walking transportation options available you will have no trouble finding your way around Walt Disney World. However, for those interested in cutting as much transport time off their park commute each day or those opposed to certain transportation options, investigating transport to your resort is important.
5. Investigate dining options at resorts you are considering
If you will be taking advantage of Disney dining (which I highly recommend) on your vacation you will want to consider the dining options at your resort or nearby when booking. Value resorts have quick service eateries in them while most moderate resorts have a table service restaurant and quick service option. If you are planning on dining multiple nights at Epcot or at resorts on the monorail line staying closer to the Magic Kingdom or near the Epcot boardwalk may make your trip to the restaurants each evening easier with more time to spare.
6. Take a look at pools at each resort
For my family, the resort pools are a huge selling point. One of our favorite vacation tricks for the busy summer season involves spending days in the pool and extra magic hours in the evenings at the cooler and less crowded parks. If the pool is going to be a big part of your vacation I would suggest looking at the pool maps provided on each resort page on the Walt Disney World booking website. All Walt Disney World pools are incredible but closer research will ensure you have the water slide, snack bar or kiddy pool that your gang needs to have even more fun!
7. Review the activity schedule for resorts
Staying in the middle of the magic means that a fun activity is around every corner at your Walt Disney World resort. Review the activity guides online when making your resort selection. Pool dance parties, bike rentals, trail rides on horses, game rooms and movies under the stars are just a few of the numerous activities offered at Walt Disney World resorts. Reviewing activity schedules in the planning stage will help you plan a vacation that everyone in your travel party will love.
8. Consider size of the resort and how it relates to your travel gang
This tip is particularly important if you are traveling with elderly or disabled guests or small children. While you can request to be located closer to the pools, bus stops or other amenities when booking your resort room, some resorts are just more spread out than others. Parties looking to avoid lots of resort walking time may need to steer clear of some of the more sprawling value and moderate resorts.
9. Weigh out theming bonuses of resorts
If you have young children the fun Art of Animation rooms and pools will leave them in awe. If you are traveling with a group of teens the nautical beauty of the Yacht Club and easy access to Disney Boardwalk will excite them. Princess and the Frog fans will adore the magical New Orleans’s themed rooms with characters on the walls in Port Orleans French Quarter. Little details make all the difference at Walt Disney World.
10. Assess childcare options at resorts you are considering
This tip will apply to your family only if you have children that are interested in participating in a kid’s camp or adults that want an evening alone for dinner or some fun at Disney Springs. While in-room childcare is available at any Walt Disney World Resort through independent childcare provider Kid’s Nite Out, some resorts offer additional child care options. If Children’s Activity Centers are important to your family you will need to check out…
• Animal Kingdom Lodge- Simba’s Playhouse
• Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin- Camp Dolphin
• Wilderness Lodge- Cub’s Den
• Polynesian Village- Lilo’s Playhouse
• Yacht and Beach Club- Sandcastle Club
BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Walt Disney World deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!
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