8 Things You Must Know About Planning A Disney World Resort Vacation
Any vacation requires a lot of planning and a vacation to a Disney World Resort is no different so, in order to get the most out of both your time and your money, make sure you’re aware of these.
Before booking make sure to check the annual weather patterns for Orlando, especially if you have relatively free reign with when you can make your visit. Summer in Orlando is hot, humid and stormy and temperatures in winter can drop into the 40s Fahrenheit/single figures Celsius. Take this into careful consideration when booking your vacation in order to make sure you can have the best weather to suit you!
7. Crowd Calendars
This becomes especially relevant if you’re not tied to traveling during school holidays. Several websites offer crowd calendars so be sure to check these when planning your visit. If you can, try to avoid US public holidays such as the 4th July or Thanksgiving. Some of the quietest months tend to be January, February, September and October, although especially in the winter months this can risk running into closures of key rides and one or both of the water parks.
6. Transportation Outside Walt Disney World
Wanting to stay in a Disney Resort hotel but also wanting to visit places outside the happiest place on earth? This couldn’t be easier and requires no stress or pre-booking with taxis available. They often sit waiting, outside the concierge building at your hotel.
5. Hotel Activities
Whilst planning your stay, don’t forget to leave room for enjoying the amenities provided by your hotel. Every Disney hotel has at least one themed pool and certain hotels offer activities such as water sports, cycle hire and even a water-borne parade visible from the Magic Kingdom resort area hotels. Whist some of these (such as pool use) are only for the guests staying at that resort, there’s nothing to stop you going and exploring many of the other beautifully themed resorts during your stay.
4. Charging to Your Hotel Room
If you’re staying in a Disney hotel, avoid having to carry cash or cards whilst on Disney property by charging any purchases to your hotel room using your magic bands. Spending privileges have to be activated for each band individually so there’s no need to worry about any children going on unsupervised spending sprees! For those traveling from outside the US this also has the added bonus of reducing the amount of cash you need to change into dollars as this bill can ultimately be paid off by card.
Disney World offers free transportation around the resort, with each hotel being served by frequent buses to the four parks, both water parks and Downtown Disney. In addition, some hotels also have links by the monorail or by boat to certain parks. If you’re staying on Walt Disney property, taking advantage of the transportation provided removes the stress of driving and is far quicker and much more convenient, delivering you straight to the park gates and avoiding the worst of the traffic as everyone piles out of the parks at the end of the day. Check out “Boats, Monorails and Busses Oh My! 4 Things You Need to Know About Disney Transportation.”
The Disney Dining Plan can be a huge money saver, as well as helping with budgeting. This is available to guests of Disney hotels and can be purchased alongside park tickets. There are different prepaid packages, each of which provides a generous meal allowance for each guest for each day of your stay. If traveling from outside the US, this will be paid for in your home currency and thus reduce the amount of money you’ll need to change. Furthermore, keep an eye out for any deals, as this is sometimes offered for free.
Staying in any resort on Walt Disney property instantly grants you the benefit of Extra Magic Hours, whereby each day one of the four parks will either open an hour early or stay open for up to two hours after closing. As this is only available to guests staying in Disney hotels the parks become much quieter, allowing you to cram in even more magic into these valuable extra hours. If, like me, you struggle to take advantage of the shorter queues and cooler temperatures which benefit those who can make it for rope drop, the evening extra magic hours an become crucial to making the most of some of the busier rides. However you wish to use them, make sure you take these into account when planning your stay!
Every Disney Resort vacation experience is a learning curve and even the most seasoned of travellers cannot claim to know it all, but hopefully these things will help point you in the right direction and alleviate some of the stresses of planning! Many of the items in this list become especially relevant if you chose to stay in a Disney Resort hotel, so let all those benefits of Disney hotels become an unofficial ninth thing to know!
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!