Awww...the excitement...the confusion...the anticipation...the fear of planning your first trip to Walt Disney World. Congratulations! You're taking your first steps toward a life with the mouse. Welcome. My name is Kim and I am a Walt Disney World addict. It has been 480 days since my last trip...Wait, that's something else.
I have been to Walt Disney World over thirty times with my family and through that, I have learned a great deal of information about having a wonderful Disney vacation. I have been granted the title of "Disney Expert" amongst my friends because I'm happy to help everyone plan their Disney vacation (whether they like or not). By the end of this article, my hope is that you know everything you need, to get the ball rolling. You may even be on your way to being the "Disney Expert" in your circle of friends.
Understand What You're Getting In To
Planning your first trip WDW (that's what the insiders call it) can be a daunting task. The first thing you need to do is to understand what you're getting into. Walt Disney World is not your typical amusement park. In fact, Walt Disney World inspired the phrase, "theme park." An amusement park is full of rides, this theme park is filled with attractions. They are called attractions because they provide an immersive environment. In other words, each attraction takes you on a journey away from everyday life. Walt Disney World includes 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, and more than 25 resort hotels, not to mention, a ton of dining options, entertaining shows, recreational activities, and many other fun activities.
Research Your Options
That leads me to my second point, know the options. To make it easier to plan, Disney offers great packages that include tickets, hotels and dining. In my opinion, packages are the way to go. It's kind of like a one stop shop for everything you need. You can add elements or take away elements depending on your needs.
Decide On A Budget
This is always the hardest part for me. Determining a budget for Disney can be discouraging, but don't let it. After you decide the most you are able to spend, research a package that will fit your needs. If you don't have a clue where to start, contact an Authorized Disney Travel Planner. They will be more than happy to help you get on your way. If you would like me to help you, you can email me by clicking here.
Pick Your Resort & Determine How Long You Will Be Staying
The fourth thing to think about is what type Walt Disney World Resort hotel will be the best for you and/or your family. Disney offers Value Resorts, Moderate Resorts, Deluxe Resorts, Deluxe Villas, Cabins and Campgrounds. Each resort comes with it's pros and cons. I will go into further detail on each resort in future posts. (Until then, feel free to email me and I will be happy to give you my opinion on your choices.)
How Much Time You Will Be Spending In The Parks
This really depends on what kind of traveler you are. I'm the kind of person who gets up at the crack of dawn and gets there before the parks open so I can soak up every last minute. I can only keep that pace up for about three days before my family needs a break day to spend at the resort pool or Disney Springs. A good friend of mine on the other hand, sleeps in, has a leisurely character breakfast, and strolls in at around 10:30 AM. She goes to the parks everyday and takes naps at the hotel when she is tired. To each his own.
Dining at Walt Disney World is a topic in and of itself. For planning, you need to determine what type of Disney Diner you are. Do you prefer to see spend more time experiencing the parks rather than taking a lot of time eating or do you prefer to have nice long food breaks throughout the day? If you discover you are a quick service type of person, you can stop there and move on to other aspects of your planning. If you discover you would like to take more time to enjoy the variety of restaurants at Disney, you will need to research your options and make a dining plan. There are many great pre-made paper plans on Etsy an Pinterest. Take advantage of those to keep your information together. If you are a resort guest, you may opt to take advantage of the Disney Dining Plans. You can save up to 15% off of your meals if you do. If you need more information on the Disney Dining Plans, email me and I'll point you in the right direction.
Ok, you are on your way! You have taken your first step to a successful Disney vacation. As you can see a Walt Disney World vacation has many things to consider and takes time to pull off. I was once in your shoes and I know you can do it. Research is the key to success with any vacation, but especially a Walt Disney World vacation. Look out for more detailed posts in the future to help you with your planning. Until next time, have a magical day!