Planning your first vacation to Walt Disney World? Feeling overwhelmed by trying to decide where to start? You will be visiting a “magical” vacation destination, with an amazing variety of rides, attractions, restaurants, hotels and events…and it can be confusing to someone new to Disney. At the very beginning of the process, there are a few things you must know before you book anything. This important part of your research is the best way to plan the most affordable Disney vacation.
Decide When to Visit
The first thing you will need to decide is when you are going to go. If possible, try to start planning at least 6-9 months in advance. In order to determine the best time for your Disney World vacation, you will need to think about your feelings about things like crowds and weather. For instance, do you hate crowds? Then don’t plan to visit during the crowded summer months, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or spring breaks. And likewise, if you hate heat and humidity, you should avoid Florida summers.
What do you Want to See?
The next step in planning an affordable Disney vacation is to determine the things that you and your family would like to experience at Disney World. I realize this seems odd to do this at this part of the process, but it is very helpful to your planning to know which parks you are most interested in, or if there are special events you want to be a part of. You want to know these things at the beginning so you can plan your trip accordingly.
You will find it helpful to have some good Disney vacation guides to provide you with an overview of what there is to see and do at the parks. You will also want to visit the Disney website where you can order their free planning DVD. You will need to sign up for a log-in on their site which I highly recommend. You will then get lots of Disney vacation planning information and will be on their email list for promotions and special offers.
How Long Will Your Vacation Be?
Next you need to determine how long your Disney vacation will be. Check your available vacation leave, as well as work/school schedules and then get an idea of how long you will need to see everything that is important to you. This is somewhat related to the discussion about the time of year you will be visiting Disney World. If you will be there when it is crowded or during the very hot summer, you will want to allow a little more time: the need for “cooling off” breaks, or navigating through crowds, means that it will take longer to do everything. And if you have little ones, add some extra break time in for them as well.
So generally speaking, how long would it take to visit each park, if you wanted to “see everything”? In order to see all four parks completely, you should plan for at least 5 full days. If any of the above conditions apply to your plans, add more time.
What is Your Budget?
The final step, before you start booking your vacation is to decide how much you want to spend. To plan an affordable Disney vacation, this will be extremely important. Having a budget in mind right from the start will help you keep control of your costs. Be realistic and honest about this part, and don’t worry if your budget is not huge: you can still have a fantastic vacation without spending a huge amount of money!
Knowing these four things…when you are going, what you want to see, how long you will stay, and what you can afford…will then allow you to start booking your vacation. Start the process with these basic steps and you will be able to plan a wonderful, memorable and affordable Disney vacation!