Planning a Trip to Disney World (& Disney World Travel Tips)

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The Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, first opened in 1971 and now includes four different theme parks — the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and the Epcot Center (as well as two water parks).

Taking a trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida is a once in a lifetime experience, and is something you (and your children) will remember forever.

To ensure you get the most out of your trip, it’s crucial that you to your homework and prepare for it properly.

On this page we’ll look at the best times to visit Disney World, how to go about booking your trip, and we’ll unveil a few park secrets that will help you get the most out of your time there.

Disney World

When to Go

Like many holiday resorts, Disney World has many different seasons (four to seven depending on the year), and the park’s activities/prices differ between each.

The ‘Value Season’ is the least expensive, and typically runs from the start of January to mid-February, and then again from the start of August to the end of September.

The ‘Holiday Season’ is the most expensive, and takes place throughout the major holidays of the year (such as Christmas).

Typically, the amenities are all the same between the different seasons (although some might have a few extra parades), yet the prices differ drastically.

As well as booking in the Value Season, another way to save money (and avoid huge crowds) is to avoid booking around weekends or major holidays (such as Thanksgiving or Easter).

If you want to visit Disney World at Christmastime but don’t want to pay astronomical prices, planning a trip to Disney World the week before Christmas will allow you to soak in the holiday atmosphere without having to pay the same prices.

Last but not least, consider the weather then planning a trip to Disney World. Remember that Florida is often very warm and sunny (hence the nickname ‘The Sunshine State’), so although it might be tempting to book a trip there during late spring or summer, these times of the year can be extremely (almost uncomfortably) hot and humid.

Late summer (July and August) averages daytime temperatures in the low 90’s, although the higher rainfall helps to keep the humidity down.

During the rest of the year the weather is a lot cooler and there is less rainfall.

Booking Your Trip to Disney World

Now that you have some idea of when you might like to go, it’s time to actually go about booking your trip.

The first thing to do is to request a free vacation planning DVD from the Disney vacations website. This DVD will give you a guided tour of the resort and the four major theme parks within. It’ll also give you some basic tips for booking and let you know which special events are coming up.

The next step is to earmark the dates you want to visit the park. Once you have some dates in mind, check on the Walt Disney World website to find out what the park’s opening hours are and what special events/shows are taking place during that time.

The park’s opening hours vary quite dramatically throughout the seasons (and on different days of the week).

Finally, check out the Updates page to find out if there are any planned closures of rides you wish to go on. In light of this new information, you may need to rethink your dates (so that you can see the show and go on the rides you want).

In order to save money on hotels and tickets to the park itself, look for inclusive vacation packages (providing you intend to stay inside one of Disney’s hotels). Such packages can be easily compared on the Disney World website.

If you’re buying your park tickets separately, make sure to book them ahead of time, as it’s cheaper to do so than if you’re buying them at the gate on the day.

Also, Disney World has many nice restaurants to eat at during the evening. Unfortunately, a lot of these restaurants are very popular, meaning you’ll need to book a reservation a couple of days in advance if you plan on eating there (instead of turning up on the evening).

The Epcot Center

Disney World Travel Tips

Don’t Pay for Parking
Admission to Disney World costs around $82. When you consider a day’s parking will cost you another $14, the costs can really start to add up.

What most people don’t realize is that some of Disney World’s car parks are completely free to park in (namely the water parks, the Downtown Disney entertainment district and the mini-golf courses). The reason most people avoid these car parks is because you need to take a shuttle bus or spend 10-15 minutes walking to get to the main theme parks.

Wait Until the Morning to Plan Your Day
Instead of planning your entire stay at Disney World (and what you’ll do at every moment of every day), it’s far better to work off on a day-by-day basis.

When you wake up in the morning, check the weather forecast and take a look out of the window. If it looks like it’s going to rain (or is already doing so), your best bet is to spend your day in the Hollywood Studios park.

Why? Almost all of the rides and amenities in this park are indoors or under shelter, meaning you won’t get wet from the rain.

If it looks like the weather is going to be uncomfortably hot, head for the Epcot Center, as you’ll be spending most of your time inside an air conditioned building.

If it looks like the day is going to be sunny (but not swelteringly hot), the carnival-style atmosphere of the Magic Kingdom is the place to be.

If it looks like it’s going to be a cloudy (but not rainy) day, head for the Animal Kingdom. The animals in here tend to be a lot more active on the cooler days when the blistering sun is covered by the clouds.

Related posts:

  1. Budgeting for Your Trip – How Much Does it Cost to Travel the World?
  2. Tips for a Successful Road Trip
  3. “I Want to Travel Around the World” – How to Tell Your Friends & Family About Your RTW Trip
  4. How to Save Money for Your Round the World Trip
  5. Travel Safety Tips – Staying Safe While You’re Abroad

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