How to Plan the Perfect Disney Vacation

By: Stephanie Larkin

With its many locations, and personalization options, Disney Parks gives you the ability to design a one of a kind, memorable vacation. Beginning with the flight, and continuing through until the last day of the vacation, Disney offers many features and conveniences to help you plan the perfect vacation experience.

Before you begin sorting out the details, ask yourself a few questions. The first question you need to ask yourself is: Why am I going on vacation? Are you seeking thrills and excitement, or do you need some time to get away and relax? You may even decide you need a little of both.

The second important question to ask is: Who will be joining me on this trip? If you are going with your significant other to enjoy some romance, the vacation itinerary and focus will differ greatly from a vacation with a toddler. If you have a companion that has special needs, or a large party, it is recommended that you make arrangements prior to your trip.

Are you going to use a travel agent? A travel agent can help you make all the key decisions needed to take full advantage of Disney's hospitality. You can choose to make all the arrangements yourself, but this may cause you to miss out on certain packages and discounts only available through travel agencies. Once you have asked yourself these questions, your vacation plan will begin to take shape.
The following are some additional tips:


  • Book an early flight. The sooner you arrive, the sooner you can enjoy the Disney resort. If you are on a tight budget, plan your flight for the middle of the week, which tends provide a savings over a weekend flight.
  • Book a hotel on a Disney property. Disney will transport you all around the theme parks and hotels, so you do not need extra transportation. Disney offers hotel guests a free service called Magical Express, where they take care of your luggage for you leaving you stress free, and on your way. It is worth noting that if you use this service, it may take up to four hours for your bags to arrive in your room. If you need a crib or bed guardrail, let them know early. A secret perk: when you purchase something in the parks, you can have it delivered to your room so you do not have to carry around 18 souvenirs.
  • Purchase a Park Hopper Pass for the amount of days you are going to stay. This pass allows you enter all the parks, and even some water parks. You will have complete freedom to roam from park to park in whatever order you would like. This pass will be attached to your hotel package, therefore attaching your room key, park pass, and credit card, all in one Disney card.
  • Get a schedule of hours and events early. Disney offers "Extra Magic Hours" at a selected park on a selected night, that allows all Disney hotel guest a chance to have park access after closing time. On many occasions this can mean short or even no lines for the resort attractions.
  • Plan your itinerary. With a schedule in hand, plan which parks you would like to go to on which night. This can always be changed of course, but scheduling will aid in the planning of meals and shows. If you plan on catching any shows, ask concierges which restaurants are close to where the show is playing. Some restaurants or shops offer perfect views of parades and fireworks displays.
  • Purchase the Dining Plan with your package. The dining plan is affordable and provides you with a counter meal, a sit down table meal, and a daily snack. It will more than pay for itself after you enjoy your first meal, hassle free.
  • Make reservations for all your meals if possible. The character dining and signature meals are the first to go. Any restaurant that serves a table meal will be hard to get into, especially during any peak time. If you arrive, and have a conflict with a reservation, or want to add one, the concierge at either the hotel or any theme park can assist you. Up to the minute scheduling access is available. Be aware that a dress code may be required for some of these restaurants.
  • Get acquainted with special considerations for young children. If you are traveling with small children, make yourself aware of the Baby Care Centers, just in case you need to make a stop to feed or change your little one. Learn of the Character Appearances scheduled throughout Disney, so that you can get a picture with the characters, and even an autograph.
    With these simple arrangements, your trip has a better chance to go smoothly. Lastly, make sure you have a great time, and take lots of pictures.

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