Choose Your Transportation Wisely
Picking how you get to and from the theme parks and your hotel room can make or break your day. Disney has a variety of transportation options, including a fleet of buses to take you just about anywhere on property boats that can take you to Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, and Hollywood Studios the Disney Skyliner that connects some hotels to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios and of course the iconic monorail that takes guests to Magic Kingdom and EPCOT.
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While Disneys public transportation often takes longer than driving yourself, its a nice perk for those staying at a Disney hotel. If you do choose to drive yourself, plan at least 15 extra minutes to walk from your car to the front entrance at EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom.
If at all possible, do not drive to Magic Kingdom. Not only will you need to walk or take the tram to the Ticket and Transportation Center, you will then need to take a monorail or ferry boat to the entrance of Magic Kingdom. This is a big time eater. The best option for Magic Kingdom is to take a bus or monorail to the park, depending on what resort youre staying at. This will drop you off as close to the front entrance to the park as possible.
Dont Feel Pressured To Do It All
One mistake families of any size make when it comes to planning and going to Walt Disney World is the feeling that you need to do it all, something that is virtually impossible at any amusement park for kids but especially at a theme park resort as large as Disney.
Instead, make a list of your most important priorities and must-do experiences: which parks you want too visit, which Disney World foods or restaurants you want to try, and which day or days you want to sit back and relax back at the hotel.
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If you try to do everything at Walt Disney World in just a few days of vacation, youll end up exhausted and needing a vacation from your vacation. Think quality over quantity when it comes to your Disney World experience, especially when traveling together with different age groups.
Disney World Family Vacation Packages & Deals At Disney World Resort Hotels
Those who stay at a Disney World Resort hotel enjoy early access to the FastPass planning tool , with the ability to reserve access to select attractions and shows. You also receive access to Extra Magic Hours, free shuttle transportation and/or theme park parking, and free airport transportation. Ahead of your trip, youll be sent MagicBands, which are all-in-one waterproof wristbands that unlock your hotel room door, act as your ticket to the parks, and allow you to charge food and merchandise to your credit card.
When you purchase a non-discounted three-night/three-day Magic Your Way package which includes a room at select Disney World Resort hotels, park tickets and a dining plan you can get a free dining plan for kids ages 3 to 9. You must book by Aug. 1, 2018 and travel between May 28 and Aug. 30, 2018 to enjoy this family vacation package at Disney World. Find out more about the deal here.
With Disney Worlds Soak Up Sun and Fun package, families can save up to 20-percent off rooms at select Disney hotels on visits between April 15 and June 10, 2018. Families must book by April 7, 2018. If you upgrade the deal to include a ticket package with the Park Hopper options, you get a sixth day added to your ticket for free! See which Disney World Resort hotels are included in this deal here.
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Best Theme Park For Toddlers In Orlando
To start we are going to ask what is the best Disney World park for toddlers? Well, there are plenty of things to keep your toddler occupied in Disney World . However, its safe to say Magic Kingdom is the best Disney World Park for toddlers . Magic Kingdom is the park for experiences and memories, with various character interactions, shows and rides suited perfectly for little ones.
Out of the 40 or so attractions, only 7 of them have height requirements. That means the majority of Magic Kingdom attractions are toddler safe! Rides such as, Its a Small World, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Prince Charming Royal Carrousel, the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and the Magic Carpets of Aladdin are pleasant for toddlers.
Lets face it, most toddlers have a favorite movie or character that they obsess over and Magic Kingdom is best park youre going to meet or see them. With the endless cavalcades, meet and greet spots and character dining opportunities, Magic Kingdom is the perfect Disney park for kids. While many of the dance parties are still not operating, Magic Kingdom is typically the perfect park to shake it with your favorite Disney characters. Which, is something you Disney toddler will love!
As for sweet treats, Magic Kingdom also is packed full of them. One of the best parts about a Disney vacation is the cupcakes, cookies, and Mickey themed treats! Dole whip is also a kid favorite which is why Magic Kingdom is the best Disney park for toddlers.
Disney World Cost Calculator: Getting There
Lets get started in working through the steps of our Disney World cost calculatorso that you can custom-fit your Disney vacation to meet the exact needs of your family and budget.
One of the easiest decisions to make regarding your Disney World cost calculator will be on how you will get to Orlando.
Youre either close enough to drive or youll have to arrive by air.
When considering your Disney vacation estimator, lets take a look at both!
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Dont Be Afraid To Divide And Conquer
Whether youre juggling kids of different ages or three generations of energy levels, remember: youre only as efficient as your groups slowest member. Split up whenever necessary to ensure thrill-seekers can soar among the stars while speed-averse riders take refuge on low-key attractions without forcing either out of their comfort zone for the sake of sticking together.
Same goes for entertainment. Plan one night at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, whose two evening shows a standing-room only Star Wars fireworks presentation and seated Mickey Mouse-helmed Fantasmic! are ideal for pleasing both aspiring Padawans and classic Disney lovers without either having to exit the park.
Include Toddlers In Dining Reservations
Although you may not have to pay for a toddler meal at Disney World you must include the child in the number of people for a dining reservation.
For example, on a larger family trip there were six adults, one 8-year-old, and one 2-year old in our group. This meant I needed to make my Advanced Dining Reservation for a total of 8 people.
I know this can be confusing since you dont count toddlers for Disney World park reservations, but it is crucial that everyone in your party is counted for dining reservations.
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Avoid Epcot Friday Evening Through Sunday During Festivals
Epcot is known to be a locals park because of the dining and date night options. However, this is especially true during any of the Epcot Festivals.
Because of this, Epcot tends to be at its busiest from Friday after work through Sunday evening.
Aside from the busy-ness factor, the festivals have a lot of drink around the world potential. This increases the likelihood of loud, drunk people wandering around World Showcase as the day wears on.
If this isnt your scene, dont go to Epcot on the weekends.
Best Place To Stay Near Disney For Large Families
For families who need more space than a typical hotel room provides, cabins at Disneys Fort Wilderness Resort may be the thing. These moderately priced cabins have plenty of room to spread out and feature a queen-size bed, bunk beds, and a double sleeper sofa. Cabins can easily sleep six, and also come with a fully equipped kitchen, small dining space, outdoor grill, picnic table, and private patio deck.
There are plenty of activities at Fort Wilderness, too, including horse-drawn carriage rides at the Tri-Circle-D Ranch, Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show, and campfire marshmallow roast with Disney characters and a movie each night.
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Best Disney World Park By Age Group For Preteens
As we mentioned above, the best theme park for kids over the age of 5 will be geared more toward your kids and families interests. Preteens especially will love the cinematic universe of Star Wars, making Hollywood Studios a great pick. Or, for an ultimate experience, head over to Pandora: World of Avatar to ride Flight of Passage. Both of these parks offer exciting thrill rides and a mix of nostalgic fun for your preteen who might enjoy classic Disney magic.
If you are a foodie family, we definitely recommend EPCOT as one fo the best theme parks for preteens. Any EPCOT festival is a foodies dream, and has plenty of different options for those who like to sample or who are picky. There are obviously a great mix of thrill rides, as well as, classic Disney movie rides like Frozen Ever After.
Create Multiple Potential Disney Budgets
As I created the Disney cost calculator, I realized, why create just one budget when you can create multiple? With that in mind, this Disney vacation calculator gives you 5 different areas to test out different combinations of the categories above.
Want to see how much the overall cost changes if you change the resort? Done. Playing around with getting a dining plan versus paying out of pocket? Throw those estimates in there.
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We Dont Want Our Children To View A Trip To Disney World As The Pinnacle Event Of Their Childhood
Not only does our culture preach Disney as something every child should experience, but it also portrays a trip to Disney World as the ultimate childhood experience.
We do not want our children giving Disney this high priority place in their lives. Yes, we do want to take them one day , but we do not want them to ever view it as being the highlight event of their childhoods.
Best Value Resorts For Large Families
Value resorts are exactly that value priced for guests. These dont come with as many amenities as the Moderate or Deluxe resorts, and they are typically not as close to the theme parks either. But, they are great for trying to travel to Disney on a budget. For more about all the Value Resorts at Disney, check out our best and worst list.
As you might guess, several of these arent going to be your best bet when looking for Disney resorts for large families. Thankfully a couple of them have some good options for groups on a budget.
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Parking Transportation And Souvenirs
Were on a budget, right? That means taking Disneys Magical Express complimentary bus shuttle to and from the airport . Youll need to allow a bit of extra time, but Disney will take care of delivering any checked baggage you have directly to your hotel room as long as you tag your bags appropriately. If you choose to bypass the Magical Express, parking fees at value resorts such as Pop Century and All-Star will run you $15 per night, and you should budget at least $150 for a rental car for five nights, and you may even have trouble finding one. Paying the parking fee at the resort means you wont have to pay to park your car at the theme parks. If youre trying to save money, rely on Disneys vast network of buses to get you to and from the parks.
That really only leaves souvenirs. I budgeted $25 per day, which would get something for each child in each park. How much you can spend on souvenirs varies greatly. To save even more money here, consider some of the many locations just outside Disney World property that sell cheap souvenirs . However, youll have to pay for a taxi to get to these if you didnt rent a car.
Total parking, transportation and souvenirs cost:$100
Change Dates To Value Season
Dates matter a bit for ticket pricing, and they matter a lot for hotel pricing. While there are some times of the year when flight prices are impacted by date, factors like day of the week and when you book are more likely to impact your flight price. If youre trying to find the least expensive dates to visit, youll want to check out the room rate tables from MouseSavers.
Well incorporate date changes into the ticket and hotel savings below.
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More Disney Resorts For A Large Family
Most of the Deluxe resorts like the Rivera Resort and the Grand Floridian offer rooms that can fit a larger family. The Disney Vacation Club suites can also be rented. Some of these are equipped with a full kitchen and lots of space for families.
The prices on these larger suites can range from $500 to over $1000.00 a night. It is worth looking into and running the numbers on what your cost will be.
Cost is determined by inventory, expected crowds, and the season. I always recommend doing research on the resorts you are interested and seeing what the cost will be for the time you want to visit.
One Week Disney World Budget For A Family Of Five
Answering the question of, How much does it cost to go to Disney World is tricky, as you can now see.
Disney is definitely not a one-size-fits-all family vacation.
The following is a breakdown, using the components of our Disney World cost calculator 2022, of what our family of 5 spent during 1-week in Orlando.
As an overview, we rented a minivan from our home state of Minnesota and drove to Orlando.
We stayed off-site, visited 3 Disney theme parks, used complimentary hotel transportation, and did not purchase a Disney dining plan.
Other shortcuts for us involved eating breakfast in our hotel every morning and shopping for souvenirs off-site.
Your Disney trip cost calculator will be more expensive if you fly to Orlando, stay on-site, visit all 4 parks, and purchase a Disney dining plan.
Click here for a free pdf version of our Disney World cost calculator that outlines our bottom line price of $5,030.
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Budget Disney World Trip
Just as you can get as expensive as youd like, you can budget travel just about as low as youd like. The actual floor to qualify for this would probably be the price of a one day ticket into the park on the cheapest day of the yearplus a Dole Whip for good measure.
But Ill be making some reasonable decisions for this post. In the future, maybe Ill do a cheapest Disney World trip possible post, but this isnt it .
How To Plan A Disney World Vacation For Your Extended Family
From choosing a hotel to picking your spots at the parks, here’s everything you need to know about planning multigenerational Disney vacation.
Family trips that include multiple generations are a magical way to strengthen the bond between parents, kids, and grandparents, and theres no family vacation spot in the U.S. that does multigenerational vacations better than Walt Disney World in Orlando. You dont need to go viral to have a great multigenerational vacation at Disney, though.
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How To Save Money On Your Disney World Trip
I do have an in-depth money-saving guide but to sum things up, here are some easy, surefire ways to help make your WDW trip more affordable.
1. Go offseason
I recommend you take a look at this crowd calendar to see just how busy and expensive Disney World during the time youre looking to plan your visit.
Generally during Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Easter, Spring Break, and the summer, you can expect to pay premium prices for resorts and airfare.
I also forgot to mention to avoid planning your trip during marathon weekends since these days are usually packed and room rates tend to increase.
Thats why I recommend going to Disney during the off-season which is after New Years all the way to March as well as from October to Thanksgiving.
Parks are usually dead and prices are the lowest, at least from personal experiences.
2. Go as a couple instead of a whole family.
As crazy as it sounds, you dont always have to bring your kids or all your kids to Disney World.
Disney World is just as fun for adults as it is kids.
Plus, the way I see if is that if half your family hates Disney and other half loves it, why not just take a father -son/daughter or mother-son/daughter trip.
3. Look at neighboring airports
If youre renting a car, it might actually be cheaper to fly into Tampa or Jacksonville, or even Miami.
This isnt always the case, but it doesnt hurt to expand your airfare search to include neighboring airports.
4. Stay off-property
5. Use credit card points