Flights & Transportation Best Way To Plan A Disney Vacation Step #2
The next step when figuring out the best way to plan a Disney World vacation is you need to figure out how to get there! If you live in close proximity to Orlando, you can drive. If youre anywhere else, a flight will be on your WDW itinerary.
How to start planning a trip to Disney World? Ask yourself these questionsdo you want a nonstop flight or are you fine with connecting flights? Will you be renting a car? Or will you be using Disneys transportation services?
According to our Walt Disney World vacation information guide, Orlando International Airport is actually pretty easy to navigate. That has been my personal experience. And if all else fails, follow the people wearing Mickey earstheyre probably headed to Disney, too. Transportation services are down a set of escalators in the main terminal area. From here, you can rent a car or hop on Disneys Magic Express to get to your resort. You can learn more about Disneys Magical Express here.
**Disney planning tips: Disneys Magical Express service will no longer be offered starting with arrivals January 1, 2022.
Year Before Your Trip
By this time you should have picked out when you want to take your vacation. If you need help deciding, its wise to look at a Disney World Crowd Calendar to find out when the busiest and least busy times of the year are.
How Many Days at the Parks You also need to think about how many days you are going to spend in each park and how many days total of your trip. Think about which parks you want to go to and if you want to visit one of the water parks.
Research Attractions Familiarize yourself with all the top attractions at each park and think about which ones you really want to do.
Price Airfare Its never too early to start looking up prices for airfare if you are flying. You should aim to get your tickets no more than 6 months before your trip.
The Personalized Service Disney Travel Agents Provide
The best Disney Travel Planners should make you feel like they are on your side and looking out for your best interests. If you tell them you want to spend 4 nights at a budget-friendly Disney resort, then a good Disney travel planner will respect your goals. They will never try to up-sell you with a more elaborate vacation package.
Disney travel planners should give you the personalized attention any client deserves. This means answering your questions, giving tips and advice to help you decide an itinerary based on your goals, meeting your deadlines, and putting in the extra effort to make sure that every aspect of your Disney World vacation is extra magical.
You certainly wont get the same level of personalized service if you were to book your own trip online. And even when you call Disneys reservation hotline, you will speak with a different Disney employee each time you call. That can get confusing!
Going through a Disney travel planner is really the only way to feel like you have a friend helping you out.
Unless you already know Disney all there is to know about Disney World, theres really no downside in having someone on your side to help you plan your trip.
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How Will You Get There
Depending upon where you are coming from you have a lot of different ways to get to Walt Disney World. Two of the more popular ways are flying and driving. One really nice thing about staying on Disney property is that if you fly, Disney will pick you up from the airport and bring you back for free. All you have to do is let them know when you land and when you depart and they take care of the rest. This is a nice improvement upon the airport transportation to Disneyland, which takes people to the non-Disney resorts around the park and is not free. Unless you plan on leaving the Walt Disney area there is no reason to waste money on a rental car, since Disney provides free transportation to its resort guest to wherever they wish to go on the property.
If you are driving Disney looks after you as well. You get free parking at the resorts, that’s right all of them, and at the parks. In most cases, you just park your car at your resort and then you don’t see it again until you leave.
The train is also an option for many people. Though Disney does not currently offer transportation services from the train station to the resorts and vice versa. This means that you will either need to take a bus, cab, or rent a car.
See More About Mobile Check
The My Disney Experience app also now lets you join Virtual Waitlists for many Disney World restaurants. So, lets say you couldnt score a reservation at the one spot where you really wanted to eat. Or, maybe you didnt think youd have time for a table service meal, but now you do. You could always check to see if there are any regular Advanced Dining Reservations available. But, you also might be able to join a Virtual Waitlist for the restaurant and potentially get a walk-up spot with this feature.
Mobile Dine Walk-up Waitlist screenshot
The app will show you if the walk-up waitlist is at capacity for that restaurant already, or what the estimated walk-up wait would be.
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Check Out Some Of The Characters You Can Meet In Disney World Here
Though not all Character Dining locations are currently available, we anticipate a time when all the Character Meals will return to Disney World, and the vast array of choices may surprise you! Because Character Meals are such a great way to meet several Disney characters at once, they are a VERY popular option for guests.
Rapunzel at Trattoria al Forno Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast
What Is The Best Time Of Year To Go To Disney World
Before moving down tot the Orlando area we had gone to Walt Disney World in the Winter, Spring, and Fall. They all have their pros and cons. Heres how I break it down
When we went in late January into February the lines are short, the prices are cheap and the weather is cooler. We were from New England so January temperatures were still really warm for us. It averages in the 70s during the day and 60s at night.
We have also gone in Mid February and the lines were the exact same as January. The weather was a bit warmer and the prices were not much higher wither. We also enjoyed the Festival of the Arts this time of the year, we hadnt been there in time for it the trip before so it was great to see all of the beautiful Art!
We have gone to Walt Disney World the first week in May and the prices were moderate, not super expensive but not nearly as cheap as in the winter. The weather was much hotter. Temps were in the 80s with a couple of days reaching 90*. The Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot is always beautiful as well. Thats something you dont want to miss!
Fall is a beautiful time of year to go. It may be my favorite. Between the Mickeys not so scary Halloween at the Magic Kingdom and the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot there is so much fun stuff going on. The weather can still be hot, but we feel it is similar to Spring weather. Also, the lines are not as bad as all the kids have gone back to school.
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Book Transportation Service From The Airport To Disney World
If youre flying into Orlando, youll need to consider how youre going to get from the airport to your hotel.
Sadly, Disney no longer offers its wildly popular Disneys Magical Express, which was a free shuttle from Orlando International Airport to Walt Disney World. In its place, youll find two new shuttle services called Mears Connect and Sunshine Flyer, along with the usual options of Uber, Lyft, taxis, and of course, rental cars.
The best option is going to vary from family to family. For those with a large travel group, youll likely want to skip the options that charge per-person and instead gravitate toward per-vehicle options. For those on a budget, a shared shuttle service is likely much more cost-effective than a dedicated vehicle.
When To Visit Disney World
Avoiding the Disney Holiday crowd means shorter lines and less traffic.
For parents, this can be a bit tricky. Taking your child to Disney World sounds like the best gift ever!
The only issue is every other mom and dad has the same exact idea.
Of course, that doesnt mean you cant take your kids to Disney for Christmas season or any other holiday for that matter.
It just means youll need to be prepared for a lot of company.
Youll notice that , while March has crowd sizes ranging from Moderate to High .
While youre planning that perfect day to go, dont forget to to view the crowd level of each day!
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Create Your Wish List
Before booking a trip to Disney World, ask everyone in the family to create a list of must-do experiences. Urge the kids to explore some of the top websites chock-full of tips and insider anecdotes. Disney makes planning simple at its official Disney World site, and its popular parks blog lets you know whats new. Lots of unofficial sites like the AllEars blog and the Disney Food Blog give insightful reviews and tips.
If You Want To Spend A Bit More
The sky is the limit for how much you can spend at Walt Disney World. But if you want to spend a bit more, we say do it with a budget mindset.
You can sometimes save 50% on Disneys deluxe hotels easily by renting DVC points, for example. If youre buying 10-day tickets, youll still save buying discount tickets! If you want to fly first class, consider using points.
If you really have infinite money available for your trip, you skipped over this section. Since you have some finite amount, make sure youre getting the most you can out of it! Read the rest of this guide with a budget mindset, and apply those tips to your deluxe vacation.
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Fun Disney Extras To Know If You Stay On
- Resort Window Decorating: Did you know that you can, and are encouraged to, decorate your resort window? Whether its cling graphics, paper art, or a full-blown window display with twinkle lights this is a super fun side project for the kids to work on while youre doing important vacation planning stuff and helps build that sense of pride as a true Disney vacationer at your resort.
- Smores night: Smores are offered as part of the evening campfire fun at the Beach Club Resort on the Boardwalk and Great Wilderness Lodge. You can, however, just hop over to Beach Club at the end of your day at Epcot to join in on the fun, even if youre not staying there.
- 18 dollars per person, bikes are available from these resorts and allow you to meander at your own pace.
How Much Should I Budget For Walt Disney World
One of the most frequently asked questions we get at Get Away Today is how much a Walt Disney World vacation costs. In fact, we get asked so frequently that weve put together a full article that breaks down the costs. This article also includes sample package pricing for our most popular hotels for a variety of months and travel groups to give you a basic idea of Walt Disney World Resort vacation costs. We keep this article updated frequently to reflect current prices and specials.
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Mind Your Reservation Times
I get lots of questions from people who schedule their breakfasts for when the park opens and then need advice for ride strategy. Well, the best time to get on rides without Lightning Lanes is when the park opens, so this is a real problem and hard to give good advice for .
If your time in the parks is limited and youre trying to fit in as many rides as possible with short waits, any meal is better to reserve than breakfast. Relatedly, dont schedule a lunch that will conflict with a parade or a dinner that will conflict with a nighttime show .
Conquer Walt Disney World
- When youre ready to hit the parks, familiarize yourself with their latest practices on safety. Be sure to pack your mask before heading out to the fun!
- Of course, youll want to take advantage of our namesake service the Touring Plan. The mobile Lines app helps you build plans that let you experience everything the parks have to offer while spending the least amount of time waiting in lines.
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Preparing For Your Trip
Your trip is booked but now what?
We recommend you spend the months, weeks, and days leading up to your trip learning some of those Disney World basics that will help your trip go smoothly.
Weve listed just a few topics below but we also invite you to scroll through the hundreds of other posts on the site to find topics that might interest you.
Buying Genie+ For Every Day
We briefly mentioned Genie+ in our tip about planning ahead, but we want to reiterate that you probably dont need Genie+ for every day of your trip.
As a quick refresher, Genie+ is the paid replacement to FastPass+, and it costs $15 per ticket per day. With Genie+, you can book Lightning Lanes for certain attractions, and then youll return at the time you chose, where you can skip the Standby line and head onto the attraction with little to no wait.
The $15 per ticket per day can grow quickly if youve got a big group or a multi-day vacation. If youre paying for five people, one day will cost $75. Multiply that by however long youre staying, and it keeps adding up. But depending on your preferences you really dont need Genie+ at every Disney World park.
Some parks have fewer attractions , which means that youll have less to choose from when reserving a Lightning Lane reservation. You can instead get to EPCOT right when it opens and head to the most popular attractions first.
And dont forget that some attractions are pay-per-ride, which means that they are NOT included with Genie+. Each park usually has two pay-per-ride attractions. Instead of using Genie+ for these, you will need to pay an extra fee if you want to skip the line at those rides. You dont have to buy Genie+ to buy pay-per-ride reservations. So if you want, you can pay to ride the two of the most popular rides in each park and then use Standby for the rest .
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Check The Refurbishment Calendar
It stinks, but sometimes rides have to go down for refurbishments. Occasionally hotel pools and restaurants go down, too. The official ride refurbishment list can be found on Disney’s website as part of the park hours calendar. A more comprehensive refurbishment calendar can be found at Undercover Tourist.
You dont have to plan around refurbishments. But you should know whether anything is scheduled to be down so that you can manage your expectations. No one wants to get to the theme park to discover the ride they were most excited about is down.
About This Planning Guide
Not a day goes by when someone on the internet doesnt bemoan the amount of planning that goes into Walt Disney World vacations these days. Some people think Disney requires too much planning, and others think that bloggers simply tell you theres too much planning.
While this guide doesnt cover every nook and cranny of Disney World planning, it is pretty thorough, and we wont apologize for that. We write primarily for people planning a first or only visit who want to put in all the time they can to make sure their experience is magical.
Can you have a magical experience at Walt Disney World with no advance planning? Definitely. Will you miss out on a ton with no planning? Definitely.
Heres the thing, you can always stop reading about Walt Disney World if you feel youre just getting too deep or you run out of time. You cannot go back in time to learn things you missed out on once youre there.
At about 6000 words, this guide should take an average person about 30 minutes to read straight through. Of course, as I said, this guide links out to a ton of other material.
Regardless, 30 minutes to introduce you to pretty much every concept you need to know for booking a Walt Disney World vacation really isnt a bad use of time, especially as some of the tips and tricks in here can save your hundredseven in rare cases thousandsof dollars.
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