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Tips for Planning Your Disney Vacation

I wanted to share with you some of my Tips for Planning Your Disney Vacation and suggestions in case you are considering a Walt Disney World trip!

Tips for Planning Your Disney Vacation

As you know we paid cash for our upcoming Disney Vacation.  Planning a trip to Disney World is not something to take lightly.  If you want to make the most of your time at Disney it is important to plan.

Tips for Planning Your Disney Vacation:

Deciding when to go to Disney is your first step.  We made the decision to go during May because it is a lower crowd season and not as hot as June/July/August.  Though May is not cool by any means it is not as intense as the summer.  We  found a code to use which also made our decision to go in May easier.  I suggest looking for discount codes and special offers when planning.  One tip is to search on the disboards.

Decide if you are staying on property of not.  It is much less expensive to stay off property however we prefer to stay on property.  We enjoy the benefits of Extra Magic Hours and the convenience.  We also always chose to get the Dining Plan.  You can not get it if you don’t stay on property.  We like to go to several Character Meals and by choosing the Disney Dining Plan there is no stress in how much those meals cost.

Next decide if you are driving or flying.  Because of the increasing gas prices we made the decision to fly.  Also transportation to/from the airport is included as well as transportation within Disney from parks/hotels/Downtown Disney etc.  If you decide to fly be sure to check out these tips for saving money on air travel.

Be sure to pack snacks or ship them to your hotel (if you are flying).  We place an order for drinks/snacks from Staples to arrive the day or two around our arrival.  Please be sure not to ship too far in advance though.  Another idea if you are flying is to use the Garden Grocer.

I suggest making a room request when booking your trip.  Do your research on room locations, again I suggest the Disboards after you select the resort you want to stay in.  Things to consider are if you want a garden view/pool view, if you want to be near an elevator or what floor you want to be on.

Finally you want to map out your days.  Decide if you are doing 1 park per day OR if you are getting a park hopper.  Because our son is only six we know that we won’t get our money out of a park hopper.  We chose 1 park a day with a base ticket plan.  By choosing this option you have to plan more because if you have the dining plan you will want to make advanced reservations and you will need to know what parks you are going to each day.  In addition you will want to plan around Extra Magic Hours to take advantage of those too!

I hope these Tips for Planning Your Disney Vacation help you!

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  1. thanks for the info. We too are planning on going in late may when the kids get out of school. We have been saving our change now for about 6 years in a big Sams Club pretzel jar. The jar is finally full. We also have a Disney Visa with enough to cover the rest of the trip. I will check out disboards

  2. We are also anxiously awaiting our trip coming up in May. One tip that I LOVE to utilize is paying the deposit and balance for my trip with Disney giftcards purchased at Kroger. I have gotten $1 off of gas for my last 3 fill ups! Also, when using the dining plan keep in mind that the SUGGESTIONS listed for the snacks are typically the less appealing of all the snack choices. When we were there last August we were very pleased that we asked about a frozen lemonade because that was much more excting than a 20 oz soda.

  3. My husband, 4 boys and I are going toDisney for spring break. We booked out resort through “the vacation store.” You have to take a 90 minute tour of the timeshare, but our accommodations are going to be fantastic. We are staying at the Sheraton Vistana Resort on the quiet side of International Drive. We have a 2-bedroom condo, full kitchen with screened balcony for $279. This includes 6days and 5nights. It is a resort with 4 pools, tennis, gameroom, etc. I can hardly wait. I purchased an Orlando Entertainment book from their website for $15.50, and another Cincinnati book for $10 with free shipping. I have really enjoyed reading everyone’s tips. Thanks for putting all of this out there. I just got on the site less than a month ago and love reading about all of bargains! Keep up the great work:)

  4. We were able to take advantage of the military discount since my daughter’s husband was deployed at the time. This made our Disney Vacay TOTALLY affordable with 5-day tix, $99 for each person. We then booked a local hotel (about 15 min. away that also offered shuttle to the park), that also netted us return points. We packed our lunch and drinks to the park (of course, carrying the lite coolers in a stroller helped since we had a 1 year old grandbaby.) We also went in the early spring before crowds and heat. GREAT FUN!

  5. This couldn’t come at a better time! We are going next year and I cannot wait!!! Thanks for the information!

  6. Enjoyed reading your tips on this. Am planning on taking the grandkids and will definitely use your suggestions! 🙂

  7. Thanks for the info, we are planning on going there next year for vaca. What do you think of the Disney meal card? Worth it?

  8. I’d never heard of the Garden Grocer! That would have been handy the last time we were in Florida. I will certainly keep it in mind for the next time we visit!

  9. I have never heard/thought of shipping snacks to your hotel on a vacation! What a wonderful and frugal idea!

  10. Thank you for the suggestions. Its about time to take the grandkids there so your timing is perfect.

  11. These are all great tips in which I did when I went years ago except I didn’t think to send drinks/snacks in advance. When we went, I planned and booked through AAA. We did the land and sea vacation. It was great and exhausting!

  12. What great resouces! My brother and sister-in-law just returned from a trip to Disney and spent wat too much money. They didnt plan well and didnt anticipate the cost of food, lodging, and character activities for their 3 year-old twins. Next year we are planning a trip all together so I guess I am going to be in charge of plannin to save us all money.

  13. These are great tips. We are planning a trip. I have never been and am still unsure about the many choices there are to make, but I do know that we get a great Federal discount. There is so much to decide!!

  14. Sometimes they have a deal where you can get a discount if you book your next stay at a Disney hotel BEFORE you check out from your current hotel stay. If you are local and visit alot for special events, this is very helpful.

  15. We just took our son a couple of years ago and only had 1 day. I’d love to plan a longer trip in the future

  16. I rented a house last time we went an it saved us a TON! it had bedrooms for everyone- a private pool, washer/dryer, kitchen- we were able to cook our own meals and all it was great!

  17. these are great tips. I am trying to plan a trip on a very tight budget. I think we will stay off site. It never occurred to me to schedule a drink and snack delivery or grocery service. i think it would save a lot of time and frustration at the grocery store. thanks!

  18. Jiff to go is great. I have used it many times. Using this for dipping apples is is just great!…… Take the Jiff to go on a family trip to the zoo bring your precut apples and you are ready for a good healthy snack.

  19. We have family that live near disney and we have a timeshare at cocoa beach so we have lodging covered! When we took the kids it was before the fingerprinting thing and we bought park hopper passes on ebay with one day left on them for cheap. I guess thats not an option anymore 🙁

  20. Never considering Disney because of the cost of air tickets (we do not drive to our vacations) but I think I can use your tips anyway 🙂

  21. We are planning a trip in a few years when our son is older. Thanks for the tips! We will keep them in mind!

  22. We went a couple years back an found out that if you ask, you can ride in the front of the Monorail at no extra cost and the kids get a co-pilot license. All you have to do is ask!

  23. Thanks for the tips, I do most of them. I haven’t been to Disney for a long time. Hope I get to go w/my grands soon:))

  24. I always found Disney to be navigational nightmare. Do look at Disney maps before you go so you can make an itinerary. Disney does not allow you to bring in food or drink as they want you to charge the high prices for their concessions. Last I heard it was like $5.00 for a drink. I think hot dogs cost about the same. So hide your snacks well 😉

    Please put ID tags on your children’s arms, inside their clothes and maybe use a sticky label with their information on the inside of their shoes – make it sweatproof of course. Park workers are not always “safe” so do be cautious even if they where a cute Disney costume.

  25. I’ve honestly never thought about shipping food somewhere to save money — but I guess if you’ll be somewhere a while and tend to snack, that’d be a great way to save money!

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