So you’ve decided you want to go on a Disney vacation. Awesome! You are going to have so much fun. Before you start planning, here are 7 things you might want to consider as you plan your trip.
1. Land or World
You’ve decided you want to go on a Disney trip. But the first question you should ask yourself is would you rather go to Walt Disney World or Disneyland? Disneyland is located in Anaheim, California and was the first Disney Park established in the United States. It consists of two parks: Disneyland and California Adventure. Walt Disney World is located in Orlando, Florida. This resort consists of four main parks: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot, two water parks, and three entertainment destinations.
2. Land or Sea or Land and Sea
Disney Cruise Line is just one more option in the Disney vacation lineup. Disney has four ships departing from twelve ports across North America and Europe. These cruises have floors specifically for adults, so don’t think it’s just for families with children. When planning a Disney trip, many overlook the Disney Cruise Line as a viable option. You can travel the world and still have Disney magic.
You can also do something called a Land and Sea Vacation, which allows you to experience both a Disney Cruise and Walt Disney World. This vacation plan is great for those unsure of which to choose, or for families wanting relaxation time aboard a ship and time visiting the expansive offerings of Walt Disney World.
3. Time of Year
Disney World can be either very busy or not as busy. After you determine which resort or ship you want for your Disney vacation, it’s time to figure out when to go. There are several Disney bloggers who have determined when is the best time to go. Keep these low crowd times in mind because these are often times when you can take advantage of great deals such as Free Dining, or visit during annual specialties like the Food and Wine festival.
4. Number of Days
Sometimes, a quick girls weekend with a little dose of Disney is all you need. Or, you need a full on escape from the world with a seven day trip into the Disney bubble. However long or short your trip is, this is often something you should definitely consider. If you’re traveling with others, it’s a good idea to figure out when everyone can spare some time for the Mouse. Determining the number of days your trip will be will also help you decide how many days (or hours even!) you plan to spend at each park.
5. Staying On-Property or Off
There’s something to be said about staying on Disney property. You get fantastic service, free transportation, plus you’re in the Disney zone throughout the entire vacation. Disneyland has three hotels to choose from: Disney’s Paradise Pier, Disneyland Hotel, and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa. Disney World has 29 hotels in three different price points.
If you’re not in the mood for Disney hotels, you may prefer staying elsewhere in an Airbnb or a separate hotel. Staying off property may also be an option if you want to do more than Disney, save money, or aren’t interested in the amenities. It is important to weigh the pros and cons for each option and pick according to what you and your family want from your accommodations.
6. Park Hopper
This is a big one, particularly if you’re visiting Walt Disney World. Park Hopper allows you to visit more than one park a day. At WDW, can be invaluable if you finish seeing everything you want to see at one park. Because it’s a bit extra, you have to decide if that extra cost will be worth it for what you plan to see and do in each park. Disneyland offers Park Hopper options as well. When you’re done checking out everything at Disneyland, you can hop on over to California Adventure, then go back to Disneyland to catch the fireworks.
I have gotten Park Hopper before and absolutely loved the freedom it gave me to spend a few hours in Magic Kingdom, a few hours in Hollywood Studios, and end the day in Animal Kingdom. I could not visit Disney without this option, but some families can comfortably spend one day per park. It honestly depends on your needs.
7. Dining Plan
Both Walt Disney World and Disneyland have dining plan options. Dining plans are a way for visitors to prepay for food options. During your vacation, you can order table service meals, quick service meals, and snacks with just a scan of your MagicBand.
The price and options for dining plans vary depending on which Disney resort you visit. For those visiting Walt Disney World, a dining plan can save a lot of money. Let me tell you, I feel much more relaxed about the food budget. With my standard dining plan, I know I select what I want to eat without worrying about or regretting the price tag that comes with it.
Remember I mentioned Free Dining earlier? If you are interested in the dining plan, but don’t want to pay, you might look at the dates you’re going to Disney to see if you qualify for free dining. Free Dining is a promotion reserved for various Walt Disney World dates and hotels in August, September, November, and December. If you’re staying on property around this time, or plan to do so in the future, Free Dining is worth further research.
These points are just some thoughts while you’re in the planning stages. Some of these options may make your trip that much more magical.
Disney caters to everyone, so always consider all of your options whether this is your first trip or your hundredth! Enjoy your trip! 🙂