Seven Tips for Booking a Walt Disney World Vacation

7 Tips for Booking a Walt Disney World Vacation

Seven Tips for Booking a Magical Walt Disney World Vacation

A Walt Disney World vacation can be very rewarding in so many ways. But unlike other popular travel destinations, there are a lot of things to consider when booking the perfect Disney vacation. For the first time traveler, it doesn’t take much to get overwhelmed and paralyzed by all of the options you have and decisions you’ll have to make.

So when you are going about your research towards booking a Walt Disney World vacation, here are seven tips that will help to add a little more focus to your planning.

Stormalong Bay, Disney's Beach Club and Yacht Club

The Stormalong Bay pool is shared by Disney’s Beach Club Resort and Disney’s Yacht Club Resort.

1. Know Your Budget

Staying at a Disney Deluxe Resort is the way to go, but it comes with a cost appropriate for upscale accommodations. While not outrageous versus other luxury resort hotels in other places, it can be more costly than some may think. So do some research to get an idea of what a week’s vacation at Walt Disney World is going to cost at a Disney Deluxe Resort hotel. Your high-level budgeting should include Magic Your Way theme park tickets (assuming you plan to go to the parks) and money for dining. You pay more, but you’ll get more at a Deluxe Disney resort.

2. Have an Idea Where You Want to Stay

Disney Deluxe Resorts and Villas are located in four main areas — or what I call Disney neighbourhoods — within Walt Disney World. Remember, Walt Disney World covers 43 square miles, so it’s not like you can easily walk from one place to another. It will help your planning if you know which area might appeal to you most. The four neighbourhoods are Disney’s Magic Kingdom resort area, Disney’s Boardwalk & Epcot resort area, Disney’s Animal Kingdom resort area and the Disney Springs resort area. If you have a strong preference for one or two of these areas, you can focus your hotel search there.

Boma at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Boma at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

3. Factor in Your Dining Costs

On average, I would recommend planning to spend at least $50 to $75 per person per day on dining. This can vary a great deal depending on where you dine (some restaurants cost more than others) and what you typically order (if you eat steak and lobster at every meal, your mileage may vary). But the point is that dining will be a big part of your overall expenses for the week, so don’t forget to account for it. For the record, I recommend against purchasing a Disney Dining Plan in 99% of cases (it may offer convenience, but not necessarily value for your dollar).

4. Consider the Hotel’s Ambiance

While all Walt Disney World Deluxe Resort Hotels are quite nice, each one has a very different personality and ambiance. So in addition to considering where you might want to stay (Tip #2), you should also consider what type of theme or atmosphere may be most appealing to your family. This can help to focus your decision making even further.

Candy Cane Garden, Disney's Magic Kingdom

The Candy Cane Garden at Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park.

5. Time of Year Can Make a Difference

The time of year that you visit Walt Disney World can make a difference in so many ways. There are price differences, weather differences, crowd-level differences, event differences and so on. So do some research to determine when might be a good time for you to visit, assuming you have some flexibility in that regard, based on which of these are most important to you.

6. Check for Special Offers

Disney tends to offer a number of special offers throughout the year. These can be things like room discounts, free Disney Dining Plan offers, park ticket deals and so on. However, the offers are not unlimited and once the quota has been sold in a given category, the offer is done. So keep an eye out for special offers and be sure to act on them quickly. It’s important to note that even if you have a Disney vacation already booked, you can apply the offer after the fact to get the savings. The same rules apply, however, so call very quickly as soon as you hear about an offer that may apply to your reservation. You won’t want to miss out on it before it’s gone.

7. Work with a Knowledgable Travel Advisor

Most travel can be booked directly with ease, but Walt Disney World has many moving parts and it’s one destination where going through a Travel Advisor can be beneficial. However, not all travel agents are created equal and just because someone claims to be a Disney expert, doesn’t mean that they truly are (a few personal trips to Walt Disney World and a picture with Mickey do not make you an expert). So by all means use the services of a qualified expert Disney Travel Specialist if you think it will help. But do your research and ask around to be sure that whomever you choose truly knows their way around Disney Deluxe Resorts so that you get the benefit of valuable expertise and advice. At the very least, try to find someone who’s been in the Disney travel business for more than 10 years. Someone who specializes exclusively in Disney travel is even better.

Bonus Tip: Subscribe to my Luxury Disney Travel Newsletter to make sure that you never miss out on Disney travel news and features.

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Are You Planning a Walt Disney World Vacation?

Be sure to read my Guide to Planning A Walt Disney World Vacation and my post on the Five Golden Rules of Walt Disney World Vacation Planning.

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Mike Belobradic: The Finer Side of Disney Travel
Luxury Travel Blogger – Deluxe Disney Travel Specialist
The Finer Side of Travel