With Disney World reopening very soon, let’s talk about how to book that next trip! I’m going to share with you my tips and tricks to planning the best experience at The World. So, without further delay, here are my steps in planning your next Disney World Vacation!
#1 Determine Budget
One of the first steps in planning your next Disney World vacation is to determine your overall vacation budget. Once you have that grand number, I recommend deciding what you want the majority of the budget to go to. We tend to divide the overall budget into these categories:
- Travel: how you will get to Disney World (driving versus plane; renting a car versus Magical Express)
- Resorts: consider on-property versus off-property; type of resort (Value, Moderate, Deluxe, DVC); type of room; split stay (staying at multiple resorts during your vacation)
- Tickets: determine the type and duration of your tickets
- Dining: type of dining you plan on doing most often (quick service versus table service) and dining plan (if staying on-property only)
- Miscellaneous expenses: how much you want to spend on souvenirs and any vacation extras (special ticketed events)
#2 Determine Dates
Next is to decide on dates. This will depend upon when you can take off from work and/or school. Different promotions are available different times of the year (but, don’t forget to always do the math!). You might also want to consider weather because the summers are hot and the hurricane season can be tough!
#3 Decide on Using a Travel Agent
So now you’ve come to the point in your planning when you’ll want to consider using a travel agent. Initially, we used an agent from Small World Vacations. In most cases their services are free and they can tailor your vacation to your preferences. However, we’ve grown so accustomed to booking our own trips now, that we don’t feel we require their services any longer. Even if you work with an agent, I recommend following through with the next steps so that you have an idea of what you want your trip to be like. This decisions made up front will help streamline the planning process with your agent. Plus, you will likely be required to reserve your own Advance Dining Reservations (ADR) and FastPass+!
#4 Select Accommodations and Transportation
You’ll need to decide how you will be getting to Disney World! After that, you’ll want to do some research as to which accommodations you’d like! If you’ll be using a travel agent (see step #4), they should be able to send you some options. No matter what you decide, be sure to have a My Disney Experience account that you can log into!
#5 Choose Tickets
Now, you’ll need to select the tickets you will be using for your vacation. You’ll need to consider ticket dates, length, park hopper, park hopper plus, and annual passes. If you’re using a travel agent, still check out the annual pass benefits because you may actually save money even if you plan on visiting once in a year! We did the math for you to see if the annual pass is worth it for your next vacation. Also, be sure to check out our guide to help you make this decision!
Pro Tip: Once you have your accommodations, transportation, and tickets reserved or purchased, check everything over to make sure it is correct!
#6 Determine Vacation Daily Schedule
I then decide what we will be doing each day of the trip. To help with this, I always reference a Crowd Calendar and highly recommend Touring Plans. Based on their crowd level algorithms, they try to predict which theme parks will be the most to least crowded on a given date. I found that they are fairly accurate!
For each day of our trip, I write down which theme park we will be visiting or if we have a Disney Springs or “break” day. This then helps me book ADRs, special ticketed events, and FastPass+.
#7 Book ADRs, FastPass+, and Special Events
Now that the nitty gritty steps to planning your Disney World vacation are complete, it is time for the fun stuff! Mark your calendars for booking ADRs and FastPass+ based on what you have planned for each day (see step #6). Also, be sure to keep up with Disney World news for any special ticketed events like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party!
#8 Enjoy Your Vacation!
Don’t forget to enjoy your trip knowing that you’ve taken the best steps to planning your Disney World vacation!
That’s all folks! Those are my steps to planning the best Disney World vacation. I hope it works as well for you and your family as it does for mine.
Until next week… Cheers!!