Disney Parks are some of the most memorable places you can visit with your loved ones. There are castles, rides, shows, fireworks and so many delicious things to eat. There is a lot to know from how to get around to what to see when you’re at Disney World and every thing in between. Here is a guideline for how to plan a Disney World vacation, not get stressed about it, and be delighted with the outcome. If this seems like a lot, remember you can always hire an Authorized Disney Travel Planner to do it all for you. Their services are commission based so it costs you nothing extra. If this is your year to plan a Disney vacation, 2023 has some additions to consider as well. The new Tron attraction opens April 4th so any visits after then can include this show stopping attraction.. This is also around when the firework shows are changing back to fan favorites at Magic Kingdom and Epcot on April 3rd.
How to Plan a Disney World Vacation in 2023
Disney World is massive with so many attractions to ride, seasonal offerings to enjoy, places to shop, shows to see and things to eat. You simply can’t do it all in one trip. The best way to plan a Disney vacation is to do some research and include things that are of the most interest to you and your travel party. You’re sure to have a great time if you fit something for everyone in the itinerary. Disney World can be whatever you want it to be from long days at the park with little ones to romantic, fine dining getaways for two.
Also consider that Disney World can be very different depending on what time of year you visit. September is usually the quietest time of the year and the week of Christmas is the busiest. Any time schools are out or there is a holiday weekend, crowds are usually higher at the parks. Aside from crowd levels, the season you visit determines what kind of offerings are available. The year kicks off with Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend then heads into the Epcot International Festival of the Arts. During the spring, Epcot transforms to host a flower festival with fun additions like Disney character topiaries. In the fall, Magic Kingdom is enchanted with decor featuring leaves and pumpkins and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party happens on select nights. There’s a food and wine festival at Epcot and the weather is much nicer than those hot, Florida summer months. During the holiday season, Magic Kingdom and Epcot are filled with cheer. Though Florida is the sunshine state, cooler temperatures do make their way across the peninsula. For the best chance at pool day weather, visit any time from March through September. This is also a great time to visit if you’re interested in making a splash at the two water parks at Walt Disney World. The time of year you visit will also impact your hotel and ticket pricing.
Disney World Vacation Planning Basics
Disney World Hotel
Booking your Walt Disney World hotel is a pretty important part of your trip. There are over thirty to choose from, each themed to something different. Guests of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge feel like they’re in a National Park lodge with a log cabin style lobby and hearty dining options. For those interested in the most economic stay, Disney’s All-Star Resorts present a great value. Choosing your hotel is a good place to start. You can pick a resort based on the theme, price or location depending what’s important to you. It’s easy to book a Disney World hotel, along with everything else mentioned here, on DisneyWorld.com.
Disney Park Tickets
As of the time this post was written, Disney vacation packages can consist of a hotel stay and Disney theme park tickets. At times, dining may also be an option to include. When buying park tickets, visitors choose based on the number of days they plan to be in the parks. Then there is the option to add on park hopper which allows you to visit more than one park in a day. There are other options to consider, like if you’ll be visiting water parks or not. There is also Disney Genie+ which is a paid program booked on the day of your visit that gives you access to some shorter waits throughout the day.
There are dining options for every price point and craving at Disney World. You can grab Starbucks on the way to a popular ride in the morning and enjoy fine dining at Victoria and Albert’s at night. While quick options are found in each land around the parks, a sit down meal takes a little more planning. Table service restaurants, as Disney calls them, usually require you to make a dining reservation in advance. These sit down meals, especially the buffets, can provide large portions so consider that when planning what you’ll eat in one day. You’ll, of course, want to have snacks throughout the day. Classic treats like the Mickey ice cream bar, popcorn and churros are part of the fun. There are many restaurants at Disney’s resorts as well and you don’t need to be staying at one to book a dining reservation at any of those. Planning your days around dining is one way to do it.
Be Familiar with Transportation Options at Your Disney Resort
Once you’ve chosen a resort, you’ll want to explore the transportation options at that property. This could even be a deciding factor in which resort to choose. Bus transportation to the four theme parks, water parks and Disney Springs is standard. In addition to the bus, many resorts also offer boat transport, paths to the parks and monorail or gondola rides. The Disney Skyliner gondola transportation system and monorail can also help you get around during the day when parking hopping or heading to dining reservations at other resorts.
Planning a Disney World Itinerary
Having the essentials like a hotel and park tickets is a great start and lays the foundation for your magical stay. There’s having those things booked, then there’s actually planning each day out. Once you have some basics booked you can start to plan your itinerary. If it’s your first visit, it’s highly recommended that you explore the attractions each park has to offer. Consider your travel party and at least have a vague idea of what you might like to include.
Choosing which park to go each day is a good start when it comes to itinerary building. Usually a Disney World calendar is released with the park hours and nighttime spectacular times a few months out. Knowing park hours, and when you may be able to enter early or stay late if you’re a Disney Resort hotel guest, can guide you to what park to visit. Once you know the park you’re going to visit on a day, you can take a look at the map, attractions and dining options and think about what makes the most sense for your day.
You’ll also need to consider if there are any extra things you’ll need to do to experience something on your list. For example, when a new attraction opens the ride often operates using a virtual queue. This means you can’t just go line up for it. Instead, in the My Disney Experience app you enter into a virtual queue and are notified when it’s your turn to ride. Some virtual queues may sell out quickly so it’s good to have an understanding of how the app works, how the virtual queue works and have your travel party connected in the app before it’s time to enter.
Making note of important times to remember throughout the day is helpful. Using the My Disney Experience app you can add things to your plans so you can remember what you’d like to include in your day. You can also see showtimes in the app for those things as well.
There are so many additional things you can include in your Disney trip itinerary. Some take planning and reservations in advance. For example, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique gives little guests princess makeovers and there are private fireworks cruises you can book. There are also private tours in the parks that teach you more about Disney or help your party have no waits for the day. A little research before you go can add a lot of extra magic to your vacation.
DVC Resale Experts Make Magic
DVC Resale Experts is a licensed real estate broker that specializes in selling DVC contracts. Disney Vacation Club, also known as DVC, is the Disney timeshare. Members buy a contract with a certain number of points that suits their vacation needs and are allotted that number of points to book with annually. Resale contracts are those sold by a Member and not Disney directly. DVC resale contracts can come at a much better price and save buyers thousands. Our licensed real estate agents are former Disney Vacation Club Guides so you can expect pixie dusted service throughout the process. If you love the idea of visiting Disney every year, Disney Vacation Club may be a good fit for you. Get in touch for next steps on becoming a Member by purchasing a resale DVC contract.