I'm no Disney expert, but I'd love to be one! So here is Part One of my "We're Going to Disney World" series.
How to pay for a Disney trip:
Everyone thinks Disney is so expensive! Our county fair was this week. We didn't go. Why? Because it's more expensive than a trip to Disney World! With each fair ride costing 4-5 tickets each (tickets at $1 a ticket), riding 10 times would be $50. Not to mention the safety and quality at the county fair is far inferior to Disney. I'd rather spend another $40 and spend an entire day at Disney World!
Yeah, yeah, "but Reagan what about a hotel, food, gas? I wouldn't have to buy all that at the county fair. " Well maybe not the hotel, but you'd still have food and gas! Have you seen the prices at the county fair for a corndog and the cost of parking?
Start saving now! Disney offers a savings plan that you can use for up to 5 years to plan your Disney vacation! I shaved a little off our final cost by buying discounted giftcards at Target and Sams Club. It takes $200 to get started and then you have plenty of time to pay it off!
Pick a Date:
We are a one income family. I'm a stay at home, homeschooling Mom so our schedule is flexible. However, my husband's schedule is NOT flexible. We have to plan all of his vacation days a year in advance. Really cuts out any thoughts of spontaneity. Nothing like not being able to just pick up and leave for a quick trip to bring you back to the reality of being an adult like having to decide in January whether or not you want a day off in October!
So, that being said we planned our vacation for November so the weather would be a little cooler and supposedly a little less crowded. Previously we have been to Disney World in September and it was fabulous! We waited no more than 10-15 minutes to get on a ride. I can only hope that November will prove to be as easy. There are many places you can view crowd calendars. Some websites charge, some don't. You already know which one I chose! You can head over here to Kenny the Pirate's page to check out the crowd levels.
Best Times to Visit Walt Disney World
September, October, November
This is historically speaking! In the past theses months proved to be the slowest because school is back in session and the holidays are coming. However, since Disney started offering Free Dining (we'll talk about that later!) we've seen a HUGE rise in attendance during these months. The only "bad" time during these months is the week of Thanksgiving.
Worst Times to Visit Walt Disney World
June, July, August
It's hot in Florida in the summer, plus kids are out of school so the crowd levels are through the roof. They were seeing 4 hour wait times to see Anna and Elsa in August. Not to mention August is the biggest month for the Brazilian Tour groups to come. I've seen nothing but complaints about these large groups of under supervised teens. Did I mention it's hot and humid in Florida in the summer?
Travel Agent or No Travel Agent?
Our first trip two years ago a friend helped me book our trip and I did everything. I loved it! Disney planning brings out the OCD in me. I love getting all the details worked out! There were times like on day 180 when I could make our dining reservations that I wished someone with more experience was handling everything. For the most part it was relatively stress free.
This trip I used a travel agent, one highly recommended by another Disney loving friend of mine. Using a travel agent (TA) should be of NO cost to you! They're great for catching all those discounts and applying them to your account and a wealth of information on where to eat, fastpass details, making reservations, etc. For someone who doesn't want to bother with all the planning a travel agent is great! There are sometimes other little perks too like gift cards for referring a friend, extra little gifts and do-dads. I personally will probably not use a TA again because I LOVE the planning!
If you are looking for a great travel agent check out Sylvia with Love the Mouse Travel.
Tune in tomorrow for Part Two: I've booked my trip! Now what do I do?