If you haven’t visited Disney in a while, you might question the need for all the planning. I know on our first several trips to Disney, there really was no need for much planning. We picked a resort, made a dining reservation, and winged the rest!
Now, the parks have grown so much, and are so much more crowded, that planning is the only way to be able to do anything. I’m not saying you have to plan out minute by minute (while some do just that). I’m saying the days of deciding on Monday that you want to do Disney next week are all but gone.
The first decision is when you want to visit. This used to be simple, but now, not so much. There really are no more uncrowded times to visit. When Disney sees the rooms aren’t filling as fast as they want, they might throw a limited promotion out to get more people in.
And, as much as I love Disney, I have to agree it is getting harder and harder to do Disney inexpensively. The days of Disney being a cheap vacation are long over! Those promotions? They are always very limited. The number of rooms available for that promotion on that date in the room category of the resort you want, were probably grabbed as soon as the promotion was released.
While we are talking about prices, the next thing you need to settle on is your budget. Budget is not a bad word. Your budget can be tiny or huge or anywhere in between. But you DO have an amount in mind when you start the decision process. Sometimes it changes as you see the actual costs, but you do have a maximum amount you don’t want to go over.
On this point, my advice is to be realistic. Do you really want to eat bologna sandwiches while you are in the park smelling all those delicious aromas of those fabulous looking treats?
Is it doable? Yes. Is it practical? Not really.
Now let’s talk about onsite vs off site.
I know lots of people rave about staying off site. For some it works. However, if you are really looking for the Disney atmosphere, you won’t find it in an off site condo. Yes, the rooms may be decorated in a Princess theme, but the overall atmosphere is just not the same. And let’s not forget the traveling to and from the parks. Especially after a long day with sleepy kids.
So, now if you agree that onsite is better. Which resort is right for you? They are all different! They come broken down into price points, like Value, Moderate, and Deluxe. But even these main price points can be broken down a bit farther.
There is plenty of Disney theming in each, but they all come with their own special something that adds to the Disney atmosphere and charm. Some (OK, Most) are large and spread out over lots of acres. Others are small and charming. All are serviced by buses for the trips to and from the park, and some have the monorail, ferries, or the new Skyliner for additional transportation venues.
This is one of the places where a Travel Advisor is invaluable. We are familiar with the ins and outs of the promotions, and can tell at a glance (OK maybe not a glance but fairly quickly) which one is the best value for your vacation dollars! We have dealt with the Disney website enough to be able to figure out what the newest glitch is and how to fix it (or at least who to complain to)
Do you know the differences between the different packages available? How about the different dining options? Do you know which dining plan would work best for your family? (both fitting the way you like to eat AND saving you money) How about all those ticket options? Basic, Park Hopper, Park Hopper Plus. Date based, Non date based. When do they expire?
And speaking of dining…how about those dining reservations?
Do you know when you can book them? Do you know what order you should book them in? What do you do if you can’t get into Cinderella’s Castle? Do you know the options you can use?
So in answer to the question of do you really need to plan for a Disney trip the answer is a resounding YES!
However, you don’t need to go it alone. We, at JMorris Travel are here to help you maximize your fun and find the best value for your vacation dollar. So give us a call, or drop us a line. We are here to help.
Most of the content is written by people at JMorris Travel. Every once in a while we will have a guest blogger, usually it is part of our 'family'.Always with a nod to Family Travel!