Walt Disney World Resort Vacations #1

Walt Disney World Resort Vacations #1

Walt Disney World Resort Vacations

 If you have been thinking about a Walt Disney World Resort Vacations (or if you haven’t been thinking about it….but you have children), NOW is the time to go!

Disney World has just released its most popular discount again, FREE DINING, for select dates from August through December. Free and Disney?!? Talk about MAGIC!  And when there is free dining, the Disney resorts offering free dining are in high demand, and the restaurant reservations are swooped up fast. Dining reservations can be made 180 days in advance…and guess what? 180 days before September was March. Thus, if you would like to experience the Magic this year, save thousands of dollars, and eat the most delicious food you can imagine, act now!

Advantages of Walt Disney World Resort Vacations

You only have to pay a $200 deposit to book your Disney package. That $200 is completely refundable if you cancel before 30 days prior to the check-in date, so you have nothing to lose. Come on –enjoy parenthood. Savor the precious moments of your children’s’ childhoods (no, Disney is not paying me; I believe experiencing this joy of parenthood is a tremendous privilege, one that every parent should embrace!).

Please take your precious children to Disney World while the magic is “real,” and while they still want to spend all their time with you. Please don’t wait until they are “old enough to remember it.” Our children won’t remember their first birthdays, but we still celebrate them. Actually, our children likely won’t remember any holidays during their baby and toddler years, but we still celebrate them.

One of the greatest joys of parenthood is seeing the wonder and excitement through our children’s eyes, whether or not they will “remember it” later. I will NEVER forget the first time my oldest child met her favorite princess, or when Prince Charming asked my daughter to dance, or the look on my daughters’ faces when the Fairy-godmother-in-training spins them around in the salon chair to face the mirror after their “makeovers” inside the castle, or when Ariel, from her float in the parade on Main Street, pointed to my youngest atop my husband’s shoulders and said “What a beautiful princess!”…I could go on and on with the amazing memories that I have from our annual pilgrimages to the Mecca of Magic. Ironically, as a child, I was not so smitten with the Most Magical Place on Earth when we visited a few times a year. No, it was not until I walked into Magic Kingdom holding my daughter’s tiny hand and beheld her first glimpse of Cinderella Castle that I fell in love with the Magic. Being a parent of a young child at Disney World is something so very special.

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I have seen families flounder in their efforts to take a fun family vacation to Disney World. At some points over the last twelve years, mine has been among those families; learn from my mistakes! I have perfected the art of stretching my dollars, preparing for disasters (I have the phone number for the pharmacy that delivers to Disney resorts programmed into my phone, and several clear shower curtains live in the bottom of my stroller to toss over the stroller during rain storms), and making the very most of what Disney World has to offer.

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I know there are people who make their living as Disney World travel agents; I am not one of them. But I think it is so important for parents to experience this with their children that I am eager to share all my knowledge with you. A trip to Disney World is an investment in your experience as a parent as much as it is in your children’s childhood memories. Stay tuned for several more posts with various tips and tricks to getting the most out of your Disney trip.

For now, here is your “Disney to do” list:

  1. Decide what time of year you want to go. Whatever you do, DO NOT GO IN THE SUMMER, and DO NOT GO ON CHRISTMAS DAY. In fact, try to avoid any and all holidays (including the little ones like President’s Day). Some people swear by the week after Thanksgiving when WDW is decorated for Christmas, the humidity is down and crowds are relatively low. Others enjoy spring time for the Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival. I fall into the camp of September. I was lured in by free dining (which saves us over a thousand dollars for an 8-day trip) and value resort prices and subsequently fell in love with low crowds and Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival. Other fall fans return each year solely for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, which we can’t do because of a crippling fear –mine and my middle daughter’s- of villains.
  2. Decide whether to stay on-site or off-site. I wholeheartedly advocate staying on-property. You might be enticed by offers of off-site hotels offering reduced nightly rates, but what they don’t advertise is the loss of Extra Magic Hour (time that only Disney resort guests are allowed in the parks), the loss of Disney Magical Express (the royal treatment for on-site WDW guests begins when your plane lands –they pick up your checked baggage and whisk you from MCO airport to your resort at no extra cost), the loss of resort transportation (free shuttles constantly all day long to and from all the parks…which saves cab fare, shuttle fees, rental car charges and parking fees that you would likely incur were you to make the mistake of staying off-site), the loss of Disney Dining Plan options which is in incredible deal when you get FREE DINING, but the most devastating loss would be that only in on-site resorts are you completely immersed in the Disney Magic (yes, I capitalized Magic on purpose) for your entire vacation.
  3. Planning a trip to Disney World without the help of an authorized Disney travel planner is a grave mistake and will cost you not only money on potential savings, but also hundreds of hours of researching, planning, and waiting in lines. Our favorite planner is Skye Durrer (skye@skyesthelimitvacations.com). Her services are 100% FREE (well, free to you; she is compensated by Disney World…I guess the smart Disney people realized that more potential guests would actually visit Walt Disney World Resort Vacations if they had someone to hold their hand throughout the rigorous planning process) when you book your Disney vacation through her. She provides personalized concierge services, books all of your reservations (dining, makeovers, tours, etc), creates our customized itinerary, provides us with a personalized travel guide, arranges for “characters calls” to our children, sends surprises for our family to use on our trip,  and  much more!

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 Important Reminders:

  • Booking a Disney vacation only requires a $200 deposit, which is fully refundable up until 30 days before your vacation. The balance is due 45 days before you arrive.
  • You can make payments of any amount and at any frequency
  • Dining reservations can and should be made 180 days prior to your arrival.  If you are within 180 days of your vacation, there is urgency to book your dining as soon as possible to make sure you get the best options for you and your family.

Happy Planning!

 Make Sure you read all our posts about planning your Walt Disney World Resort Vacations.