Planning a Walt Disney World can be not only rewarding but fun. There are many things to think about before a spot is even reserved like hotels, dining plans, and even what kind of ticket should be purchased. It can be a fun process, and the whole family will have fun deciding what they want to do during the vacation, and there are so many options to choose from! I knew quite a bit about planning a Disney World vacation before I started. I learned a lot from the last time I went, and had help planning it from the family that was going with us last time.
They did most of the scheduling and reservations. I knew about the dining plan, but I didn’t know how it worked or how it saved money. Before and during the process of planning, I consulted my friend Valerie. She helped me with my dining itinerary, and also helped me find a discount for my vacation. The things I want to know is more about the dining plan, and how it works. The first step is to research hotels. There are so many on-site hotels, so that everyone can find the perfect place to stay. With all the different price ranges, there is one for every budget.
One example of a cheaper resort is Pop Century. It takes the resort guest back through the decades with its well themed areas that correspond to different decades like the 60’s and 70’s. There are even three pools to choose from! Even with a moderate resort the vacation can be a memorable experience. Whenever I stayed at Pop Century, our section of hotel rooms was themed like the 70’s. Complete with giant mood rings on the side of the railing. One of the more expensive hotels, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, has a park view option for a little more of course.
But it would be perfect for viewing the fireworks every night from the comfort of a Disney hotel room. The places to eat a Walt Disney World are endless. They have anything from quick meals like hot dogs to dining with characters. There are many dining plans to choose from, and the one I chose is The Disney Dining Plan. It includes 1 quick-service meal per person, per night, 1 table-service meal per person, per night, 1 snack per person, per night, and 1 drink mug per person, refillable at any quick-service restaurant at any Disney Resort hotel. I booked lots of places to sit down and eat and most of them are paid for!
When the dining plan is used smart it can save tons of money! It helps save money that could be used for others things, such as, souvenirs. When the dining plan isn’t used, however, it can end up costing a lot of money if it isn’t used wisely. There are tons of quick service restaurants around the four parks like Pizza Planet in Hollywood studios and Casey’s Corner in the Magic Kingdom. Even if a guest isn’t on the dining plan, a nice meal on a Disney vacation is always recommended. For guest that are staying on property, reservations can be made 180 days in advance.
Some restaurants are so popular that they fill up before half the day is even over, so it is important to have a plan ready for where the whole family want to eat on the vacation. Also it is important to have some extra reservations made just in case. When reservations are made, a card number is needed to reserve the spot so if no one shows up they can charge the guest $10 per person, but if cancellations are made it is important to do it one day in advance to avoid getting charged. Since I did the dining plan, I planned for my family and I to have nine places to eat at.
Even though we are only staying seven nights, and we get seven table service meals paid for. I planned extra in case some get cancelled. Even though seven table services were given to us, we don’t have to use them. Table service credits can be transferred to quick service, but it isn’t the best option. By using the table service credits the guest is getting the most out of their dining plan. It can end up saving any guest money like it has to other guest. One of the next things to think about is ticket options. There are tons of ticket options at Walt Disney World, and kids nine and under get a slightly discounted price.
There are options to buy a single day ticket for just the Magic Kingdom, which cost more, or a one day ticket to Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, or Epcot. Multi day tickets are available, and the more day’s tickets are bought for the more money a guest saves. For instance, a one day ticket to the Magic Kingdom cost $105. 00 for someone 10 or older, but if a two day ticket is bought, valid at any park, is cost $192. 00. That saves the buyer $18. If a 5 day ticket is purchased at $315. 00, it saves $210. 00, which averages out to $63. 00 per day.
Not only is there an option to purchase basic tickets, the option to buy extra features is there also. Features, such as, the park hopper for $64. 00 per ticket. The park hopper allows the guest to switch between parks as much as they want as long as a theme park ticket is purchased with the park hopper option. If a regular theme park ticket is purchased then the person who buys it can only stay in one park per day. Not only does Walt Disney World have theme parks, they also have water parks. To go to the water parks, golf courses, or the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex also cost extra, $64. 00 per ticket.
The last option of added features is all of the options listed above. The water parks, golf courses, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, and the park hopper option can be added on to tickets for $90. 00 per ticket. Even though it seems expense, it is well worth the money. The theme of the rides is spectacular, and it done to make it as real as it can get. I have an eight day ticket for eight members of my family, six of them are over the age of ten, so my savings totals up to over $1,000. 00! The “Memory Maker” is a great option to get photos taken during the vacation after the vacation is over.
During the vacation there are employees who are referred to as “Cast Members” stand around different photo op opportunities with a camera. When a picture is taken, the cast member touches the Magic Band that the guest is wearing with a device, and it transfers it to the Disney website on that persons disney account. Also after certain rides are completed, like Space Mountain, there are several screens up with a picture that is taken during the ride. When that person’s magic band is touched to the allotted spot it is transferred to that persons Disney account online.
If the Memory Maker isn’t purchased then after the vacation, they can be purchased. The Fast Pass+ system is a great feature at Disney World. It allows the person who has a fast pass to get in a shorter line for high profile rides. Three fast passes are allowed per person per day at a time. After they are used up however more can be added. They should be used for rides that normally have long wait times so the riders time is spent more efficiently in the parks. Even though it is a vacation, and it should be relaxed, an itinerary is important.
Just having an idea of what parks are for what day can better the organization of the entire trip. That way restaurants are reserved according to what park is visited that day in order to prevent the person on vacation from having to go all over the place every day. It not only waste time by traveling more than needed, but it can reduce valuable park time. Having a rough schedule can also help plan fast passes. That way most of the reservations and fast passes can be at the same park that is “scheduled” for that day. I have a vacation planned for June and already have my itinerary planned.
Fast Pass reservations can’t be made until 60 days in advance, but it is important to have an idea of what rides everyone wants fast passes for so when the day comes no one is scrambling to figure what the whole family wants to ride. A fun activity that can be done at any Disney Park is pin trading. Before a vacation pins can be purchased online, and sometimes the packs come with lanyards. Having a lanyard to hold all of the pins that are going to be traded is suggested because it displays them better. I had a lanyard when I went to Walt Disney World, and it helped me display them better. I even had someone come up to me and ask me to trade.
Cast Member at Disney wear lanyards during their shifts. They aren’t allowed to refuse a trade especially to children. However, sometimes if they really like a pin on a guest’s lanyard then they will pull some pins out of their personal collection. Pin trading is a fun experience that will leave everyone wanting to do more of it. When packing for a Disney Vacation it is important to remember to pack certain things. First, it is very important that the magic bands that are going to be used during the vacation are packed. Second, an autograph book for the characters to sign should be packed.
They can be purchased online beforehand or bought at the resorts or parks. Next, any Disney pins that are going to be traded should be packed. They can be bought anywhere in the resorts and parks. Lastly, ponchos should be packed. Sometimes in Florida it can rain. The ponchos there can be kind of expensive, so purchasing some beforehand will cheaper than buying them when it starts to rain. I learned a lot through the process of planning my vacation. I learned how the dining plan works, and how to organize everything with the help of my friend Valerie. I have even been able to help others with rides suggestions for their vacation.
The dining plan is a way to save money on cost when the party arrives instead of trying to have to budget for every single meal beforehand. The memory maker is a great way to get the pictures that were taken by cast members during a vacation later. The magic band is a great device to use so no one has to worry about keeping up with cards, and cash during the vacation. Pin trading and getting autographs from characters are fun things to do in between rides. A Walt Disney World vacation is a memorable experience that anyone can keep with them for the rest of their life.