Planning Your Trip
to
Walt Disney World

BalloonsCongratulations! You're going to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, one of the world's largest and most popular resorts. Planning is the key to making the most of your time and budget, and to enjoying this wonderful world of theme parks, shopping, entertainment, water parks, hotels, and much more. AllEars.Net helps you plan your trip for maximum enjoyment by starting with answering the most important questions before you go to Walt Disney World.

In each section below, and in the column on the left, there are links to areas on this site that will provide you with additional information to help you make informed decisions about your vacation. And don't forget to subscribe to AllEars®, our free weekly newsletter about Walt Disney World, which will keep you informed and offer additional tips. Click HERE to subscribe to AllEars® now!

WHEN SHOULD I GO?

Ideally, you want to go when the weather is moderate and the crowds are low. Unfortunately between vacation schedules and school-age kids, your options might be limited. There are special annual events at Walt Disney World that can add to your vacation experience (though crowds may be increased as well). Take a look at the Events Calendar, and don't forget that busier times of the year will have extended Park Operating Hours. Special times of the year are in January/early February (beautiful weather and low crowds), Mid-March - May (Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival), May/June (Star Wars Weekends) October and November (Epcot Food and Wine Festival), and Mid-November - New Year's (Holidays Around the World). In addition, there are two special ticket parties at the Magic Kingdom - Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party (various dates September - October) and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (November - December).

Historic Attendance
Calendar of Events
Scheduled Rehabs and Closings
US Holidays

WHERE SHOULD I STAY?

Where to stay is a major decision. Walt Disney World has 305 resort hotels to fit all budgets, and they offer special perks to their guests (extra hours in the parks and complimentary Disney Transportation). Staying offsite is likely to cost less, but then you'll probably want a rental car. The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin as well as many of our Preferred Off-site resorts offer AllEars.net readers special discounts! Click here to see what's available now!

There are advantages and disadvantages to both -- only you can decide for yourself! Here are a few of our pages that might help you with your decision:

Staying On or Off Disney Property
Resort Fact Sheets and Photo Galleries
Resort Phone Numbers
Are Vacation Homes Right for You?

WHAT KIND OF TICKETS DO I PURCHASE?

Disney offers a wide range of ticket options for you to choose from -- one-day/one-park admissions ticket to an Premium Annual Pass that will get you into all the theme parks, water parks and Pleasure Island. The ticket structure "rewards" longer stays with a greatly reduced prices for 7+ day tickets. Read through the Ticket FAQ and decide which is best for you.

If you think you may return to Disney in a year, consider an Annual Passport. By purchasing the annual pass, you can return to Disney World next year (a few weeks earlier than this year) and not have to pay for admission tickets again. Take a look at our analysis of when it makes more sense to buy an Annual Pass over other types of tickets. Sometimes discounted hotel rates are also offered to Annual Passholders and Florida Residents.

HOW MUCH IS THIS GOING TO COST?

Your Walt Disney World vacation is going to be an expensive trip, no doubt about it. There are ways to minimize the cost if you're willing to do some work. Your major costs will be Transportation, Tickets, Resort Lodging and Food. Planning ahead by using the information here can save you some money, or at least give you an idea of what the trip might cost:

WDW Discounts
How to Find Low Airfares
Priceline "How To.." 

Disney Dining Plan

Magic Your Way Resort Packages

RENT A CAR OR NOT?

Driving has some drawbacks, but then again so does waiting for Disney transportation. Then again, relying on Disney means you don't have to shell out for parking or rentals. You can read more pros and cons and other advice here:

Using WDW Transportation or Renting a Car?
Renting a Car - Things to Consider
Ground Transportation
Directions

FAMILIES

You can travel to Walt Disney World as a family, as a couple, as seniors, with friends and even alone! When traveling as a family there are a number of considerations depending on the age(s) of your child(ren). AllEars recommends Orlando Stroller Rentals for your stroller needs in the Orlando area

Activities for School-aged Children
Birthday Ideas for Kids
Expectant Mother Tips
5-11 Year Olds Tips
Infant and Toddler FAQ - Sponsored by Orlando Stroller Rentals
ChildCare FAQ - Sponsored by Orlando Stroller Rentals
Stroller FAQ - Sponsored by Orlando Stroller Rentals
Taking Your Preschooler to WDW

Do You Bring Your Child's Friend?

Empty Nesters addresses issues for guests traveling without children!

SPECIAL NEEDS

The Cast Members at Walt Disney World know that travelers may have special needs and they do their best to be accommodating. Knowing the ins and outs of how the "system" works ahead of time will make your vacation more relaxing and pleasurable. This section addresses those with special physical requirements, including large-sized guests, as well as those with special dietary considerations.

Visit our Special Needs pages. Here's just a sample of what's included:

American Sign Language (ASL) at WDW
Assisted Listening Devices
Mobility Disabilities
Reflective Captioning

Autism

Diabetes

Epilepsy

Latex Allergies

Visually Impaired

Wheelchair/ECV FAQ
Animal Kingdom via Wheelchair
Epcot via Wheelchair

WDW at Large for those who know one size does not always fit all!

Vegetarian/Vegan
Special Dietary Needs

Also read about PassPorter's Open Mouse for Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line, written for those who face special challenges.

PLANNING TIPS

Be sure to check out our searchable TIPS database, chock full of hundreds of ideas and tips to make your vacation a magical one!

Other planning tips and hints you might find helpful:

Packing Tips
What to Tote Around
Summer Sun Survival
Ideas for Your First Day or Night at WDW!
Tips for Enjoying your Stay

Two-Way Communications
International Visitors
UK Travelers

Addresses for Disney Officials
Disney Links
Guide Books
Newsletters
Telephone Numbers
Trip Reports