Planning Your Trip to Walt Disney World
Congratulations! 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!
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. Disney has done a great job at creating special events for all their “slow times”. In fact, there are no slow times now.
Special times of the year are in Mid-January – February (Festival of the Arts in Epcot) Mid-March – May (Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival), Late August – mid-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 Mid-August – October) and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (November – December).
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:
Disney offers a wide range of ticket options for you to choose from — one-day/one-park admissions ticket to a Platinum Plus Annual Pass that will get you into all the theme parks, water parks, ESPN’s Wide World of Sports and Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course. 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 Pass. 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.
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:
Driving has some drawbacks, but 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:
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).
Empty Nesters addresses issues for guests traveling without children!
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:
WDW at Large for those who know one size does not always fit all!
Also read about PassPorter’s Open Mouse for Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line, written for those who face special challenges.
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: