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Disney Planning 101: How To Start Your Planning

If you are starting to think about taking a Walt Disney World vacation it can be a little overwhelming.  There are a lot of decisions that you have to make when it comes to where to stay, what tickets to get and all the extras you should or shouldn’t add.

We are going to give you a quick 101 of planning a Walt Disney World vacation.  This is a quick look at some of the big decisions you will need to think about when it comes to your Disney vacation.

The goal is to help you feel more prepared and ready to make the decisions regarding your trip.

Credit: Disney

When To Go

The first step to planning a Walt Disney World vacation is determining when to go.  If you aren’t tied to a school calendar (meaning summers and spring break) you will want to think about when you want to visit the magic.

If there are special events that you want to experience such as Halloween, Christmas or even a specific EPCOT festival, look at when those events will be happening and plan accordingly.

Weather is another factor to think about when planning a vacation to Florida.  Summer months get extremely hot and humid making some days difficult to be in the Parks.  In the fall, you run into hurricane season which brings lots of rain.

Spring is a great time to experience some sunshine but be prepared for some cooler days as well.

No matter when you choose to go, take some time to know what is on the Disney schedule and what to expect from the weather.

Credit: Disney

Where To Stay

Once you have determined when you want to stay, the next step is determining where you want to stay.

The Walt Disney World Resort offers a variety of different resorts to choose from in multiple price ranges with different amenities.

Value Resorts are a great option for those Guests that are wanting to save some money but also stay within the magic.  These Resorts provide free transportation to and from the Parks, excellent pools, food courts and the Disney magic.

For a Resort that has a little bit more to offer when it comes to amenities, check out the Moderate Resorts.  These have bigger rooms, more dining options and pools with slides.

Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts are the best that Disney has to offer.  These Resorts are considered a home away from home as they bring amazing theming, outstanding pools, fantastic dining and easy transportation to the Parks.

When choosing a Resort, think about the goals of your Disney vacation.  Are you going to be at the Theme Parks most of the days or are you hoping to hang out at the pool in the afternoons.  Knowing these details will help you figure out where you want to stay.

Spaceship Earth
Credit: Disney


To make your reservation a package, you will want to add Disney tickets to it.  Disney offers a variety of different ticket options that you can choose from when planning.

Base tickets are a one Park per day option.  This is great if you are wanting to visit only one of Disney’s four Theme Parks each day (Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios or EPCOT).

If you think you might want to hit one Theme Park in the morning and then have supper and see the nighttime show at another, you will want to add a Park Hopper option.

Guests looking to experience all that Disney has to offer can also choose to add on the water park and sports feature that gives Guests the opportunity to visit the Disney water parks, the mini golf courses, the footgolf course as well as Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course.

You can choose how many days and which features you want when you book your package.

credit: Disney


A new option that Guests can choose to add to their Walt Disney World vacation package is Genie+.

This feature is a new addition that came with the release of Disney Genie, the free planning tool found in My Disney Experience.

For $15/day/person Guests can add Genie+ to their package for each ticket day.  This gives them access to over 40 Lightning Lanes (think actual entrance to an attraction) thus bypassing the standby line.

If you are visiting during a busier time of year such as Christmas, spring break or other holidays Genie+ can save you a lot of time waiting in line.

Even though you can add the cost to your package, Guests can also choose to purchase Genie+ on a day by day basis when actually on vacation.

Memory Maker
Credit: Disney

Memory Maker

Memory Maker is the photo package that Guests can add onto their package for $169.  This gives Guests access to all photopass photos taken throughout their vacation.

These photos include all on ride photos that are taken as well as any that you choose to stop and have taken by a Disney PhotoPass Photographer.  These talented Cast Members are found throughout the four Theme Parks and take amazing, fun photos throughout the Theme Parks.

If you have a larger group traveling together, you still only need to purchase one Memory Maker as everyone connected through My Disney Experience can use the same one.

This is a great souvenir and a wonderful way to capture the magic.

That is your quick Disney planning 101 on how to start your planning process.  Once you have those decisions made, make sure you come on back for more advice regarding planning, what rides to skip and not to miss and even suggestions on packing that park bag.


Jennifer Retzlaff

Jennifer became a lifelong Disney fan during her first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of her life. She quickly started to introduce her love of Disney to her family with a Disney honeymoon and then family trips when her youngest was 18 months old. She loves the magic that Disney brings to people through theme parks, cruises, and adventures. As a teacher, she tries to bring Disney magic into her classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” She is also part of the Magic Vacation Planner team as a personal travel advisor. With this team, she can now help others plan magical vacations. She loves bringing her love to Disney to readers with How to Disney.

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