How to Plan a Disney Vacation

How do I go about planning a Disney Vacation? We get this question a lot.

It may be the happiest place on earth, but it can also be very intimidating to plan. We decided to write this post to help give an idea of what goes into planning a Walt Disney World vacation. Once you read this post, you will see where I-4 Travel Company can add value to your vacation…and best of all, our concierge service is FREE!!!

  1. How far out should I plan my Disney Vacation?
    To get the most out of your trip, start planning at least 6 months ahead. We recommend this to give you the best shot at getting your Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs).
  2. Determine the dates you are available to go to Disney.
    Choose a couple of dates that you and your family are comfortable with going to Disney. That way in case the Resort you want to stay in isn’t available, try your second choice and you may get lucky. You may also want to factor in Florida weather and crowd levels. We can help you determine dates when the parks are less crowded. You may also want to go during a specific season like Night of Joy, Halloween, Christmas, marathon, EPCOT’s International Flower & Garden Festival, or EPCOT’s International Food & Wine Festival.
  3. Figure out how much you can spend on your vacation.
    Knowing and trying to stay within your budget can relieve a whole lot of stress. Believe it or not going to Disney and staying on property won’t break the bank if you do it right. We recommend you take a look at a Disney Rewards Visa Card as well as I-4 Travel Company’s Spread the Magic Plan. We will be more than glad to provide you with a FREE, No Obligation quote if you want to get an idea of what that Magical Vacation will cost.
  4. Are you flying or driving?
    Way the pros and cons for your family (and budget) to see which is a great fit. Disney offers complimentary Magical Express, which provides transportation to and from the Orlando International Airport (MCO) and your Resort. One downside with using Magical Express is you don’t have a car to take you outside of Disney if you need something or want to visit other Orlando area attractions. Driving can take a lot of hours, mileage, and gas. We are can include airfare and car rentals into any vacation package…we are a full concierge Disney travel agency.
  5. Pick your Resort.
    Disney has over 20 Resorts to choose from for all budget types. It can get a little overwhelming to choose a resort when you see all the options you have. From Value to Deluxe, you cannot go wrong with staying on Disney property. We can help give you our inside tips on which resort to stay in based on your budget. We have stayed in many of them across all categories.
  6. How many nights do you want to stay?
    Are you looking for a quick vacation to get away from things (such as cold weather) or do you want a week long vacation? Your budget will help determine how many nights is practical. Staying on Disney property is absolutely wonderful. Your room and bed is cleaned up each day, don’t forget to take the awesome bath products (these are FREE and they will replenish them). Disney provides transportation to the parks from buses, to boats, to a monorail. Why would you want to leave? The magic truly does not end when you stay on Disney property.
  7. What kind of tickets do you want?
    Disney offers two types of tickets. Base ticket gets you one admission to one park per day. Park hopper ticket lets you have the freedom to visit multiple parks in one day.
    There is also an option (Disney Park Hopper Plus Option) that allows admission to Disney’s two Water Parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, ESPN Wild World of Sports (some events require additional ticket) and Disney’s two miniature golf courses, Fantasia Gardens and Winder Summerland.
  8. Book your vacation
    Contact I-4 Travel Company to get your Disney vacation booked. We will provide free concierge service for booking and planning your Disney vacation. We will make sure you are getting the best discount that Disney is offering for your vacation dates. We handle all the details so you don’t have to stress.
  9. Make a basic daily itinerary
    Look at Extra Morning and Evening Hours at each park during your visit. Begin to plan your days based on that information. If you book with us, we research the dates you are going and put an itinerary together for you that is based on our experience of visiting the parks and what we have learned from those visits. This itinerary will be key for planning ADRs and FastPasses.
  10. Determine your Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR) and FastPass+ Dates
    Use I-4 Travel Company Calculator on our website to determine the dates you can start making reservations.. For Disney Resort guests, Advanced Dining Reservations can be booked 180 days prior to visit along with the next 10 days of your vacation and FastPass+ selections at 60 days. For Non-Resort Guests, ADRs can be made 180 days and FastPass+ is 30 days prior to your visit. Do you have girls that want to eat at Cinderella’s Royal Table? Then you will want to know the date you can start making reservations. See the advantage of staying on Disney property?
    One thing to note here is if you are staying at a WDW Resort, your ADRs window starts at 180 days before starting your vacation. On that day you get to make reservations for that day as well as the next 10 days of your vacation. This gives you a head start on folks not staying at a Disney Resort for days 2-10. If you are not staying at a WDW Resort, you will have to make ADRs for each day of your vacation. If you are staying for five days, then you will make ADRs each day for five days (can’t make them all at one time).
  11. Order your Magic Bands
    Walt Disney World now uses Magic Bands instead of cards for Resort guests. This band is your resort room key, park admission, as well as charging items to your resort account. They are water proof and customizable. First sign in or make your account at My Disney Experience and link your reservation number.
    Magic bands need to be order no later than 10 days prior to your visit to give Disney time to mail them to you. Magic Bands can be customized with your name on the inside and by the color you would like. You may also choose once you get to WDW to purchase a different Magic Band (Like a character, ride or even a limited edition one) just make sure you get the new band linked to your MDE (My Disney Experience) account
  12. Book your ADRs
    Disney’s Advanced Dining Reservation system isn’t like your typical dining reservations. As soon as you check in to the restaurant, you are put into the system and your name will be called as soon as a table is ready for you. Please make sure you show up to your dining reservation or call within 24 hours to cancel. IF you don’t a $10 charge per person on the reservation will be charged to your Credit Card you used to book the ADR. You may do this either by logging into your My Disney Experience account or calling 407-WDW-DINE. Remember Resort guests can plan 190 days in advanced. As part of our FREE Concierge service, I-4 Travel Company will take care of making these reservations for you. You don’t have to worry about being glued to the computer or the phone when your reservation window opens…we will take care of them for you!
  13. Book your FastPass+
    Is there a particular ride you don’t want to miss or have never ridden? Have no fear, that is why FastPass+ is here. Pre-selected attractions such as Splash Mountain, Tower of Terror, and Peter Pan. Plus you can FastPass+ shows like Lion King and even Parades. Log in to your MDE account to access this. Remember Resort guest can plan 60 days in advanced while everyone else can start at 30 days in advanced!
  14. Make your final payment
    Contact I-4 Travel Company to make a payment or join our Spread the Magic plan. We can help you pay for your vacation over time as well as show you ways to pay for your vacation with six months same as cash.
  15. Have Fun!
    Go on your vacation and have FUN! If you have any questions or run into any issues, just give I-4 Travel Company a call, text or email. We will take care of you and your family.
  16. Repeat
    Contact us for your next visit. You probably didn’t have time to do everything you want to do. Disney is always changing, so you want to see the new things. It may also be time to branch out and try a Disney Cruise or Disneyland.

We hope you have enjoyed this post and it has helped give you insight into planning your Disney Vacation. If the list looks a little overwhelming, remember I-4 Travel Company can help you with all the steps above, plus more. We have the experience to make planning efficient and easy. You will gain the inside tips on making the most of your vacation…all at no cost to you. We would love for you to contact us and get a FREE, No Obligation quote on a Magical Walt Disney World Vacation (click here). Remember, our services are free to you and come at no additional cost to you versus the Disney website.

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About the Author:

Whitney Adams has a love for All Things Disney. She uses her love for Disney to help families plan their vacations to Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland, and Aulani by providing excellent one-on-one concierge service using her vast experience.

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