Planning a trip to Disney World is always a great time but can also be a lot of hours in planning! Lots of questions like: “Where to stay? Where to eat? How far in advance to start planning? Which parks should we visit?” Next year, we plan to do the FL resident passes which will also help with the overall cost when weighed with the frequency of visit.
Where to Stay?
It’d be great to say there is a definitive right or wrong answer to determine where to stay but that is simply not the case. Rather you choose to stay right on Disney properties or in nearby accommodations it really depends on your budget, length of stay and trip plans overall. Here is the question I would answer before planning:
How long do we planning on going and when will we able to go again?
If you are traveling a long distance and chances you will not be able to come again for quite sometime then my advice would be stay on the resort if at all feasible! Disney World is just as much about the accommodations, “the before and after” as it is the daily activities. You won’t be back frequently so pack in the Disney adventures and experience all it has to offer. On the contrary, if you will be back more frequently I would recommend exploring both options. Deal sites like Groupon and Hotels.com will have accommodations for every budget and from time to time run some fabulous deals! For example, we stayed at the B-Resort & Spa for a great price, which is walking distance from Downtown Disney for nickels on the dollar, in a bunk-bed room next to the pool, during peak season.
When to go?
Lets review the basics: Florida is a sub-tropical climate! While the children may be out for the summer, I wouldn’t recommend visiting with little kids in the summer months. If you are not used to the humidity, it can be intense to say the least. The fall and winter are fabulous as the Mickeys Not so Scary Halloween Party and Mickeys Very Merry Christmas light displays are great. The fall and winter months are my favorite time of year to visit!
What to bring?
The time of year you decide to travel will help establish the packing list. For children who are still in a stroller that is an absolute must. Whether you bring your own or rent one, it will help those tired little legs. Peg Pergo is the brand of double stroller we have and it has served us well.
The weather in FL can be unpredictable so I’d recommend having some travel ponchos and/or an unbrella or two. Alternatively, the summer heat can wipe you out quickly. You are allowed to bring your own food and drinks into the park so why not come prepared? Lots of water bottles, non-perishable snacks and a well organized day will really help.
Here are some of our favorite items to travel with:
How to organize your day?
Lets use Magic Kingdom as an example one trip we made to Disney went as follows. Arrive the night before and get a good nights rest. We got up in the morning, made breakfast, sat out by the pool and had another mid-morning hefty snack before loading up and arriving at Magic Kingdom. We had utilized the Disney app with our fast passes and made dining reservations online in advance. We were able to move flawlessly through our day with a purpose but leaving enough time to see what we wanted to experience. I believe this really depends on the age of your children. For us, to have an agenda and plan for the day was essential and helpful. If you wish to do Disney at night, I’d also recommend leaving the park mid-day, taking a short rest, having a bite to eat and returning rejuvenated for evening fun. There is no right or wrong way to do your days, its just simply about having a plan that can always change. This keeps you from wondering aimlessly while creating a memorable family experience.