Planning a Disney vacation can be intimidating. I know that most readers of WDWNT are probably pros at Disney trip planning, but this post is for those of you who are not, or those who want a little more information about what a Travel Agent can bring to the table when planning your Disney trip. It’s also worth mentioning that most of the guidelines below apply not only to vacations at Walt Disney World or Disneyland, but also to a vacation at Universal Orlando Resort or a trip aboard Disney Cruise Line (or even other cruise lines), and the agents at Be Our Guest Vacations can help with all of these trips and more!
Decide When To Travel
The first step is to decide when to travel. If you have children in school, then of course the school calendar is going to play a big part in the timing of your trip. Your agent can help you figure out if your child’s school has breaks that are at unusual times of the year, such that they don’t align with most other school breaks.
If you’re traveling without children (either because you don’t have any, they’re all grown up, or you’re leaving them with Grandma so you can get away for a bit), you’re probably looking to book during one of the slower seasons to avoid crowds and avoid the summer heat. While Disney has successfully used pricing and discount strategies to lure more people during the “slow” seasons, they still do exist, just maybe not to the same extent as they used to years ago. Your agent can help you figure out what slower season will work for you.
Maybe you’re excited to visit during one of the EPCOT festivals, or want to take in particular holiday festivities. I can tell you from first-hand experience, the fireworks at EPCOT on the fourth of July are amazing and deafening and absolutely my favorite! Whether you’re looking for the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts (my favorite festival, but also the shortest), or want to celebrate Arbor Day at Animal Kingdom (even though Disney doesn’t actually do anything for Arbor Day), your agent can help you pick the perfect time to visit.
How Many Days for Parks and Other Activities
Once you figure out when, the next question is how long? Most people travel for about a week, but you may be looking for something different. I always used to plan a trip from Saturday to the following Sunday to maximize my vacation time.
After you figure out the length of your trip, then you need to think about what to do each day. (Note that this doesn’t really apply to cruise vacations, where your itinerary is largely pre-determined.) You’ll need to determine the number of days you want to spend at the parks (and which parks, and if you want to include water parks), and if there are other things off-property you want to do, like a visit to Gatorland. If you’re planning for a week or more, I strongly encourage you to include a rest day about halfway through the week. When I was a kid I went to the parks from open to close for as many days in a row as I could, but as I got older I realized the value of a rest day. Disney trips are often the type where you get home and say “I need a vacation from my vacation!” Planning a rest day not only helps you recover mentally and physically, but it also gives you time to explore your fantastically-themed Disney resort or do some shopping at Disney Springs.
Your travel agent can help you figure out the best strategy for park days, rest days, and days for those off-property activities. They can also answer questions about transportation, like “How do I get to Gatorland if I don’t have a car?”
Where To Stay
Now that you’ve come up with the outline of the trip, it’s time to think about where you want to stay. Each Disney resort has its pros and cons. Most of the deluxe resorts have nicer amenities than the moderate resorts and value resorts. Certain resorts are located closer to certain parks, making your commute easier. Disney resort guests also get extra time in the parks, either morning Early Entry a half hour before regular park opening time, or sometimes special extended evening hours.
And if you really want to splurge on yourself, think about booking a club-level or concierge-level room and get access to a special lounge just for concierge guests. Your agent can tell you all about the benefits and perks you’ll receive.
Getting the Best Deal
Now that you’re figured out most of the pre-requisites for planning a trip, the last thing (and maybe the most important) is to make sure you are getting the best deal! This is where the the experts at Be Our Guest Vacations really shine. Your agent will know all about the current promotions being offered, and will even keep an eye out after you book if there happens to be a new promotion that comes out later. They can apply these new promotions to your existing reservation, and you don’t even have to know they exist! And best of all, their services are completely free!
While this seems like a lot, we’ve actually just scratched the surface of trip planning. Your agent can also help out with booking dining reservations, getting park passes, buying park tickets, transportation to and from the airport, and more! Let our friends at Be Our Guest Vacations help you plan your dream vacation, and save you time and money in the process!