It’s finally here…. we’re going to Disney World!! After trying to plan this for almost 8 months, trying to take Payton, Samantha & Roslyn to Disney for their Thanksgiving break, Christmas break & Spring break… this summer we’re all going to Disney World! I don’t know who’s more excited me or the nieces, Payton (11), Samantha (10) & Roslyn (8).
I went online to research all about Disney. I can’t believe all the different sites, books, groups… everything you can find online about Disney. It can get crazy … or people can go crazy planning a vacation here This is all the information & huge discounts I found to be helpful while planning our trip to Walt Disney World.
The Different Parks:
Walt Disney World is a total of 4 different parks; Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studio’s & Animal Kingdom (and 2 swim parks, Typhoon Lagoon & Blizzard Beach). Magic Kingdom is separated into 7 different themed sections: There are Frontierland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Adventureland, Liberty Square, Main Street USA & Mickey’s Toontown Fair (the favorite park of many grown-ups). Epcot is separated into 2 sections: Future World (mostly science) & World Showcase (small-scale walk around the globe). Hollywood Studios is themed around movies (rides). And Animal Kingdom is themed around animals but not a zoo (has rides, shows or live animal exhibit).
I found different guides for different age ranges for all the different parks (3-8 years old, Tweens 8-12 years old, Adults, Seniors & the Whole Family). This tells you what age appropriate shows, rides & things you should see & do. This will save you time in the park so you won’t just be roaming around not knowing what to see.
With all the Disney Resort Hotels I thought that was the only way to go. There are some “perks” of staying at them but I don’t see it that way as you’re going to pay around $300-$400 a night with you & your family in one “room” with a bathroom. I read some benefits to staying at a Disney Resort: 1. Extra Magic Hours 2. If flying in, Disney Magical Express Service (picks you up at the airport) 3. Babysit/Day Care Options 4. Guarantee theme park admission 5. Free parking 6. You get to buy Disney tickets with a “food plan” (Food plans include food cost for only certain things & the price comes out to about $30/day per child. We didn’t need this since I read & heard that you can bring food into the parks (and having a full kitchen I’m going to stock up on food & water in our room). We decided to stay at Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort since we have points here. This resort is timeshares. So the rooms are like condos. The smallest room they have is a 1-bedroom which has a full kitchen & a washer & dryer in the unit. And you are in the Disney “gates” so it’s a quick (and free) shuttle ride to and from all the parks. I also booked my Mom a room here when she went last month. I contacted VacationStrategy and booked a 1-bedroom through them for under $100 a night (price depends on length of stay, season & size of the unit). And when she checked in all they had available was a 2-bedroom so she got that for no extra charge! Non-owners have the option to attend a timeshare meeting for an hour. If you have the time to do this one morning you will received a $100 American Express gift card.
You can also find rooms for Wyndham on EBay & VRBO.com (some other vacation rental sites). They are discounted, since you’re still going through personal owners & not the resort.
You can just get to Disney and get your tickets that day to walk right into the park. For us the best tickets were the 5-Day with Park Hopper (“Park Hopper” means you can go to more than 1 park per day). If we were to get them straight from Disney when we got there that ticket is $325 + tax. Florida tax runs about 7%. Since I belong to AAA, I called them to get their prices. A little bit cheaper $299.99 + tax for each adult (children ages 3-9 was $280.99 + tax).
Then I went searching on EBay and found tickets even CHEAPER! One woman was selling an adult 5-Day ticket with Park Hopper for $303 (and that INCLUDES tax). For a kids ticket it was $283 (that INCLUDES tax)! Not only that, she will ship your tickets to you for FREE in the U.S. She had the best deal so we went through her. On EBay I suggest you contact the seller before bidding or buying the tickets. She got back with me right away and was very helpful.
What to Pack:
I’m not packing for Payton, Sam & Roslyn, but it’s obvious Florida in June is hot & humid so bathing suits, shorts, tank tops & summer dresses for dinners. And comfortable shoes for walking (sandals, crocs, flip flops). You could be walking 5-8 miles a day! Here’s what I’ll be carrying around in my bag for anything we need: water, umbrella, sunscreen, bug spray, sanitizer, band-aids, tums & children’s Tylenol (kept in our room), chapstick, kleenex, hand wipes & gum.
You can bring food into the parks. I’ve read of people even bringing in coolers full of food. I’m just bring snacks that I can carry in my bag. My plan for snacks is keeping it some what on the healthier side. I made a list of some ideas… (not sure what I’m going to do and what the girls will eat): popcorn, organic string cheese, pita chips, bananas, nut/raisin trail mix packs, sunflower seeds, apples, strawberries, whole wheat pretzels, carrots. For stuff that needs to keep cool I plan on freezing our bottled waters & keeping the food in a bag with them.
I’ll let you know how it goes & what we LOVED & what you should definitely do when you take your trip to Walt Disney World.