“Planning is half the fun” is an understatement when it comes to planning a Disney vacation. There are so many aspects to planning that it really takes some time to work out all the details. This is why I’m never surprised when people begin planning a Disney vacation a year or more in advance.
And making planning even more important is a trend I’m seeing where extended family members are joining families in Disney for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation.
Disney planning goes beyond choosing a resort and deciding what type of park passes to get. Just choosing a resort can be a daunting task.
Disney has 3 categories of resorts: Deluxe, Moderate and Value. The deluxe resorts have one stop to wait the bus, where moderate and value resorts have multiple. Deluxe resorts are also closer to the parks and the Monorail Resorts such as The Contemporary, Polynesian, Grand Floridian make getting to the Magic Kingdom easy with the monorail running right through the resort. Most of the deluxe resorts are closer to the parks. Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge are great lower priced deluxe resorts. Moderate resorts are in the middle and the value resorts are the furthest from the parks and the largest. I believe the value resorts have the best food courts but they are often extremely crowded. If you prefer shade while you wait in line for a bus, choose a moderate or deluxe resort.
Park tickets can be complicated because again, there are many choices. I always recommend having the park hopper added to your tickets. This gives you the ability to go to more than one park in one day. That way if the Magic Kingdom Fireworks don’t happen on the day you are there because of rain, you can spend the next day in another park, but go back to the Magic Kingdom for fireworks the next night.
The water parks seem to be a necessity in the summer, but unless you are going to more than one water park or are going to use the other extras included in the Water Park Fun and More option, you are better off buying a water park pass for one park while there. It saves about $15 per person.
Other decisions you will need to make is whether you want to include the Disney Dining Plan for your vacation.
This is a project in itself because you need to choose from 3 dining plans and depending on what you choose, you will likely need to make dining reservations.
The regular Disney Dining Plan is the most popular. It gives you one table service meal, one counter service meal and one snack per person per night of stay. This is more than enough food especially since the table and counter service meals come with a dessert. The downside to this is that reservations are necessary during busy season and that means you have to commit to a time to dine.
On the bright side, Disney has a lot of restaurants to choose from and the food is fabulous and (in my opinion) compares to food served on a cruise ship.
And the planning doesn’t stop there. There are many other additions you can plan to your Disney vacation such as horse-drawn carriage rides, behind the scene tours, private fireworks cruises and golf.
So if you think planning a year in advance for a Disney vacation is too far ahead, it really isn’t.


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