Y’all, at long last my Disney World vacation is here!!! By this time tomorrow Hubby and I will be well on our way to the Happiest Place on Earth!! We went there (for the first time, I might add) last year for our honeymoon and decided we had to go back ASAP. So we worked extra hours and saved lots of pennies and a year and a half later we’re on our way!
I’m so excited. Literally as I’m writing this, I’m wearing the bride mouse ears that I got when we went last year. I’ve been planning this for months. This has been a big year for both me and Hubby (we both graduated with our MLIS, I got a full time job and he started and survived his first semester of the doctoral program) and we haven’t had a single vacation. We didn’t even go to the beach!
If you’ve never been to Disney World, I highly recommend it. There are lots of different ways you can visit and lots of price points.
Here are my Disney World travel tips, gleaned over the past two years:
- Booking through the Disney World website is confusing. Get a travel agent. Personally, I highly recommend MEI Travel. They are an all-Disney, all-the-time travel agency and they’re paid by DISNEY, not by you. I absolutely could not have done this without my agent Keri. She’s fantastic. I’ve used her for both of our trips and will recommend her to anyone whose planning to go. I’ll also use her again for all our future trips.
- Prices change regularly and specials are announced pretty often. Again, if you use MEI, any price changes or specials that are announced that would apply to the time you’re planning to visit are AUTOMATICALLY applied to your trip. This year we got a free meal plan because of the date we’re checking in. If you’re not using MEI or another travel agency, check the website for specials.
- You can go for just about any price. Again, the specials are important when planning, especially on a budget. There are lots of ways to “do Disney”. We stayed in world last year and will again this time. There are lots of perks to staying in world: extra Magic Hours, bus transportation to and from each park, Downtown Disney and the resorts, having your shopping packages delivered to your hotel free of charge, etc. If staying in world is too expensive though there are lots of local hotels you can stay in. If you can afford to fly (and enjoy it, unlike me) then Disney World offers free shuttle service to the resort you’re staying in. They’ll even pick up your luggage at the airport and have it taken to your room. We flew last year and I discovered that I’m deathly afraid of flying. (Seriously, I didn’t have a full on panic attack but I think that’s because I had taken dramamine and I ended up falling asleep. But there was definite panic while I was awake). This year we’ll be driving and saving about $400 doing so. This will also allow us more control over our vacation. If we need something, we can drive off world and get it, no problem.
- Read the guidebooks and plan, plan, plan. When we went last year, we ended up not really doing much but walking around. It’s extremely overwhelming. And I HAD read the Disney World for Dummies 2012. But somehow, reading about it and being there are two totally different things. Once we got back last year, I started a Pinterest board dedicated to all things Disney. (You can find it here) Some of it is just pictures and silly things about Disney but there are some other great guides on there. Use Pinterest as much as you can. You can find everything from packing suggestions to free things to do in the park. Pinterest is a great resource anyways but especially if you’re planning a trip. This year, I feel like I’ve done my homework. You should see my dining room table; it’s covered in packing lists and things to do and plans. I highly doubt we’ll do everything on my to-do list but at least we wont flounder because I didn’t have plans.
- Another note about planning: You can book your dinner reservations starting 180 days (which is 6 months) out from your trip. Make sure you do this! Unfortunately I waited too long and we wont be able to have dinner at Be Our Guest, which I was really looking forward to. But we will at least stop in for lunch and just to look around!
- If you’re on a budget, STAY ON TRACK WITH YOUR SPENDING. I am not exaggerating when I say that everything you could possibly imagine that you just know you NEED is available for purchase in Disney World. I recommend waiting to do your purchasing until the last day of your trip. That way you’ll have a chance to look at everything that’s available in all of the places and you can make the best purchasing decisions.
Disney World is my most favorite place in the whole world and it is worth a visit. We don’t have kids yet but that doesn’t mean we wont enjoy the park just as much as families do. In fact, there are things that are targeted strictly to adults that we can enjoy. I can’t wait to be back! I’ll share some pics when I get home.