Planning a trip to Disney World or Disneyland can definitely be overwhelming. Where do you even start? Maura Sudkamp (Technology & Design Specialist…and Disney enthusiast) has some tips and tricks below to help you plan the best Disney vacation!
Know the difference:
Did you know there are many different Disney Parks all over the world? The two here in the USA are: Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida and Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Disney World (DW) includes 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, over 15 resorts, shopping, entertainment and more. Disneyland (DL) includes 2 theme parks, 3 resorts, shopping, entertainment and more. Both are very different and have their unique experiences.
Start the planning:
Whether you are going to Disneyland or Disney World you must ask yourself a couple of questions to start the planning:
- When you would like to go and how long you will stay
- What you plan to do once you get there (parks, shopping, etc.)
- How you will get there (plane, bus, boat, car)
- Where you will be staying (onsite/off site)
When will you go? How long will you stay?
Best times to go: January, February and September
Worst times to go: Summer, Holidays, March/April
Going to Disney World and want to visit all 4 parks? You will most likely need AT LEAST 4 days to see all 4 parks. Going to Disneyland? You will most likely need AT LEAST 2 days to see both parks.
What do you plan to do?
Do you want to spend all of your days at the parks? Do you want to take a day off from the parks to swim or shop? Have some sort of loose itinerary that way you know how many park tickets for what days you will need to purchase.
If you are interested in flying, Frontier offers direct flights to MCO (Orlando) for Disney World and (SNA) Orange County for Disneyland for affordable prices. If you plan on driving, make sure you factor in traffic, gas costs and if you will want to get a hotel on the way down/back.
Where will you stay?
At both WDW and DL you are able to either stay off site or on site, both have their pros and cons. At WDW there are over 15 resorts organized by: Value, Moderate and Deluxe. By staying on site you are able to get free bus service to each park, from/to the MCO airport and Disney Springs (shopping center). You are also eligible for free early morning hours at the park where only onsite hotel guests can enter the parks to ride rides early. At DL, staying onsite allows you to be eligible for early morning hours as well (there is no bus service needed at DL because everything is in walking distance). There is also the option of staying offsite at a local hotel, “Disney approved/good neighbor” hotel, Airbnb, etc. Just make sure you have some sort of transportation to the parks worked out. Also keep in mind the cost of daily parking.
Now that you have your trip locked down, the fun part of planning begins! You can delve into making dining reservations, look into entertainment packages and figure out fast passes. There are table-service restaurants at both DL and WDW that you are able to make reservations for. This is a great way to take a break, enjoy all kinds of food and sometimes even meet characters! At this point you are also able to think about booking fast passes which (included in your park ticket price) guarantee you a comeback time/window to ride a certain ride, thus cutting down on the wait time!
Ways to get excited for your trip:
Whether your countdown is 10 days away or 150 days away, there are things you can do to make the time go by faster…
- Create or purchase a trip countdown (to count down the days until your trip begins)
- Have a Disney movie marathon (check the DVD’s out at your local branch)
- Watch Youtube videos of: rides, fireworks and shows at WDW or DL
- Play WDW or DL theme park music
- Start packing! Or at least, start on a packing list…
Whether you are driving or flying you will need some Disney books to pass the time. Below is a list of books to help you plan your magical vacation or get in the Disney spirit! Place a hold on one today and pick it up at one of our three branches.
- The Disney Book: A Celebration of the World of Disney, by: Jim Fanning
- Frommer’s Easy Guide to Disney World
- The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney’s Dream, by: Sam Gennawy
- Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World for Kids, by: Wendy Lekon
- How to Draw Princesses, by: Catherine McCafferty
- Disney After Dark, by: Ridley Pearson
- Pirates of the Caribbean: the Visual Guide, by: Richard Platt
Interested in learning more about how to plan your Disney vacation? Attend the “Planning a Disney World/Land Vacation Class” at the Erlanger Branch at 6:00 PM on Thursday, August 11th. Register today!