When is the Best Time to Go to Walt Disney World, if you want to avoid crowds?
How much does it cost to go to Walt Disney World?
Like most travel, Disney cost is quite manageable if you plan. At time of booking you will put down a deposit and then you will pay for the entire cost of accommodation just before, or in some cases, when you get there. By utilizing the services of a Disney Authorized travel planner you get information ahead of time and then plan when your trip around your budget. (We are free to you, so might as well use the resources available.) Additionally, your planner will keep you in the loop the minute your reservation (or desired time) has a sale, since she will know about a sale before it is advertised. The resort packages on sale fill up fast so it pays to have this inside information. I have seen savings up to $1000 for a group because the planner applied the sale right away before the travelers knew there was one.
Additionally, Disney offers Resort options for every budget. All are Disney themed and have amazing amenities. Staying on property also saves families money because they don't have to pay parking or costs to and from parks.
Can I get Disney Park Tickets cheaper online or from a vendor other than Disney?
The short answer is "no". Disney protects its brand and tickets are priced the same where ever you buy them. (as are the resorts) They have implemented a new system of pricing that allows the tickets to be priced according to when you visit the parks. If you can visit any time of the year, consider having your planner research the ticket prices and give you a proposal based on that information.
Disney offers several levels of tickets as well. You can do one park/one day which I recommend for first timers. There is a lot to do and see in all four parks and if you have just a few days, and this is your first time, take your time and do one park each day. This is also your cheapest option.
The most popular option is the Park Hopper option which means you can "hop" around the parks on any given day. You can also offer a water park options to the pass as well, which I recommend if you are there in the middle of summer. With each option there is a price increase.
Will I save money if I buy a Meal Plan?
Buying a meal plan is a great way to make your vacation all-inclusive. Studies have been done on whether it costs more than pay-as-you-go, and for the most part we have found it is a wash. For families on a budget I think it can help control the cost by controlling impulse buying and over spending on food. As with hotels there are meal plans for every budget, so take a close look before you turn it down. The dining plan options range from counter-service-only meals, to a blend of counter service and table service, to table service only meals (the most expensive option). That said, I have seen families really get amazing value out of the meal plans because these plans offer a lot of food and Moms are pretty creative. We find it is nice to have the meals paid for when we start our vacation. Remember that at sit down restaurants, you will pay a tip over and above your plan.
If you love food and you want to do some fine dining while in Disney World (like we do) then always get a meal plan, since you get a lot of food and you can choose restaurants you might otherwise pass up trying to be budget conscience.
A Disney Dining Plan offers convenience and lets you just enjoy the magic. If however you have some picky eaters and you just want to pay as you go, you can still book restaurants through your My Disney Experience and pay them directly, just like when you are dining outside the Magic.
It is totally optional, and when I work with clients I have info I share with them to help them decide.
Is this a vacation just for kids, will adults enjoy Walt Disney World?
I hear this question much more frequently so I have added it in. The answer is - no this is not just a "kid" destination. There will be kids there, but there are plenty of adults enjoying the magic sans children.
My husband and I go to Walt Disney World and enjoy the resorts with outstanding pools and walking/cycling trails. We do some of our best eating at the resort and park restaurants, and enjoy great shopping at Disney Springs. And oh yes we go to the parks.
Sharon Schierling is an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner and a Family Vacation Planning Specialist. She is an Independent travel agent who loves to travel, read, write and spend time with family.