Father and son walking through BOG
  • On Jun 24, 2023
    Shauna from CA Asked Please note that experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    I want to begin planning a family trip to Disney world but I am overwhelmed. How do I get started?


    Thanks for asking your question to planDisney!

    Planning a Walt Disney World vacation can seem daunting when you see all the choices, especially the first time around.

    But that is exactly why we are here!

    Let me help you figure out how to begin with a few first steps. Once you have these answers, many of your other plans will fall into place.

    Step 1: When?
    When do you want to go? Obviously, you have to pick a time when your group is free to visit. So find that time of year that works, and if you can, have a few times in mind, so you can compare your options.

    If you can, visit at times when North American schools are in session. If schools are in session, crowds are typically lower. If they are out, crowds are larger.

    Step 2: Where?
    Once you know when you want to visit, you next want to figure out where you want to stay. I prefer staying on property, though there are plenty of non-Disney resort options that can be a good choice too. But when it comes to staying at Disney resort hotels, what I recommend you do is pick a Value, a Moderate, and a Deluxe that matches your interests. Later in your planning, you can see how each will impact your travel budget. Also, know that Disney has room options for larger families, so consider those options as well.

    Without knowing much about your party, I always recommend selecting a resort from each class that provides the easiest transportation to the parks, like the monorail to the Magic Kingdom, or the Disney Skyliner to EPCOT and Disney's Hollywood Studios. Examples of these include Disney's Pop Century Resort and Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort which are both on Skyliner routes.

    Step 3: How?
    How will you book your vacation? I always suggest to friends that they either book directly with Disney or that they use a Disney-authorized vacation planner that is a no-fee agency. The latter is a good option, as they can give you an easy look at the comparisons between different hotel options, and they often know of discounts that you might not otherwise find on your own. But if you are going to book on your own, pick your resort and room type on the site first, and then pick a package based on park days.

    Step 4: What?
    Next, you want to decide the number of park days that your vacation will allow. When you do that, you will start to get a good cost estimate for your base stay. In the park ticket selection, you have a few options, like park hopping or non-park extras, but we can discuss that as you get closer to booking your trip.

    Step 5: What's Next?
    After you know when you are visiting, where you are likely to stay, how you want to book your trip, and how many park days you want to enjoy, you can move on to your next set of decisions. That may sound like a lot, but it really is not, and we can help here at planDisney.

    If you write me back with your initial plans, we can discuss what parks to visit on what days, what dining choices might best match your traveling party's preferences, and how to plan out your trip in slightly greater detail. Just tell me more about your group and their preferences, and we can get this party started!

    Have a Magical Vacation!


thumbnail image for Doug

Meet the Panelist: Doug, Indiana

I am one of the Dads on the planDisney Panel, and I love to help parents plan their vacation, with a focus on showing them how it can be fun for them too. I am also here to help Dads plan some nice surprises for the Moms in their life (they deserve it!). Learn More About Doug

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