EPCOT; Mother and Son; Spaceship Earth
  • On Dec 23, 2010
    Becky from MS Asked Note: This answer was provided prior to the change to planDisney and may still contain references to Disney Parks Moms Panel.

    Experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    I am surprising my girls, 3 and 6, with a trip to disneyworld next year. This will be their first time. I'm baffled by how to begin planning, budgeting, etc. Any tips on how to make planning the trip and budgeting easier? TIA

    1. Nail down your dates. Prices for rooms--and now meals--vary depending on the time you visit. With young children, you're more flexible so you can consider Value Season from Jan - mid-Feb, Aug - Sept, and mid-Nov - Dec.
    2. Choose your resort. Balance between location and your budget. My guess is that you'll want to stay near the Magic Kingdom and want a memorable theme. The Polynesian provides an exotic backdrop, especially if you're visiting in warm weather to enjoy its "Volcano" pool. Wilderness Lodge sports a geyser pool & slide. If these aren't within your budget, consider Caribbean Beach Resort or All-Star Movies. Our family loves Port Orleans, but the theme is so, well, Mississippi and possibly not unusual enough for you. If your girls are animal lovers, consider Animal Kingdom Lodge.
    3. Choose your ticket. I recommend the basic Magic Your Way one-park-a-day ticket for families of small children. Park Hopping takes time--and effort--with children. I can think of many memorable activities I could do with that money. Unless you're coming for longer than a week (or if you had older children), skip the Water Parks & More Option and utilize your hotel pool.
    4. Decide which parks on what days. Visit small parks (Magic Kingdom & Disney's Hollywood Studios) on weekdays and the larger ones (Animal Kingdom & Epcot) on weekends + Friday when crowds are larger. Avoid the parks with Extra Magic Hours if you buy the basic ticket.
    5. Plan your restaurants. If you'll make your meal reservations 180 days out from your vacation, you're almost guaranteed your first choices. Plan a character meal or two and only one sit-down meal a day so you're not spending valuable park time eating...
    If you need more help, feel free to come back and ask me via my bio page!
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Meet the Panelist: Whitney, Mississippi

My family of 6 appreciates Disney's value! Although Ft. Wilderness is our second home, we've enjoyed the resorts for business, reunions and romantic getaways. For me, Disney also means dining: last count, I'd eaten at 55 restaurants around the World! Learn More About Whitney

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