We are taking our grand daughter to Disney World this year and it will be her 1st time and we don’t know were to start. I was sent to you. Can you help? (Fuddy of Louisville ,Ky)
It is the place Where Dreams Come True
Dad’s You Came to the Right Place Answer
Fuddy, what a big question! Rest assured, you’ve come to the right place. Dad can help you with all the steps to planning the most magical first trip to Walt Disney World possible. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started!
Dad’s doing a whole series over on his blog about how to plan a Perfect Walt Disney World Vacation. Come on over and join in. If you have any questions as we go along, you can just ask them right there. It’s lots of fun.
Here’s what we’ve covered so far …
Step one will be determining your budget: how much are you able and willing to spend on this trip? Knowing your limits will help you determine how to get there, when to go, how long to go, what type of tickets to buy, where to stay, where to eat, what type of special experiences you might want to look into, and even how much you have to spend on souvenirs.
Just remember, Debt is Dumb. Dad recently did a whole week of posts on budgeting for your Walt Disney World vacation over on his blog, you should definitely take a look.
Once you’ve figured out how much you can spend, you’ll need to decide when to go. This may be determined by other factors in your life, such as work or family commitments, but if you have the freedom to choose when to go, you can save a lot of money and avoid the crowds that come with peak season.
After determining when your trip will take place, it’s time to figure out how to get there. Are you planning to drive or fly? If you drive, factor in costs for gas (and parking if you don’t plan to stay in a Disney hotel). If you fly, you’ll need to think about whether you will be renting a car, or using Disney’s Magical Express and resort transportation. Make sure you factor in all of these costs to your budget!
You’ll also need to decide if you should stay on-site at a Disney hotel or off-site somewhere else in Orlando. Dad prefers to stay in a Disney hotel, but every family is different, so make sure you weigh the costs and benefits to determine what’s right for you. Many people think that staying off-site is cheaper, but there are lots of ways you can save on Disney hotels, making them a most cost-effective and convenient option.
What you can spend, when you can go, how you will get there, and where you will stay will all affect how long your trip will be, and the length of your trip will determine what type of tickets to buy. Magic Your Way tickets allow you to choose a specific number of days to go to the parks (the price per day is less the more days you buy) and whether you will go to one park per day or multiple parks per day (Park Hopping).
Once you know the length of your trip, you can really start to have fun planning all the things you’d like to see and do at Disney World! Depending on your grand daughter’s age, her favorite characters, and her personality (Is she afraid of the dark? Will she sit still for a 30 minute show? Does spinning around make her nauseated?), your trip plan will evolve to suit your family.
Don’t forget about food! This will also be a big budget factor to consider, not to mention a planning essential! While there is lots of food at Walt Disney World that you can simply buy from a kiosk or a counter service location, if you’d like to enjoy any table service restaurants or book a special character dining experience for your grand daughter, you’ll need to make reservations up to 180 days in advance.
I know this might seem overwhelming, but just remember to relax – there are lots of ways you can get help in planning your trip. Dad’s site is a great place to start, but you might consider working with a travel agent who specializes in Disney trips. Dad’s friends at Destinations to Travel can take away all the stress of planning by helping you sort out everything we just discussed, and help you get the best price to boot!
Dad’s Bottom Line
Fuddy, you’re going to have a great time and give your grand daughter a magical trip she’ll always remember – trust me. Just take a breath, get some help if you need it, and remember that Dad is here to help you every step of the way.