Magical Blogorail: Preparing for Your Disney Vacation

Welcome to those of you joining me from Makin’ Memories and
those of you just hopping aboard. I am the final stop on our
Magical Blogorail
.

This month, the Magical Blogorail Red line is here to talk to you about what we do in preparing for our next Disney Vacation.  There is a ton of information that needs to be thought about when planning and preparing for your vacation, and there is no way that I could write about all of the things that go into it, so hopefully all of us together will give you plenty of ideas on what to do if you are uncertain.

When we first started taking our trips to Disney World, we made our travel arrangements through AAA.  Our first year on property was 2007, and we were able to get the free dining program, which was great, and my friend Tarah at AAA took care of all of our reservations.  So, from a planning standpoint, all we needed to do was decide on the dates, the restaurants, and the location we wanted to stay at.

However, all that changed in 2010, when we purchased our Disney Vacation Club membership.  At that point, planning our vacations became something that we were going to do on our own.  Since we bought our DVC membership in part so that we can take our friends and loved ones with us to Disney, it makes a lot of sense to involve all parties in the planning process, which we did.

Basically, though, here is my list of some of the things that we look at when we are planning our next Disney vacation:

  1. What time frame are you looking to go?
  2. Where do you want to stay?
  3. How long do you want to go for?
  4. Who is going on your vacation?
  5. Do you want to get Disney World tickets for each day of your trip, or are there some days where you don’t want to go to the parks?
  6. What do you want to do for dining arrangements?  Do you want to do the Disney Dining Plan, Tables in Wonderland, or none of the above?
  7. Are we driving or flying to Disney World?

What time frame are you looking to go?

For DVC owners, when you stay makes a big difference because the number of points required for your room changes based on the season.  For example, in 2012, if we check in at Animal Kingdom Villas (for a 2BR, Savannah view) on June 8, and check out on June 15, it will cost us 345 vacation points.  However, if we stay June 14-21 (which would allow our visit to fall on Sophie’s birthday), it would cost us 372 vacation points, all because of the season that we stay in.

Where do you want to stay?

One of the biggest decisions you can make is where to stay.  This past June, we stayed at Bay Lake Tower, and loved it.  But this next time, I would love to stay at Animal Kingdom Villas if it’s available.  However, it’s not just my vacation, so this is something that all of us that are vacationing together will decide.

How long do you want to go for?

For us, our standard vacation time is usually one week.  That is something that we don’t vary a whole lot, but it is certainly something that we need to be clear about with all the people in our party.

Who is going on your vacation?

Being DVC owners, Cindy and I have the ability to invite those that we love and want to share our vacations with.  As a result, we both talk quite a bit on who we want to invite, and when we have that decision, we act on it.

Do you want to get Disney World tickets for each day of your trip, or
are there some days where you don’t want to go to the parks?

Probably the biggest expense on a Disney World vacation is for the tickets.  With every family on a budget, it is important to plan out how many days you want to go to the parks on your vacation.  It is also great to get started on this planning earlier rather than later, because it will allow you to start making the investment in the ticket costs a little at a time, which will help pay off that expense easier.  Also, Disney ticket prices do get an annual increase, so if you are able to purchase your tickets earlier, then you can get them for today’s cost, rather than waiting and possibly having to pay more for the same ticket.

What do you want to do for dining arrangements?  Do you want to do the
Disney Dining Plan, Tables in Wonderland, or none of the above?

When we went in June, we decided early on that the cost of the Disney Dining Plan was too much for our big group to be able to justify the expense.  As a result, we decided to plan a few table service dinners.  We originally started with Akershus over in Norway, Boma (for the adults) at Animal Kingdom, and 50′s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  We added in a reservation for Biergarten in Germany while we were there, so we ended up with four table service reservations.

Since we had such a big group, having nine of us, it made a whole lot of sense to purchase the Tables in Wonderland card for our dining.  We paid $75 for the card since we are Annual Passholders, but we ended up saving over $200 off of our dining by using the card!

Are we driving or flying to Disney World?

The last, and simplest, question, is whether you are driving or flying to Walt Disney World.  This is, in a lot of ways, a no-brainer, at least for us it is, but it is also a question that you need to ask and answer.  For us, we’ll be driving.

As you can see, there are a lot of details that go into planning and preparing your Disney World Vacation!  For that reason, one of the biggest things that you can do to help yourself is to enlist in the aid of a Disney authorized Travel Agent.  These special agents are wonderful people who love to plan Disney vacations for their clients, and they are really great at making sure that their clients get the best deals possible.  Best of all, a Disney TA does not charge for their services!  If you need any recommendations for a Disney TA, just leave a comment and I’ll post who we are using for a small getaway weekend in September/October.

Thank you for joining Magical
Blogorail Red this month. We will be back September 16th with an all
new theme. Keep checking in with our blogs in between loops to keep up to date
with our Disney info, photos and stories. If you are looking for more Disney
magic, you can make your way over to The Magical Blogorail website to see
all our members and their blogs, as well as all our previous
loops.

Here is the map of our Magical
Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to
reboard:

1st Stop ~ A World View

2nd Stop ~ Growing Up Disney
3rd Stop ~ WDW Backstage
4th Stop ~ Makin’ Memories

Final ~ My Dreams of Disney

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Mike Ellis (1348 Posts)

My Dreams of Disney is just that…My Dreams of my absolute favorite place in the World! Stop by and share your Dreams too! Check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and , and check out our special pages on the Lands of the Magic Kingdom, the countries of Epcot’s World Showcase, and our Disney Planning Resource pages! I am also a Pixie Vacations Travel Agent, so contact me to help you plan your next Disney Vacation!


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  1. says

    Thanks, Bruce! My overriding goal with all of our vacations is to just live with the mantra “It's not just your vacation!”, so that I can incorporate thoughts of everyone into all the planning processes. So far, I think I'm pretty successful at doing so. Thanks again! Great topic!

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