Walt Disney World, Florida

Walt Disney World, Florida

Four BIG Steps: Date, Resort, Tickets, Dining

Planning for your Walt Disney World Vacation!

Finding the right Date:

This is one of the most difficult decisions. Do you take the kids out of school or not? Are you going to celebrate something special? Do you have to coordinate with work schedules or other family members? Here are some pricing and crowd level tips:

  1. It is always the most expensive and the most crowded during holidays
  2. The rates are higher when the children are out of school.
  3. The rates and prices are lowest in the fall.
  4. Be flexible if you can so you can take advantage of special offers.

Finding the right Disney Resort:

Photo courtesy of Shellie Wylie

There are four categories of resorts, plus the campground:

Value – these five resorts are the least in price per night, but still have the Disney theming and beautiful grounds. The biggest difference is that the rooms are small, most only sleeping 4; they do  offer mini refrigerators; and the pools are themed but not elaborate. The Art of Animation and All Star Music resorts offer family suites that accommodate up to six.  A Blog about the Value Resort, Pop Century.

Moderate – these four resorts are in the middle price range, and offer more in the way of dining and recreation. The rooms are a little larger and offer a mini refrigerator and coffee maker. Most of the rooms sleep four, but there is are some moderate resorts that sleeps a 5th smallish person in a trundle bed. These pools are much more elaborate and offer slides and hot tubs.


Deluxe – These eight resorts are in the upper price range with the most elaborate theming, pool decks and recreation. Most of these rooms sleep 5, with a day bed. These resorts offer concierge rooms and suites, and most offer children’s club activities for a fee.

Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts – There are two of these that are stand-alone, and seven that are part of deluxe resort complexes. These resorts offer mini and full kitchens, with elaborate deluxe resort level theming and pool decks. The largest of these rooms can accommodate nine people.

Finding the Right Tickets:

Your tickets will be a big part of the vacation budget. A key factor is knowing that once you purchase a four day ticket, the price goes up only a few dollars per day for each additional day. It costs less per day to buy a 5 to 10 day ticket than it does to buy a 1 to 4 day ticket.  All tickets expire 14 days after the first use.

Base tickets are the least expensive. These tickets are good for one park per day. You can come and go from the same park each day. If you go to one park in the morning, that is the park you must return to so as not to use another entire day’s ticket.

Park Hopper tickets are the tickets that Wishes recommends most frequently. These tickets allow you to ‘hop’ from park to park in the same day. This is especially important if you are on one of the Disney Dining Plans.

Water Park Fun & More tickets provide you with a certain number of entries into any of the following: the two water parks, Disney Quest, Oak Trail Golf Course green fees, and the Wide World of Sports Complex. These tickets are especially good for families with teens, those staying for longer trips, or those staying in a value resort wanting to have more water fun.



Finding the Right Dining Plan

Photo courtesy of Diana Lee

Having most or all of your meals pre-paid can be a great stress reducer, and money saver. Most guests have found that they enjoy the meals a great deal more on one of the dining plans. This is because you are more likely to order what you really want when it is pre-paid than if paying cash. All dining plans are per person, per night of your stay. Please note that with a couple of exceptions, you must pay your tips for the service received based on the retail value of the meal. Disney will calculate this for you. You always have the right to change the tip amount. Please be sure to let management know if you are reducing the calculated tip amount for service that didn’t meet your expectations.

You have three Walt Disney World Dining Plan Options:

Quick Service – offers two counter service meals, two snacks, and one resort refillable drink mug.  On this plan your Counter Service meal includes one entre and one non alcoholic beverage; or one complete combo plate.

Regular Dining – offers one counter service meal, one table service meal, and two snacks and one resort refillable drink mug.  On this plan your table service meal includes an entre, dessert and non alcoholic beverage; or one buffet.

Deluxe Dining – offers three meals per night at your choice of table service or quick service, two snacks, and one resort refillable drink mug.  On this plan your table service meal includes an appetizer, one entre, dessert, and non alcoholic beverage; or one buffet.

Dining Definitions: Counter Service meal is from one of the restaurants that a guest walks up to the window, orders, and then carries the meal to the table themselves. Table service is either a buffet meal, or a meal where a waiter takes your order and delivers it to your table. Snacks can be prepackaged items, fresh fruit, bottled drink or other bakery type snack. ASK to be sure what is considered a snack. You may be surprised at the vast selection.

Dining “Points”: Dining points are calculated based upon the number of nights of your Disney resort stay. If you are staying five nights on the deluxe dining plan, you will have 15 dining points to use for the duration of your stay. If you stay five nights on the regular dining plan, you will have 5 table service and 5 counter service points to use during your stay. All points become active at check-in and expire at midnight the day you check-out.

Now that you know you want to try a WDW vacation, contact your favorite Wishes agent!

Photo Galleries: Walt Disney World  Kidani Villas  Animal Kingdom Lodge


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