Understanding the Walt Disney World Resort and planning a vacation can seem overwhelming, so we’ve created this guide to help you and your family plan your trip and get the most out of your visit.
Here are some essential tips (and links) to assist you in your vacation planning. And once you arrive, be sure to use the Walt Disney World services and benefits that have been designed to make your Disney vacation more enjoyable.
How To Plan Your First Trip to Walt Disney World Resort
UNDERSTAND WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT
Walt Disney World Resort—encompassing an area larger than the island of Manhattan—includes 4 Theme Parks, 2 Water Parks, more than 25 Disney Resort hotels, and a multitude of dining, recreation and other fun things. Yet, it’s surprisingly straight-forward when you know where to start.
We’ve created a breakdown for the Walt Disney World Theme Parks here
DISCOVER VACATION OPTIONS
A convenient way to enjoy a Walt Disney World vacation is with a Magic Your Way Vacation Package.
All Magic Your Way Vacation Packages Include:
- Disney Resort accommodations
- Theme Park tickets
- Resort benefits
Packages are flexible and customizable, with many choices for accommodations and a variety of Theme Park ticket options. Some packages include a plan for meals, added recreation and entertainment.
In addition, Resort hotel Guests can enjoy valuable Guest benefits such as complimentary transportation, extended Park hours and other convenient services. Discover the best package for you by building around your ideal vacation.
WHY STAY AT A DISNEY RESORT HOTEL?
Enjoy outstanding benefits designed to provide your family with the most convenient and relaxing vacation available. Consider the advantages of staying at a Disney Resort hotel:
- Extra Time in the Parks: Each day one of the Parks opens early or stays open later, giving Disney Resort hotel Guests more time to enjoy favorite attractions.
- Resort Transportation: Within the Resort, take advantage of a variety of complimentary transportation options that connect Parks, Resort hotels and other Disney areas.
- Complimentary Airport Service — Skip baggage claim with Disney’s Magical Express, convenient motorcoach transportation and luggage delivery service for you and your party between Orlando International Airport and your Disney Resort hotel.
Thinking about maybe staying off-property? We stayed at the Holiday Inn Disney Springs recently and put together an article about the differences (and similarities) with the Disney Neighbour Resorts and the on-property official Disney Resorts.
There’s a variety of hotels to suit every taste and budget—each offering Disney quality service and style. Find the category that’s best for your family or group:
- Value: Delight in the comforts of the most affordable hotels that offer the benefits and service you expect from Disney. Explore Value Resorts.
- Moderate: Experience the magic at mid-tier Resort hotels that feature charming facilities, delectable dining and lively locales. Explore Moderate Resorts.
- Deluxe: Escape to superb dining, outstanding services, luxurious amenities and premium recreational offerings. Explore Deluxe Resorts.
- Deluxe Villas: Treat yourself to spacious accommodations, convenient amenities and cozy furnishings found at a Disney Deluxe Villa Resort.
- Cabins and Campgrounds: Discover a wilderness getaway of rustic log cabins and cozy campsites amidst the magic of the great outdoors.
Disney Resort hotels offer unique themed experiences, Character Dining and a variety of recreation choices. See how magical your vacation at a Disney Resort hotel can be:
- Themed Experiences: Disney Resort hotels are famous for their elaborate theming. You can stroll a seaside Boardwalk, encounter wild animals of the savanna, discover the French Quarter of New Orleans, delight in 20th-century pop culture or much more.
- Themed Pools: From sandy-bottomed lagoons and pirate galleons to guitar-shaped pools, splashing in the water is always an adventure at a Disney Resort hotel.
- Character Dining: Dine with beloved Disney Characters in a variety of fanciful surroundings. Discover the many ways to meet Disney Characters.
- Golf: Complement your Resort stay with a round of golf at one of our championship courses featuring lush green fairways and tournament-ready surfaces. Explore Disney Golf and maybe even Footgolf!
PLANNING TIPS AND TOOLS
For more vacation planning advice, explore the additional vacation planning resources below:
- Browse Magic Your Way vacation packages, which give you flexibility in your travel dates, accommodations, size of your party and activities you want to enjoy. You can even enlist the help of an expert Disney Itinerary Planner.
- Gather your family to create an itinerary of all the must-see attractions and entertainment you want to experience using our My Disney Vacation planning tool.
- If you want to enjoy special dining or recreation experiences that require reservations, book up to 180 days in advance. The Disney dining finder offers descriptions of restaurants and special dining events.
- And remember, make travel and Resort hotel reservations at least 6 months in advance, if possible.
STEPS TO MAGIC TRIP PLANNING ARTICLES
Some of my favorite tips and tricks are found in the most random places on the website. Here’s just a few of the articles that will help with your first trip to Walt Disney World:
- 20 Things that First Time Disney Visitors Don’t Know, which takes you through basic tips without a ton of fluff…because I know how overwhelming the information can be.
- Arrival Day is more important than you could imagine, as it sets the tone for your entire trip. Setting expectations can help you space out the magic:)
So much information, but remember that it’s a vacation with layers! The Walt Disney World Resort can be the most magical place on earth…if you’re in the know;)