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Planning Disney Trip - Never Been!!

Posted by on Jun. 21, 2009 at 3:22 PM
  • 8 Replies

Hi Everyone!

I am working on convincing my husband to take us to Disney next summer!!  We have two kids - a girl who is 7 and a boy who is almost 4.  I have never been to Disney and have started doing some research, but I have quickly become overwhelmed!  Where do I start?  We operate on a pretty tight budget.  We live in central IL so I'm thinking we will most likely fly down to FL.  I'm thinking about 5 days for our visit.  I don't know where to start in planning???  Help me!!!

"Disney wannabe chick"  :)

by on Jun. 21, 2009 at 3:22 PM
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by on Jun. 21, 2009 at 4:32 PM

Okay first ask yourself these questions: much can you spend?

where do you want to stay on or off property?

what airline? I recommend SW, they have great deals all the time and even have Disney pkgs., we fly on them all the time and this last time we flew from Bflo to Orlando, for $120 rt/person!

what kind of tickets do you want? hopper...which allows you to go from one park to another, which to me isnt worth it for first timers. You can also get basic tickets which are for one day at one park.

5 days is a good start, you can do one day per park and even go to one of the water parks if you want to...but you might feel rushed.....if you could do 7 that probably would be better.

do you want to get the dining plan...something offered to those that stay on property.  theres a few deals to choose from.

here are a few sites to check out:

Southwest Airlines - Vacations Packages - Disney Freebies - Free Stuff

EyesOnEars - Disney Forum - Keeping our Eyes on the Ears

The DIS Discussion Forums - - Powered by vBulletin

Disney Discounts - MouseMisers

Walt Disney World - Disney World Vacation Information Guide - INTERCOT - Walt Disney World Inside & Out


IF you happen to be military, like our family is, then I can tell you about the deals offered for military members

by New Member on Jun. 22, 2009 at 10:08 AM

Go to

And there you can price out (without booking--and then you can book there, too, when you're ready) different options like types of resorts and specific resorts, length of stay, park ticket options, dining plan options, airfare, etc.

Mom to Emma, 12, Wyatt, 9, and baby Sofia...


Group Owner Home Office:
Juggling little ones AND deadlines? Meet others who have the best of both worlds as a work-from-home mom. (No classifieds, please.)

by Member on Jun. 22, 2009 at 10:26 AM

Since you have a year, I would suggest getting a Disney Visa!!  If you don't want to charge and carry a balance, just charge your normal things, take it out of your check book then pay it off each month.  You will earn Disney Dollars and they are equivalent to $1 each for food, tickets, merchandise, etc.!  We paid for most of our food this way!!!

I also bought for $20 a book on line and this had great info. in it and it saved me alot more than $20 per ticket to the parks!



Check out my blog and website.  I hope it helps you!!

by Silver Member on Jun. 22, 2009 at 11:45 AM

It can be very overwhelming but you've come to the right place for help!

I agree with a pp to get the Disney VISA card.  Even if you close the account after your trip, the rewards you get will definitely help you.  You can use them to help pay for your trip or use the rewards for your souvenirs. 

Disney has been offering some great package deals and I'm sure they'll continue to do so but at this point, it's too early to know what they'll be for next year.   Just keep in mind that summer is peak time so prices will be higher and the parks will be crowded.  If you can be a little flexible with when you go, the parks won't be too crowded and you can save mone (this might let you stay 7 days instead of 5 for the same price).  End of September, beginning of October, beginning of November, beginning of December and after Easter but before June are generally less crowded.

I agree with a pp about Southwest Air.  We fly them all the time to Disney.  We live near Philadelphia and have paid as little as $59 each way per person.  I know they offer packages but I've never used themf or that.

Since your kids are young and you're on a budget, I would suggest a Value resort (All Stars or Pop Century) as they are the least expensive and kids really like them. The rooms are small but I think you'll be OK. When you book, book Magical Express (Disney's airport shuttle service) as it's free. 

There are lots of books on planning a WDW vacation but I think the 2 best ones are Birnbaum's Official Guide to WDW and the Passporter.  If you don't want to buy them, the Birnbaum's Guide is probably available at your local library. 

I hope this helps!  As you get further along or have more questions, just ask!


by Silver Member on Jun. 22, 2009 at 11:59 AM

Planning for an WDW trip can be overwhelming for even the expiranced travelers there. I would start at and look at the different options available to you as far as tickets, hotel, and meal options. It will allow you to compare and get a idea what is there for your budget. I think the most important first thing is pick your dates. Last year (last spring)WDW was offering buy 4 days and get 3 days free and this fall they are offering free meal plans. Not sure if these specials will be happening next year, but it is something to look for. The free meal special has been going on for about the last 4 years. I know there is a woman in this group by the name of Michelle who is a travel agent and she doesn't change for her serves, so maybe she can help also. But I can't find her user name. Maybe someone else would know. Everyone in this group will be able to help with any questions, you have, so just post and we'll be glad to help if we can.

by New Member on Jun. 22, 2009 at 12:05 PM

With the age of your children (even being a year from now), I highly suggest STAYING IN THE PARK.  The hotels around the park are not much cheaper and there is a lot more hassel involved with shuttle times and getting back to your hotel.   Taxi or renting a car is rediculously high as well.  When on property, shuttles are constant and much easier and the cheapest rooms on property are not much more in price than those off property with the added flexibility of going back to the room mid-day if need to.

We were there 5 days and were told to spend half a day at Animal Kingdom, 2 days at the main park, 1.5 day at studios, 1 day at Epcot (sp).  SCRATCH THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We spent the LEAST time at the main park (because it is the same as any other amusement park from what we saw) and the MOST time at Animal Kingdom (it is an amusement park inside a zoo)!  IMO we could have spent more time than 1 day at Studios (but we ran out of time) and taken that time away from the main park but we did the main park first and lost time there!

I suggest looking into the features of each park and start with the one that interests your family the most (we should have STARTED with Animal or Studios) and schedule the park that interests you the least last so you can better flex your time by your interests!




by Bronze Member on Jun. 22, 2009 at 1:18 PM

 I know that there are a lot of people that like to stay on site, but I am the minority and we loved it, so I just want to share my experience.  We stayed at the Hilton grand vacations club at sea world.  We had a 1 bedroom suite with a kitchen, dining room, living room, and laundry for $125.00 per night.  It was great having that much space.  We have  kids who were 4 1/2 and 8 months at the time.  Our 8 month old slept in a crib in our room, and the older one slept on the floor in our room so we could use the living room in the evening.  Our kids are not the go all day and night kinda kids, so we spent a lot of time in our room, so it was worth having the space. 

Yes we did have to rent a car, but we went through priceline, and got a great deal.  We got a minivan for about a 1/3 of the price.  You can name your own price and they will tell you what the going price is.  We kept going under it, and eventually got the price that we wanted.  You can only try every 24 hours, but it was worth it because we got a great price.  we also bought a triple A parking pass off of ebay so we got parking real close.  Driving there was not a problem, because it was real close.  We are probably going to go again next march with my mom, and we will stay there again.  Just wanted to share another perspective. 





by Jamie on Jun. 22, 2009 at 3:26 PM

Everything depends on your budget and your family needs.

We have been Dec 2004 with a 14 month old son stayed on property at PopCentury during Christmas season. We have been Dec 2007 with a 4 yr old son and a 14 month old daughter stayed off property during Christmas for $52 a night which is much cheaper than on disney property for that time of year. Then we just recently went in April 2009 with a 10old nephew, 5 yr old, 2 yr old and a 10 month old.

Our nephew and 5 yr old son walked the parks but on 1 night our son needed to nap in a stroller. So either be willing to rent a stroller just in case of don't have a rushed Disney vacation because it will be rough on the younger ones.

You have to weigh out your options. First when are you going? Are their some DIsney deals that would make it worth it to stay on property vs off property?   For example there is one mother in this group with several kids so I would definitely be going during free dining if that was my family because that's totally worth it. 

You said 5 days? Are you planning on just going to Disney and all 4 parks? Since you might not have a stroller then you might look into hopping between parks.

We usually do 2 days at MK, would be nice to do 2 days at Epcot and a day or day and half at the other 2. WHY? Because with meeting Characters, eating, waiting in lines and shows it takes up more time than you think. When we didn't wait in line for characters we had more time  but between Fairies and Princesses that ate up a lot of time one of ourMK days.








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