Steps to Planning a Disney Vacation: Step Two: Choosing a Vacation Package

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Planning a vacation to Walt Disney World can be stressful.  Through this series of posts “Steps to Planning a Disney Vacation” I will help walk you through planning a trip hopefully helping eliminate the stress and some magic to the process.

My first post “Steps to Planning a Disney Vacation:  Step One:  Determining Your Goal” focused on helping you determine what type of vacation you are hoping for during your trip.  This post will help breakdown your vacation packaging options.

Most Walt Disney World vacations include resort, park tickets, food and some additional magical items you can include with your reservations.

Choosing On-Site VS Off-Site

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

The first decision you will need to make regarding your vacation package is where to stay.  We will break this down more in a future post, but the first step is determining if you want to stay off Disney property or on Disney property.  There are a variety of options either way and a variety of booking sites you can go through to do so.

If you choose to stay on Disney property, you can book directly through Disney using their website.  If you don’t feel comfortable booking on your own, there are numerous Disney travel agents.  We highly recommend The Magic For Less Travel.

When staying off property, you choose from many options that range in price and quality.   Regarding staying off property, make sure you do your research regarding location as even though they might advertise as ”on property” Disney is huge and it might be 30 to 45 minutes away.  This is the first decision that needs to be made to help you determine how too book your vacation.

Purchasing Tickets Through Disney


The second decision that factors into your vacation package is tickets.  If you are staying on Disney property, you can bundle your tickets right in with your resort.  Booking with a Disney travel agent will also allow you to do this if staying on property.   If staying off property at a house or hotel, you have other options regarding where to get park tickets.  Some people have found that going to places like Costco offer cheaper options than buying directly through Disney.  Again make sure when you are purchasing tickets to check and double check your sites to ensure your safety. (Editor’s Note: Make sure you are buying tickets through an authorized ticket dealer. There are too many unofficial sites that offer cheap tickets, but don’t fall for them. Many are scams. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Disney tickets are one of the few things you can’t get deep discounts for.)

Determining Park Per Day vs Park Hopper Option


There are choices within tickets as well.  First you will need to determine how many days of tickets you would like.  Then you will choose if you want the basic admission or the park hopper option which allows you to travel between parks.  We personally can’t travel without the park hopper option but again you have to determine what is the best for your family.

If you choose the Park Hopper, then you can also upgrade to the Park Hopper Plus option which adds Disney’s two water parks.  With either purchase you will be able to add the Memory Maker.  This will give you access to a variety of ride photos as well as any photos taken of you and your traveling party by Disney’s PhotoPass photographers.  Determining your tickets is all about what you want your family to be able to do.

Determining If You Want Dining Included

Disney Vacation Package

Dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table

The last decision that comes with booking your Disney vacation is dining.  If staying on Disney property, you have the opportunity to purchase a Disney Dining Plan.  We will get into this more later as well but for now know that Disney offers three different dining plans that would allow you to prepay for your dining experiences.  This helps make your vacation more of an all inclusive vacation experience.  We will dive into these dining experiences more in a future post giving more details and explaining your options.  You can always add this option later as well.

Resort, tickets and dining are the three main items that making up the Disney Vacation Packages.  You have the option to bundle them all together or to try to book separately.  Look for more information on your resort options in the next blog post “Steps to Planning a Disney Vacation:  Step Three: Where to Stay?”

Do you tend to book a Disney Vacation Package or do things on your own? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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