Disney has some huge properties. It owns Marvel, Star Wars, and other popular media franchises.
But it’s parks and resorts account for 37 percent of the company’s revenue in 2019. That made parks Disney’s biggest profit-maker by far.
Everyone can go on a Disney vacation. But you shouldn’t just book your tickets and fly down to Florida. You need to develop a good Disney vacation plan.
What options are available for your trip? When should you go to a Disney theme park? How should you book your hotel, transportation, and park tickets?
Answer these questions and you can have a great time with your favorite Disney characters. Here are five of the best Disney trip tips.
1. Learn About Your Options
When people think of a Disney vacation, they think about heading to Disney World. But you’re not limited to going to Florida.
If you live on the West Coast, you can head to Disneyland. You can see most of what the park has to offer within a week.
Paris, Tokyo, and Hong Kong also have their own parks. Each park takes a few days to explore fully.
Disney World by itself contains four separate theme parks. Disney calls Epcot one park, but it actually contains two parks inside of it.
You will not be able to see all that Disney World has to offer in one week. You can visit each park for a day or so, or you can focus on one park for your entire vacation. Read guides on how to plan a Disney vacation before picking where to go.
2. Pick the Right Time
Disney parks tend to be booked year-round. You should expect big crowds and lines whenever you do go.
But Disney World is less packed when schools are in session. This is especially the case in January, September, and early November.
Disney World offers many promotions to fill the parks. It offers free dining on select days, usually in September. The promotion is limited to people who book packages, but you will save money in the long run.
Each Disney resort offers a variety of festivals throughout the year. Most of these festivals celebrate holidays, with Halloween and Christmas being especially popular.
The festivals allow you to receive services and attend events you can’t find elsewhere. But you will have to deal with enormous crowds. Consider the tradeoff carefully and find Disney day tips related to these occasions.
Disneyland and Disney World tend to have consistently good weather. The temperature can get hot in the summertime, especially in indoor settings. The other Disney resorts have mild temperatures and low precipitation.
3. Plan Your Accommodations and Transportation
You must book your hotel and transportation well in advance. Six weeks is the minimum, but you should make reservations far earlier.
Disney World has on-site resorts and off-site hotels. Each on-site resort has its own theme and amenities.
All on-site resorts cost a lot of money. But the amenities include free transportation to the airport and extra hours in the park. Unless you need to save money, you should consider staying on-site.
You can drive down to Disney World, but it may take a while. You will need to pay for parking and storing your car. Buses and trains run in and out of Orlando, and you can find transportation to the resort.
If you want to fly, look for a ticket early in the morning. Many airlines offer deals then. Try to fly in the middle of the week when rates tend to be cheaper.
Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is Disney’s timeshare program. It can make your vacation easier to afford, and you can sell your timeshare. To buy and sell your share, Google “sell DVC with DVC shop.”
4. Get Your Tickets
Buy your tickets through an authorized seller. Tickets you buy from a scalper may be forgeries.
Make your purchases along with your accommodations. You should buy everything well in advance of your vacation. Consider getting FastPass+ so you can cut lines.
If you buy a ticket for a specific park, the ticket works for that park in particular. Buying an Epcot ticket does not allow entrance into the Magic Kingdom. If you want to go to multiple parks during one day, you can buy a Park Hopper ticket.
Try going to each Disney World park for one day. If you are staying for a week, you can revisit the parks you like.
5. Make an Itinerary
Once you have bought your tickets, you should write an itinerary for each day. Take a look at the park maps and figure out where the rides are.
Keep in mind that all Disney parks have shows and other special events, including fireworks shows. Examine the schedule and see when you can fit these events into your day.
There is plenty that you can do besides going on rides and attending shows. You can go shopping, or you can walk through the park. This gives you a great opportunity to find Hidden Mickeys and other decorations.
Get a good sense of where you want to eat. Disney offers a lot of dining options, and some of them require reservations. If you want to dine with characters or have a higher-end meal, you should book a few weeks in advance.
How to Make a Disney Vacation Plan
A Disney vacation plan will make the difference for your trip. You can go to Disney World, or you can head to another resort. If you go to Florida, distinguish between the four parks.
You may want to go when there are thinner crowds. But you can celebrate a holiday at the park.
Wherever you go, book everything well in advance. Consider an in-park resort over an off-site hotel.
Book tickets for each park. Decide on which rides and shows you want to go to.
Get out and see the world. Follow our coverage for more vacation guides.