How to do Disney World — The Right Way

Have I told you all how much I love Disney World? I haven’t?! Holy Minnie Mouse! Well, I’m pretty much a Disney World addict. I went for my first visit when I was 10 years old. It was such an amazing trip, and it really is one of my favorite memories as a child. I’ve been a total of four times, and each visit I discover something new. My most recent trip was for my husband and mine’s delayed honeymoon. It was seriously the BEST vacation I’ve had to date.

Lucky for you, I’m going to tell you some of my little secrets that I’ve learned throughout my Disney vacay career! You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers. And if I don’t have the answers, I can point you to some fabulous folks who DO know the answers!


So I want to go to Disney World. When should we go? 

This will make or break your trip. Seriously. If you visit the World during peak visiting times, you’ll have a fantastic time, of course, but you will wait longer for rides, food, buses, etc. We always go the week before Thanksgiving, and we literally just walk on to popular attractions like Mount Everest (Animal Kingdom) and Space Mountain (Magic Kingdom). No waiting!

Main Street USA. Photo credit: Tom Bricker

Also, the park is decorated for the holidays, and that just makes it so special. Walking down Main Street USA with the garland, wreaths, and Christmas decor is breathtaking. With Florida temperatures backing down from the summer heat, you can enjoy cooler nights and less harsh day time temps.

Great, now I know when to go! But where do we stay? 

Short answer: On property! I can’t tell you how easy our Disney vacations are since we stay at one of the fabulous resorts on property. The major plus is the bus system that Disney has perfected. When you stay at a Disney resort, you don’t have to worry about renting a car—ever. When you arrive at Orlando Airport, you can hop on the Magic Express, which is a bus that will take you to your resort. It’s included in the cost of your stay! Each resort has a bus stop that services each park. So all you have to do is hop on a bus, and you’re at the Magic Kingdom (or any park)! This is so convenient. I can’t imagine searching for my car after a long day of Disney magic. Of course, staying at a Disney resort just makes the magic last even longer!

Mickey greeted us in our Animal Kingdom Lodge room.

Lobby at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

We’ve stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge twice, and we can’t get enough. Rooms with savanna views (that means giraffes right out your balcony!), the amazing ambiance, and the overall feel of an African hut is so amazing. Disney really transports you! I’ve also stayed at Old Key West and one of the All Stars. What’s fantastic is that each level of Disney resorts has impeccable accommodations, themes, and of course, the stellar Disney Cast Member service!

But I have little kids. Will they even like it? 

YES! We took our kids when Micah was 7 months and Emma was 2.5 years. They had a BLAST. Micah loved the sights and sounds, and Emma was in awe of the real life princesses. The best part? They were free. Yep. FREE. We paid for Emma’s plane ticket, and that was about it. We always use the dining plan (more on that later), so we did purchase a kids meal for the two of them to split at most meals. Entrance to the parks was free for each kid under 3. This was pretty influential on our decision to bring the kids. We knew they’d love it, and at that price, you can’t beat it. We did have my mom, dad, and sister (along with family friends) on vacation with us, so we had help. Don’t have grandma or grandpa coming along? Disney has this awesome thing where parents can swap out in line, too! One ‘rent can hang with the tots while the other waits in line and rides. Then, the other parent can hop on. Disney thinks of everything!

I hear the food is amazing at Disney World. How do I go about making reservations and such? 

The food is probably my favorite thing about the World (oinker over here!). The fine dining is beyond delicious, and the service is, of course, out of this world. But it can be pricey. So here’s what we do: We always ALWAYS always buy a dining plan! The level we purchase includes a quick service meal (kind of like fast food), table service meal (fancy sit down meal), and a snack (a soda, popcorn, cupcake…the options are vast!). This is paid for before we even leave for vacation. That means we get to eat and walk out of a restaurant without “paying”. We just swipe our room key and away we go! Awesome.

Okay, I want to go. But I don’t know if I can plan this all by myself. 

You’re in luck. I know two of the best travel agents in the world, Tim and Audie Lawley of Mouse Ear Vacations. This husband and wife team has been to Disney COUNTLESS times, including Disney Cruise Line vacations as well as Disney Land. They know the World like the back of their hand! They can do the dirty work for you and help you plan the ultimate Disney vacation for all budgets! And let me tell you — we do Disney cheap! But we still stay at the Deluxe resorts. The Lawley’s know how to scope out deals and steals when it comes to airfare, room discounts, and more. You can get in touch with them on their Facebook page. I’ve traveled with them to Disney a number of times, and they’re simply the best in the game!

Right now, you can receive a FREE Disney Parks Vacation Planning DVD. Just click the image below to get yours!

Disney Vacation

Disney is such a magical place for both young and old. We go pretty much every year, and it’s always magical!

Do you have any good Disney tips? Let’s hear ’em!


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