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Planning a trip to Disney World can be intimidating. This is especially true if you have never been before. Walt Disney World is such a big place. And there are so many options. It can be overwhelming just thinking about it. But don’t worry–I’m here to help! Here are the best resources for planning a Disney trip. This article will cover every aspect of your trip so you can make informed choices. These resources, along with my step-by-step guide and quick tips will help you make every decision about your trip. For the secret to a great Disney World trip, click here. Now, let’s get planning!
Overall Trip Planning
If you are planning your first Disney World vacation, there is a lot to learn. The best place to start in this situation is by getting the latest version of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. This is, in my opinion, the most complete resource for overall trip planning. It covers everything from when to go to what order to visit the attractions. It also includes maps and descriptions of each hotel, restaurant, and ride on property. Additionally, the touring plans in the book will save you hours of waiting in line. You can get this book at Amazon. I used this book on my first several trips. It gave me a great base of knowledge and made me feel like an expert even on my first trip. The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World With Kids is also a great book by the same people.
When to Go
The first decision you must make when planning a Disney World trip is when to go. Now, if you are limited on vacation time, this will be an easy decision. However, if your schedule is more flexible, you want to spend some time thinking about this. Take into account the weather, crowds, and any special events that may be taking place.
For a listing of special events at Disney World, look at AllEars.net’s calendar of events. They have a list of events month by month with a description of each event. To look at typical weather in Orlando during various parts of the year, check out AllEar’s weather page. All Ears is one of the best resources for planning a Disney trip because it gives you all kinds of Disney World information.
For information on crowds during different times of the year, look at TouringPlans.com’s crowd calendar. Touring Plans is run by the same people who write the Unofficial Guides. While some basic information on the site is free, you will need to pay for a subscription to access most of the site. A year’s subscription for the Walt Disney World portion is $14.95, but you get a discount if you buy one of their books. This subscription is worth the price just for the crowd information alone. I have had a subscription with them for years.
Where to Stay
Once you decide when to go, you will need to decide where to stay. The first question is: should you stay at a Disney resort or an offsite hotel? To help you answer this question, read my article on whether staying onsite is worth the money. Regardless of which you choose, the Unofficial Guide will give you some information on the various hotels to choose from. They have descriptions of all Disney resorts and many of the offsite hotels as well. Touring Plans also includes descriptions of all the onsite hotels. Another good resource for hotel reviews at Disney World is Disney Tourist Blog. This blog does a good job of giving you all the pros and cons of each hotel as well as some great photos.
Park Tickets, Fastpasses, and Things to Do
For park tickets, pricing, (and other information), you can go directly to Disney’s website. Before you arrive at Disney World, you will want to check the operating hours for each of the parks for each day of your visit. Disney’s website is the best place to look at these hours. You will also find some good tips and information about tickets at Disney Tourist Blog. To get some basic information on Fastpasses, see my guide to Fastpass+. For what to do and when, Touring Plans is your go-to source. Their plans are amazing and will save you hours of standing in lines. I use them all the time.
Not sure whether you should get the Disney Dining Plan? Read my guide on the Disney Dining Plan to help you decide. In it, I give you all the information you need to make the right decision for your family. If you are on a tight budget, read my tips for saving money on food at Disney World. If you are interested in getting groceries so you can eat in your room, check out this post.
For a description of every restaurant at Disney World, look at the dining section of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. Then head over to All Ears to see the menu for every restaurant on property. This will give you a good idea about the items to choose from and the prices of food at Disney World. All Ears also has reviews for all the restaurants too. I check out the menus at All Ears before every trip.
I will be the first one to tell you that going to Disney World is expensive. For me, it’s important to save money wherever I can to make the trip more affordable. Hands down, the best resource out there for saving money on a Disney trip is mousesavers.com. They have tips and discounts for every aspect of a Disney trip. Since my very first trip, they have been one of my go-to sources. If you are going to be staying offsite and want discounts on park tickets, head over to Undercover Tourist.
Planning a trip to Disney World can quickly go from being fun to completely overwhelming you. But, with the right advice, you can plan the trip of your dreams without fear and confusion. I use all of the above sources for my own trips and have never been disappointed. I feel confident that with this list of the best resources for planning a Disney World trip, you will plan a trip your family will remember for a lifetime. For additional advice, browse through the Disney section of my blog. If you need specific answers or would like some individualized advice, leave me a comment and I will be happy to help you plan your trip. Happy travels!
P.S. For more planning help, our Travel Resource Library has several printable Disney planning tools, including a packing list and a Disney Itinerary at a Glance. You can get instant access to this members-only Travel Resource Library by signing up for our weekly newsletter, which is full of travel tips, trip ideas, and inspiration to travel better with your family. You will find the sign up box at the top right of this page or on the home page.