|Before You Book|
The Geeks Responses:
1) How much do you want to spend?Setting a budget is one of the most important aspects of your vacation. There are Walt Disney World resorts in several categories - Value, Moderate and Deluxe, and options on property that include the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin and the 5 Diamond Four Seasons Resort Orlando. Staying offsite is also an alternative. Dining can be a quick service hot dog or a steak and lobster dinner at one of the signature restaurant locations. Choosing a more or less expensive time of year will also factor into your budget and may allow you to stay a few extra days in off season. Having a set budget allows for the other components - lodging, tickets, dining, special events - to fall into place.
With four major theme parks; two water parks; the burgeoning Disney Springs shopping and dining district (formerly Downtown Disney) and a wide range of activities that include three 18-hole golf courses, fishing, mini golf, horseback riding, boating, tours, and more, there is always something to do. We usually visit for 6-10 days, which allows us for a relaxing tour of the property. I recommend listing everything you'd like to do during your visit and seeing how many days you come up with. For myself, I find one day in the Magic Kingdom, two days at Epcot, one day at Disney's Animal Kingdom and one day at Disney's Hollywood Studios are a good rule of thumb. For families with young kids, your schedule may include two days in the Magic Kingdom - everyone has a different agenda. You may want an extra day or two to "catch up" on anything you miss during these park days. Disney Springs can also take a few hours or a full day, depending on what your goals are. Also, set a little time for relaxing - you are on vacation!
3) What else in Orlando should I see? Well this is really a tough question. Disney World by itself can suck up more vacation time, energy, and money than the average family has. We used to spend a couple days and explore other attractions in Orlando, but with the expansion of Disney World over the past decade there is more than enough to keep you on property for your entire trip. If this is a once in a lifetime trip to Orlando, and you have enough time you should go visit Kennedy Space Center, Sea World, and maybe Universal Studios Florida. For me coming from California I have experienced much of this already. I have been to Sea World in San Diego (and in Ohio for that matter), so I have never been to the Orlando version. I have been to Universal Studios here in California, and I am not a huge fan, so I did not see any reason to go to Orlando's version. I am not a thrill ride or Harry Potter person so Universal's Islands of Adventure does not excite me. Kennedy Space Center is a truly unique experience but after seeing it once every now and then it does not change that much. I seem to go about every 10 years and that is more than enough. If you have not been there in the past 10-15 years the Space Center has really expanded for the better.
4) Where should I stay?
When on vacation, I do not want to have to worry about transportation nor drive, I do more than enough of that at home and I would prefer to sit back and relax, even if sometimes that is not the most efficient way to get around. Staying onsite is much simpler, you walk out of your room and in some cases right to a park, in most you take a Disney bus, boat, or monorail to your destination. Disney transportation works, but at times it is not the most efficient and this can get on some guest’s nerves. Offsite hotels generally have scheduled transportation, which may be every hour or two instead of every 15-20 minutes or less and most have longer transit times to reach the Disney parks.
Check out our Disney Vacation Plans page for an analysis and thoughts on this.
A large number of guests arriving at WDW travel by airplane at Orlando's International Airport(MCO). WDW is about 30 minutes from the airport. You have several options to make the journey and what you choose depends on where you are staying, what you plan to do and your patience.
As with any city you have regular array of options, rental cars, town cars, other services, cabs, etc...
If you are staying at a Disney Resort since 2005 Disney has been offering a service called Disney's Magical Express. This service includes motorcoach transfers, luggage delivery and resort airline check in. This is included in your room rate, there is no additional charge.
The WDW transportation options are easy to navigate and will get you around WDW. Check out our WDW transportation section for more information on getting around.
If your driving your own car or a rental car getting to WDW is rather easy. Most Orlando area roads have signs pointing the way. You will have to stop and pay several tolls along the way if you stay on the main toll ways. Consult disneyworld.com or a GPS for more detailed directions.
Another route to take is public transportation. The Orlando area bus system services Walt Disney World. Click here for Tony, a guest contributor's, thoughts and tips on public transportation.
7) What type of ticket
should I buy and from where?
For the most up to date options and pricing be sure to visit the Official Walt Disney World Resort Site.
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