Aging Expectations

Disney World Trip Planning

disney 5We’re starting a new series here at Happy Family Travels and I am EXCITED!

We decided to take a big trip this year. The trip of all trips. The trip to Disney World!

Although we travel all the time and I plan the trips we take, going to Disney is intimidating! There is so much information out there, so many insiders with secrets, so much pressure!! It is paralyzing to me.

I figured if I needed help maybe you did too.

Let me introduce Cyrstal…She is one of those insiders!!! She is going to tell us what to do when to plan a fantastic trip to Disney.

Let’s start our adventure one plus years ahead of when you think you want to go…

So you are thinking about a trip to Walt Disney World? Not sure when you might want to go or know exactly when you want to travel in the next two years. Either way, now is the time to get started planning.



1.  Contact a travel agent.

There are lots of agents out there that will help you at absolutely no cost to you. No need to price compare, just compare services and find a good personality fit.

As long as you get someone who specializes in Disney, the pricing will all be the same. Personally, I would look for someone affiliated with an agency that is an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.

However, there are tons of fabulous agencies (and therefore agents) that have yet to reach this status. A good travel agent can and will help you with every other part of this list, and quite frankly, a good travel agent can help make your vacation the best one possible.

Why not have an expert helping you at no extra cost?


2.  Decide what time of year you would like to travel.  

There are tons of variations in price and crowd levels at Disney depending on the time of the year and sometimes down to the week of the month or day of the week. If you have flexibility, definitely choose a time with fewer crowds, which also likely means a lower cost.

Crowds can make or break your vacation. There are also special events at different time of the year. Maybe the Flower & Garden Festival is for you or maybe you’d really like to go to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.


3.  Think about how long you want to stay.

Don’t forget that Walt Disney World offers four major theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios & Animal Kingdom), two water parks (Blizzard Beach & Typhoon Lagoon), and indoor interactive theme park (DisneyQuest), an outdoor shopping area (Downtown Disney).

There are also tons of other experiences throughout the resort (including golf and bass fishing in case, someone in your party is not sure about the Disney trip.)

I recommend my clients stay for at least a week, but many people choose different lengths of time.

Mater at the Flower & Garden Festival
Mater at the Flower & Garden Festival


4.  Pick the on site resort you prefer

There are currently 26 Disney owned resorts on the property. There is literally something for everyone.  There are value resorts all the way to deluxe villa resorts and there is some amazing theming available.

Disney’s Newest Value Resort
Disney’s Newest Value Resort


5.  Crunch the numbers.

Now is the time to come up with a budget. If you aren’t sure where to start, then picking a resort and how long to stay will help you see what is reasonable for your trip. Don’t be afraid to ask your travel agent for help. We help people at every price point plan amazing vacations.


6.  Decide on park tickets.

Base tickets, park hoppers, water park and more. Plus how many days do you need in the park? Do you want a break day in the middle of your trip? Do you know that the longer you stay, the cheaper the tickets become per day?


7.  Think about dining.

Disney offers a variety of dining plans. Again there is a plan to fit everyone. Everything from Quick Service to Platinum Plans are available. The most popular one by far is the Disney Plus Dining with one table service, one quick service and one snack per person, per night.

This one works for lots of people but make sure the one you pick is the best one for your family. And don’t discount the amazing food available at Walt Disney World. Yum!

Remy visiting our table Le Chefs de France
Remy visiting our table Le Chefs de France


8.  Book the trip! 

If pricing is out for your time period, go ahead and book your trip. Disney has awesome cancellation policies. You can cancel a package up until 44 days prior to arrival with no penalty at all. Just $200 holds a package and if you book it now, you can make payments if you choose. There is absolutely no risk at this point.


Are you getting excited yet?

Planning a Disney trip is ALMOST half the fun. But don’t let it overwhelm you.  Take a deep breath and enjoy the ride.

I’ll be back in a few weeks to tell you what to do at about 7 months prior to your trip. Until then, you are all set!


Crystal Seaton is a wife, a mom, and a travel agent. She travels to Walt Disney World multiple times per year and also cruises and visits Disneyland as often as possible. She is the owner of Magical Vacations By Crystal and affiliated with Custom Travel Professionals, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. Crystal also blogs at WDW Divas along with a few of her fabulous colleagues.



  1. I suddenly have the urge to go to Disney World again! What am I talking about? I always want to go to Disney World! My fingers are crossed that I can either go later this year or at some point next year depending on finances. I always love going though, it’s honestly one of my favorite places in the world. Fantastic post, which some great tips!
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    1. Leigh,

      I would be happy to help you figure out what times work best for your family. September and January / February are great times of year as long as you avoid the little holidays that pop up in those months. But there truly is not a bad time to visit Disney. Some are just better than others.

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