Trip to Disneyworld

Updated on January 21, 2012
M.H. asks from Coppell, TX
15 answers

We are planning a trip to Disneyworld, FL and I have some questions for those of you who have been before.

- when is the best time during the year to go? Nice weather, small crowds, etc.
- any suggestions on places to stay?
- anything that you HAVE to do while you are there or things to avoid?

Any other suggestions/ advice you have is great!

Just FYI- we will be taking our 5 year old daughter and almost 2 year old son. :)


2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Detroit on

Pick up the Unofficial Guide to Disney World, if you haven't already. They come out with a new edition every year. It's invaluable, as far as I am concerned. It has virtually all the information you need. Also on-line you can look up a "crowd calender" of Disney World that shows what the crowds have been like each day on average over the past several years.

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answers from Dallas on

We went there last Christmas and on the advice of friends used the Unofficial guide to DisneyWorld. It has a suggested itinerary for small children, we followed that for the most part and never waited in line more than 10 minutes and never had to use a fast pass. It was great. We went the day before Christmas Eve and the park didn't get crowded until evening-- but since we got there at 7am we were ready to go by then! We stayed at a Disney resort, so we could get in an hour earlier which was great. Our then 4.5 year old walked into the Magic Kingdom and there was Snow White without a line, waiting to meet her. It was a dream come true for her.
I will tell you to manage your expectations for the 2 year old. I remember a woman telling me while we were there she would never bring a two year old be sure you have a good stroller for napping and don't try to do too much that takes a lot of patience (like the pirates of carribbean pictures or princess dress up!)
Have fun!

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answers from Kansas City on

Yes, get the book that DVMMOM has suggested. We used it years ago when we took our kids.

Our schedule, unfortunately, was not as flexible as we would have liked it to be- we had to go in July. Avoid this month!! Hot, crowded, exhausting.

If you can afford it, I highly recommend that you stay in a Disney property hotel. We stayed at the Contemporary Inn and it was amazing. Beautiful view of the Magic Kingdom from our balcony window. We sat inside with the kids to watch the fireworks, and we needed that after a hot day at the park. Also, the pool there was perfect for letting the kids just run off steam.

I highly recommend a Character breakfast. Your kids are the perfect age for this and it was a lot of fun. BOOK EARLY if you want to get a reasonable time.

Have a wonderful time!

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answers from Boca Raton on

I have been many times (we live about 3.5 hours south). Your question is so broad that I absolutely "second" DVMMom's suggestion. That book is the only one I use and it IS invaluable. It should answer most if not all your questions.

With kids your kids' ages, I would think Magic Kingdom (one of the Disney parks) is a "must-do."

I would also consider a property with a great pool for little ones. That might be all they want to do . . . Orlando is way over-stimulating for small kids.

We've had good luck with weather and crowds in September and sometimes October (but lots of Europeans go in October). Spring Break is a broad swath of time due to varying schedules of schools and colleges. April has many "grad nights" so the parks close early. May can be a pretty good month, but the parks won't be empty. It's a good time before the locals get out of school.

My favorite place to stay is Staybridge Suites Lake Buena Vista. Your first time there - you might prefer to stay on Disney property (can be much more convenient in some ways, but you don't get as much "room" for your $$).


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answers from Dallas on

This is my nephew's place. I have been there and it is really nice. It has a pool but there is a safety fence around it. The price is really reasonable.
$650.00 per week.
Very clean
Very trust worthy renters
7 miles from Disney World and more....


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answers from Kansas City on

We just went at the end of September. We literally just walked on to most of the rides. If we had to wait in line, about 5 min. tops. And there were still a good bit of people there too. The weather was in the 80's and 90's too, so very nice. We did not stay on a Disney property, since we have older kids and it really didn't matter much to them. You can go on the Disney website, and order a CD, which will go over each park individually, so you can see and learn about it that way. Hope you have fun!!!



answers from Dallas on

I also agree that the unofficial guide is awesome, a must have! We went last April the week-end after easter and the weather was perfect and nothing was crowded. Our kids were 4(daughter) and almost 3 (son). We also stayed off site, we already had a car so that was not an issue. We stayed at the Floridays resort I would completely recommend staying there. It is easy and all the rooms are apartments with the option of two or three rooms for under $200/per night. The kids had their own room with a door and so did we. We also did a dinner with Cinderella at the Grand Floridian, the kids loved it! Cinderella, the prince, step mother & sisters, very fun. Dinner was pricey,but it was worth the cost since we were really just there hang out with the princesses:)
FYI If you want to do a lunch at Cinderella's royal table you have to make reservations 6 months in advance.
We only did two half days at the Magic Kingdom which was about right for our kids any longer and we would have had very cranky kids. I have friends with similar aged kids and they also said their kids loved the Disney Studios. One other tip, go on the disney photo site and pre-order the photo package. It is about $100, but that is so much cheaper than the $14 per photo they will charge you after you get there and they will take lots and lots of wonderful photos of your kids with characters etc. This is the one best thing you can do.
Your kids will love it and it is a fun family trip.



answers from New York on

The first week in December is perfect. Everyone home after Thanksgiving
and getting ready for Christmas. We go every year at this time and love it.
This year the most we waited was 15 minutes. A few of the big attractions
we did get Fastpasses for. Weather perfect that time of year. Have been
there at other various times of the year and December is the only time we
will go. The decorations for Christmas are phenomenal, the is the Osborne
Light Show, Mickeys Christmas party. It is a magical time to go. I would
stay on property. The Value hotels are the best bet. Pop Century is my
favorite out of all of the Value hotels.



answers from Dallas on

Best time is to work around school break schedules. Don't go during spring break (typically March) or Thanksgiving break, Christmas, break, etc. The hotel and airfare prices are always jacked up during these timeframes. We went in October right around Halloween and it was great, the weather was nice (nice enough to swim in our hotel's outside pool!) and it wasn't too crowded. Plus, Disneyworld has their "Not So Scary Halloween" event which is a separate cost but well worth it! There are several dates available -- we went on October 30 (the 31st was sold out). They close the park an hour earlier, get all of the daytime guests out, and then the holders of the Halloween tickets come in and there are special Halloween decoration and trick-or-treat stations set up throughout the parks and the characters are dressed in Halloween costumes. It was a bit crowded but overall very fun! But if you want to see Mickey and Minnie in their costumes you should immediately go where they are set up because the line gets long fast!



answers from Tampa on

I'm actually going next month. We usually stay at the lowes hotel, because they provide everything you need for the kids, crib, welcome toys, kids club etc. Here is some helpful info.



answers from Dallas on

We went for Spring Break last year and I used to help plan. I thought it was very useful. It costs about $20 for his info, but it is well worth it. He will help you figure out when it will be less crowded, which day to go to which park, which attractions you can't miss with kids, restaurant reviews etc. He even gives you a plan for how to tackle the park each day ... which attraction to hit first, what and when to get a fastpass for...

With a 5 year old girl, I highly recommend having a meal at Cinderella's Castle at the Magic Kingdom. It was the highlight of the trip for my 5 year old daughter, and my son enjoyed it too. Make these reservations early.

We stayed at the Beach Club and the pool was great as was the service. Another fun experience was the Sci-Fi Drive In restaurant at Hollywood Studios. You sit in a car to eat and the kids are entertained by clips of old B movies. Have a great time!


answers from Dallas on

We always went around Spring Break in March.. Not too hot and still comfortable weather.

We never stayed anywhere except the Polynesian which is on the monorail line. We LOVE that place. SO easy to jump on the monorail or boat taxi to MK and you are there withing minutes. If you need to run back to the hotel for naptime, etc, it is SO easy. It is not the cheapest place but it was always worth it to us.

As for arrangements, I always dealt directly with WDW. They send an informative DVD to you that pretty much details all the resorts, rides, parks, etc. Book early for character dinners, breakfast, etc. O'Hana at the Polynesian has a nice character breakfast. Chef Mickey at the Contempory has a good All American buffet with characters. There are several meals to choose from.

We got the passes that were good from the time we checked in until midnight on the day we checked out. Any park, any time, as many times as you wanted. Also, 1 park opens early daily for guests on the monorail line. There are other perks as well... we did a private safari that was awesome at Animal Kingdom.

It is a straight shot from DFW, easy peasy! We always took a cab and were at the hotel within an hour... about $100. Yes, there is a free shuttle but you never know how crowded it will be and how long it will actually take you to get to your hotel. It was not worth it. You don't need a car.

Enjoy and take it all in. You can't see it all at once.. choose parks which are more related to your children's interest.



answers from Dallas on

Be sure to take strollers for BOTH. DisneyWorld is huge. Even if you are staying in the resorts--they are huge and it can be quite a walk to the food courts. The Dining Plan is a really good deal. We did the one sit down/ one quick serve and one snack per person.
Definitely, read a guide before going. There are lots out there. Find one that is geared towards going with kids. Also, make reservations for as many meals as you can for sit down meals (even if you are not doing a character meal).
There is so much to do AND see. Take your camera with extra SD drives. The people at Disney know exactly what to do to create a great vacation.
Also, in the Hollywood Studios there is a Disney Jr show (highly recommend for your age of kids) and there is like a history of animation back by the Disney Jr show. Sorcerer Mickey, Winnie the Pooh and the Incredibles sign autographs there and of all the times I have been it has never been that crowded. Like maybe waiting 5 mins to see the characters. It seems to be hidden far enough off the main path.



answers from Kansas City on

Try to think about school schedules around the country and avoid the times that most kids would be out of school. I believe fall is good, October or November (before the holiday rush). January or February are also good times. We've stayed on Disney property 3 times with very good luck. Old Key West is wonderful, they have condos so you can have breakfast in your room. We've also stayed at Port Orleans and that was nice as well. The cheaper on site hotels are good also, but very crowded.




answers from Dallas on

We went last year with another family and stayed at the Caribbean hotel on property. It was great to be onsite and never need a car. The buses will take you anywhere you need to go. I HIGHLY recommend the nightime parades. If you can get a nap in first they really are amazing. Here are the things we found to be really helpful.
1) Bring a backpack with snacks. You can bring food in for your little ones
2) If you as for an ice water, it's free. (Not bottled water)
3) We rented a stroller for 2 full days. You get a voucher and can get the stroller at any park. You can also turn it in, go to another park and get one there. It's wonderful!!!
4) Start at the back of the park and work forward. When you are ready to leave, there you are. This also lets you fast pass a ride in the middle, go to the back, then hit that ride as you move on. We had the dads go sign up for the next fast pass while we stayed in line.
Hope this helps.

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