Plan a trip to Walt Disney World with a guide in hands

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December 7, 2013

9781615642519HI will admit that I have never gone to Walt Disney World with kids.   I went as a kid when I was 8 or 9 years old and I went during our honeymoon but so far we have not brought our kids to WDW.   Part of me is looking forward to it while part of me is a little bit anxious about what to expect.  Don’t take me wrong, we have brought the kids to places like the zoo and museums but haven’t explore the theme parks option yet.    And knowing that WDW has changed quite a bit since our last trip there in 1998 – well I know that not only my own kids will be in awe with the magic we will find there.

So as I dream and slowly consider this a possibility for 2014, my husband thought it would be a great idea to plan in advance.  We know what we want to see and where we would stay.   But having books and such helps us to determine what options we could incorporate in our trip.   Today I would like to present you a book written by a lifelong Disney fan who has visited the WDW over 100 times during the last 40 years.   You could say that he is somewhat of an expert on the subject don’t you think?

As soon as you open the book, you are introduced to the symbols found throughout it as you explore the various options of your trip at WDW.   From the pages of this book you can discover the most magical place on earth if you have never been there or simply plan your family trip when it’s the first time you bring the kids.   From what I have gleaned so far I find that the book is very useful in guiding you to be wise in the expenses linked to such a trip.  It provides expert advice and information for people of all ages, gives you tools to plan your trip, provides amazing tips on getting the most of your experience at WDW and  even includes updates on the Magic Kingdom Fantasyland expansion.

Let’s take a sneak peak at the table of contents of the book.

Plan Your Walt Disney World Trip.

1) How to Plan Your Trip: When you should go, making big decision (reservations), daily planning
2) Establishing Your Budget: transportation, accommodations, tickets, dining, incidentals, cost-saving strategies
3) Getting there: Getting to Orlando, getting from the airport to WDW, rental cars,getting around WDW
4) Buying tickets: Magic Your Way Tickets and add-ons, other attraction tickets, special ticket packages
5) Vacation strategies: general trip-planning strategies, strategies for families, vacation strategies for adults

Choose Your Castle: Picking Your Resort Hotel.

6) Walt Disney Resorts: Introduction to Disney Hotels, Benefits of staying on property, understanding Disney Resorts, hotel comparison, other accommodations options in Orlando, The Disney Vacation Club
7) Deluxe Resorts:  What is a Deluxe Resorts, The Walt Disney World Deluxe Resorts
8) Moderate Resorts: What is a Moderate Resorts, The Walt Disney World Moderate Resorts
9) Value Resorts: What is a Value Resort, The Walt Disney World Value Resorts
10) Deluxe Villa Resorts and The Disney Vacation Club: What is a Deluxe Villa Resort?, What is the Disney Vacation Club?, Deluxe Villa Resorts
11) Hotel Plaza Boulevard and Orlando Resorts: Hotel Plaza Boulevard, Other resorts on and near WDW property, Shades of Greeen

Feast Like Royalty: Dining at WDW

12) Dining at WDW: Making advance reservations, Disney Dining Plan, Comparing character meals, Kids and healthful dining, comparing dinner meals, author’s favorite
13) Dining in the Resorts: dining at Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villas Resorts, Dining at Moderate Resorts, Dining at Value Resorts
14) Dining in the Parks: table-service dining in the Magic Kingdom, counter-service dining and snacks at the Magic Kingdom, table-service dining in Epcot, counter-service dining and snacks  in Epcot, table-service dining in Hollywood Studios, counter-service dining and snacks  in Hollywood Studios, table-service dining in Animal Kingdom, counter-service dining and snacks  in Animal Kingdom, dining at the water parks.
15) Other Dining Options at WDW: dining at Downtown Disney, dining at the BoardWalk

Bring on the Entertainment: The Theme Parks

16) The Disney Theme Park Primer: general park information, general park services, park tours
17) The Magic Kingdom: general park information, Main Street, USA, Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasy Land, Tomorrowland
18) Epcot: park introduction, Future World Pavilions and attractions, World Showcase Pavilions
19) Hollywood Studios: park introduction, Hollywood Boulevard, Echo Lake, Streets of America, Pixar Place, Animation Courtyard, Sunset Boulevard
20) Animal Kingdom: park introduction, The Oasis, Discovery Island, Camp Minnie-Mickey, Africa, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Asia, Dinoland, U.S.A.

The Rest of the Kingdom and Beyond

21) Disney Water Parks: general park information, Typhoon Lagoon Attractions, Blizzard Beach Attractions,  Kids Areas
22) Downtown Disney and the Boardwalk: General Downtown Disney Information,  Dining at Downtown Disney, Entertainment at Downtown Disney, Shopping at Downtown Disney
23) Other Activities at WDW: Sporting Activities, Outdoor Activities at WDW, Special Events and Adult Fun at WDW, Disney Cruise Line,
24) Other Orlando-Area Attractions: Theme Parks, International Drive

Appendixes: Itineraries, cards, WDW resort accommodations

The book contains numerous tidbits of information that is simply precious for a planner like me.  I can get a quick glance at the prices expected at a restaurant, I can plan our visit at the parks with the attractions we could do as a family and I can explore in advance what we will see and do.    The book doesn’t contain much photos or images.  You will see the IMG_9479park maps as well as some black and white photos from the some of the places you will visit.  However, don’t expect to see colorful images in this book.  After all it is a planning guide more than anything else.

One table that I appreciate having is the character meals and dinner shows that are open to the public.    I would love to bring my little girl to a Disney Princesses at the CInderella’s Royal Table or the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.   It would be a blast to see her reaction.   I haven’t realized that it was two of the most expensive one.   Okay… there are some that are more pricey like the Mickey’s Backyard BBQ, the Spirit of Aloha Show or the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Review.   But my Jasmine simply loves princesses and would love to meet them.   I wonder how her brothers would react to one of these two character meals…  *grin*

I will admit that for our family trip we won’t even consider the Resort hotels and dining as we want to keep our cost as low as possible.  We do have a budget and have been saving for quite some time already.  We have found a RV Park which charges only 500$ per month and are planning to go down with our RV.   Having our RV will allow us to plan meals and come to rest.   Part of me would love to stay on site at the Disney campground but honestly the price is simply out of our budget.  Considering that we can book a campground for a month, we plan to explore more than just WDW.

If you had to get a planning guide for your upcoming trip to WDW, I would strongly suggest that you check out the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Walt Disney World – 2013 Edition as it contains numerous tips and tricks as well as wise budgeting ideas.

What is your favourite tip in planning a trip to WDW?  Please don’t hesitate to share with my family as we are actively planning our trip…

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  1. My favorite Disney tips (I have two): if there is an option to go left or right, always go left. Most people go right. We had half a day to ourselves before running into the crowds at the back of the park. Also, divide your spending money into envelopes for each day of the trip. This way you know exactly what you have on hand for that day without going over your budget, and any extra gets rolled into the next day.

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