Book Your Resort

CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER TWO

BACK TO YOUR DASHBOARD

Chapter 1

That trip you've been rolling over in your mind? It's time to make it happen, for real this time. If you're like me, you get overwhelmed when you think of your trip all at once. What most people don't realize is the biggest step - booking your trip - is actually the easiest.

You may have already booked your trip, and that's okay. There may be some things in this chapter that could be useful to you, like setting up your My Disney Experience account. If not, click through to Chapter Two.

You ready? Start by watching the video below where I review everything in this chapter. If you have a sleeping babe on you, you can skip the video and read on. Whatever works for you, my friend.

Love, Dana

Looks best fullscreen!

Chapter 1 Video: Booking Your Resort

It makes sense that "when's the best time to visit Disney World?" is a popular question. 

It comes down to three major factors:
  • crowd levels
  • pricing
  • weather

Personally? I love the first week of May (after the Spring Break crowds disperse), and the first week of November or December.

I understand it's hard with most school schedules, but if you can, try to zig while everyone zags!


01.

Decide When to Visit

Least crowded: May, August, and September.

Cheapest: January, August, and September (minus major holidays)

Coolest: December, January, and February.

Most crowded: March and early April, the week of Thanksgiving, and the week of Christmas until after New Year's Day.

If crowds are your main concern (they are for me!), here are my favorite calendars below.

When you're visiting Walt Disney World from out-of-state, you need a place to stay.

There are two options: "on-site", meaning at a resort owned by Disney and select other hotels, or "off-site". This would include hotels in the Orlando area, or an Airbnb.

ACCESS TO EARLY ENTRY

02.

BETTER Dining Reservations

Disney resort guests are allowed in the parks 30 minutes before official park opening, everyday.

Find a list of which resorts are included here.

Guests staying at a Disney hotel, Swan, Dolphin, or Shades of Green can book Individual Lightning Lanes at 7am. Everyone else has to wait until park opening - by then they could be gone!

While everyone can make their dining reservations 60 days before, only resort guests can make them for their entire trip (instead of day-by-day.)

I'm going to encourage you to stay at one of the resorts on Walt Disney World property. Here's why:

buy individual lightning lanes early

For us, we think about location above all else. Being able to walk back to your resort after a long day is a luxury. Taking a boat, monorail, or Skyliner with a hot coffee in your hand is always a highlight. Having other transportation options other than buses is just...well, nice.

To see all the transportation options for each resort, DOWNLOAD THE TRANSPORTATION BUNDLE

LOCATION > EVERYTHING ELSE

Walt Disney World Resorts

Disney World Resorts are separated into four categories: value, moderate, deluxe and deluxe villas.

MODERATE

DELUXE

DELUXE VILLAS

Value

ANOTHER BENEFIT OF STAYING DELUXE: On select nights, guests staying at a Deluxe Resort have access to Extended Evening Hours. Learn more here!

Value

MODERATE

DELUXE

DELUXE VILLAS

DELUXE VILLAS

MODERATE

DELUXE

Value

Animal Kingdom Lodge
Beach Club
BoardWalk Inn
Contemporary
Grand Floridian
Polynesian Village
Riviera Resort
Saratoga Springs
Wilderness Lodge
Yacht Club

DELUXE VILLAS

Value

MODERATE

DELUXE

DELUXE VILLAS

DELUXE

MODERATE

Value

Animal Kingdom Villas - Jambo House + Kidani Village
Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary
Beach Club Villas
BoardWalk Inn Villas
Boulder Ridge + Copper Creek Villas at Wilderness Lodge
Riviera Resort
Old Key West Resort
Polynesian Villas + Bungalows
Saratoga Springs
Villas at the Grand Floridian

DELUXE VILLAS

ANOTHER BENEFIT OF STAYING DELUXE: On select nights, guests staying at a Deluxe Resort have access to Extended Evening Hours. Learn more here!

My top resort picks

Beach Club, Yacht Club
+ Boardwalk

We love this area and for good reason: it’s walking distance to EPCOT and you can take the "Friendship" (boat) to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. The convenience of getting to two parks without taking a bus puts these at the top of our list.

I love staying at the Boardwalk so much that I wrote a whole blog post about it.

The Beach & Yacht Club are just across the way, making them in equally great locations.

THE EPCOT RESORTS

Set Up Your My Disney Experience Account

“My Disney Experience” is a section of Disney World’s website where you create a profile and control ALL of your vacation plans: tickets, dining, Genie+, and more.

03.

Looks best fullscreen!

Watch the video in this section to see how to...

  • Set up your profile
  • Add a payment method
  • Link your tickets + resort reservation
  • Add family and friends

Looks best fullscreen!

SETTING UP YOUR MY DISNEY EXPERIENCE

I've learned a LOT about travel agents over the past 2 years. If you're booking a standard vacation package or tickets through Disney, they can be a fantastic tool.

Here are two agents I know personally, trust completely, and also align with my style of planning!

Before reaching out, you'll want to know:

  • Your approximate budget
  • Travel dates
  • Who's going
  • If you need a room, tickets, or both
  • Any interest in special events or other celebrations

Decide if You Need a Travel Agent

04.

let them know Dana sent you!

05.

It's time to make this real! There are 3 options to secure your trip: a room-only reservation, a vacation package, or using Disney Vacation Club points. Here's how they compare:

Book Your Resort. Like, Really Book It.

Save around 30%

Due in full + no cancellations

Can't use a free travel agent

Park tickets are purchased separately

Rent DVC Points

my favorite

Deposit: 1st night's cost + balance due at check in

Tickets can be added later or through a third-party

Can be made up to 499 days beforehand


Room-only
Reservation

1

A way to save even more...

You'll see a section on every DVC broker site called "dedicated" or "confirmed" reservations. These are reservations that have already been booked, but for whatever reason can't be filled.

These are locked in and guaranteed with the room and dates aaaand come at even more of a discount!

Better for last minute trips, or if you're more flexible with your travel dates.

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Includes resort stay + theme park tickets

Depost: $200
Balance due 30 days before

Lots of flexibility when it comes to modifying/cancellations



2

Vacation Package

MOST POPULAR

3

Bonus Video: Renting DVC Points

As of May 31, 2023, room, ticket and vacation packages are available for all of 2024.

If you want to rent DVC points - my favorite way - you can book that up to 11 months before you want to visit.


QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

How many days should I book?

If this is your once-a-year family vacation, a full seven days is ideal. It could look something like this: 2 travel days, 4 parks, and 1 day to chill or use as an extra park day.

Should I book a "split-stay"?

This is when you "split" your vacation in half by staying at two different resorts. I've done this and loved being in 2 unique spots BUT it is kind of a pain to pack up in the middle and then be sort of homeless until your room is ready at the second resort.

Do I NEED TRAVEL INSURANCE?

If you book through Disney, you can add travel insurance for $95 per adult (this fee will cover your children, too.) If you're renting DVC points or not booking a Disney vacation package, use Travelex.

Is IT OK TO BOOK LAST MINUTE?

Until January 9th, 2024, you'll need a park ticket AND reservation to enter. Before you book last minute, check Walt the theme park reservation calendar here to make sure your dates aren't sold out.

Why We Keep Coming Back to Disney's Boardwalk

READ THE BLOG

“I didn't think it would be worth it. It was. I didn't think it would work for me. It did. I didn't think I'd be *that* success story. I am. ”

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- CAMILLE S.

Further Reading

Checklist

CHAPTER 1

Decide When to visit

REQUEST DVC POINT RENTAL

CREATE A MY DISNEY EXPERIENCE ACCOUNT

BOOK THE ROOM!

yes

no

You're on your way to creating the vacation of your dreams, I can feel it! This first chapter takes a lot of brain power - you got this!

continue to chapter 2

CHOOSE YOUR RESORT

USING TRAVEL AGENT?

yes

no