How to Choose the Right Disney World Vacation Package

tampa1 113While it is possible to simply show up at the gates of Disney World, secure a room and buy tickets in person, don’t pack your bag just yet. Disney vacations are expensive, so a little extra planning can save you hundreds of dollars when you book.

For most travelers, a Disney vacation package offers many benefits, saving you time and money on your vacation. A vacation package ties your Disney trip into a neat bundle, allowing you to pick just the options you want, and leave out the options you don’t need. You’ll even have the ability to book dining reservations in advance, a must if you plan on dining in popular spots like Cinderella’s Royal Table and Le Cellier. Read on for some great ways to customize your vacation package and get the Disney trip of your dreams.

Have Flexible Dates

Your travel dates will have a huge impact on the price of your vacation package. Even switching your trip by a day or two can change the price — and switching from a busy time to a slow one will change the price dramatically.

When you check the cost of a Disney package, check the week you want, then ask for a price for the week before and the week after. You may find that doing something as simple as traveling a week earlier than your original dates can make hundreds of dollars of difference.

To Hop or Not to Hop

Disney offers a “Park Hopper” option with every vacation package. Adding a park hopper to your ticket allows you to visit more than one of the four theme parks per day, so you can start the day in the Magic Kingdom, then head to Epcot in the evening.

While the park hopper allows you to have a lot of flexibility, it does come with a price — you’ll pay $54 per ticket to park hop. For a family of four, that adds up to almost $220. The park hopper works best for families with older kids, or for couples or singles; you’ll be able to “hop” more easily in the Value season.

Dining Plan Options

The basic Disney Dining Plan allows each member of your group to have a table service meal, a quick service (fast food) meal and a snack each day of the trip. If you enjoy trying new cuisine or plan on going to character dining locations, the Dining Plan is an excellent deal, and will save you money.

Tip: Since 2007, Disney has offered vacation packages with free dining in the fall. If you enjoy traveling in September and October, then keep an eye out for free dining promotions. You’ll be able to experience the best of Disney Dining without paying a dime.

Water Parks and More

The smaller Disney World attractions like Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach and Disney Quest are not included in a base ticket, but they can be added to your package. The fee for adding the “Water Parks” option is $54 per ticket.

If you think you will go to a water park more than once, then this option is a good deal. If you think you’ll only get to the water parks one time–or maybe not at all, pass on this option for now. You can always buy a water park ticket when you arrive, a single visit ticket costs less than the water parks package option.

Experienced traveler Hannah Hamilton shares both garment bag reviews and packing tips at her site, JetSetGarmentBags.com. Hannah has a lifetime of travel experience, starting in early childhood. Her family relocated from California to Izmir, Turkey when she was just two years old, and she’s been traveling ever since.

Photo Credit: tampa1 113 by hectorir, on Flickr

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