123 Planning Guide for Disney World Vacations | Disney World

  • Have you read our helpful tips on saving money for a Disney Vacation?

    1. Packing & Preparation (Disney World Check List Here)

    a. Make a list: Making a list of what to pack in advance is a big help. Ideas may come to you over time and you will have to add on to the list. Go over the list when you pack your bag, to make sure you have packed everything. This will help avoid having to shop for those items that just did not get in your bag before you left home. You may also want a separate to do list for preparations to be made for the house. For safety in the home, you may wish to turn off the water or unplug electrical items not in use. For security, you may want to stop your mail and/or paper delivery, use timers on lights, and schedule a friend to check in on things from time to time.

    b. Items to Pack (Disney World Check List Here): What to pack depends on the season. Orlando can get very hot in the summer and dip into the 40"s (and occasionally even the 30"s) during the winter. So packing for the season is crucial for ones comfort. Rain gear is needed particularly in the summer months. A poncho at the parks can cost you up to $9.

    Here are some suggestions:

    . Personalized family shirts! Purchase customized/personalized family Disney style shirts here so that everyone matches!
    . Sunglasses, Eyeglasses and Contacts with solutions etc...
    . Sun Block, Bug Repellent, Aloe, Lip Balm (ever had your lips sunburned?)
    . Medications, Aspirins, Antacids etc...
    . Medical Insurance Cards (can be a big hassle if needed)
    . Chewing Gum (You cant buy it in or near Disney!
    . ID"s / Driver License and proof insurance
    . Cameras, Chargers, Batteries and Film (File is very expensive in park)
    . Cell Phones, Pager and Two Radios
    . Small First Aid kit (Most resorts will supply basic needs)
    . Your address book or PDA
    . Baby supplies (Moms you do this everyday no need for us to list"em)
    . Combs, Brushes, Deodorant, Hair Spray/Gel, Cosmetics and other personal care products. (check with your resort to see if they offer in room   amenities like hair dryers etc...)
    . Clothing, once again consider the season you are traveling in! 
    . Bathing Suits, Beach Towels
    . Ziploc bags (big and small), you laugh now but you will soon find out just how useful they become!
    . Toys, Cards and various entertainment for all
    . Souvenirs (Buy them before you go and you save a ton!)
    . Flashlight with good batteries for reading maps etc...
    . Baby wipes are great for washing hands before eating those snacks
    . A tote or something to carry various items into the parks
    . Ear plugs for those with sensitive ears
    . Laundry Soap and various other laundry supplies (most resorts have laundry facilities)
    . Pocket binoculars
    . Rain gear (very expensive in park)
    . Your most comfortable shoes and beach sandals (don"t buy a new pair shoes   the day before you leave because you might be sorry you did, bring those old shoes)
    . Your soft sided cooler (for snacks etc...)
    . Empty water bottles... fill and freeze them in your room for your cooler! (BTW: call ahead to your resort to make sure the fridge is cold when you

    c. Book your vacation package with us! 888-WDW-CHEAP

    d. Carryon bags: As with any trip, pack one change of clothing and toiletries in a small carry-on bag. Airlines occasionally lose baggage and lost baggage can spoil a vacation if there are no backup preparations. Some people even pack all their clothes in a carryon, to avoid waiting for baggage claim. If traveling with young children, make sure to have some games or other form of entertainment available to them!

    e. Food and drinks at the park: A soft-sided cooler packed with
    cold drinks will save money. Even ice water costs $2.75 per bottle in the parks. Bringing snack foods or even lunch will also save money. If you are visiting the park with older children or teens, give them a specified amount/budget for food. This will also be a lesson in economics for them as they plan how to get the most for their money. You may choose to give them the option of keeping that amount of money to spend instead on souvenirs and supply them with a pre-packed lunch. This way they will not complain about the food. They will also learn the value of money and how to make choices regarding money, its best uses, and what it can buy.

    f. Comfort at the park: Again, dress for the season with warmer clothes in the winter and rain gear in the summer. Dressing in layers will keep you comfortable as the temperature changes during the day. Keep in mind that water rides will get you soaked no matter how you duck to avoid the water. Packing a shirt or entire change of clothes in large re-sealable plastic bags will keep you comfortable. The wet clothes can then be placed back in the same bags. Putting on that rain gear before the ride is also a good idea. Even if it does not rain, the gear will still be of use. A pack or tote bag should hold extra items without too much discomfort.

    g. Spending money: Don"t take a bank roll of cash with you as most places take credit/debit cards. Travelers checks are also a good option for security. If you insist on using cash, keep the bulk of it in one front pocket out of view. Then keep a small amount of daily spending cash in the area that you usually carry money. Always put the ones to the outside of the money clip, so you do not flash twenties, fifties, or hundreds. Pickpockets target wallets placed in back pockets. Do not place credit cards in wallets that are carried in back pockets. A family of four, you can comfortably get by on $50 cash per day.

    2. Traveling/Transportation & Lodging

    a. One word: "Griswolds"
    b. Park entrance tickets!. Make sure to photo copy your tickets or write down the serial numbers of each incase they are lost. The only way Disney can get you  new ticket is by reissuing them.

    c. Air line tickets: Dont forget you can check prices for airlines landing in
    several locations, not just Orlando. The following airports are 
    located within an hour of Orlando: Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater.
    The saving, especially when multiplied by more family members, can justify
    using another airport. 

    d. Rental vehicles: Don"t bother renting a car unless you plan on 
    explorering Orlando. Most people rent a car for their entire vacation 
    and end up using it only twice. Once to get to Disney and once to leave. 
    Car hire services can be a much better choice. The drivers
    pickup you up at your gate, assist with your luggage, provide a free in car
    phone call, free 30 minute grocery stop plus much more. Click here to read more!

    e. Directions: Make sure you have good directions to the airport,
    train depot, or bus station. If you are traveling by car, auto clubs can
    supply you with road maps and even advise on the best route.

    3. Your Vacation

    a. One word: Relax! Don"t return from your vacation more tired than when you left! Even if you spent an entire year in the parks, you would not see or do everything so don"t try and cram to much into one vacation.

    b. Maps: Got your list of Hidden Mickeys and other Disney secrets?

    c. Food: Again, it is best to take a soft sided cooler into the parks with a couple of bottles of Frozen water and some quick snacks, as the food prices in the parks are excessive!

    d. The caddy: If you are bringing items into the park for comfort and convenience, you also want to be comfortable and unencumbered by those same items. The last thing you want is to be the caddy or bag boy for the entire family. Rent a stroller even if you don"t have kids! In the past, the parks allowed guests to pull wagons, but have since put a stop to this and only allow strollers and wheelchairs. A stroller is a perfect place to keep the cooler, dry towels, change of clothes, rain gear, etc... And conveniently, there is stroller parking at the entrance to almost every ride. What is interesting is that you can park the stroller and like magic when you return it has been moved and the wheels locked! Those cast members are sneaky and you probably will not catch them doing it either. After all, they do not call it the Magic Kingdom for nothing!
    4. User Submitted Ideas:

    Kaitlin writes on 6/23/2004:

    When I take my children to Disney I pack nice bags for them, since we take the car down from New York. In the bags there are (age 11 female - american girl quiz books, summer bridge activity book, books , magazine, and DVDS. We have a Built in DVD player. For my twin boys age 7 I pack Tonka cars so the can play on the built in table seat, dvds, and playdoh- non stick. For my baby who is 4 I make sure we buy or have WIGGLES, BLUES CLUES, BARNEY, ELMO , DORA, AND JAY JAY THE JET PLANE DVDS.Another tip is pack a week early so that in case you don"t have what you thought you had , you don"t have to run out the night before. ( experience ). Try not to fight with your family members and give in one in a while, after all it is their vacation, too. My kids always have a smile on their face because we are not fighting and it makes me happy to see them so happy that way we all enjoy our vacation

    ladybuggirlly writes on 1/14/2005:

    We packed a "surprise" gift for my daughter for everyday that we were in Disney World.  We bought items all year long that were Disney related.  When the Disney Store has sales, pick up a t-shirt, a toy, or whatever your child would like.  I spend $28 on my bargains.  I had gifts for four days and my daughter didn"t ask for anything at the parks, because she knew we had her surprise back at the resort.  This was the best idea that I had ever heard, and saved us a lot of money on our last trip. 

    Dorothy writes on 7/8/2007:

    To make travel in the car go a bit faster, even for teens, I purchased a portable DVD player and have picked up the occasional new DVD as a surprise in the car. Also, for the past year I have been printing puzzles, word search and coloring pages. I then purchased folders and other school supplies while on sale. Each teen/child has their own pages, coloring pencils not crayons as they might melt if left out in the sun etc. for activities while traveling.

    Klizsnyder writes on 08/08/2007:

    Tired of taking out wrinkled clothes after careful ironing and packing. Take along a bottle of febreze or mix rubbing alcohol and water equal parts in a spray bottle. Spray your wrinkled clothing, be generous, shake the item of clothing and pull on it a little and amazingly the wrinkles go away. Note, this is not for heavy duty wrinkles or ironed in wrinkles but great for linen clothing, t-shirts, shorts etc. Of course it doesnt replace an iron but it does a pretty good job.