Monday, January 13, 2014

Disney Vacation Series: Planning Resources

If you and I have held a conversation long enough, the topic will eventually get around to Disney World. I can't help that I love it! Since I was a child, I dreamed seeing Cinderella Castle and meeting Mickey and all his friends. Guess what? When I finally got to do just that at 29 years old, it was every bit as magical and wonderful as I thought it would be! Probably even more so, since my first trip was with my children, as well!
Stock Photo and copyright purchased with Disney's PhotoPass Package.

Since going on our trip, I have received many (MANY) questions from friends about planning a trip to Disney. I am happy to answer questions, but I think it's time to get it all down in writing! I will be writing a blog post every month in 2014 focusing on a specific Disney World topic. I have lots of ideas, but if there is something you want to know more about, leave me a comment and I'll include my thoughts on it!

Our first trip to Disney World was in December 2012. I started planning this trip about March of that year. I'm a planner, okay? I can't plan things last minute! Especially when I am so excited about it and there is so much to learn! I didn't know when we would get to return, so I wanted to use our time as efficiently as possible. I mostly used the following resources to plan our vacation.

(Image from Amazon)
A friend gave me The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, which I promptly read cover to cover! I had a 2011 version, but much was the same a year later. Now, however, I recommend getting the 2014 or newer (once they're published) versions because SO much has changed. The Magic Kingdom has added an entire new world! Also, changes have been made to dining cancellation policies, the photopass system, and the fastpass system. I'll get into all that later in this series.

The Unofficial Guide's website, Touring Plans, is a great resource as well. I invested in a one year membership to the site, which allowed me to use more of their tools to plan our days in the parks and their mobile app to see current wait times. On this website, you can also look at certain days and see what their crowd predictions are for that day. I found them to be extremely accurate for the week we were in Disney.

DisBoards  is an online forum about everything Disney. Here, I was able to ask questions to seasoned Disney vacationers. (Use the search function, too. A lot of your questions are probably already answered there.) My favorite part of this site, however, is the trip reports!  After a person vacations at Disney, they make a thread within the forum all about their trip! I even wrote one after our trip was over.


Even though I thrive on schedules and love to plan trips, I realize not everyone is this way. If you'd just rather hand over the planning to someone else, I have help for you, too. Jennifer Hardy specializes in Disney vacations! (Also Universal and other destinations, but this post is about Disney!) She can help you plan your trip, for sure! If you book with her, you get extras such as free itinerary planning, restaurant reservations, and more.


Stock Photo and copyright purchased with Disney's PhotoPass Package.
For those that like to plan, or if you just want to read about the fabulous Walt Disney World, I am giving away a copy of The Unofficial Walt Disney World Guide 2014!!!! Use the rafflecopter widget below to enter! The giveaway will run for one week (ending at midnight Monday Jan. 20th). I will contact the winner on Tuesday Jan. 21st by email. Come back daily to earn more entries via the Twitter and Facebook options!

Good luck!


***This is not a sponsored post. I purchased the giveaway prize myself. I do receive compensation if you submit for a vacation quote through Destinations in Florida Travel/Jennifer Hardy. All opinions are my own. Did I mention I love Disney World?!***


18 comments:

  1. I love Disney World!!! We are planning our family vacation there this May!!! I can't wait to see the look on my kiddos faces when we get there :)

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    1. It is THE most amazing experience!!! I will never forget Olivia's giggles on the rides!!!

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  2. How exciting! Thanks for sharing your tips!

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  3. I would definitely want to plan out my trip to make the most of it - thanks for the tips.

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    1. For sure!! I planned very well and still got overwhelmed walking into The Magic Kingdom! There's just SO MUCH going on all around you!!

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  4. I went with my boyfriend (now husband) two years ago. He'd never been to Disney World and I was unsure if it would be cool or dumb since we were adults. Nope. It was still as cool as when I went when I was 10. Love Disney!

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  5. That's awesome!! Disney is for adults, too, FOR SURE!!!! haha Sometimes I plot on how I can go without my kids. Just me and hubby! :)

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  6. I'm definitely a planner, too. We're going for my daughter's first trip this December, and I've tentatively been planning since I was pregnant, and seriously been planning since last month. Only 11 months to go! It would be hard to pick one memory from my Disney trips, but something that always gets me is the Wishes show at Disney World! Soooo awesome. :)

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  7. I have three boys and one girl, who is the youngest. After all those boys, I had a little emotional breakdown (in a good way) when my daughter was a few months old. I wanted her to enjoy the magic of Disney and all things pretty and princess-y. I still feel that way and one day we'll get to Disney! She'll be 2 in March, so I still have a few years to plan so that she can remember going and enjoy such a magical time!

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    1. Awwww that is so sweet!!! You will absolutely cherish those moments. And the first time you happen upon a princess...you'll never forget the smile on her face!!!

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  8. We love Disney! We got to go last June and had a blast.

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    1. I don't know if I could brave it during the summer!!!

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  9. I have never been but I can't wait to take Jack one day. If I win I plan on giving this to my cousin who is planning a trip in December.

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  10. I went to WDW in May 2008 on my honeymoon! I had also just graduated from college. It was the best week of my life! We stayed at the All Star Movie resort and Disney drove us everywhere on the resort we wanted to go!

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