Disney World Planning – Picking the Resort & Time of Year
Currently I am planning a Disney trip for September 2012. Since planning is half the fun I decided to bring everyone along on my planning journey. Follow this series of articles for some fantastic planning tips and ideas and feel free to share your ideas with me to help me on my way!
Today is March 6, 2012. I leave for Orlando September 27, 2012. This leaves me a little over six months to plan my trip. The first thing I had to do was choose a resort and a time to travel. I was recently at the Wilderness Lodge to celebrate “One More Disney Day.”
While staying at the lodge I took advantage of the in room bounce back offer. This is an offer left in your room usually printed on a big cardboard stop watch. This particular offer was for 35% off my next room only reservation at a deluxe resort or villa. The savings are truly fantastic, but there are several black out dates. You also must book this offer while you are still a Disney Resort Guest. Once you check out the offer is no longer valid.
There will usually be some sort of promotion for the time period you are looking to book if you can be flexible. If you are dead set on going over Christmas break or another peak time, you may end up paying the rack rate or the non discounted rate for your stay. We originally wanted to travel during Columbus Day weekend as it would allow us to use fewer vacation days. Columbus Day is a black out period as it is a popular travel weekend. We settled on moving our dates up to accommodate the major discount. By doing this I saved close to $800.00!
Quick Tip – An Authorized Disney Travel Agent knows the best times to go, any specials available, and most offer you an incentive to book with them. Did I mention they are all 100% Free?
Now I knew my dates so I had to determine which resort hotel would best suite my needs. I knew our travel dates coincided with the start of The Epcot Food and Wine Festival. This was no accident. It was one of the reasons we wanted to come back in the fall as opposed to early winter. I called to discuss my options with a reservation specialist. I was given many options including great prices for a Garden View Room at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and a theme park view at Bay Lake Towers. I, however, settled on a standard room at Boardwalk Inn & Villas. Boardwalk is only a short 5 minute walk to the back gates of Epcot and I really want to get the most out of food and wine. This was my best option. I booked!
My next step is making advanced dining reservations. In just a few weeks I will be within the 180 day window and will be able to begin making reservations. This is perhaps the most exciting part of planning a trip! Before I can begin making reservations I make a rough list of restaurants I would like to try to arrange reservations for. After doing this I research park hours and try to see where each restaurant will fit into my plan. For example, we have a tradition of visiting the California Grill at the Contemporary Resort on each trip. I try to plan to be at that restaurant on a night when I am planning to visit the Magic Kingdom as I can hop aboard the monorail after dinner and be on Splash Mountain within minutes of dessert. My dining plans have to flow and in my next installment of this series I plan to show you how I get this done.
I have started my rough list of possible restaurants which include; The California Grill, ‘Ohana, Cape May Cafe, Beaches and Cream, Boma, Le Cellier, Via Napoli, and Citricos.
So here are my questions for you. How do you choose when and where to stay? Also, can you help me bulk up my list of restaurant possibilities? Which restaurant is your must do when visiting Disney?
Stay tuned for my next installment on planning my days and dining.
- Top 10 Table Service Meals at the WDW Resorts (chipandco.com)
- What is a Signature Restaurant? (chipandco.com)