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Planning Your Trip to Walt Disney World - Part I

Since the Walt Disney World resort is not your ordinary theme park, you need to take a different approach when planning to visit. Even if you are not a planner by nature, you can greatly enhance your visit by planning some key elements of your trip.

A trip to WDW is not cheap by any means, so you want to make sure that you invest some time up front in order to help make your vacation more enjoyable and relaxing. So let me take you through a few of the key steps to get you well on your way.

When to Travel?
Let me start off by saying that you can have a very successful, enjoyable, visit to Disney World at any time of the year. The key is being informed in order to plan your trip appropriately for the times that you visit.

If you don’t care for crowds then choosing the time of year to travel will greatly impact your trip. WDW can be very crowded during the summer months and during major holidays (Easter/Spring Break, Christmas, & Thanksgiving). If those are the times that you are planning to visit, please be aware that you will have to share the World with other people. These are also some of the times that have the most impressive decorations and events, so don’t just rule them out because of the crowds.My favorite slower times are September, October, and the first part of November. The weather is still very pleasant and crowds are lower because most of the children have returned to school. Usually some of the best rates are available during these times as well.

Special Events
There are a number of special events that occur during the year that may also influence the timing of your trip:
Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival – Mid April – Beginning of June
Star Wars Weekends – Weekends in June at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival – End of September – Mid November.
MNSSHP – Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom – Select evenings in September and October.
MVMCP – Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom– Select evenings in November and December

Resort Rate Seasons
The Walt Disney World resorts divide the year up into 5 different rate seasons (dates shown are 2008 for Value and Moderate resorts):
Value: 1/3- 2/13, 8/3 – 10/1,11/30-12/18)
Regular: 3/30-5/21,10/2-11/29
Summer: 5/22-8/2
Peak: 2/14-3/29
Holiday: 12/19-12/31
The other Disney Resorts have similar dates for their rate seasons. Christmas time is the most expensive, followed by Spring Break, and then Summer.

Plan Ahead
You should make your decision about your upcoming trip as far ahead of time as possible. I would recommend making your travel reservations at least 6 months in advance if you are able. This will give you the opportunity to take full advantage of reserving other activities for your stay before they fill up.

Make Your Decision
So make your decision and choose the time of year for your trip. As I mentioned earlier a great vacation can be had during any time of the year at Disney World. Once this decision has been made you can move on to the next step: How Long Should I Stay?

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