What is the best way to plan a trip


Earning My Ears
Dec 12, 2001
I would like to take my family (wife & two kids) and parents to Disney World in late November/early December. My son and daughter will be 2.5 around that time so I am thinking staying along the monorail or at least in a disney resort is the best way to go...get to avoid car seats. What is the best way to start planning the trip ? Use a travel agent ? Call WDW directly ? I think it will be cheaper for me to book my own airfare since I can fly southwest and I do not think travel agent use discount airlines.

BTW - I hope this is the correct board for my question, if not please point to the correct one.



DIS Veteran
Jul 14, 2000
Decide first of all which resort you want to stay at and make sure they have room(s) available during your time, so you can compare apples to apples. I would then call a travel agent to get an idea of what it would cost booking through them (with and without airfare). Then you can check here on the DIS for resort discount codes and also on www.mousesavers.com. and check Southwest's website directly for airfare. I've never used a travel agent because we can always get a better deal ourselves, but you may want to check to see if you can pull it all together yourself for less. You may also want to post on the Budget Board for additional exposure. Good luck.


Hi Ho, Hi Ho, to Disney World we'll go. It'll be
Feb 22, 2002
It's usually less expensive to book youself than through an agent.

If you're not renting a car I'd check an MK or Epcot resort, although they can be costly.

If you are all planning on staying together (w/ parents) you may want to check the DVC Rent/Trade Board. A 2 bedroom can sleep up to 8.

I would start planning real quick if it's this Nov/Dec you are looking at going. Deals get booked quick.

Keep checking these boards.


Mar 24, 2002
and a reputable one at that, I also search for the best rates for my clients at the hotel that best meets their requirements.

When looking for an agent, ask if they are a Disney College of Knowledge graduate. We have taken courses, and stayed current with all the updates, changes, etc.

With regard to airfare, we book whatever has the best price, with the best itinerary, according to the clients needs.

If you want some suggestions, please don't hesitate to e-mail me at jkmacdonald@minsdpring.com or macdonaldka@liberytravel.com.

I will be at WDW from 11/30 - 12/7, and am looking forward to MVMCP, and all the holiday festivities!

Hope you have a magical time!



Pixie Dust or Bust!!
Aug 25, 2000
You can start deciding what are the things that are "must do's" and "must
see's." and decide the length of your trip.

Then decide on the tickets you will need here.

To keep an EYE on All the discounts for on-site and off-site resorts check here
often and sign up for the MouseSavers.com newsletter to get all the best news.

For Air fares sign up at all the Airline Web sites that fly out of your airport
that fly to Orlando or MCO in airline speak. Then Check Expedia,Travelocity for
airline deals. Also check out the Transporation Board air,car deals.

Start a WDW change jar to save for your trip.[there are many tips here on this

Also you can decide where you will want to eat and start making plans to make
your food budget and check the Priority Seatings Calculator to know when you can
make PS's some are as far out as 730 Days.

Also to help decide where to eat you can find menu's at Deb's wdw site,this
works 2 ways to see where to eat what,and how much it costs, to finalize the
food budget.

To keep all this info in one place,here is a computer Disney Vacation Planner.
It will print each day on a seperate sheet. Also check the pull down menu'sat
the top for loads of info!!

Well,this should get you start on a thousand more Questions!! So,don't be shy!
Ask away!! The kind members here will share what they know! So,check back



All of the above... but to START I would get the official guide book so you can compare resorts and see just what there is to do!!

You're right a monorail resort is the way to go with little ones if you can swing it, don't hesitate!

Even if you don't, staying at ANY WDW resort means you can use their various forms of transportation, none of which need a car seat! Just some big arms to carry children, strollers and stuff!!!!

November/Dec. is a great time to be there!!! My favorite! HAve fun!!!


<font color=FF99FF>You don't have to be clever and
Jul 24, 2002
It's all about the planning.... and early planning is a plus. As someone who is planning my first trip (I went about 8 years ago, but it was a "family" trip, and I was just along for the ride), I can tell you that not only will early planning save you money, it builds the excitement (I'm 32 days out, and my suitcase is literally packed).

First off, go to the local Wal-Mart or Book store, and buy a copy of "Birnbaums Official Walt Disney World Guide". This book doesn't get too in depth on the ins and outs, but it gives you enough info on all of the different things that you can start your planning.

Next, click here http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/wa...quest/videorequestindex?id=VideoRequestSurvey , and order a "vacation planning video". It's free, and will arrive in about 3 or 4 weeks. It will give you brief glimpses of the things you've read about in the book.

Next, go spend some time looking around Deb's site (HERE: http://wdwig.com/ ). This site will give you all sorts of detailed information.

In the Birnbaum's guide, there is a page that tells you how far ahead of time you should do what (book hotel, make Priority Seating reservations, Confirm Hotel, Tickets arrive, Call for special requests, etc....). I recommend creating a special calendar with important dates so that you don't forget anything.

And of course...... ASK AWAY ON THIS BOARD!!! I've learned more in the last two months on this board than I did in the previous 27 years of my life!!!


Planning a trip???
My favorite thing to do!!!
1.Get a couple of guidebooks and check out these sites:

wdwig.com- check out the resort faq's and photos, restaurant menus, and how to make PS's.

mousesavers.com. Call 1-407-W -Disney to book your rooms. As discount codes become available you can apply them to your reservation.

2. Make travel arrangements and book your rooms! Make any requests, such as NS, bed configurations and special requests-close to main pool,etc

3.decide how long to stay and what tickets you'll purchase

4.make an itinerary based on everyone's must-see attractions.

5. make your PS's. make sure to do a character meal or two.

6. Call 30 days out and verify your ressies and PS's-call again 7 days out. Five days before fax room requests

7. Make packing lists and what to carry around the parks -wdwig.com

8. Before your trip check the forecast at accuweahter.com
and attraction rehabs at wdwig.com


DIS Veteran
Apr 7, 2001
Disnee Dad Says.........................................Many deals will go fast, so I would book air and rooms as soon as you can. Try to avoid Thanksgiving week, early December should be fantastic as the decorations are up and the Thanksgiving crowd has gone home!
Book all your own reservations, you will save money everytime, but you need patience and persistance to get exactly what you want at the price you want. It's work, but for WDW I love doing it!
I can beat any travel agents price, probably since I've studied that area so much. Been to Hawaii twice, and tried hard to beat the agent the first time, and I did by about $75. I used the agent instead because saving $75 is not worth not having a professional to call on in time of need. The second time I didn't even look, agent all the way. So I guess your mileage will vary!


Jan 9, 2001
Wish I was going in December!

You are definately on the right track by posting on these boards. Everyone here is so knowledgeable and willing to help out!

I am currently planning my second (yeah, only second) trip to WDW for June 2003. But I already feel somewhat an expert because of the information I have gathered here on the DIS. I am so glad I found this site when planning my first trip last August (2001).

I am in favor of planning and booking your trip yourself as opposed to a travel agent. Here's why:

1. Planning the trip is so much fun. I'd almost say as much fun as going to WDW. Involve your family as much as possible in the decision making (I know your children are very young, but they can still get excited about helping!). Some decisions to be made are which resort to stay at, what attractions to ride, where to eat, extra attractions you don't want to miss (shows, cirque du soleil, etc.), which characters you want to meet, etc.

2. Booking your own trip can save you a ton of money. I saved hundreds of dollars using codes that I found on this board and on Mousesavers.com
I saved enough $$ that I extended our stay by one day. The money I saved payed for an extra nights stay at the resort, an extra days park admissions, and food for that whole day. I also had lots of money left over from our budget so we went crazy souvenir shopping the last day while waiting for time to head back to the airport. It was so nice to say "yes" to the kids for once when they asked for souvenirs.

3. You have control over what you see and do. Sometimes the packages a travel agent will sell you will include options that you dont really need or want. They may be included in the cost of the package, but if you book things yourself you won't have to pay for extras that you won't use. You do only what YOU want to do.

Good luck planning your trip. Keep us informed of what decisions you make. I love to hear success stories.

Congratulations again. You'll have a wonderful time.



Earning My Ears
Aug 15, 2002
Well David... you have gotten quite a bit of good advise here...
Let me add to...
As far as the agent thing goes... it depends on how much research you want to do. That is what agents are for. They do all the leg work for you... plus they have the optional trip insurance to cover any thing that might go wrong. (not that it will!) It is good to have someone on your side!
If you have the time... planning your own trip can be fun!

Timing: The first two weeks of Dec. are the best time to go. Crowds are non-exsistent and you get to see the holiday stuff!

Lodging: Monorail is the best place for toddlers! Realise that they are also more $$$... but worth it with 2.5 years olds!
If you want the easiest... then stay in the Contemporary tower rooms. Less walking to the monorail. Polynesian, Grand Floridian (GF) & The reast of Contemporary have a long walk to the tracks.
My favorite though is Wilderness Lodge (WL) It is beautiful and has direct boat to MK. But it is not on the monorail. Buses will transport you else where. But the place is very friendly to Adults and kids alike! Plus more $$ resonable.!!!

Park Planning?? Decide early on if this is a trip for you... or your kids. If for just the kids... leave EPCOT out... Concentrate on AK & MK. They are too young to enjoy. But YOU will love it!

Ideas: Here are my suggestions for an easy time...
Character meals: Book a priority seating (PS) at the princess breakfast at EPCOT's Norway pavillion. around 9:30ish. By the time you finish with breakfast... you will be in World SHowcase (WS) when it opens! Pleanty of time tobrwse, and see with no crowds! Then head to future World (FW). You will pass all the crowds heading to WS! Want a great way to have quiet time with the Mouse? Book a 3:: PS for EPCOT's the Garden Grille's Ice Cream Social. Chip & Dale are also there... No pushing kids for autographs... just you and the mouse!
If youthink you will be hungry... they also have lunch and dinner ehere.
The Contemporary has a great breakfast with Mickey, Minnie & friends. This is a great start to a day... The earlier the better (less wait time)
This is also a great place to watch the fireworks at night. On the roof! Far enough away not to SCARE 2.5 year olds... and close enough to bed... so they won't be cranky in the morn.

Have lunch at the Rain forest cafe. Join it's Safari Club (worth the $15.00 for PS & Coupon) Decide if you want to spend time at Downtown Disney (Remember... You & Kids can go to LegoLand while Momma shops!!!) The restaurant is there... OR you can have lunch at AK! It is a neat place withMANY MANY things for a 2.5 year old to look at! (note: there is a pretend thunderstorm)

Well... that is a start... I have been in the travel industry for 12 years... And I worked for a Disney Wholesaler for 5 years. I LOVE WDW with all my heart... and like to see families enjoy them selves. If you have any additional questions... I would be happy to help. There are SOOOO many things to do at WDW that do not require entrance to the park... and are age appropriate for your kids.
Remember to browse the sites the others have listed... they are a wealth of info!


<font color=red><img src=http://www.wdwinfo.com/ph
May 3, 2001
Hi there and congrats on the trip.

For our first trip as adults to WDW we bought the Unofficial guide to WDW and we loved it. It gives you ratings of all the rides and attractions and realistic expectations.

There are touring plans for different age groups (adults, adults with small children, one day or 2 days at a park...etc) These touring plans are worth the cost of the book. It saves from asking "What do you want to do now...I don't know what do you want to do now...???" after each ride. It shows you how to get the most out of your day without having to stand in a lot of lines.

Could not have had a great trip that we did without it.

I hope this helps:)


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