Disney theme parks are renowned for their time-honored hospitality and wide scope of entertainment opportunities which make them some of the most popular vacation destinations in the world.
So it’s probably not a big leap that when you ask most people to think of a theme park, the first thought that comes to their minds is “Disney”.
This is not an accident or coincidence. The parks aren't known as the places where "fantasies come true" for nothing!
They are full of compelling, believable detail and home to countless characters that have beguiled generations for more than 50 years.
The parks are synonymous with the great American family day out, so it’s no wonder that most adults associate the whole experience with childhood memories and take their own children back again and again.
They want you to come back and, believe me; you’ll want to go back. The kicker to going back repeatedly is that it can be a little (O.K., a lot!) cost prohibitive.
There’s also alot to do and see at a WD theme park so don’t try to do everything all in one trip…you may not recover! Check out the video below for some great vacation tips from Disney moms....
If you’re planning an upcoming trip to one of the Disney theme parks, here are a few more simple things that you can do that will help get the most out of your budget and vacation time.
• Disney vacation planning has spawned its own cottage industry and there are several websites dedicated to helping you plan the best vacation for you and yours. There are several travel agencies that specialize in Disney vacations as well as purely informational websites. Almost all of them have newsletters that you can subscribe to that can be full of special travel deals or just great information.
• Visit all the major airlines and sign up for their weekly email specials. Southwest Airlines usually has great deals on airfare and has an excellent all-in-one online vacation planner with deals on Disney theme parks. You also can book it all – air, rental cars, accommodations and park tickets - from their website.
• Do you already belong to AAA Auto Club, AARP, Sam’s Club or Costco? These club memberships and others like them offer a lot more benefits than just the obvious ones so be sure to check into them. Go to their websites and see what travel specials that they may offer. You can get member discounts on theme park tickets, rental cars, hotels and even complete vacation packages. Since you’re paying for the membership anyway, you might as well take advantage of it!
• Disney.com makes it pretty simple to plan a vacation, especially when you use their all-in-one online trip planning guide. Although you may find better deals elsewhere, it’s still a good idea to sign up for their email alerts. They are, after all, the experts on all things "Mickey" related. Be sure to request a free trip planning DVD. It’s excellent and serves as a great “video memory book” for your kids once they get home from the vacation!
• Check out your local library to see which “unofficial” vacation guides they may have, especially if you don’t have that much vacation time and want to get really familiar with the Disney theme parks before you go. Most guides have a "must do's” section for each park to help you make the most of your trip.
I would recommend a couple of books. First, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2008 by Bob Sehlinger and Len Testa.
It includes time-saving touring plans, attraction ratings and dining guide along with additional information on Universal Studios.
These are good places to start, especially to get an idea of how much money you’re going to need. With that in mind, let’s take a look at just a few of the things that you’ll need to budget for:
• Travel expenses – plane, train or automobile (gas for your own car or cost of a rental) • Length of stay • Accommodations – Resort and area hotels, condos, rental homes • Food – more choices than I can list… • Souvenirs • Special events – character dining, Princess makeovers, golf, scuba diving at EPCOT, etc. • Park tickets – several options to choose from depending on your length of stay, park hopping options, meal packages, water parks, etc.
The bottom line is start now! Some of the special events at Disney theme parks are booked months in advance and the sooner you start planning, the better!
Theme parks are listed below in alphabetical order: