Planning the Perfect Disney World Vacation: when to go & where to stay

Thinking about planning a Disney World vacation but not sure when you should go or where you should stay? Let's talk about that! Yesterday I shared my favorite planning resources and today we're going to use some of those resources to choose the best location for your family and the best time of year to go.

Planning a Disney World vacation? This series has some great tips. When should you go & where should you stay.

A few quick tips to get you started - if you're frugal and not fond of crowds the best time to travel is between October and February (just be sure to avoid Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other holiday weekends). You'll have the lowest crowds of the year and the lowest hotel prices (and some great discounts) if you're staying on Disney property. If you have to work with your kid's school calendar try to go as late in August as possible (if you don't mind the heat!).

How we choose the perfect time for our Disney World vacation

Where to start when you're trying to pick the when & where of your Disney World vacation?

After sitting down and looking at our family calendar, Nick and I choose a few optional dates that might work. We discuss where we'd like to stay and work out a rough estimate of the cost. I start looking for deals that fit our time frame. A few things to consider:

  • do you want to stay on property or off site

  • what kind of resort you'd like to stay at

  • any deals or special offers that Disney is offering

  • crowd levels for the dates you're considering

I like to check out the accommodation pricing charts at All Ears and the crowd calendars at easy WDW to narrow down our choices. The pricing charts will give you an idea of what you'll pay (see this example for Pop Century). Easy WDW will give you a great idea of weather, crowd levels, and entertainment schedules. Personally, I like to plan on going when crowd levels and temperatures are lower!

Staying on Disney property

If you’re staying on-site you have many choices for motels – ranging from Value to Deluxe. There are also some great options for staying off-site.

I think the hardest part of planning your Disney World vacation is deciding where you’re going to stay. It’s really up to you – your preferences, family size, and budget.

We prefer staying on-site, and once we decide on a general date, I find out what deals might be offered at that time. Mouse Savers has a fabulous page that details past Disney promotions (which is a great way to estimate what offers will be available for your stay).

Then it’s time to book! If you’re booking a package you’ll need to pay a $200 deposit and the balance is due 45 days before your arrival date. If you set up a My Disney Experience account you can take care of all your booking and payments online. (Please note, if you are adding a discount code to an existing reservation you’ll need to call Disney headquarters – can’t do that from the website.)

Once you’ve booked, it’s time to move on to the best part of planning – what you’ll be doing every day. 

Travel Binder Printables

Taking a family trip?

Keep your kids happy while you travel with a few fun activities!

Print these pages, slide them into page protectors and put them in a binder. Include a few dry-erase markers and you have a great surprise for your kids on travel day.

Tonia L

Hey! I'm the owner of Happy Homeschool Nest - a website devoted to helping homeschool moms balance the needs of homeschooling with managing a healthy and happy home.