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Careful Disney Vacation Planning is an Important First Step Towards an Awesome Trip!

Good Disney vacation planning can help make the most of a few fleeting days in Orlando. But how much is too much and what is too little?

I usually shudder at the thought of scheduling every minute of my time at Walt Disney World - after all it is a vacation, right? What happened to spontaneity?

Through trial and error I have found that a well planned vacation is much better than an “off the cuff” version. The time spent planning was definitely worth it.

As with anything, there are different degrees of detail when it comes to planning a Disney World vacation. Given all of the guidebooks, Orlando maps, Disney websites, and abundant information - it is easy to go a little crazy and plan every minute down to the very rides and the order to visit them.

Hey, this level of detail may work for some people and some trips but others may like a more high level approach. Every plan will vary depending on the ultimate goal. And that brings me to step one.

Disney Vacation Planning Step 1: Define the Ultimate Goal
As far as tips for planning a Disney vacation go my first step is to always ask myself what I want out of this trip. What is it that I want to accomplish so that when the trip is over, I can look back and say with nostalgia - “That was one of my best Disney vacations!”?

My goal is usually rest and relaxation - not an easy task with four children in tow! Others may have a goal of riding every ride, or sticking to a tight budget or just playing golf in Orlando. Whatever the goal - it is what defines the rest of the planning process.

Disney Vacation Planning Step 2: Decide How Long Your Trip Will Be
Often this step is determined by budget. I always like to stay long enough that I feel rejuvenated but not so long as to start looking forward to the end of the vacation. It is tempting to try and fit all that Walt Disney World vacations have to offer into one trip. But trying to do it all can tire out even the most physically fit among us.

If there are kids involved - well their stamina is even less. And cranky kids equal cranky parents which is a real downer when trying to have an enjoyable family vacation.

Just food for thought.

Disney Vacation Planning Step 3: Choose the Best Time to Visit
Disney World was made for kids - and each and every one of them show up during school break - no joke! Finding affordable Disney family vacations during peak times is next to impossible.

Keeping my goal of a little R&R in mind, I always try and choose an off peak time to visit the Mouse. For families without young children this is easy to do. For all others, finding a long weekend when most other schools are still in session may do the trick.

The calendar year has been divided into several “seasons” which can be a useful tool when it comes to planning. The Disney value season offer the most affordable Disney vacations and is usually when the parks are the least crowded.

But then again - the goal in step one is the one that guides. If visiting Orlando during Christmas time is the priority then crowds are just par for the course.

Disney Vacation Planning Step 4 and 5: Choose Flights and Hotels
The next two steps go hand in hand. Finding flights to Orlando and choosing which Disney hotels to stay at.

Once again my goal of rest and relaxation rules. Sometimes I will forgo cheap flights to Orlando in favor of a non-stop journey. A direct flight gives me more time in Florida and less stress.

The same thing goes when choosing a place to stay. The Disney resorts offer a lot of conveniences that are attractive to me and my goal. Although I have found the rooms in off site Orlando hotels to be larger and better equipped.

These four simple Disney vacation planning steps form the foundation on which to build the rest of the trip.

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