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Disney World Vacation Tips

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A vacation at Disney World is at the top of many families' wish-list. But with four major theme parks, two water parks, 22 themed resorts, Downtown Disney, and more, this is a big destination, and worth some planning to have the best possible time.

 

1. Least Expensive Times to Visit Disney World

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Garth Vaughan/Walt Disney World

 If you're hoping to plan a trip to Disney World on a budget? Timing is perhaps the most important factor. Here's the lowdown on when prices are at their highest and lowest during the year.

2. Disney World Ticket Prices

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Mark Ashman/Walt Disney Parks

Disney Parks has raised the price of admission to Disney World in 2014. Single-day tickets to the Magic Kingdom now cost $99 for adults, while one-day admission to EpcotAnimal Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios cost $94. Disney World tickets are still substantially less expensive if you buy multi-day tickets. 

3. Disney Vacation Deals and Special Offers

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Walt Disney Company

Looking to score a great deal on a Disney vacation this winter or spring break? Your next Disney vacation will be even more magical if you land an affordable price. Here’s a selection of handpicked special offers that are currently available at Walt Disney World and other Disney vacations.

4. Coming Soon to Disney World

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Disney Parks

There's always something new to look forward to at Walt Disney World. At twice the size of Manhattan, Disney World encompasses four theme parks, 24 resorts, two waterparks, five golf courses, as well as dining and entertainment galore. 

5. How to Use Disney's MyMagic+

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Mark Ashman/Walt Disney Parks

Disney has been rolling out a new ticketing process called MyMagic+, which will eventually replace the old system completely. MyMagic+ revolutionizes the Disney World vacation by bundling nearly every aspect of your trip together.

 

6. Itineraries by Age

Disney World Vacation, photo, tot with Kermit the Frog - Photo ©  Teresa Plowright
Find the best fun for preschoolers, big Kids, teens, etc., above. Or try this detailed itinerary for an 8-day visit.

If you're visiting with little kids, also take the time to check out age and height restrictions in advance: you don't want your child to look forward to a particular ride, and then be disappointed! Likewise, check for Ride Refurbishments: at any given time, some attractions are closed down.

7. Find Out About Parades, Fireworks

Photo, Wishes fireworks - Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World
"Wishes" fireworks , Holidays version. Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World.
Study the park calendars for parades, live entertainment, and fireworks, to get the most from each day. During peak periods, the theme parks are open late and extra parades and fireworks are staged; there might also be an extra Fantasmic! show. Remember, distances between the parks are considerable, so so if you want to end up in a particular park for fireworks, plan accordingly!

8. Stay At a Resort With a Great Location

Disney World Vacation - photo, Disney's Polynesian Resort, courtesy of Walt Disney World
Disney's Polynesian Resort, near Magic Kingdom. Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort.
Given that Disney World's the size of Boston, location matters! The flagship resorts near Magic Kingdom have monorail and boat access to Magic Kingdom and Epcot theme parks -- great for a quick return after late-night fireworks, or for taking an afternoon break with pool time or nap-time at the resort.

A cluster of resorts near Epcot have prime spots too, on a lakeside boardwalk with restaurants and entertainment: a five-minute walk to Epcot; or take a boat to Epcot or Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Tip: Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground is a terrific budget option, with boat ride to Magic Kingdom.

9. Use Disney's Magical Express

Disney World Vacation - photo, Disney's Magical Express, ©  Teresa Plowright
Disney's Magical Express is yet another perk for guests staying "in the World" at a Disney resort. This round-trip bus service to and from the airport is complimentary for an indefinite period of time. Guests also get complimentary luggage delivery; and --with participating airlines-- the opportunity to check-in for return flights right at the resort. (Check Disney World site for updates.)

10. Use the Disney Bus System, Monorail, Boats...

Photo, bus at Disney World, ©  Teresa Plowright
Photo © Teresa Plowright.
They're everywhere: they're free; wherever you're going, they run at least every twenty minutes; and they are blessedly coooollll inside.

11. Get the Most Out of Your Time in the Theme Parks

Castle, Magic Kingdom. Photo ©  Teresa Plowright.
Photo © Teresa Plowright.
Pick your park according to where the "Extra Magic Hours" for resort guests are happening that day; get to the theme parks early; take a break in the afternoon; use Fastpass strategically... Read about these and many more tips for getting the most from your day in the theme parks.

12. Pick Your Park according to "Extra Magic Hour"

Disney World Vacation - Tree of Life, Animal Kingdom. Photo ©  Teresa Plowright.
Tree of Life, Animal Kingdom. Photo © Teresa Plowright.
Most visitors want to sample all four theme parks, and a key question is: which park do we visit today? Even if you're not staying at a Walt Disney World resort, your choice should take into account a practice called "Extra Magic Hour". Every day, one of the four theme parks opens early, for guests staying at a Walt Disney World resort. (There are Extra Magic Hours in evening, too.)

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