Booking a Disney World vacation is always the most exciting! But it can soon feel overwhelming with mounting costs and so much to plan for. Everyone wants to have the most magical time so how can you make sure you don't drop the ball when it comes to preparing for your trip?
Here are the 5 mistakes to avoid when booking a Disney World trip!
1) Not Checking Park Pass Reservation Availability Before Booking Your Trip
To enter the Disney Parks you now need Park Pass Reservations as well as valid tickets. Your tickets alone will not gain you entry. With that in mind it is now vital to make sure there is availability in the parks for the dates of your trip.
As Walt Disney World gets busier and busier we will start to see Park Pass reservations fill up quicker. If there are no reservations for the date you want to visit the parks you won't be able to enter. Nightmare! If you book a trip to Disney World and then can't visit the parks this can completely ruin your trip!
You can avoid this by checking out the Park Pass availability calendar before you book your trip. That way you will have peace of mind that there is availability for the dates you wish to visit.
As soon as you buy your Disney Park tickets book your Park Pass reservations. This will ensure you can visit the parks during your stay. This will require you have a rough itinerary in place. Pre-planning isn't something everyone likes to do so check out my Itinerary Planner for Disney World to make this simple!
You can check out the availability calendar for Park Pass Reservations here.
2) Not Shopping Around For Deals
A big error people make is not taking a few extra hours to look around for deals. The difference in costs between companies can be huge!
There are four main ways to book a Disney World trip:
Directly with Disney
A Large Travel Agency
An Independent Travel Agent
DIY Booking - Book each element of the trip yourself
It is a good idea to have a quote for each option so you can find the best deal for you!
Disney are currently offering some great deals for 2021 so it is definitely worth checking these out to see the cost to book with Disney directly! You can book your entire trip including your hotel, park tickets and flights with Disney or select to book individual elements with them. One big benefit is they have great cancellation and booking modification policies and low deposits.
Booking with a large travel agent can offer peace of mind as these are well-known companies. You can also take advantage of paying a deposit and then paying off the remaining balance closer to your trip or spreading out the cost into monthly payments.
Booking with an independent travel agent offers the same benefits as a large travel agency but can often give you even more competitive prices and a more personal service. Independent travel agents are easier to get in contact with than their bigger counterparts and will often have a Disney specialist who can give you expert knowledge and advice about Disney World.
Booking a package with a travel agent, whether that be with Disney directly, a large travel agency or an individual travel agent, can offer the least amount of hassle if there needs to be a cancellation or modification to your trip as they handle everything for you. Another benefit is that if you do need to cancel your booking as it is a package everything is covered.
Booking everything yourself DIY can sometimes work out the cheapest option. You are able to book with the companies you like the most and can look out for special deals, such as Black Friday offers. The downside to this method is if your trip needs to be modified or cancelled you need to contact each individual company you have booked with and it is not always guaranteed that you will be able to modify each individual element or receive refunds from all, unlike with a package holiday.
If booking a DIY trip always make sure you know the modification or cancellation policies. Companies such as Expedia offer book now, pay later and free cancellation for hotels which is a massive benefit. Some airlines are also offering free travel date changes or flexible tickets.
To help keep an eye on the cost of your trip, and to know how much you need to save, be sure to check out my Budgeting Planner for Walt Disney World. It contains a budgeting template to work out the cost of your entire trip, a template for your dining costs and a daily budget planner.
3) Not Checking For Public Holidays
Public holidays will have a big impact on crowd levels in the parks and prices for your vacation.
A quick Google search can give lists of all public holidays in the US and can also give details of dates for school holidays, such as Spring Break. This can massively help with the cost and level of enjoyment in your holiday so is well worth the search!
Visiting Disney World during public holidays can bring in much bigger crowds. For some public holidays this may be only for a couple of days but for the bigger holidays, such as Christmas, the crowds may be larger for a number of weeks.
With an increase in visitors the rates for resort rooms also increase.
4) Not Booking Dining Reservations
Eating at Disney restaurants is such a big part of any trip! Many Disney restaurants have become super popular so reservations are always difficult to get. Currently fewer restaurants are open and with limited capacity dining reservations can be harder to get than usual.
It is always recommended to pre-book dining reservations as walk-up wait times to dine in a restaurant can be hours long!
The best way to avoid this is to book your dining reservations as soon as they are open to you. You can book your reservations 60 days in advance via the My Disney Experience website or app. Booking as soon as your reservations open up gives you the best chance of getting the reservations you want.
You can find out just what restaurants are currently open at Disney World with my Guide to Which Restaurants Are Currently Open at Walt Disney World.
5) Not Downloading My Disney Experience
The My Disney Experience app has so many features that can help enhance your trip!
The app not only works as a digital park map and helps you see what the currently ride wait times are you can also:
Book or modify dining reservations
Check-in to your dining reservation
Join a virtual queue when wanting to dine at a restaurant without a reservation
Use mobile ordering to order your quick service meals or to-go table service meals
Use the virtual key to gain access to your Disney resort room
Get the all-important boarding passes for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance!
My Disney Experience really will help you get the most out of your trip and enables you to simplify a lot of processes. And of course it is the only way to get to ride Rise of the Resistance!
BONUS - Covid-19 Updates
Since Disney World reopened their parks to Guests in July 2020 a range of new measures have been put in place to help ensure the safety of Guests and Cast Members. Learn about all the new updates, what is open, what remains temporarily closed and great alternatives for dining and entertainment if your preferred locations are closed in my Guide to Covid-19 Updates at Walt Disney World. A must-have for all visitors to Disney World!
Avoiding these pitfalls will help to improve your Disney World trip and the solutions are super simple! Downloading an app, taking a few hours to do some extra research and pre-booking your dining reservations will all help towards you having your most magical trip to Disney with much less stress!
If you have any questions about planning your Disney World trip why not join my Facebook group? Find out tons of tips and advice and receive answers to your burning questions! Click here to join!