Walt Disney World Expert Shares Her Best Tips and Tricks.

March 6, 2024

Planning your first trip to Walt Disney World can be overwhelming. With so much to see and do, it can be tough to know where to start. We’ll walk through the first steps together so that you can start getting excited for your first Walt Disney World vacation!


Paying for Your Disney World Trip

The first things you need to decide are pretty straightforward — when do you want to go, and how much do you want to spend? When planning your Disney vacation budget, keep in mind that if you book a vacation package (your hotel stay with either tickets or dining), you only need to put down a $200 deposit when you book, with the balance due 30 days before your check-in day. 

When it comes to the timing of your vacation, there are multiple factors to consider. If you’re traveling with school age children you may not have as much flexibility as to when you’re able to travel, but if do, there are some times when crowds tend to be lower that are worth considering. The Florida weather may also be a factor that you want to think about when you consider when you’d like to travel.

Where to Stay at Disney World - Hotel Options

Staying on Disney property has a lot of advantages, and there’s a hotel for every style and budget. Resorts on Disney property fall into one of three categories: Value, Moderate, or Deluxe. Value properties are the most budget friendly, and have more colorful and “animated” themes. Moderate properties are slightly more expensive, and have a more refined sense of decoration. Deluxe properties are at the highest end of the budget, with more elegant sense of design and unique dining options. Some Deluxe resorts feature additional amenities such as spas on site. Disney resort guests have access to complementary transportation (no need for a rental car!), extra time in the parks, and, starting in 2025, free admission to a water park on their Disney resort check in day.

Disney Dining Plans

Once you’ve chosen your hotel, it’s time to think about additional add-ons, including things like dining and tickets. There are two dining plan options that can be added to a Disney hotel stay, depending on how you and your travel party plan to eat when you’re visiting Walt Disney World. A big perk of adding a dining plan is that your dining is prepaid once you arrive since you have paid for it as part of your vacation package, giving your vacation an “all-inclusive” feel.


When it comes to adding tickets, the main consideration is how many days you want to visit the parks. For a first trip we recommend at least one day for each of the four parks, though ideally a five day ticket is the best option. A standard ticket will allow you into one park per day, but there is an option for a park hopper, which allows you entry into more than one park per day of your ticket. Depending on the time of year that you’re traveling, you can also add water park entry to your tickets. 

These steps are a great place to start planning your vacation, but are just the beginning. Walt Disney World has so much to see and do that there is something for everyone.  Don’t be disappointed if you don’t get to see everything in just one trip. Make sure to slow down and enjoy the memories you’re making with your friends and family.

Getting Help With Disney World Planning

Planning your first trip to Walt Disney World can be overwhelming; it can be hard to know where to start, and things can change quickly. This is where a travel agent can be a huge help. We’re experts in Disney destinations, so it’s our job to keep up-to-date on all of the ins and outs of Disney vacations. The best part? There’s no additional cost when you book your vacation with me. I’ll be there to help you every step of the way: choosing your hotel, to making your dining reservations, to helping you find the perfect attractions for your family.  It’s like having your own (complimentary) vacation concierge, right in your pocket.

Carrie Nester is a travel agent with Travelmation LLC, wife, and mom of two girls. She’s been going to Walt Disney World with her family since she was seven years old, and has been a travel professional since 2015. She specializes in family and luxury travel, including Disney destinations, all-inclusive resorts, and cruise vacations. You can reach her at carrienester@travelmation.net 

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