One of our wonderful readers sent us some questions! Instead of answering privately, they seemed like questions that everyone might have an interest in. While some of them are a little bit specific, there are some general questions that should be of interest. The questions are in bold text. Enjoy this little bit of weekend reading!
First, where do we start when planning? Are there any good discount websites?
To be honest, there aren’t a ton of great discount websites and the best place to start is really just the Disney World website (https://disneyworld.disney.go.com). Depending on the time of year, they will offer discounts of their own. In the Fall they offer the free dining plan and through spring, early summer, and most of the Fall they offer discounts for on-site hotels. We prefer the dining plan discount, but obviously we don’t go with any young ones.
MouseSavers.com is probably the most trustworthy discount website for Disney World. They sometimes have interesting deals, but as far as park tickets go there won’t be many discounts and they may take away some convenience.
What’s the best place to book and when? We are pretty open on the timeframe, just as long as it’s outside of tax season (so that would mean the end of April through December).
There are lots of different times to book. May-early June won’t be as crowded as others and not super hot. I would recommend not going July or August. It’s very hot and very crowded in the summer months. We’ve gone in September and it wasn’t super crowded once Labor Day was over. It was pretty hot but not unbearable, the same goes for October. November gets in to holiday season which is great at Disney World. Of course, the crowds grow the closer you are to either Thanksgiving or Christmas. The first week of December you avoid some of the crowds (of course, not all) and you get all of the holiday events. Really, it depends on your preference. If you love the holidays, I’d probably recommend the first week of December. If you like less crowds and don’t care as much about the holidays, I’d recommend May or late September.
Our daughter is over the moon about Ariel so we would want to look at a property on-site that would include princesses (hopefully Ariel herself). Which on-site hotel would be the best as far as location/price value? However, we do have some hotel points and could stay at an offsite hotel for much less. Any thoughts on that?
Off-site hotels will be much cheaper, but we think staying on-site is so much more fun. If you stay on-site then there is no need for a rental car (assuming you are flying). Disney will pick you up from the airport and then offers complimentary transportation (mostly busses) to anywhere on Disney World property, so you will save money in that way by staying on-site. We also just think it’s more convenient to stay on-site and makes things much easier for the whole trip. Staying off-site is probably around $30-$40 cheaper per night, so it is significant.
As far as hotels to stay in on-site, it depends how much you want to spend. There are value, moderate, and deluxe resorts. Assuming you’re going when it’s not super crowded deluxe resorts are around $300/night, moderates are about $180/night, and value are between $120-140. Those are all rough estimates, but are probably close to correct. The more you pay the better the location and hotel are, but the value resorts are still pretty cool.
The Art of Animation Resort is the most expensive value resort but is said to be easily the best, and they also have Little Mermaid themed rooms. I’d probably start by looking there. We’re planning on staying at that hotel next time we go, as we’ve only heard good things about it as far as Value resorts go. There’s also a Little Mermaid ride at Magic Kingdom, and a show at Hollywood Studios. There’s also a character dining where Ariel will show up at your table as you eat. That is in Epcot at Akershus Restaurant (which is in the Norway Pavilion of Epcot).
Also– have you ever heard of the Disney Credit Card? We got something in the mail about it the other day and I am not sure if the rewards are worth it or not. We are one of “those” people and put absolutely everything we possibly can on our credit card each month just to earn the rewards. We pay it off at the end of every month, but we just utilize them to collect the rewards. Right now, we earn airline miles, but I am wondering if the Disney card is worth it for planning a trip there?
We actually have the Disney credit card and use it almost all of the time. You get 1% back on all purchases. You do get a few small discounts while at Disney World, but it’s nothing too big. It’s a fine credit card and it’s pretty easy to redeem your points toward anything Disney (whether it’s vacation or not). There is another card they offer which you have to pay an annual fee on but you get 2% back on that one. We don’t think that one’s worth it for us, but it might be to you.
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