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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Time, Money, Kids, Planning--What Keeps Us From Walt Disney World?

We hear it all the time, “Yeah, we want to go but. . .” said by folks indicating that they would like to visit the most magical place on earth, Walt Disney World yet, have reasons for not that usually spans time, money, kids, and complexity of planning a Walt Disney World vacation.

Let’s tackle time and money first.  I get it.  Those are factors we take into consideration whenever we plan a trip.  What time do we have available?  How long do we want to stay?  How much will it cost?  Some of those questions can be answered at the Walt Disney World web-site by entering various dates for your preferred resort to give you an idea of cost or by phoning a Disney reservationist or a travel agent. Typically, I do all three!  I see what the cost of trip would be on the web, contact a Disney reservationist about special codes or discounts that might be available, and then call our travel agent, who usually gets us a discounted price compared to the web-site.

A Walt Disney World Resort stay is different than staying at other hotels, as if you are booking a package including tickets, your trip must be paid in full 45 days prior to your stay, rather than paying when you arrive for your hotel.  If you are staying on property, but do not have park tickets as a part of your package, then you pay for one night of your stay prior and the rest of the nights upon arrival.  The amount of money needed upfront can be daunting for some potential guests.  And, with the 60 day prior on-line check in now available, guests wishing to take advantage must have their trip paid in full at 60 days rather than 45.

Some potential guests are warded off by the complexity of planning a Walt Disney World vacation.  Let me propose that planning a Walt Disney World vacation is no more complex than planning any other vacation.  Say, you were planning to visit New York City.  You would research hotels, restaurants, entertainment and tourist options, along with transportation.  It would also be likely for you to make reservations and purchase tickets for some of those things prior to your trip.  Same for planning a trip to Walt Disney World and there are many tools to help you. . . guide books, web-sites, on-line panels, even mobile apps!

Now for kids. . . I thought of this yesterday when I was writing about Jedi Training Academy for 2013 and again pointed out that it is for children ages 4-12 and how our time for the boy to participate is quickly running out!  Children grow up, they get involved in activities that have various schedules or even jobs which may mean negotiating with bosses, coaches, supervisors, and directors to find the “time” for a family vacation. 

I hear hesitation from people thinking their child is too young and won’t be able to ride as many rides or do as many things.  This is somewhat true, due to height restrictions, etc.  But those are things that little kids probably wouldn’t want to do, but there are plenty of other things for them to enjoy!  That is part of what makes Walt Disney World so magical is that there are so many things for people of all ages to do and enjoy.  Yes, a 4 year old may not be on Space Mountain, but they can fly on a magic carpet or an elephant. 

Or the, “I want my child to remember the trip.”  Well, this works if you have only one child and pick the perfect year for them to go, hopefully before they are 10 and are considered an “adult” by Disney standards in terms of ticket price.  But what if you have more than one child?  There may not be the “perfect” time when all of the children are going to remember the trip, but I bet they will enjoy it no matter their ages and will relive it through pictures and stories. 

Back to money for a moment. . . children under 3 are FREE for park tickets and can eat off another plate for no charge at most Disney dining establishments, while children 10 and older are charged at an adult rate.  This means children ages 3-9 are charged a child’s rate for tickets and dining.  Sometimes parents forget to take this into consideration when deciding on that “perfect” time for a magical vacation.

We have been to Walt Disney World when the boy was 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and now 10.  Each age has been great and came with its own magic and limitations.  When he was younger, our touring time was shorter and the rides tamer.  If either the husband or I wanted to tackle a “big” ride, we did while splitting up and meeting later.  Each trip he has tried something new whether it was a show, a food, or an attraction.  He has his favorites, just ask him!  When he was younger, the Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios scared him and now we can’t leave the park without experiencing this attraction.  Our touring days are longer now, as the boy can stay up later.  But, now that is he 10, it is definitely more expensive.

For the folks who are on the fence, know that the price for a family vacation to Walt Disney World, will not go down.  Each summer, ticket prices increase and as your child ages, the cost will only go up.  For the folks who have already been bitten by the magic and are pondering their next trip, go ahead and go for it!

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