I realized today as I began to help another first time Walt Disney World vacationer start to plan her trip just how very overwhelmed she was by the whole process. It seemed to her there were just too many things to think about and not enough time. To fly or drive? Which hotel? Which tickets? Do get a meal plan or not? Park Hopper? Of course many of the terms used by Disney were also foreign to her too. Park Hopper, Deluxe Dining Plan, Platinum Package, Moderate Resort. These are terms that if you do not know when you are planning can really make it difficult.
I told her to start at the very beginning and go slowly. First plan a budget for your vacation. What are you realistically willing to spend, including travel, hotel, food, entertainment and souvenirs. From there we could get a better picture of what she could do as far as hotels, travel and park tickets. We have done WDW as cheaply as slightly under $2,000 including everything for 8 days with 2 adults and 2 children. Of course we were in the value resorts, non-park hopper tickets and basic meal plan but we had a great time. We were in Walt Disney World!
It all depends on what you would like from your vacation. If you can sleep on nothing but the best linen and need a concierge at your disposal you will obviously spend more than if you consider your hotel room only a place to sleep between visits in the park and eat only for subsistence. You can spend as little or as much as you want and still get a really nice vacation at WDW.
Get your total budget together and the subtract out the travel costs. This is your Walt Disney World vacation budget. When you start to look at hotels in step 3 keep this total in mind. Our next step is to choose what time of year you would like to visit Walt Disney World in step 2.