Great trips to Disney involve planning. I hate lines and crowds. So when I planned our trips I did my best to avoid them as much as possible. Standing in line for 45 minutes to go on a ride for a few minutes makes most of us cranky. Better planning greatly improves your chances of having a wonderful discounted vacation.
My first suggestion is to study The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2011 by Bob Sehlinger. This book explains when to go, which of the parks will be best and worst to visit on a particular day, and how to navigate each park to see as much as you can by avoiding crowds and lines. I cannot recommend this book enough. He has been publishing a new book each year for as long as I can remember.
For all discounts associated with Disney I recommend you spend time at this website. Mouse Savers This site even offers a free newsletter subscription to help you plan your discounted theme park vacation. It helps you locate discounts on park passes, hotels, food, car rentals, activities, entertainment, packages and the list goes on. Put mousesavers on your smart phone and their discount suggestions will be with you when you arrive.
For discounted flights consider the Southwest credit card offer of 50,000 points that I blogged about on July 7th. For the $99 annual fee for the credit card plus $20 for taxes and fees this credit card could give you enough points for 4 round trip nonstop tickets. I checked the fares flying from Philadelphia to Orlando in October and 4 tickets came in just under 50,000 points.
The dates you fly and the flights you select determine the amount of points you will need. Just go to southwest.com and select fares in points instead of dollars to check on the points needed for your flights. The least number of points is in the first column on the right. These are the Wanna Get Away fares, the ones with the best discounted price and lowest number of points. Also click on the Low Fare Calendar link to determine the least expensive days to fly.
There are a few non-Disney owned hotels located on Disney property. Starwood has The Swan and The Dolphin hotels. Hilton in the Walt Disney World is another choice with a frequent guest program. Think about earning points for your stay in Disney or getting points before your book your hotel so that you may have enough points for free nights in Disney. Yes, I mean another credit. Both Starwood and Hilton have credit cards to help you get started. More about that in another post.
Start planning now, you will save money and have a fabulous fun filled family vacation at Disney.