Walt Disney World Vacation – Best Time to Go?

Walt Disney World VacationThe first step to an enjoyable Walt Disney World vacation is to know which attractions and activities best suit your kid’s ages and development stages, then take in just enough to leave your family enchanted and not on the verge of collapse!

I believe kids between 5-12 years of age get the most bang for the buck but all ages will find it enjoyable with proper planning. The Disney site has some great information with an outline of which Disney Attractions, Disney Entertainment, Disney Dining and Disney Recreation is most suitable for various age groups including Preschoolers, and Big Kids and Teens.

I cannot stress the importance of planning ahead of time to which Theme Parks you want to visit on what days and what attractions you want to take in while there.


When is the best time to Go on a Walt Disney World Vacation?

“The best time to go to Disney World, if you want to avoid huge crowds, is 1962.” – Dave Barry

The second step to a perfect Disney Vacation is to decide on the best time travel to Disney World.

The time of year that you go can make or break a visit to Disney World Vacation. Let’s face it; if your kids are off on a school break like summer holidays or spring week, chances are, everyone else’s kids are too. The time of year will affect the price that you will pay for the accommodation. It will also make a difference to the lengths of the line-ups!

If at all possible, take your kids out of school and travel in off peak times. As a general rule, the peak times are when schools have their breaks, and there are varying opinions about off peak times.

According to Disney, the lowest attendance periods are:

  • January (except New Year’s Day) until just prior to Presidents’ Week in February
  • The week following Labor Day until the week prior to Thanksgiving
  •  The week following Thanksgiving until mid-December.

 Peak Attendance is during:

  • Presidents’ week in February
  • Mid March through Late April (“Spring Break”)
  • Memorial Day weekend
  • Mid June through Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day and weekend
  • Christmas week through New Year’s Day.

Any times not mentioned here would have moderate attendance. Another thing to consider when planning your Disney Vacation is that special events and promotions going on at Disney World can also influence attendance so be sure to find out if any special is planned during the time you plan to go.

The next step in planning your Walt Disney World vacation is figuring out which Walt Disney World Hotels to stay at.

Going to Orlando? Advice for the Orlando Theme Park Weary

Orlando Theme park weary

Orlando theme park weary – when you just can’t take another day at the theme parks on your Orlando vacation consider these suggestions:

Book a Spa Treatment

What better way to soothe fragile nerves and sore feet than a session at one of Orlando’s resort spas.

On Disney property there’s the Grand Floridian as well as the Saratoga Springs Spa where one of their luxurious treatments are a perfect addition to your vacation.

Off property you can’t do any better than the ultra luxurious Ritz-Carlton Spa or the Gaylord Palms Canyon Ranch Spa. Those staying at a Universal Resort should consider an exotic Javanese treatment at the Mandara Spa at Portofino Bay Hotel.

Relax At Your Resort’s Pool

Orlando’s resort pools are justifiably renowned for their spectacular theming. Disney offers some of the best, particularly Stormalong Bay at the Yacht and Beach Club, a 3-acre mini waterpark, or the boulder lined beauty at the Wilderness Lodge featuring waterfalls and its very own geyser.

Off property, the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress’ fantasyland pool is cooled by twelve waterfalls and at the JW Marriott’s “Lazy River” you can float to your heart’s content.

And at Universal Orlando’s Hard Rock Hotel is the coolest (and I don’t just mean the water temperature) pool around with an underwater sound system, sand beach, and poolside cabanas.

Orlando Theme Park Weary? Spend Time On Disney’s Waterways

Disney has miles of lakes and lagoons to explore. You’ll find that most Disney resorts have a marina where many types of watercraft are available for hire. Sailboats, pontoon and canopy boats, Sea Raycers, even a 48-foot yacht. Take your pick.

Perhaps the biggest bang for your buck is to be had at the Contemporary Resort where in addition to the above you’ll also find parasailing, waterskiing, tubing, and wakeboarding on beautiful Bay Lake.

Orlando Theme Park Weary? Shop Till You Drop in The Mall at Millenia

For one of Orlando’s best shopping experiences head to this fabulous new mall just minutes from Universal Orlando. Here you’ll find only the best with stores such as Neiman Marcus, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, and Tiffany. But fair warning: this trip could end up costing a pretty penny.

Those with great taste but thriftier intentions will love the Orlando Premium Outlets Mall located just across I-4 from Downtown Disney where designer outlet stores such as Hugo Boss, Armani, Escada, Ermenegildo Zegna, and Burberry won’t break the bank.

Orlando Theme Park Weary? Head to Downtown Disney

For a change of pace there’s Downtown Disney. Here you’ll find over 70 shops, restaurants, and nightclubs plus a 24-screen theater, Disney Quest with five floors of virtual games and adventures, even a Cirque du Soleil.

Adults will want to pick a great restaurant for dinner like Wolfgang Puck or Portofino Yacht Club and then head to Pleasure Island to party down until the wee hours of the morning.

Orlando Theme Park Weary? Swim With a Dolphin

Spend a few hours ogling at Disney’s wonderfully themed resorts. And best of all, it doesn’t cost a thing. Board the monorail at the Ticket and Transportation Center and hop off at each of the three Magic Kingdom resorts.

First the Polynesian, a tropical wonderland, then the Grand Floridian, Disney’s flagship resort, and lastly the Contemporary where you’ll enjoy the Grand Concourse with the monorail silently gliding overhead.

Out back you can catch a boat to the Wilderness Lodge, Disney’s most beautiful resort modeled after an early 1900s national park lodge.

Then catch a boat to the Magic Kingdom and a ferry to the TTC where you started. It’s a grand circle that can’t be beat.

About the author: Cara Goldsbury is the author of “The Luxury Guide to Walt Disney World: How to Get the Most Out of the Best Disney Has to Offer” , www.luxurydisneyguide.com

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Walt Disney World For Teens

Walt Disney World for Teens? Wondering Disney for Teensif your kids or teens are too “old” to enjoy a Disney Vacation? Need to know what there is for them to do?

Can teens really have fun at a place like Walt Disney World? Absolutely! Actually, be prepared to have the time of your life. It’s a safe place to assert some independence from your parents, a place you’ll never forget.

Here are some of the best experiences for teens at “The Most Magical Place on Earth”:

Walt Disney World for Teens – Have a Splashing Good Time at Disney’s Water Parks

For a blast of a time, head to one of Disney’s two water parks. Blizzard Beach has a melting alpine resort theme where chairlifts carry swimmers instead of skiers. It’s a place for daredevils to challenge wild, rushing water and death-defying slides including the Summit Plummet, a 120-foot slide reaching speeds of 60 miles per hour.

Those a bit less adventuresome will love Typhoon Lagoon, a tropical fantasyland offering a wave pool with the tallest simulated waves in the world as well as a chance to snorkel among tropical fish, leopard and nurse sharks, and picturesque coral at Shark Reef.

Walt Disney World for Teens – Live it Up at Downtown Disney

After the parks close hop a bus from your Disney resort for a night on the town at Downtown Disney. Highlights include Disney Quest with five floors of interactive games, a 24-screen AMC Theater, a Cirque du Soleil show, and over 60 shops and restaurants.

Favorite dining choices for the younger crowd are Planet Hollywood and Rainforest Café. And definitely consider House of Blues where teens are allowed to attend some of the almost daily concerts in their live music venue next-door.

Walt Disney World for Teens – Cool Off at One of Disney’s Resort Pools

When your parents are wondering which resort to book for your Disney vacation, be sure and put your two cents in and steer them toward one with a great pool.

Disney’s very best uniquely themed pools include the Yacht and Beach Club’s Stormalong Bay, a 3-acre mini-water park, the Swan and Dolphin’s lush, grotto-style lagoon pool, the boulder-strewn wonderland at the Wilderness Lodge with its very own erupting geyser, and the Volcano Pool at the Polynesian Resort with its luxuriant waterfall, smoking peak, and perfect views of Cinderella’s Castle.

Walt Disney World for Teens – Plan Some Watersport Fun

Disney’s Contemporary Resort is the place for water-ski, parasail, wakeboard, kneeboard, and jet-ski action under the guidance of a professional instructor.

There’s nothing better than a bird’s-eye-view of the Magic Kingdom as you parasail high above the Seven Seas Lagoon.

And the action down below on Bay Lake is a blast! For reservations call 407-WDW-PLAY up to 90 days in advance, and be sure to bring a parent along to sign a waiver to participate if you’re under age 18.

Walt Disney World for Teens – Pilot Your Own Boat

What could be more fun than renting a Sea Raycer, a 2-seater mini-power boat perfect for zipping around Disney’s waterways and lakes. It’s a great pastime for teens with a valid driver’s license (those under 18 must bring along a parent to sign a waiver).

You’ll get the most bang for your buck at one of the resorts near the Magic Kingdom (the Contemporary, Polynesian, Grand Floridian, or Wilderness Lodge) where you’ll find miles of recreation on the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake.

Walt Disney World for Teens – Scuba and Snorkel at Epcot’s Living Seas

Scuba dive or snorkel in The Living Seas 5.7-million-gallon saltwater aquarium amid a variety of sharks, rays, fish, and turtles.

Epcot’s DiveQuest Program along with the Seas Aqua Tour using a Scuba Assisted Snorkel unit (snorkelers swim on the surface with a built-in flotation device while breathing compressed air from a regulator attached to a small tank) are two of the most exciting behind-the-scenes tours offered in all of Walt Disney World.

Dives include all equipment, but be sure to bring a bathing suit.

DiveQuest is open to certified divers, but those ages 14 and under need to dive along with a parent or guardian. The Seas Aqua Tour is open to participants under age 18 as long as they are accompanied by a participating adult. Call 407-WDW-TOUR for reservations.



Walt Disney World for Teens – Surf’s Up at Typhoon LagoonTyphoon Lagoon Teens

“Hang 10” before park opening hours in the 2.75-million-gallon wave pool (some waves as high as 6 feet tall!) under the guidance of professional instructors with surfboards provided. Guests must furnish their own transportation to the park since Disney buses are not up and running that early in the morning, and those under age 18 must have a signed waiver from their parents to participate. Call 407-WDW-PLAY for reservations up to 90 days in advance.

White-Knuckle Riding at Richard Petty Driving Experience

Lying next to the Magic Kingdom is this speedway where white-knuckle rides in a NASCAR Winston Cup-style race car are offered.

If you are at least 16 you can participate in the Ride-Along Program where you’ll ride shotgun at speeds of up to 145 mph for three laps around the track with an experienced instructor (riders 16 or 17 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian).

Even more exciting, those ages 18 and older can drive the car themselves after an introductory class. If you just want to observe you can do so for no charge. Call 800-BE-PETTY for advance reservations.

Head for a Theme Parks

Last but certainly not least are the theme parks. If you’re staying on Disney property it’s a cinch to board a monorail or a Disney bus and head out to the parks on your own.

At the Magic Kingdom you’ll find all the old nostalgic favorites like Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean. And don’t forget to head straight to Splash Mountain, an unforgettable ride that ends in a plunge over a 5-story waterfall!

Epcot’s main attractions for fun-loving teens are Mission Space, a hair-raising rocket into space, and Test Track where you’ll speed through hairpin turns and then barrel outside onto a high-speed banking loop at over 60 mph. At Disney-MGM Studios you’ll be floored by Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, both a thrill a minute. Then there’s the Animal Kingdom where a trip around the African savanna at Kilimanjaro Safaris and back in time 65 million years at Dinosaur are quite the adventure.

Super thrill seekers should plan a day at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure where attractions like the Incredible Hulk Coaster, Dueling Dragons, and The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman will leave your heart pounding.

So do you still think Disney is just for kids? I bet you can’t wait to pack your bags. And don’t forget to thank your parents on your return home for taking you to one of the most exciting places on the planet.

About the author: Cara Goldsbury is the author of “The Luxury Guide to Walt Disney World: How to Get the Most Out of the Best Disney Has to Offer” available at 800-247-6553, www.luxurydisneyguide.com, Amazon.com, or your local bookstore.


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