2018 Walt Disney World Planning

Disney Planning

Today is National Plan for Vacation Day and we here at Disney Addicts thought what better way to celebrate the occasion than by lending you a helping hand in planning your Walt Disney World getaway.  So if you’re debating about visiting Disney World this year and don’t know where to start these helpful hints should get you going.  And don’t forget to check the bottom of our page to see how you can get your FREE quote. Let the planning begin:

So when should we plan on visiting Disney World?  I will repeat what I tell most of my clients which is that there is never a bad time to go to Disney.  With the right attitude and the proper amount of planning, even Disney World on its busiest days can be absolutely delightful.  However, that being said, there are times during the year that are generally better than others.  So if you are looking for minimal crowds and off-peak rates, here are a few of our top 2018 suggestions:

Flower and Garden 2018

The month of May.  If you don’t mind pulling your little ones out of school for a few days before Summer vacation, you won’t be disappointed with a visit during this month. May has to be one of my favorite times to visit Walt Disney World. Temperatures are starting to warm up, parks typically report low crowds during this time and guests can enjoy Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival.  To really take advantage of low attendance book earlier in the month.  As you near Memorial Day, attendance starts to peak in anticipation of Summer.

Halloween Party Magic Kingdom

The second half of August – September. For the same reason that May is such a good time to visit, once you hid Mid-August into September, families are focused on the school year and not taking family vacations.  This makes it a great time to squeeze in a Disney getaway.  In late August, visitors still get to enjoy the parks during Summer Break but without the capacity crowds. The trend continues through the month of September with the added advantage of seasonal activities like the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival as well as Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.  For this reason, this time of year is popular with Disney Travel agents and TA’s. The only downside to what is one of the best times of year to visit is that it does fall within Hurricane Season, so I would recommend travel insurance just in case!

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Early December –  Christmas at Disney is an absolutely magical time that needs to be experienced at least once.  However, many families steer clear due to horror stories regarding capacity crowds and park closures.  Yet, early December presents a really lovely alternative.  Again, it’s not as popular with families who are focusing on Christmas Break which means that crowds are not as heavy.   The added bonus is that visitors in early December can still take advantage of popular Christmas events like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays and the Candlelight Processional, all of which will be in full swing during this period. Offers that run this time of year like Free Dining also make it an appealing end-of-year option.

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January – Early February 2019 and Beyond: For those who aren’t quite ready to take the plunge in 2018, it’s never to early to start planning your visit for 2019.  It is definitely shaping up to be a banner year for Disney visitors with the hotly anticipated opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge among other exciting happenings.  Though 2019 Walt Disney World Vacation Packages are not currently available to book you can get on our Disney Addicts 2019 Email List: Just pop us a quick email to mroden@mickeytravels.com and we’ll let you know as soon as they become available.

Room Only Reservations In January and February – In the meantime, it is possible for guests looking to travel in early 2019 to make room only reservations which is not a bad idea for those looking for a very specific resort or room category and wanting to make sure you get it before packages open. Rooms (with the exception of villas) can typically be booked 499 days out. Contact your travel agent or Disney for more info.

With that in mind, we think January and February are terrific timed to visit the Mouse.  As we near the middle of January and both Marathon and Martin Luther King Jr. weekends are behind us, the crowds start to dwindle.  This continues into the first half of February where guests can enjoy cooler temperatures and typically shorter lines.

That all sounds great but what about discounts? Walt Disney World usually releases their discounts about six months ahead of time. Currently, Disney has two 2018 discounts available. These are as follows:

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Summer Meal Offer – Not to be confused with FREE Dining (which is an Autumn promotion and usually offered later in the Spring), guests booking under this offer will receive one FREE meal per person (ages 3 and up), per night at select Walt Disney World Resort quick service locations.  In order to qualify guests must purchase a non-discounted 5-night/6-day room and theme park ticket package at a select Disney Value Resort hotel.

  • Booking Window: January 3 – February 11, 2018
  • Travel Window: May 29 -August 25, 2018.  

Each Quick-Service meal includes one entree and one non-alcoholic beverage (or if 21 or over, one beer, wine or cocktail). Guests should note that number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited.  Already having a reservation does not guarantee you a discount.  The offer cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion and everyone in a guest room must be on the same offer.  The following resorts are excluded from the offer:

  • Campsites at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground
  • Disney’s Art of Animation – The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms.

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Sun and Fun Room Offer – This offer is both a room and package discount offering savings of up to 20% at select Disney Resort Hotels for stays during the following dates:

  • Most nights Feb. 18-April 14, 2018. Book through March 7, 2018.
  • Most nights April 15-June 10, 2018. Book through April 7, 2018.

The discount is staggered depending on what resort category you are staying in.  For instance, a guest staying at a Deluxe or Deluxe Villa property will receive the 20% discount where guests staying in Moderate and Value Resorts will receive lesser discounts.

Guests that upgrade to a room and ticket package with a minimum of a 5-day theme park ticket with Park Hopper or Park Hopper Plus will also get one more day added to the ticket for FREE!

The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Already having a reservation does not guarantee you a discount. Length-of-stay requirements may apply. Additional per-adult charges may apply if more than two adults per room at Disney Value, Moderate and Deluxe Resorts. Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion. Advance reservations required.

Several of Walt Disney World’s resorts are exempt from the offer, these are as follows:

  • 3-bedroom villas
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Cabins at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows
  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter

Will any additional offers be available to guests with travel plans later in the year? Yes. Though there is no guarantee that Disney is going to release the same discounts year on year, looking back at 2017 can give us an indication of what we may still expect discount-wise throughout 2018.

Summer Discounts for May – August 2017

  • Summer Room Discount Offer.  Released on March 17, 2017 and bookable through July 14, 2017,  Disney offered an Enchanted discount for stays from May 28th thru until August 31, 2017.  The discount offered 15- 25% off accommodation depending on where you stay.  The higher the resort category the greater the discount.

Fall Discounts August – December 2017

  • Fall Room Discount Offer.  On April 24, 2017 Disney released 2 promotions for the latter half 2017.  The first was a 15 – 30% room discount offer. The discount was good on vacations running from August 1st – October 1st, 2017 and was bookable until August 31st, 2017.  As with previous room discounts, the percentage of savings was greater the higher your resort category with Deluxe Resorts offering a larger discount than Values.
  • Fall Free Dining Promotion.  Disney’s most-anticipated discount each year, the Free Dining offer was launched on April 24, 2017 for dates between August 21st and December 23rd, 2017.  There are typically quite a lot of terms and conditions attached to this offer.  For instance, this year there were several blackout dates (including the entire month of October) and in order to qualify visitors had to add on the more expensive Park Hopper or Park Hopper Plus ticket options to their package.  Those who qualified that were staying at a Value or Moderate category got the Quick Service Dining Plan. Those who stayed at a Deluxe Resort qualified for the regular Disney Dining Plan. However, guests hoping to score a FREE dining promotion in 2018 should note that restrictions were so tight this year that many are speculating that the promotion may be extremely limited.
  • Fall Discount Room Offer – This discount cropped up a bit later in the year and offered 10 – 20% off room rates for stays between October 8 – December 24, 2017. The discount was bookable from July 17 – October 17, 2017.
  • Disney Ultimate Christmas Package – This discount ran from October 16 – December 10, 2017 and covered dates from December 21 – December 26, 2017.  The package included special holiday perks like tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Dining, Extra Magic Hours, Character Meet and Greats and Special Gifts. The offer was extremely limited and only available to guests staying at a Moderate, Deluxe and Villa properties with a minimum of a 5-night stay and 4-day Park Tickets with Park Hopper or Park Hopper Plus.

So should I book now and hope to get a discount?  When it comes to booking your Disney stay, the earlier the better.  That being said, I always advise clients to book within your comfort zone.  Make sure that you’re able to afford your package even if a discount doesn’t become available.  That way, any discount offered will seem like an added bonus.  However, it should also be noted that Disney has an awesome policy that allows you to make any changes or cancellations to your booking up to 31 days in advance without penalty.  So, nearer the time if you need to downgrade, what to move your dates to qualify for a discount or need to cancel altogether, you won’t be losing any money.

We here at Disney Addicts hope the information above will help you get those 2018 Disney Planning gears churning.  If you are thinking about a 2018, Walt Disney World getaway and would like us to cost out some options, read below to find out how you can get your FREE quote and get a jumpstart on your travel plans!

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Click here for your FREE no obligation quote!

Find articles like this helpful? Then why not consider booking with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner? As an agent with MickeyTravels, I’ll be on hand to help you with everything from finding your perfect package to nabbing those hard-to-get dining and Fastpass reservations.  Best of all, my services are absolutely FREE. Get in touch at 1.800.801.4025, via email at mroden@mickeytravels.com or follow along on Facebook

Image copyright Disney.



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