From Oakville to Orlando – Making the Most of Your Disney Vacation

Posted by on August 10, 2011

Disney World In Florida continues to be a favourite destination for many Oakville families.  However, with over 23 hotels, 4 major parks, 2 water parks, Downtown Disney and countless restaurants – the trip can be a little overwhelming to plan.  In this first blog, we will give you some tips for travelling and planning.  Part 2 will detail the parks with tips to make the most of your tickets and time.

One of the best things about travelling to Orlando is the short flight – just over 2 hours.  While there are some great rates available to fly from Pearson airport, the taxes often make the trip very expensive for a family of 4 or more.  A drive over to Buffalo can save you a considerable amount – even when you add in the extra gas.

Disney has four “seasons” each year. Value Season is the least expensive (and least crowded) time, when most kids are in school.  This is followed by Regular Season, Peak Season and Holiday Season – the most expensive and crowded of all.  Summer season is peak – but kids go back to school earlier in the States.  Generally, you can get deals starting in mid August, with even cheaper deals in September.  The parks are already decorated for Christmas starting in November.  If you can avoid the peak 2 weeks over the Christmas break, you can still take in the breathtaking decorations and holiday spirit – without facing the crowds and high prices.  January rates are generally the best bargain – and parks have few line ups and crowds, although the weather can be too cool to really enjoy the water parks.

The Disney hotels vary from motel-style rooms to elegant hotels.  The cheaper properties tend to have smaller rooms and more crowded common areas.  However, this may not be a concern if you are planning on spending all your waking hours exploring Disney.  For longer stays, however, the quarters can get quite cramped as a family.

Disney deals may include discounted rooms or tickets, or our favourite – Free Dining.  If you stay in the value resorts, the dining plan covers the counter service meals only.  For moderate and higher resorts, the plan covers 1 snack, 1 counter service meal and 1 sit down meal.  You can try the restaurants at any of the parks, including the fabulous selection of international fare at Epcot.  Many Downtown Disney restaurants and Disney hotel restaurants also participate in the dining plan.  You can book reservations online – the earlier the better – to get in the most popular restaurants including, Le Cellier Steakhouse in the Canadian Pavilion and Teppan Edo in the Japanese (Epcot), O’Hana’s in the Polynesian Hotel and any of the Character Dining at the parks.

The other benefit to staying on property is that you can take the Disney shuttles to any parks and properties – saving a car rental.  There are also extra magic hours for guests of Disney resorts, with early or extended admission – allowing you to see more before the crowds arrive.

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