Walt Disney World Packages 101

Art of Animation Little Mermaid Rooms 7
Credit: DisneyTips

Disney packages can be a little bit overwhelming for a first timer. There are so many different resorts, ticket options, dining plans, etc. to consider and they all have different impacts to the price of the vacation. No matter what budget you are operating with or what experiences are must-dos for your family, you must consider all options to ensure that you build the right vacation package to meet your needs. Here are the main 8 components to building your vacation package that are important to graduating Disney Packages 101 so you can be a vacation package professional:


8. Resort Categories and Accommodations

There are different resort categories to meet the budget, theme and accommodation needs for your family. They are classified by Value, Moderate and Deluxe accommodations. Value are among the lower priced of the accommodations, as the name would imply, and the Deluxe resorts are the most expensive. These resorts offer varying levels of service and amenities. The Value resorts have quick-service options for meals while Moderate and Deluxe offer quick-service and table service meal options. the Deluxe resorts have club level accommodations with extra services that you can only get through being club level. The Deluxe resorts also tend to have spas, massage offerings, more transportation options and premium locations. There are also Villa options which have kitchenettes and laundry facilities, with less housekeeping services. These can also be a good option for larger families and families who like to prepare their own meals. Each resort has a unique theme exclusive only to that resort so research the theme for each resort to select the theme that your family would enjoy the most within your budget and other requirements. You can’t go wrong with any of them! The resort is typically the first selection that you will make when putting together your vacation package.

7. Length of Stay and Special Offers

The length of your stay can affect the eligibility for various special offers and discounts that Disney may have available during your travel dates. You will want to review special offers and compare to possible travel dates for your parties to see if the offers will benefit you. Most of them have requirements for the length of stay, and possibly the resort category, so it is important to compare them all based on your family’s need and preferences to be sure that the offers benefit you. Typically, the free dining promotion for example, has a length of stay requirement of 3 or 4 nights depending on the promotion. This usually also requires that you purchases park hopper tickets and require that you are in a premium room category within your resort. The savings may be a wash or cost slightly more if you weren’t already considering some of these add-ons or that number of days on property. So you will want to be look at these carefully to make sure that you get the best price for all of your requirements.

6. Date/Season Selection of Stay

The price of the vacation packages as well as how many discounts and offers are available are dependent on the different months and seasons. Disney has peak and slower seasons just like you would expect from any other vacation destination. if you are traveling during peak seasons (spring break, summer, Christmas season and other holidays) you can expect the most expensive pricing across almost all aspects of the resort and dining offerings. If your travel dates are flexible or you aren’t traveling for a specific season, you can experience the lowest pricing during the slower seasons (a lot of January, September-October, early December). You will notice that the promotions aren’t as plentiful or as good during the peak times as they are during the slower times when they are trying to fill their rooms. If budget is a big factor in your vacation plans this is something to keep in mind.

5. Ticket Options

There are a few different ticket options to consider when putting together a vacation package for your family. You can purchase single park passes, which mean that you can only enter one park per day with the tickets. There is the park hopper option, which allows you to access all 4 theme parks or any combination of them that you like in a single day. (This option is especially beneficial for resort guests to be able to take advantage of extra magic hours so you can go to a different park during the day and then the extra magic hours park for evening EMH). There is also the water park addition which includes access to the two Disney water parks and the Wide World of Sports complex. The longer you stay, the cheaper price per day that you will experience for park tickets. (Note: If you are staying for a really extended period of time or will be visiting a couple times a year, you may want to compare the costs of annual passes before adding tickets to your vacation package to ensure that you get the best deal with all things considered.) These are an important selection that you will make when building your vacation package, so compare your family’s need carefully. Also remember that any special event tickets like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party are not included in regular admission and you will have to purchase these separately.


4. Disney Dining Plan

The Disney Dining Plan is only available to Disney Resort guests who purchase a Disney vacation package including park tickets (there are special plans for Annual Passholders). There are, again, a few options to consider based on budget and dining preferences. Select a dining plan that works for you and your party depending on what your dining needs will be – such as a primarily quick-service dining or table-service dining. Each dining plan includes a resort mug for each guest that uses the rapid-refill system in the resort so that each guest can have unlimited coffee, tea, soda, etc. at the resort. The dining plan helps to give the complete feel of an all-inclusive vacation where you really don’t have to worry about much once you are on vacation.

3. Travel Insurance

Disney offers travel insurance for each of their vacation packages. The prices are set based on the number of days and are on a per adult basis to determine the price of the insurance. This will be an option that you can select when booking your vacation. You are able to purchase vacation insurance independently, but Disney prices seem reasonable and are extremely convenient during the vacation package process.

2. Flights

You can purchase your flights via airlines that have a relationship with Disney, if you wish. You can check prices based on the dates of your stay directly from within the screens from booking your Disney vacation package so that the airline information is already updated within your reservation. You will have to pay for the airline tickets in full to reserve your spot on the airline, just as you would if you went to any airline site. You don’t have to purchase your flights this way either. You can research the airline of your choice and then update your reservation with the flight details.

1. Deposit/Booking Guidelines

In order to book and reserve your vacation package, you will be required to pay a $200 deposit toward your vacation. The remaining balance of the vacation is due 45 days before the start of your vacation. You can make payments in between then if you wish or wait and pay the full balance at the 45-day mark. If you were only booking at resort stay without the package options, the deposit could be greater depending on the resort that you are staying at and the number of nights. So don’t be alarmed if you notice differences. You are able to cancel a reservation at any time for a full refund of any monies paid toward the vacation if you cancel before the 45 day point before your vacation, so be mindful of those dates. You will receive a confirmation number that you can put into your My Disney Experience account so you have full access to the details of your reservation, magic band selection and online check-in features.

About Christy Caby

I am a diehard Disney fanatic! I fell in love with all things Disney from an early age and that only increased once I first visited Walt Disney World! It led me to complete a yearlong Disney College Program working at merchandise locations within Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Disney-MGM Studios at that time) and I worked for Disney Parks & Resorts Technology in Project/Program Management. Now I get to write about Disney and help others plan their magical vacations! Disney holds a special place in the hearts of my entire family as my husband proposed there, we honeymooned there, took trips while pregnant with each of my boys and have visited with them many, many times from 8 weeks old through now. One of my favorite memories from each trip is always the look on my kids’ faces the first time they see the castle. I’d love to help you plan your magical vacation! Request a free quote at or look for me on Facebook at Have a magical day!