It happens thousands of times a month in Central, Pennsylvania (and likely hundreds of thousands of times across the US), the conversation begins with a notion around the dinner table … or on the deck … or by the pool … or in the car. Someone says, “Ya’ know, we should go to Disney World …”. So begins a dialogue that builds excitement and incurs questions … the right decisions need to be made, capturing the perfect vacation, and leading to a World of Disney Magic that ushers everyone involved into a Vacation Kingdom like no other.
Alas, so many people in Harrisburg, PA and surrounding areas get caught up (it’s in our nature) in the frenzy of discovering “the best bargain” that the true wonder of a vacation in the Land of the Mouse is missed.
So what is the right way to plan. where should one go to get the “best” information, and in the end – how can I “KNOW” that the money spent on this trip to the South will result in a memory to be returned to again and again and again?
Understandably, with the internet generation at hand, many families overlook the value of a Disney Travel Specialist. Many local agencies play host to these specialists who have the ability to procure the most timely information, discounts, and “tricks”. One Disney Specialist perspective is shared in the following interview: “Certified Disney Travel Specialist Interview”.
So now you’ve identified the desire to go to Disney World. For those living in the land of smorgasbords and farmer’s markets in Harrisburg, PA and surrounding areas, the notion of getting “The Best Bang for the Buck” is more than a passing idea, it’s a way of life. With this in mind, many Central Pennsylvanians bump against the wall of the main debate that faces Disney travelers, “Should we stay ‘ON’ Disney property or ‘OFF'”. With 23 Disney-owned properties inclusive within Walt Disney World, and a countless number of resorts and hotels in the direct vicinity of Disney (but considered “OFF” property), this is no easy decision. For a launching point on this challenge, take a moment to peruse this article on the Great Debate of “where to stay”.
After landing on your side of the debate (which I hope, after reading the last article, is “ON” property), the decision now turns to what “type” of resort to stay at. Within Disney World there are three levels of lodging; The “Value” resort, the “Moderate” resort, and the “Luxury” resort.
When it first opened in 1971, Walt Disney World (with it’s sole theme park, Magic Kingdom), was viewed as a “Family Destination”, and even though that holds true even today, it’s evolution is profound. With world-renowned gourmet restaurants and resorts that are among the top in the country, the “Magic” of this realm is now enjoyed by families with young children, families with teens, Honeymooners, and celebrities. It is a “one size fits all” destination with enough variety to appease every pallette.
For those with families on a budget, the Disney Value Resorts often offer a “best option”. However, if the idea of “value” conjures up visions of worn sidewalks and bare scenery, Disney World will turn your opinion on it’s head. From beautifully themed courtyards and majestically landscaped gardens, to vivid and bright “Disneyana” throughout … these resorts redefine the word “Value”. So is this level of Disney offering the “right one” for you? Take a look at this article, aptly titled, “Disney Property Review: Who should choose to stay at a Value Resort”.
Perhaps the idea of a Disney Vacation conjures up a resort ideal that holds a theme a bit more refined while still being both fun and family-accessible? While the “Moderate” resorts at the Vacation Kingdom veer away from some of the child-rich theming of the Value resorts … they focus more intensely on capturing the landscape of their namesakes; from the tropical allure of “The Caribbean Beach Resort”, to the Southwestern granduer of “Coronado Springs” and finally, to the frolicsome and captivating “Port Orleans French Quarter” (the Hower-clans favorite resort); these realms of Disney beauty are both addictive and fun. Perhaps not for everyone, this article offers a thought on those who might MOST enjoy the Disney World Moderate resorts.
On rare occasion, Harrisburg, PA natives (and those from areas in and around the Mid-State) may be travelling to Disney World with the thought of a luxurious retreat. Whether it be a honeymoon, a Magical escape for two, or perhaps a post-Lotto-winning Sojourn? In any case, Disney can match and exceed your desires with these world-class Luxury destinations. From the magnificent awe-striking environment of “The Grand Floridian” to the soaring fantastic recreation of the Grand Canyon at “The Wilderness Lodge” … Walt Disney World doesn’t miss a beat in the realm of “jaw-dropping” experiences. Though these resorts may be for a select few, this article offers a perspective on the Mid-State folks who might find these resorts to be their new home!
Whew … so you’ve decided to go to Disney World; you’ve determined if you want to stay on property or off; and you’ve explored the type of resort you want to stay at. Once that monumental decision is made, you’ve touched the tip of the Disney iceberg.
Unlike many traditional “theme parks” with food offerings that range from burgers to nuggets to pizza to burgers to nuggets; Disney World boasts some of the top gourmet restaurants in Florida. So as if having three levels (and 23 separate) resorts to choose from wasn’t enough … now you’re presented with the option of whether to “eat your way around Disney” ala carte … or to invest in one of the many “Dining Plans” that the Mouse now offers.
Ranging from the increasingly popular “Quick Service/Table Meal” plan … to the ultimate “Luxury Dining” plan; you could essentially spend your Disney vacation immersed in gluttonous glory!!
What plan might be “the right one” for you and your travel partners? Here are a few articles to assist in your quest:
“Walt Disney World Pre-Paid Dining Plans: How do they work (Part 1)”
“Walt Disney World Pre-Paid Dining Plans (Part 2): What is included”
“Walt Disney World Pre-Paid Dining Plans: Snack Attack”
Without a doubt, when the horizon holds a Disney Vacation; putting on those “Mickey glasses” can be just as exciting as the trip itself. Do the right research, involve the whole family, and most of all; have FUN!!!
Here are a few tips for making your Vacation Kingdom trek both Magical and memorable. “5 Magical Inclusions”
As always, thank you for reading!!