Tuesday, 2 October 2012

WDW Planning - When to go?

When planning that trip to WDW the timing of said trip has to be considered, and there are quite a few factors that can make this not as straightforward as you might think.

So what goes through my head when thinking about visiting WDW?

Before we can continue you have to remember the following:
    1. I live in the UK
    2. I have 2 children and a husband to consider
    3. I work in education
    4. I want to do it all
I suppose the first thing that I have to consider is school term times.  Over here in the UK schools are really quite strict about taking children out of school, especially as my two are now at secondary school, and any requests for holiday time are rarely granted.  A couple of years ago I needed 2 days of holiday for my eldest and had to fight tooth and nail to get it - the irony being that once we got to the US and were ready to come home we were stranded because of the Icelandic volcano incident!

As I manage a pre-school my vacation time is restricted as well....although being the boss does mean that I can be a little more flexible!

Simon works in video games and every couple of years we hit 'crunch' time as a game gets close to being finished and the result is that we often end up with a 3 to 6 month period of 'no vacation time allowed'.

So having taken all that into consideration, our choice of when we can go to WDW is almost a cut and dried decision as the school terms become the driving force in our decision making process.  This means having to pick 2 weeks to coincide with the school breaks so either Easter, Christmas or during late July & August.  The problem with Easter and Christmas is that UK schools only have a 2 week break which makes getting that booking both time critical and expensive.  This then leaves our summer break giving us a 6 week window to get that vacation sorted.  But yet again this means an expensive time of year to go.  However, a tip I can offer is that going as late in that 6 week window as possible can often coincide with a drop in prices (not much of a drop but enough of one to make it worth doing).

The other advantage to visiting during the summer is that travel companies will have special 'deals' which often means being able to take advantage of things like the Disney Dining Plan for free!

But there are other things that could/should be taken into consideration if you have your pick of the year....

What time of the year?  Visiting WDW during summer means that all the parks will be open, and are open longer than at any other time of the year.  This can also mean that there could be extra parades, shows and fireworks meaning that you have a lot more time and choice to cram everything in, but.....

What about the crowds?  It goes without saying that some times of the year are more crowded than others, and this may have an effect on when you choose to go.  Christmas, Easter and summer are the most crowded which can result in lots of queues, long waits for the most popular rides and having to plan your days carefully in order to get everything you want to get done into your vacation time.  Whereas less crowded times of the year can give you greater freedom to tour around at your own pace, the ability to get on rides and into attractions with relative ease, but there is a possible downside as these times of the year lend themselves to closures of rides, entertainment and even a water park for that ever important essential maintenance.

What about the weather - isn't it always hot and sunny?  Well not always...summer in Florida (especially for visitors from the UK) is HOT, although there are those wonderful heavy downpours of rain and spectacular thunderstorms to look forward to.  Late summer runs the risk of tropical storms and hurricanes, then there's the high humidity levels that Florida is known  for and even the winter months can get chilly, especially at night time.

What else is there to take into consideration?  Well there are all the special events that you may be interested in that might dictate when to go.  There are numerous Run Disney events (marathon, half marathon and fun run weekends), Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, Halloween, Christmas, Star Wars Weekends, Fourth of July Celebration, New Years Eve Celebration.....what is a girl to do?

Oh decisions, decisions......I think I shall just have to make a plan to visit at every time of the year for research purposes so that I can be fully informed when making that all important choice of when to go... ;)

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