Planning for Walt Disney World: 3 Questions

We’ve finally decided the kids are all old enough to do a family vacation to Walt Disney World early next year. It’s something Tony and I have been talking about for about 18 months… we wanted to wait until Kate would be old enough to really enjoy herself (and remember going)… yet not wait so long that Leo’s bored with all the “kid stuff.” I think I hope we’re hitting the sweet spot. Leo will be 9, Alex 5 and Kate 3.

In addition to the five of us, we’re also planning on traveling with my parents, my sister, her daughter (age 4) and Tony’s parents. It will be really nice to have all of the family there. It will give us the ability to split up in a variety of ways so each kid will get a chance to experience stuff together, but also things specifically of interest to them.

So far the biggest bulk of my planning and research has been on my own. It’s really helped us get a better idea of what we want to do while we’re there. But I still some lingering questions/decisions:

  1. Should we use a travel agent? We went to a AAA gal here in Topeka, and I didn’t find the experience to be particularly helpful. She basically covered things I had already read about in my research. I was hoping she’d help with booking Fast Passes and Character Dining opportunities, but she didn’t act like that was something her services would cover. For those of you who used a travel agent, what all did they help you with?
  2. Where should we stay? I know we want to stay on the property, but trying to decide which resort is tough. Right now we’re leaning towards the The Wilderness Cabins, mostly for the extra space. Has anyone been to those recently? Where else should we consider (we need to have enough space to accommodate 5 people in a unit, plus some type of room division to separate beds so the snorers can be in a different room than the non-snorers).
  3. I like the idea of the meal plan, but is it worth it? We will want to do Character Dining, and I can see us eating snacks at the parks but I don’t know that we’d all eat enough times to make it worth it. Plus, if we do stay at the Cabins, we’d have a full kitchen in each unit and could easily do big breakfasts and evening snacks/meals there.

We’re planning to do five days at the parks over the course of seven days. Plus we’ll be flying (the first time for our youngest kiddos). It should be a fun, although probably exhausting, trip.

My image was pulled from the Walt Disney World planning site, where I’ve spent entirely too much time reading about all the things available.