Are you planning a family vacation to Walt Disney World? It can certainly be intimidating, with four major theme parks, two water parks, and countless resorts and restaurants along with numerous other activities. Planning is essential though – you don’t want to arrive without important reservations that you’ll need to enjoy your family Disney vacation.
The good news is that there are lots of great free resources you can utilize to plan your Walt Disney World vacation – and I definitely recommend that you take advantage of them.
Disclosure: I am a former member of the Disney Parks Moms Panel and have been on some complimentary press trips at Walt Disney World, but all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. A purchase/click through one of these links may result in a commission paid to me at no additional cost to you.
Free Resources For Planning a Trip to Disney World
The first, of course, is the Disney Parks Moms Panel (where I am currently listed as a “prior panelist” after five years on the panel). The moms (and dads, grandparents, and other planners) can answer just about any question you have with their unbiased opinions.
It really is a great resource. I’d recommend that you start out by searching the site to see if your questions have been answered. If they haven’t, ask a single question (for each submission) clearly, explaining what information you are specifically looking for.
The Disney Parks Moms Panel is best if you have a specific question, or are looking for advice on something you have in mind. You can get some great information by just browsing the site, but if you are just starting out with your research, you may want to start elsewhere so that you know what specifically you want to ask.
Another of my favorite resources is AllEars.Net. One of the oldest online destinations for Walt Disney World information, AllEars offers comprehensive information about Walt Disney World in an easy-to-read format.
AllEars also does a great job covering new and notable things going on in the parks. There’s a reviews database where you can read user submitted reviews about Disney restaurants, resorts, and attractions. It’s a good way to narrow down your choices before booking anything.
Once you visit the parks for the first time, you’ll probably find yourself browsing AllEars on a regular basis just to learn about the latest things going on.
We also have some great information on this website for families planning a Walt Disney World trip. We recommend that you start with our Disney World Planning – What to Do First article.
It will give you a good starting point for learning about MagicBands, FastPass+, Advance Dining Reservations, and other Disney-specific terms that can be confusing for first-timers or even seasoned Disney guests. Things change so frequently, so you’ll want to learn about the latest updates before you return.
We also have lots of good information about restaurants, character dining, attractions, transportation, Disney’s Magical Express, and so much more. Whether you are staying on property, off property, or don’t know yet, check out all of our Disney World Tips Here. Read through everything and learn about your various options.
If you enjoying reading message boards, my favorites are the DisBoards, one of the few active message boards still around. Many of the regular posters there have extensive Disney knowledge, and you can learn so much by just following along in the discussions. This is another place where you can ask questions, but again, it’s a good idea to have some general knowledge first.
If you are looking to save money on your trip, check out MouseSavers, which offers free information about discounts that are available on your trip. Don’t book anything without checking MouseSavers first. They also offer a few monthly newsletter.
It’s a good idea to sign up for that, because you’ll get regularly updates on various discounts and special offers. It doesn’t just include tickets and other Disney discounts – it also includes nearby hotels.
Another great resource is WDW Prep School. I especially love their crowd calendar, which is regularly updated. Walt Disney World does seem to be crowded much of the year, due to all of the special events that they offer.
But the calendar will show when it’s especially crowded, and when events are going on that you may not have considered. If your travel dates are flexible, this can be especially helpful.
Although it does charge an annual fee for some of the premium features, TouringPlans does also have some fantastic, detailed guides. I’d recommend looking through all of their well-researched information as you are planning.
If you do want to pay the fee, you will get some great features that will help you maximize your days in the theme parks.
Finally, if food is a big part of your vacation, the Disney Food Blog is a great resource. The owner, AJ posts not only about the restaurants on property, but also the specific meals and treats that you absolutely must check out while you are there. It’s regularly updated with the absolute latest on all things Disney food.
Food is a huge part of a Disney vacation, so you’ll want to do some research in advance to see what things you’ll need to try while you are there.