Taking advantage of summer vacation is a popular choice when booking your Walt Disney World vacation. You won’t have to justify a leave from school, and the longer daylight hours will give you more opportunities to enjoy what the parks have to offer. Still, planning your stay in the warmer months between June and August requires a few additional considerations to ensure you get the most out of your time away. Welcome to the Disney Summer Series, a new collection of articles that will help you maximize your enjoyment when planning to visit at this time of year. Part One of this series will focus on five aspects of planning for this season that will help you select the suitable options to accommodate your family.
Understand Your Dates
State to state, country to country, dates for everything from school vacations to public holidays can vary. Be sure to research your dates in the local area you are visiting (as well as any region you are traveling through to get there) before you book. You might be convinced you are beating the rush before your district finishes for the school year, only to find those dates different in the region you are going to be in. International visitors might not be aware that certain times of the year are well-known for crowds in the USA. For example, Independence Day on July 4th falls on a Tuesday this year, and it is likely to be a crowded four days from the weekend before in the Disney Parks.
Choosing Your Resort
The time of year you visit Walt Disney World can drastically change what you need from your resort. In the cooler months, you might be more concerned with being within walking distance of a particular park or area, whereas when summer comes along, the quality of the hotel’s pool area can be much more important. With the weather in mind, look at recreation areas like the swimming facilities, especially if you plan on spending afternoons or a resort day cooling off by the pool. It might be worth considering a different resort depending on the accessible amenities in each location. For instance, a Value Resort with a larger pool area, like The Big Blue Pool in Disney’s Art of Animation, might be more enjoyable than one of the Moderate or Deluxe Resorts that can quickly be crowded.
Selecting The Right Room Type
Some of the Disney Resorts are pretty expansive, and depending on where you are placed within the property, you might find yourself walking a substantial distance before you even get to your theme park of choice. In the height of summer, this is definitely a consideration for families with younger kids or anyone with mobility challenges that are made worse in the heat. A preferred room might be worth the investment to bring you closer to the main transportation area, pool, or reception.
Committing To Transport
Though it is one of the seasons I visit Disney in the least, when I am in town during the summer months, I prefer to rent a car rather than rely on Disney’s Transportation system. Increased crowds and unpredictable weather (both hot and stormy) mean that just being able to get my family in the car and be on the move quickly is priceless. Depending on your daily destination, you can always opt for the local transport system when preferred; however, having a car with me gives me more options during a time when my family can be easily affected by heat.
Know Your Schedule
Don’t lose sight of the park schedule when booking table service meals and scheduling fireworks viewing. Sitting down to dinner at your usual 7 pm seating might not work well with the nighttime fireworks display or parade you might be hoping to see at the same time. Use a notebook to make a few dot points for each day, considering which park you will be visiting and what you hope to achieve there. Scheduled shows like Fantasmic! will require you to allow time before and after the event to get in and out of the venue, so be sure not to make your bookings too close together. In the summer months, I prefer to book any table service for lunchtime seatings, providing an excellent opportunity to escape the heat and have a mid-day break. Then at night, when the sun is going down, we catch some quick service dinner before returning to the action.
Next time, we are looking at how to train your body to best prepare for an Orlando summer vacation. While getting used to walking is always a great Disney tip, it isn’t even on our list of unexpected things you can start prepping for.
Zoë Wood is a travel writer from Sydney, Australia. Since her first visit to Disneyland at the age of 6, she has spent her years frequently visiting Disney Parks and traveling around the world.
Join Zoë as she lets you in on all the tips, tricks, anecdotes, and embarrassments that arise from her family adventures.