I love Disney World. I’m a 27 year old woman and I’m not afraid to admit that fact. I’m also a 27 year old woman without kids, nor do I ever plan on having kids. This aversion to a family life can pose problems if you want to take a Disney vacation. So, I’ll go through my last Disney trip and give you tips I used and those I learned along the way.

The biggest and easiest way to enjoy an adult Disney vacation is to go during the low season. It shouldn’t be any secret that while kids are in school they obviously won’t be at Disney World in gigantic numbers. There will still be large numbers of people, just nowhere near as many. It’s best to avoid holidays of any kind, so avoid:

-Christmas Break from mid-December through the first week of January. Not only is this the busiest time of year for Disney, it’s almost the most expensive. It’s got it’s own price bracket that’s more expensive than even the “peak” season. So unless you absolutely MUST see the Christmas decorations, make your holiday plans elsewhere.

-Mid-February through August. These months flucuate between being called “regular” and “peak” seasons. Starting around Valentine’s Day and the 3-day President’s Day weekend, Disney World gets busier. Once past Febraury, it’s Spring Break season, followed almost immediately by the summer months. And don’t be fooled by them calling summer the “regular” season. It may be “regular” because it’s when they have their average sized crowds, but man is it crowded. It’s prime family vacation season, so there’s kids EVERYWHERE!

So that knocks out 2/3 of the year. Yes, it looks bleak. But again, since you’re an adult without familial ties, it’s easier to take a vacation in January, September, October and November. Also, the weather these months are wonderful. It’s the tail end of hurricane season and around 90 degrees once September rolls around, but it will only get cooler until next spring.

There are also a couple of considerations for travelling during the low season. The parks are open for shorter hours because of the lower business. And then there’s Extra Magic Hours. The parks all open earlier or stay open later for guests of the Disney World resorts on a rotating schedule. Whichever park is the Extra Magic Hours park will be the busiest park that day.

Now, there’s a whole other set of considerations when looking into a place to stay. The cost of a hotel is something you’re unable to avoid unless you live in the greater Orlando area. But with it being such a tourist hot-spot, you have loads of options. You can stay at one of the many resorts on Disney property or somewhere off-site. The last couple of times I was there I was there with family, so we used our timeshare to get a condo on the Marriott World Center property just on the other side of I-4 from Disney World. Not everyone has that luxury, but if you can swing it, it’s a really nice way to stay in the Orlando area. You basically have an apartment, so you can cook for yourself and not spend so much money on food in the parks. We had breakfast before we left and then a late dinner when we got home at night, then lunch and a snack at the parks.

If you want to stay on Disney property, you have lots of options. The last time I was there and stayed on-site I was at the Port Orleans Riverside resort. The resorts are nice because of the added bonus of free transportation. If you’re trying to keep costs to a minimum, you can skip the added cost of a rental car because once you get to the property, there’s a bus that will take you anywhere you’d want to go on Disney property. Plus you have a safe ride in case you imbibe a little too much at Epcot or Downtown Disney. If you’re staying off-site, there may or may not be a shuttle to the parks, plus there’s the $12 a day parking lots at the parks. But there’s also greater variety of places to stay off-site to fit your expectations and price range. It has the second highest number of hotels in America. Only Las Vegas has more options.

I know next time I can afford to go I’ll be staying at the Polynesian resort. That’s just my personal preference. It’s tropical and I love tropical locales. But there’s resorts to fit just about everyone’s budget and tastes. Of course, the nicer places are more expensive. The Animal Kingdom Lodge looks absolutely stunning and sits amidst it’s own personal animal preserve. You can wake up and watch giraffes walk by while eating your breakfast, but you obviously have to pay for such a luxury. Both the Polynesian and Animal Kingdom Lodge are “Deluxe” hotels and are a hop, skip and jump away from their respective parks, so even in Disney World, it’s all about location, location, location. The rooms are also bigger and more like suites than standard hotel rooms.

In the “Moderate” range, you’re paying less, getting less and getting a bit further from the parks. This is what the Port Orleans Riverside falls under. The “Value” level hotels are the cheapest and offer the least amenities. If you’re going solely for the parks, these price brackets aren’t bad ways to go since you’re going to be spending a minimal amount of time at your resort. These rooms are your standard hotel rooms.

Then there’s the mack-daddy of the resorts…the “Deluxe Villas.” Most are just special areas in existing resorts, but these are essentially condos. If you want a real, relaxing vacation with room to spread out, this is the way to go.

Just as a point of reference, here’s some pricing for the high and low seasons, using the cheapest room option.

Jambo House (Deluxe Villa): Value season-$280; Regular season-$330; Peak season-$410; Holiday season-$465

Beach Club Resort (Deluxe): Value season-$335; Regular season-$385; Peak season-$465; Holiday season-$545

Coronado Springs Resort (Moderate): Value season-$159; Regular season-$180; Peak season-$204; Holiday season-$244

All-Star Movies Resort (Value): Value season-$82; Regular season-$102; Peak season-$129; Holiday season-$164

Of course, this is just a point of reference. If you want prices for a specific date or a different resort, the Disney website can help you out with that. But you can plainly see that the low season is best, not only for crowd levels, but for the prices on hotel rooms.

So I hope that helps those you who, like me, still love the Disney magic. This is only a first post in a series, so check back for posts about an adult take on the different parks.

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