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Family's guide to a 3-day Disney adventure

Elaina is a Phoenix-based freelance writer, blogger and co-founder of the Kidlee baby book app. Check out her blog, Fun Finds For Mom, for product reviews, recipes and fun activities for moms and kids.

Plan the ultimate Disney vacation

So you're planning a Disney vacation? We asked the experts to share their tips on where to stay, what to do and how to make the most of your trip to Disneyland or Walt Disney World.

Disney World

Plan the ultimate Disney vacation

Where to stay

Travelzoo senior editor Gabe Saglie recommends staying on property at Disney World. While the price point tends to be a bit higher than the other resorts in the area, Saglie says the Disney experience is well worth it.

Siera Duiser, travel agent with Destinations to Explore, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, agrees. By staying on-site at Disney World, Duiser says you'll enjoy complimentary airport transportation, complimentary transportation throughout Disney World, extra magic hours (time when the parks are only open for on-site guests), the option of adding a dining plan and more. Plus, Duiser says Disney's "value resorts" are available at the same price point as many off-property hotels.

If you choose not to stay at a Disney resort, DisneyDose.com's Doyle suggests using any loyalty club points you may have to stay at brand name Downtown Disney hotels (Hilton, Doubletree, Wyndham, etc.).

How to get there

Unless you're a local, you'll be flying into the Orlando airport to begin your Disney World experience. As mentioned, one of the many advantages to staying at a Disney resort is that your transportation will be provided upon arrival and throughout your stay. Get the inside scoop on Disney transportation tips at DisneyTouristBlog.com. If you're not staying at a Disney resort, you should plan to rent a car to get around the massive Walt Disney World property.

Best times to visit

Travelzoo's Saglie says Disney World getaways will be most expensive when families have more time on their hands — during summer vacations, holiday weekends and the weeks near Christmas and New Year's. "The most affordable times to visit the parks are generally January, February and September," says Saglie. "These are the slowest times of the year so the parks adjust their pricing accordingly. You can also find great savings during weekdays, the non-summer months and the first couple of weeks of December, between Thanksgiving and Christmas."

Enjoying the parks

Duiser advises clients not to try to do everything in one visit and recommends getting a Park Hopper ticket that will let you explore multiple parks on the same day. Consider visiting the Magic Kingdom on the first day, Disney's Animal Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studio on the second day and Epcot on the third day.

Expert Tip:

Gavin Doyle of DisneyDose.com suggests working with Disney-specific travel agents who can update you will current discounts or using an authorized Walt Disney World ticket reseller like Undercover Tourist to purchase discount tickets.

More Disney travel tips

How you can afford a trip to Disney
Disney World vs. Disneyland: A parent's guide
Tips for Disney World first-timers

Image credit: Courtesy of Disney.com
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