The Disney World Trip Planning Three-Legged Stool

The Disney World Trip Planning Three-Legged Stool

As you start your Disney World trip planning, you will have to make tradeoffs among certain things.  What you prioritize is truly personal preference.  No guide or other people’s opinions can tell you what matters most to you and the group you may be traveling with.  While, we can’t tell you what to prioritize, we do think we have developed a good framework on the tradeoffs you will have to make.  That is, unless you have unlimited money and unlimited time.

We put our Disney World trip planning framework in the construct of a three-legged stool.  We love this analogy because if you let any one particular leg of the stool get to long or short, the stool will lose its balance and cease to be useful.  Like the gif you see to the right, if one leg breaks and is unbalanced the stool collapses.  We know it’s not 3 legged, but you get the idea. In our case, each leg of the stool represents an aspect of your Disney World trip planning.  Making one decision about one particular aspect will have ramifications for the other two.  What are the legs of the stool, you ask?  Read on!

The Disney World Trip Planning Three-Legged Stool

 We see every Disney World trip planning exercise as a balancing act between three things:  Cost, Duration and Experience.  We will talk more about it below, but each of these are interrelated.  As you will see, we all have to work in a world of constraints, forcing us to make choices to ensure you have the best trip possible.  Let’s look at what each of the legs of the stool represent.


Let’s start with the fairly obvious one.  Cost, aka money.  My guess is, if you are reading this guide you don’t have an unlimited budget to spend on your Disney World trip.  You have a budget you are trying to work within while creating your Disney World trip plan.  It could be a hard and fast number or maybe a range you are trying to stay within.  However, the choices you make on the next two sections could wildly impact this leg of our stool.

If you fail to balance this while doing your Disney World trip planning, you may blow your budget as sky high as the Epcot fireworks above!


The next balancing point on your stool is duration.  That is, how long your Disney world trip will last.  Longer vacations are great so you can unplug, but that comes at an added cost.


The last leg of our stool is what we call experience.  This leg is all about how great the overall experience of your trip is.  The level of you trip experience can be directly impacted by choices you make on an array of options.  Anyone can get the same basic experience while at the parks, but some may choose to do things that are optional, not essential.  This includes things like:

  • What type of resort you choose to stay at
  • Dining/food experiences, like Morimoto Asia (pictured to the right)
  • Attending character meals
  • Taking in one of the many seasonal festivals or parties, like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
  • Getting prime seating for the various fireworks shows throughout the parks
  • Doing some of the extracurricular activities, like taking in a round of golf
  • Prioritizing being on the monorail
  • Vacationing during months with better weather
  • Doing a back-stage tour

These are just some of the things that you are possibly considering doing you Disney World trip planning.  There are many more things that could make the trip here an outstanding experience for you and your group.  Again, only you know what those important things are.  Hopefully this guide will help you zero in on things that will make your trip as great as can be.

The Balancing Act

Ah yes, your sitting down to start your Disney World trip planning, thinking of the things you want to do.  And then it dawns on you, if you do everything you have on your list this trip is going to cost you $20,000 and last for two weeks!  Okay, that may be a bit of hyperbole, but maybe not by much.  However, balancing each of these aspects of you trip out is going to be an important part of your Disney World trip planning.  Being thoughtful about this balance will help prevent you from being at Disney World and wondering if you should have made different choices.  No one wants to spend their entire trip second guessing themselves.  How might you balance things out?  Here are a few examples.

Say you have a budget of around $3,000 and you really want to come to Disney World for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.  You’ve defined a couple of constraints pretty quickly now.  Depending on how long you stay, that budget may not be enough.  If it isn’t, you can make a few adjustments to your plan.  Maybe take your trip further away from Christmas.  Ticket prices for the Christmas Party (which are not part of your regular park admission) go up the closer you get to Christmas.  Resort prices do too.  If being their right before Christmas isn’t important, look at going the week after Thanksgiving, when prices are cheaper.

Or maybe you had your heart set on staying at the Grand Floridian for your vacation.  Balancing that desire with your fixed budget may mean that you are willing to shave a day off your trip.

Again, there isn’t a right or a wrong answer as to which tradeoff you make.  Just make sure you know what your priorities are and use them as a guide for planning out your trip.

With those priorities in mind and thinking about how you balance this stool, let’s talk about how you can make the most of your Disney World trip planning.


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