A Disney vacation is a big deal. No matter if it's your first or your twentieth, a trip to Walt Disney World is an experience that you want to be as perfect as possible. It is a very expensive proposition and expectations are high. So you don't want to just book any old room at the first price the web site or the booking agent on the phone quotes you. But exactly how do you best start the planning process?
A trip to the Walt Disney World web site (http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/) is a great place to start. Not only is there plenty of information available there, it can start to save you some money, possibly. After creating an account with Disney online, the first thing you want to do is to scroll down to the bottom of the page and look for the FREE Vacation Planning DVD link. Order one. Even if you aren't planning to go this year, order one. Not only is the DVD hours of fun to watch (really, it is), but you will be giving Disney your contact info and this apparently puts Disney on notice that you plan to vacation there. Disney is the king of targeted marketing. The more info about you they have, the more specific info they will get to you, including notice of discounts and special offers.
Another good idea (Thanks Jen!) is to try out the "Price Your Vacation" section of the site, conveniently located at the top left of the page. Again, even if you aren't planning to go this year, try planning something for about the same time this year. Go all the way through the process up until actually booking the trip, then save the trip. Do this a few times, maybe shifting the dates around or using different combinations of resorts and ticket packages. This will put Disney on notice that you are an even better target for their marketing. I used this several times to look at the differences between several combos of resorts and dining packages and this week Disney sent me an email announcing a 10% discount on rooms in September of 2012 (the first I'd heard of that) and suggesting some seasonal things to do that we weren't even aware were running at that time,such as Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. By keeping up with the "fake" planning, you are likely to get Disney more and more anxious to attract you to the resort. There are plenty of sites to find Disney discounts, but it's a lot more fun to have Disney emailing them to you as soon as they announce them.