I flew to my first DCP last spring, and it's looking like I'll be flying again this year. Last year, I did a lot of research, and figured a lot of things out. I learned more about the best way to do that while I worked at Disney, and since then I've moved across the country by plane twice, learning from my mistakes each time. I have a few tips with you to help you plan to fly to Disney for this magical experience!
Tip 1: Research the best times to book and fly
I highly encourage you to do some research on your own, Google and Pinterest have helped me a lot in searching for useful information about this. There are thousands of travel blogs that want to help you book the cheapest flight! If you're not going to do any of your own research, here are the two points I've found in my research: 1. Book your flight on a Tuesday 6-8 weeks before your flight, this is when they're at their cheapest. 2. Compare different times of day and days of week (if you can). Flights late at night, early in the morning, and in the middle of the week are usually the cheapest, Saturday flights are also cheaper than Friday, Sunday, or Monday flights.
Tip 2: Fly Southwest!
I promise, I'm not getting paid to promote Southwest! If you want your flight to have Disney-level customer service, fly Southwest! That's not all my reasons to fly Southwest though, I have three more for you. 1. Bags fly free! You can check two bags for free with Southwest, as well as having one carry on (which they'll let you check at the gate for free if you want!) as well as a personal item like a backpack! Even if you were to find a cheaper flight with another airline (I never have) it would end up being more expensive once you factored in the cost of luggage. 2. No change fees! If you need to change your flight for any reason (changed program dates, realized you should fly in a day early, bad weather, etc) you can reschedule your flight for free, just pay the difference in fares! And 3. They hire CPs! My flight attendant on my flight last year was a CP Alumni and talked to me about it!
Tip 3: Fly in a day early and stay in a Value Resort
Last year, I flew in the day before check in and stayed at Disney's All Star Music Resort with 3 other girls. This worked out really well! We each paid $25, considering all the perks, that's a pretty good deal! First of all, transportation to housing or another hotel from the airport would be at least $20, so it pretty much pays for itself there (although you will have to find a way to get to housing still, you can ride with a roommate, someone staying at the hotel with you, or take an Uber for less than $10). Also, each person on the reservation gets a free (solid colored) Magic Band, which is super helpful once you get your park admission, and they usually run around $12.50! Plus, it's fun just to be in the Disney area that night, you can take buses to any park (I took a bus to MK just to ride the monorail around and look at the MK area resorts) or Disney Springs, lots of people will be meeting up in Disney Springs the day before check-in. I also really enjoyed getting to experience the Disney magic that I was about to be part of and talking to all the cast members about my upcoming program.
Tip 4: Pack in plastic bins
Before my most recent move across the country, I learned that you can use plastic bins as checked bags. This is helpful because they're much easier to pack things in with no odd pockets made for short trips and they don't weigh much so their weight doesn't cut into your 50lb limit. Two things to be careful of are size and weight, look up TSA's size requirements to make sure you don't get one that's too large or they'll charge you extra, also it can be easy to overfill the bins because of how much room they have so don't forget to weigh and adjust before you leave for the airport! Once you have everything packed (You can find a packing list here.) just seal the bins with packing tape and tape on an index card with your name and address! Also, don't forget to think about how you'll carry them through the airport, I recommend curbside check in and if you're taking the magical express to a Disney Resort they'll take it from baggage claim for you, if not, it's worth it to shell out the cash for a smart carte!
You can read my whole post about the day I arrived in Florida here. If you have any questions about flying to Florida, or about the Disney College Program in general, please comment below, find me on social media, or fill out the form on the "about me" page. Subscribe to my email list to get weekly updates in your inbox.