The Real Deal: Round-trip airfare, five nights' accommodations, Magic Your Way tickets, and the Disney Dining Plan, from $697 per person—plus an estimated $32 in taxes.
When: Aug. 24-Sept. 20, 2008.
Gateways: Birmingham; add $25 for Detroit, Philadelphia; $60 for Chicago; $106 for Seattle; additional cities available.
The fine print: Package can be booked for a minimum of three nights and a maximum of 10. Based on Monday or Saturday departures; surcharges apply to travel on other days. The price does not include federal excise tax, airport tax, or the September 11 fee, which total about $32 per person. It does include hotel taxes and accommodations, transfers, 24-hour traveler assistance, and a Disney parks base ticket. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: June 22, 2008.
Contact: Southwest Airlines Vacations, 800/243-8372, southwestvacations.com.
Why it's a deal: The savings in this package are all in the Disney Dining Plan. If you booked the elements of this trip by yourself (round-trip airfare from Birmingham, five nights at a Disney resort, a Magic Your Way ticket), the cost would be roughly the same as this $697 package—plus an additional $479 to add the dining plan for a family of four. When you book this package, the dining plan is included, so you save $479. Note that the exact amount of savings is subject to change, depending on the size of travel group and number of nights at the hotel, and may be as high as $490—whatever the amount, you essentially eat lunch and dinner for free throughout your stay.
Trip details: When you book this Southwest Airlines Vacations package, you'll stay at your choice of either Disney's All Star Sports Resort or Disney's Pop Century Resort. Both are near the Animal Kingdom, and bus transportation to all parks is available. Each resort property also offers pools, an arcade, and a playground. Or, you can upgrade to Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, starting at an additional $240 per person for the five-night stay.
After you've checked in, you can hit the parks with your included Magic Your Way base ticket. You get special Park Hopper status, which allows you entrance into the four Disney parks (Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot) every day of your stay.
The dining plan includes one table-service meal, one counter-service meal, and one snack (such as ice cream, fruit, or a soda) per person for each night of your stay.
Another package perk is the Disney Magical Express Service: a bus will take you from Orlando International Airport to your hotel while your bags go from plane to room. You'll also receive return service to the airport.
Keep in mind that summers are hot and humid in Orlando—temperatures will top out in the 90s. Also, be prepared for short bursts of rain the afternoons, and for lots of other families.