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Walt Disney World

Let’s face it; if you grew up in the ’70s and ’80s, vacation mecca meant one thing: Walt Disney World. We are the first generation to travel to the land of the mouse both to relive our own childhood memories (albeit sans the “E” tickets) and watch the fairytale anew through our little cherubs. By the time my children were 3 and 18 months (and I was five months pregnant with son No. 3), we hauled the crew to Orlando. And, I’ve learned something: It was sure easier when my parents were doing the planning. Literally, the options for accommodations, dining and entertainment are endless. And, now you can even create a Disney “celebration vacation” with over-the-top immersion experiences that are custom tailored to suit your family.

While the cost of a weeklong getaway can rival that of a luxurious European jaunt, savvy parents can land a deal with a Disney package (resort guest are treated to earlier/later hours in the parks). Our favorite: the Polynesian. You simulate a Hawaiian-like getaway and your kids still nosh on Mickey-shaped French Toast each morning. If you don’t mind a steady diet of Disney-teria, opt for a vacation package that includes hotel, tickets and the dining plan (where you pay one price for all meals). Tip: If you visit the parks on your birthday next year, you get in free that day. Here’s another one: Book your ’09 Disney resort getaway between Nov. 28 and Dec. 23, and Mickey Mouse himself will call your lads on Christmas Day to announce a gift that will last a lifetime.

Vacation rates, including theme park tickets, start at $61 per person per day based on a seven-day, six-night stay for a family of four in one standard room (at a select Disney “value resort”).