How To Make The Most Of Your Disney World Vacation
I'm going to tell you a bitter truth about Disney World vacations. Right now. In the next sentence....
It's easy to ruin your Disney World vacation.
There. I said it. It's so sad. But so true. You have no idea how many times I have heard people say that they would never go back to Disney World because....
A: It was too hot
B: It was exhausting
C: There was no good food (Seriously, like some of the best restaurants are at Disney World!)
D: My kid was so tired and cried half the time
E: The crowds were awful
F: Etc.... Etc.....
Notice a trend here?
As I mentioned in my last blog post, Disney World is literally a world of it's own. And it can be a 'beast'. However, just what kind of beast it is depends on your vacation planning.
The last thing you want to experience is a trip full of those things we mentioned above. I mean, it's supposed to be a VACATION to the happiest place on earth! Not a nightmare to mouse land.
So, what better way to help you avoid all those 'nightmares', than by giving you some tips to help you make the most of your Disney Vacation. Today's post is about just that.
Let's dive in (so the nightmares can stop), shall we?
FIRST: If you can, go at an OFF-PEAK time. I realize this isn't always possible with school (if you want tips to help you sneak in education while on vacation, look HERE). But I really suggest trying your best. Although Disney World is technically always 'crowded', there is a big difference between going in March when the entire country is on various Spring Breaks, versus going in May before every student gets out for the summer.
SECOND: Plan Early. Don't be one of those beautiful but high chinned people who think that making dining reservations 6 months in advance is preposterous. Or that booking your hotel a year in advance isn't necessary. While every family has their own needs, wants & set of circumstances (which can effect your planning timeline), booking and planning early is one of the best things you can do when it comes to Disney World. Not only do you have a better chance of getting the resort and room you want, but also those HARD to get dining reservations. (Especially if you are going during a peak season).
THIRD: Consider a dining plan! While the dining plan options at Disney World are not ideal for all families, they can offer a great savings for many. There are 3 different plans to choose from, so you can select what is best for your family. One thing I personally love about the dining plans, is that I worry LESS about how much we are spending. I pay for most all of our food upfront, so we are never wide-eyed at prices or counting it up in our heads ;)
FOURTH: Do NOT try to do it all. I know, it's hard. You're spending a pretty penny on this vacation so you want to get your money's worth. Well I can promise you that if you try to 'do & see it all', you won't. Select a few 'must see and do's' from each park, and then let the rest go. If you happen to have time, then by all means go. But don't try to cram it all in. You and your family will only end up exhausted and irritable. (Believe me, I've seen it). Take time to enjoy each ride, attraction and restaurant. Don't rush.
FIFTH: Allow for free-time (or spontaneity). This kind of goes along with the one above. Don't try to schedule every minute of your days. Give yourself 3-4 hours each day (afternoons are great) to go to back your resort, relax, take a swim or a much needed nap, or do something on a whim. You'll thank yourself for this one. ;)
You can also plan to spend one day out of the parks! Give yourself a break, play mini golf, go to Disney Springs or take time to enjoy the resort you paid for. You won't regret it.
SIXTH: Spend your time in the parks during the mornings and/or later evenings. These times of day are the least crowded. Now, there are always things like Fireworks and special events to consider. But for the most part, ride lines are shorter, crowd levels are lower (or at least in a lot of areas) and it's cooler! Not to mention, that there really is something truly magical about the parks in the early morning and at night. Enjoy them! And take time to rest during the busiest and hottest part of the day.
SEVENTH: Use those FastPasses. They are FREE, people! And they can save you so much time it's unreal. Because, who wants to spend their money only to wait in line for HOURS? Whenever chatting with clients about attractions, I always try to encourage them to use their FastPasses for those rides they want most, that also have the longest lines. There is an art to using Disney Fast Passes, in order to get the most out of them AND your time.
EIGHTH: Use a Disney Travel Planner. Yes, I'm a planner. But I'm not just saying this for my benefit. It is SMART to have a Disney Expert at your fingertips who can guide you through the planning and help you tailor the vacation to your family. I used a travel agent before I became one! And now, my job as a planner is to take care of the details and help you handle, or avoid altogether, those experiences listed at the beginning of this post. And normally, when you book your trip with a planner, their services are FREE! Or at least it's that way for my own clients :)
All of these tips have helped my family and clients have magical and unforgettable vacations at Disney World. And I am sure they will help you do the same!
So, do you have a tip that helps you make the most of your own Disney Vacations? Drop it in the comments below!
I'd love to hear it!
Until next time...