Photo Credit: Disney World Resort
We have been meaning to go on a Disney World vacation since last year when our daughter turned 2. However at that time work got extremely busy, we also had to move our office, and to be honest I was not too excited to go to Disney in the first place since my Disney World experiences have always been stressful, tiring, and expensive.
In the past, as a Florida resident, my family and I have gone to Disney World several times. My parents took us many times as children, and while I enjoyed it, it was never a magical experience for me.
I never forget the last time I went with my brand new husband and my extended family. We were a big group (about 15 people, 2 of which were toddlers) and NO PLANING whatsoever went into this vacation. The powers that be (the people that were paying) decided to go on an impromptu Disney trip a weekend during the summer vacation.
They booked a hotel in Kissimee that had a last minute sale going on. The first day was spent driving up to Orlando, checking into hotel, and looking for cheap eating options around hotel. The next day it was decided to have a late start, since we were on vacation, followed by a lengthy breakfast. After this we drove to the park and went to purchase our tickets at around 11 AM. By the time we made our way into the park it was blisteringly hot, the crowds were huge. As mentioned there was no plan, so everyone had rides and places they wanted to see. I remember at around 3 in the afternoon we had devolved to cranky toddlers and adults just standing in the sweltering heat arguing (for over an hour, no exaggeration) about which ride we should go. This ended in the group breaking off into different subgroups going their own way to make the different lines for whatever they wanted to ride. We ended the day right after the parade (which we saw as we walked to exit the park) and everyone was in such a bad mood it would have been better not to go at all. After that experience it would take my husband and me about 8 years before we dared to venture back to Disney.
Now, after spending the last 6 months doing a lot of research and planing, I can tell you exactly what we did wrong on that trip.
- We didn’t plan ahead. Disney World can be absolutely magical, however it requires planning and you have to start as early as 6 months. This is a hard date. If you start later than 6 months ahead of your trip you might not get to have a lot of amazing experiences, like having dinner with Mickey and the gang, or dining at the Beast’s castle, or that very exclusive table at Cinderella’s castle.
- We didn’t stay in a Disney resort. Now while there are LOTS of great hotels in Orlando, if you stay on the property you are in that “Disney Bubble” which gives you the chance to immerse yourself in the “Magic of Disney.”
- We started our day late. When visiting a Disney park is not the time to sleep in. Schedule a day off in between park days so that you can rest, and by god sleep until the crack of noon. But the day you have park tickets be there at least half an hour before it opens.
- We went on one of the busiest and hottest times of the year. Whenever possible try not to go when kids are on vacation, chances are a huge number of other parents had the same idea which can result in looooong lines.
So as you can understand after that experience we were a little leery of going back, but we decided that we were taking our daughter on her first magical Disney adventure for her third birthday. But I wanted it to be different this time, therefore I sat down and commenced my months long research and planning into how to do Disney the right way.
In the following series I share with you all of the knowledge I have compiled. We will cover the basics, extra magical activities, budget, timeline, diy crafting activities to get you family excited, and so much more.
I will give you all of my planing tips and tricks as we approach our vacation date (in two weeks) and then later will tell you how the experience goes and how it compares to previous vacations and expectations.
I really hope you come along for this ride and let me know in the comments how your own experience compares!