So I decided to jump on the bandwagon so to speak and list a few of my favorite vacation planning tips. I would love to say that this will be a top 10 in order but really I am just listing as many tips as I can in no particular order...
- Ask questions! Ask lots of questions to as many Disney fans as you know and ask different people the same question. "What is the best Disney resort?" is a question that can receive a lot of different answers and what you want to get is a consensus. Also ask specific questions: "What resort is best for a family of four with a budget?"
- Ask the "experts". I put experts in quotes because there are a LOT of Disney fans and fanatics out there who love Disney and know a lot but may only have expertise in a few areas. If you find one site that seems to be all about Disney food you may not want to ask them about rides. But you should DEFINITELY ask the food site about Disney burgers.
- Send for a trip planning DVD. I don't know if this will really help with details of trip planning but the overview will give you a place to start and help get you amped up for your trip.
- Go HERE and make a custom map. The planning section of the Disney World website has a place where you can make your own custom map. Once you make a map you can print it out or get it specially made and sent to you. These are 100% FREE! I love them. I still love to make them. You can pick and choose what attractions you want and what parks you want to go to. So much fun.
- Make a MUST do, WANT to do, and MAYBE do list. You cannot, and I repeat CANNOT do it all at Disney World. It is impossible. I have tried. So do vacation triage and decide what attractions, restaurants, shows, etc you MUST do while on vacation. And keep the must list as small as you can. For example my MUST list usually includes a trip to Epcot and a ride on Spaceship Earth. If you keep your must list small it is easy to do and you'll feel like you've gotten the most out of your vacation.
- Read! Read blogs and guide books and vacation planning sites. Read it all. This is your first trip so you know nothing. The more you read the more you will know what's up.
- Go to the events page at DisneyWorld.com. Disney does a LOT of events during the year. And these events are usually park specific. Epcot has the food and wine festival as an example. During these events the parks they are being held at can be CROWDED. This can severely hinder your ability to ride the rides you wanted or see the shows you wanted to see. If you know when these events are happening and if they're during your vacation you can then decide if you would like to participate or avoid them. Instead of being caught off guard with wall to wall people.
- Check the weather! Florida weather is funky to say the least ("Funky" is Dragyn speak for "all over the place"). There are certain times of year when it rains monsoon style. Other times of years when it's so hot you could fry an egg on pavement. And if you travel during the winter it can be COLD! Not "Florida cold" But actually quite chilly. I have had to pack a jacket for a Disney vacation more than once. Check the weather and pack accordingly.
- Invest the most time in the planning stage of your vacation. I think this is really key. As much as I like to play it by ear and just go with the flow that can sometime get you in trouble. If you invest a lot of time before your trip planning and scheduling when you are actually on vacation you can just do what you planned. You don't have to think or figure out what you want to do. That's what the planning stage is for. If you wait until you are at Disney to plan it's too late. You'll be stressed out trying to take in all that information and still do interesting things. So plan ahead so you can relax.