A little background.
Mike and I have been married 19 years. We had The Boy after 17 years of marriage. When we went on our first Disney World vacation with him at a little over 2.5 years old, we felt a bit like rookies again. We’ve been to Disney countless times. We used to have annual passes and would fly down or make the 12-hour drive in a day and hit the parks and then drive back home. But this was our first trip to Disney World with a child. Yes, you read that right. I’ve lost track of how many times we’ve been to Disney World, but we’ve never gone with a child. Going to Disney as an adults-only trip is awesome. You get to experience the shows, like Fantasmic that always bring tears to my eyes; you get to eat at amazingly good restaurants in EPCOT and Downtown Disney. You can stay up late and watch all the great fireworks shows and then amble your way out of the park avoiding the crowds. Going to Disney World with a toddler is a whole new magical and (sometimes) frustrating experience.
Being married to Mike has taught me something of how his vacation style is. He loves going on vacation, but hates thinking we might be lost. Over the course of nearly a score of years, I’ve learned how to do a lot of research for where we’re going. I learn maps, make plans, but leave enough flexibility to go with the flow. I enjoy this. Doing a Disney vacation is an order of magnitude harder in planning.
The Two BIG Rules for a Disney Vacation for anybody
- Plan. Plan. Plan.
I cannot emphasize this enough. It doesn’t matter if you have been to Disney a million times; anyone who wants to go to Disney World now-a-days needs to plan. Especially now that the Fast Pass + experience (FP+) can be reserved 30-60 days in advance and restaurants up to 180 days prior.
- Be Flexible
You’d think this would completely negate #1. It really doesn’t. You need to plan which park to visit, what time of year is best, a general idea of where you’ll be in the park on any given day to cut down on tramping back and forth from one end of a multi-acre park to the other because you forgot and made a lunch reservation in an area you otherwise wouldn’t be in, and you need to plan on which rides you absolutely can’t miss. But, you need to be prepared to throw some of that out the window as needed and not get so wrapped up in The Plan that you ruin the family vacation because you are running a ½ hour behind. Or because it starts raining like a monsoon.
These are the two obvious rules.
In Part 2, are some important websites you can use for planning your trip.