It may seem strange to some of you, but one of my favorite parts of our Walt Disney World vacations is the anticipation. I love to daydream about what it will be like when we get there, imagine the smiles on the children’s faces, and wonder what their favorite attraction will be this time. In addition to daydreaming, I truly enjoy the planning and preparing as we countdown to Disney. Here are a few of the things that we do to make the anticipation of our next trip extra special.
Books and videos. Around booking time, which is usually a year in advance for us, we check out Disney travel books from the library and order the free planning DVD from Disney. We enjoy looking through the books to see what is new for the next year. We also take some time to watch the DVD together as a family. It sparks conversations of so many wonderful memories and makes us eager for our next visit. Throughout the year, we get out photo albums from past trips and walk down memory lane while looking forward to our next visit.
This year we won a Disney trivia book from themouseforless.com. We keep the book in the car and pull it out during out-of-town trips. As we read through the questions and guess at the answers, we learn quite a bit about Disney World.
Computer and phone. In today’s world of easy internet access and phone apps, we have found some fun items that enhance our anticipation. One of my favorites is a free countdown widget for my droid. Everytime I pick up my phone, I am pleasantly reminded that there are only 93 (currently) days until my trip. (A quick internet search will yield a variety of widgets and countdown calendars for your phone or desktop.) As our trip gets closer, I will print out 30-day countdown calendars for each of my boys. They will be eager to cross out another day each morning as the reality of the impending trip sets in!
Another way we use our computer in anticipation of our trip is for research. We read about hotels and dining options and choose accordingly. This year we requested our Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR) at http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/reservations/dining/. In the past, we had always reserved our ADRs through the phone line (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463. I was a little bit nervous about the online system, but found it very quick and easy to use. I also read about our hotel so that I can request the best location when we check-in online up to 10 days before arrival. (For more information about online check-in visit http://www.themouseforless.com/tripplanning/resorts/wdw/CheckinInfo.shtml.)
Shopping. One of my favorite ways to savor the anticipation of our next trip is to coordinate our shirt colors for each day of our vacation and shop for whichever color is needed for an individual. It’s fun to find bargains, and I can wait for the bargains because I choose our color scheme a few months in advanced based on what the majority of the family members already have. I started coordinating our t-shirts colors years ago to make it easy for me to find my children in the parks. Now that they are older, we continue to color coordinate because, not only is it easy to spot one another, but it also makes such eye-catching family pictures.
Our actual vacation will only last a week, but the anticipation leading up to it can last for a whole year. Maybe that is why anticipation is one of my favorite parts of our Disney vacations.