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Planning for a Disney vacation can be extremely overwhelming with four theme parks, two water parks, a large shopping/dining district, 28 resorts and numerous restaurants, plus more! When I talk to people about Disney, I am often greeted by a sigh, eye roll or just a general indifference. Sayings like “it is too much money”, “it requires too much planning”, “there is too much too think about” are all common statements during these conversations. What makes me sad is that for many, these issues cause them to avoid trips to Disney altogether preferring what many believe are easier vacations.
In my next few blog posts, if you are one who just isn’t sure about a Disney vacation, I will provide you with some easy steps to making a Disney vacation seem more like a magical option and less like a task. My suggestions will revolved around researching, determining your goal, deciding where to stay, discussing what to eat and then finally the fun part of looking at the parks and what rides to hit up. Each of these tips are meant to breakdown the planning of a Disney World vacation into smaller pieces making a lot of those common concerns less of an issue. So with this post, we will start with research.
Now I realize you may already be nervous about researching. This process can, for some, make the decision to take a Disney vacation seem even more overwhelming. However, if you take some time to get to know what Disney has to offer, learning about the resort ahead of time, it can be so beneficial in helping your family to have the best vacation possible when you’re actually on vacation.
There are tons of websites, Facebook pages, and good old books that can help you with this research process. (Hint: You are already on one fantastic resource right now. The Mouse for Less is a great tool to utilize when planning your Disney, as well as Universal vacations.)
Again your goal isn’t to read, highlight and memorize all things Disney but instead it is to familiarize yourself with the Disney language and learn about the “world” that is Disney. By becoming familiar with Disney jargon, like what is FastPass+, what’s an ADR, etc, a trip won’t seem so overwhelming.
Don’t feel like it is necessary to buy every Disney book from the store, or read through every website out there (which would be impossible anyway). Instead, I would suggest finding one or two books that you feel comfortable with and like their layouts. Discover a few sites that are easy to search, navigate and ask questions on.
Once you spend some time researching, you will begin to understand that even though Disney is truly a world within itself, it is a very welcoming, inviting place. The best thing is that most people are willing to help you make it feel less overwhelming. All of this research can help you feel comfortable when you actually start planning and booking your vacation.
The big question is, when should I really start the planning process? I feel that this step should take place at least year or more before you plan to go. As I like booking trips well ahead of time, I start my research almost 18 to 24 months before we are scheduled to go. By giving myself plenty of time, it becomes something that is fun instead of an added task to accomplish. The more you know the more you can explore and enjoy.
Once you have this process underway, you will use it in my other tips of determining your goal, deciding where to stay, and discussing what to eat and finally looking at parks and rides. More on those in future posts. For now, grab your favorite research tool and start the learning process.
What is your favorite tool to utilize when researching a trip?