If you have ever planned a trip to Disney, then you know good and well just how many resources are out there to help you get the most magic out of your vacation. The books, the blogs, friends and family. There is so much to learn. Mainly because there is so much to do.
And it’s all AMAZING.
And you don’t want to miss a thing.
But when planning for the first time, it is very easy to get overwhelmed. And it’s easy to miss things.
We took our girls a few years back and had the most magical time. We packed in a ton of magic and fun and we made memories to last a lifetime. But there were several things that, knowing what we know now, we would have done differently.
Lucky for me, we get the chance to do that very, very soon.
This October my husband and I are taking our twins to celebrate their 5th Birthdays at the happiest place on earth. We are so excited. We plan to take all that we learned our first go around and then also fix some of the things we wished we had done differently. Like I said, it was a magical vacation but there were some things that I would change for sure.
And because I know how easy it is to get overwhelmed with all the information out there, I thought it might be helpful to share my thoughts for any Disney Newbies.
My 5 Biggest Disney Regrets…
1) NO SPOILERS
The first time we took the girls to Disney, it was actually a Christmas present from my Brother In Law. I KNOW RIGHT?! BEST BROTHER IN LAW EVER! Seriously though, we were so blessed by his generosity and were so grateful to him for his gift. But telling a 4 year old that she is going to Disney World, but she isn’t leaving for 5 months? Yeah it goes over about how you would think. On the daily you are asked no less than one million times, if it’s time to go to Disney World yet. And as you can imagine, it gets old very quickly. And of course hearing “No, no Disney World today” it about the most devastating thing you could say to a 4 year old. So now that we have the option to do it over again, we will be giving ZERO SPOILERS to our boys. We will be waking them up bright and early (our plane leaves at 6:20am) the morning of their 5th Birthday and telling them that we are heading to Disney. That way it’s straight to the airport and we limit the “are we there yet” questions to just a few hours vs. a few months.
2) NO MEAL PLAN
We didn’t have a meal plan the last time we traveled to Disney. We thought we wouldn’t miss having it and would just eat when and where we wanted. While we did get in a few character meals we didn’t get to eat at a lot of the places we had hoped to just not realizing how it all worked. Not to mention how much it all added up. This go around it was a must do for me, and we already have all of our meals planned out and reserved which has me extra excited.
3) NO PARK HOPPER
Our last trip, as I said, my brother in law gifted to us and he didn’t know about the park hopper option. We were unable to add it after the fact, and so we just decided to commit to a park a day. This in no way is a bad thing, as there are no bad parks obviously, but for us we would have loved the opportunity on the night Hollywood Studios closed at 6 to hop on the bus and head over to the extended hours at Magic Kingdom. For my girls, they were done with Animal Kingdom a lot earlier than we thought (mainly because they were scared of several of the rides and we went on a day that had zero wait times for anything and hit up everything we wanted to way faster than planned) and it would have been nice to be able to head off to another park to get in some more magic. We have already secured our park hopper because with our Star Wars obsessed boys, we will need the option to see the Storm Troopers every day we are there.
4) NO TIME TO REST
Our trip last time was a sprint. Our plane landed and we went straight to the park and we left the park 4 days later and headed straight to the airport. We covered a lot of ground in those 4 days, but it didn’t leave any time to rest. My girls would walk by the pool at our resort and beg to swim and all I could think was “are you crazy? we can swim at home” I was so focused on the 4 days and packing in as much park time as possible that I didn’t leave any time to rest. And my girls did awesome those 4 days but when we got back home it wasn’t like we had been on a family vacation, and more like we had just run some cross country marathon. This time around we are staying for a week and we plan to rest a lot more. I am still pro park time as much as possible (that’s just personal preference) but if my boys want to swim at the pool or anything else I want to make sure we have allowed time for that.
5) NO DISNEY SPRINGS
Just like in #4, because I was so insistent on getting as much park time as possible we didn’t allow any time to explore Disney Springs (or as it was called then, Downtown Disney). With over 183 restaurants, shops and entertainment options we were so sad that we didn’t have any time to check out all the unique offerings. This time I have a running list of the places I want to try and hit up. I think because we have the park hopper we will feel more comfortable coming and going and hopping around and getting in some Disney Springs fun this go around.
In all honesty, when it comes to Disney I am not sure you can really go wrong. Read the blogs, read the books, decide what your families priorities are for your trip and just remember that the magic is in the memories. And while I regret some things, seeing the magic through my daughters eyes will always make the trip one of my all time faves!
What are some of your favorite MUST DO things at Disney so I can add them to our list for October?
Disney Springs is way too big, now and most visitors don’t like it.
Park hoppers aren’t necessarily a good thing because of the travel time between parks.
Have stayed at WDW three times now and used park hopper during two trips. It does take some planning but its still worth it if you want to spend your time in one park during the day and then rest up and go back to a different park for their nightime show.
Not every park has their evening show on the day you want to visit their park. We try to use a crowd calculator and other strategies to manage our time in the parks and still find the park hopper option to be worth the extra money for the extra flexibility !