Think back to your first trip: What do you wish you’d known? Was there a moment where you thought to yourself “I could have saved myself a lot of time (or money) if only I’d known that!” In my case, my first “real” trip came when I’d moved from Florida and was no longer taking quick day trips. There were so many things I didn’t think about when Disney World was just a few hours drive away. John was wondering that too, so he put out a question on the Facebook page and here are some of your answers. I hope you find something you can use –or even pass on to a Disney newbie:
10. Suzanne G. is a girl after my own heart. She advises to take a jacket (or a sweater), even if it’s supposed to be warm. While you’re at it, bring a poncho too. It’s probably going to rain at least once on your trip.
9. Get to the Magic Kingdom at opening and make a beeline toward Fantasyland. Sometimes you buck conventional wisdom; this is not one of those times. If you have little kids, you want to knock out Pooh and Peter Pan first since these rides are some of the most popular in all of the parks. After that you can take on the mountains.
8. Stay on property. I’ve found it’s hard to sell someone on Disney property if he or she is looking at the bottom line. If you’re purely interested in saving money, you can usually stay cheaper off site, but if you think that time is money, you might find quite the opposite: That you actually save money by staying on property. So do the math, but always remember the convenience factor. It’s huge.
7. Pace yourself: You can’t do it all in one trip. Going completely “theme park commando” for days at a time is overrated. Take in the little details, people watch, eat some good meals. It’s all part of the experience.
6. Many of you had this advice: Plan, and then plan some more. The average vacation package costs around $2200. When you think about it, that’s a lot of money! You don’t have to be “that guy” with the multi-page spreadsheet, but even just a little bit of planning can give you a substantial return on your investment.
5. Sandi B. had a great piece of advice: “Plan, but be prepared to chuck the plan for magic moments.” When I think about my trips these days, it’s often the things we didn’t plan that stand out.
4. Use the free fast pass system. It really does save time!
3. Don’t spend money on a room if you’re not going to spend much time at the resort. Instead, save your money for food and souvenirs. You can always have dinner or resort hop to experience other resorts. Just remember: No pool hopping.
2. Wear comfortable shoes. And make sure those shoes are broken in. It’s usually a good idea to bring a backup pair (or two) as well.
1. Make dining reservations. Perhaps the easiest thing you can do when planning a Disney vacation but one that yields the most results. If you’re on the dining plan, it’s a given: You want those reservations made as far in advance as possible so you can get the most value out of the dining plan. Even if you’re not on the plan, making just a couple reservations makes life easier.
So what’s your advice for Disney newbies? Which piece of advice do you find people are the most resistant to take? We’d love to read about your experiences in the comments.