Sunday, February 28, 2016

Must Share... The Disney Files (Part 1)

After much planning and anticipation, we went to Disney in January.  I had myself convinced it would be a one time deal, so we went the go big or go home route and stayed on Disney property, did the dining plan and hopper passes.  The whole she-bang!  We had so much fun and I just can't bear the thought of not sharing every detail with you, so here we are with the first installment.

Part One - The Planning

I'm not gonna lie, the planning was exhausting.  I'm an over-thinker, so planning can be a real love/hate thing for me.  I'm pretty sure you could get a PhD in Disney planning, and since I didn't have one, my head was smoking at times. I read books, blogs and pinterest, polled the facebook audience, enlisted the help of a travel agent and probably spent as many hours planning as we spent in total on the actual vacation.  By the time we left for Florida, a huge part of me was excited for it to be over with so I could STOP THINKING ABOUT IT ALREADY, FOR THE LOVE OF MICKEY MOUSE.  Seriously.  It's a lot of planning.

I had been twice before, when I was 5 and 16ish, so I had no experience with the planning end of things.  The unknown factor always makes things more difficult, but my WORD.  Not having a grasp on things where researching a Disney vacation is concerned really puts you at a disadvantage.  Next time will be so much easier!

I began reading and researching about a year and a half before our trip.  Yes, you read that right.  We knew the Hubster would be down there for work at a certain time, so we had a lot of notice. We also had a baby and no plans for any fun vacations in the meantime, so I had a lot of time, energy and vacation anticipation to devote to this one!  I had been pinning things on a Pinterest board I had entitiled Someday.  It was so exciting when I could finally start reading those with an actual trip in mind!

The first choice that had to be made was where to stay. This was one of the easiest decisions for me and I'm very happy with how that turned out.  More details on that in a future post. I knew that I wanted to stay on property, because I had my heart set on using the Disney Dining plan and that's only an option for Disney Resort guests. Based on information from friends who had recently stayed in a value resort, recommendations from my agent, and the fact that a Deluxe resort was not within our budget,  we opted to stay at Port Orleans Riverside, a nice moderate choice. We loved it.  Again, more details to come.

The next most pressing item of business, since we were using the Dining plan, was restaurant reservations.  These can be made 180 days in advance.  In fact, it is strongly recommended to make them as soon as your window of opportunity opens up, especially for some of the more popular restaurants.  This is where I spent TONS of my time.  I'm a huge fan of food, so I really enjoyed this part of it.  Once my reservations were made, I took a big long break from thinking about Disney! Which was fine, since I still had 6 months before the trip!

The next time sensitive item on the to do list was fast pass reservations. I bought a book for my daughter and we read through that together to decide what we wanted to do at each of the parks.  This was our main source of information on the attractions, shows and all the parks had to offer. The reviews in the book were by kids for kids and that was good and bad.  In some ways, I felt it was a little misleading, but that is one more thing that you don't really know until you experience it for yourself. The day I was able to reserve our fast passes, If all of these things sound foreign, crazy or ridiculous to you, I know exactly how you're feeling.  There were so many things I didn't know about, understand or want to figure out!  I'm telling you, once you've been and have seen the importance of the different requirements, options, etc., it really all makes sense.  Unfortunately, your first time planning it, you have to go by other people's advice and experience and basically feel your way in the dark and go into it somewhat blind.  I was lucky to be there at a very slow time (late January) so I was able to move some things around once I had a better idea of things, but most people will not have that luxury.

What are your best Disney planning tips?  When are you going?  I would go back next month if I had a Disney Money Tree growing in the back yard!!!

Next up, Part 2 Disney Dining!

No comments:

Post a Comment