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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Paperwork of Travel

What’s the saying?  “No job is complete until the paperwork is done.”  This also applies to vacations, even though a vacation is supposed to be the opposite of a job.  But traveling to Walt Disney World, or anywhere for that matter, requires a bit of paperwork.

If you’re like me, you have folder for such paperwork.  Here are some of the paperwork items that are or could be included for your vacation:

  • Maps, addresses, phone numbers for your destination.  This used to be print outs of MapQuests driving directions and lists of addresses and phone numbers.  Now the addresses get programmed into our GPS and phone numbers added to the cell phone contact list.  You don’t want to know how many hotel and airline numbers I already have programmed in my phone!
  • E-tickets, boarding passes, etc. for airline travel.  I usually print the e-ticket receipt and bring with as it has our reservation number.  I then use the kiosk at the airline counter to print our boarding passes, check-in luggage etc.  While kiosks typically ask you to scan an ID or credit card, having the reservation number eliminates the “scanning” issue.  However, we still need to show ID’s at the airline ticket counter and again at airport security.  After we show ID’s at the ticket counter, one of us holds all the ID’s until we get to security.  That way one person can hand all boarding passes and ID’s to the TSA at the same time—this keeps more hands free to manage bags, the boy, etc.  Keep this paperwork, as you need it for your return flight!  Also keep the receipt for any checked luggage along with the luggage tag barcodes just in case there are issues with your bags.
  • Confirmation numbers or receipts for pre-paid stays.  I have been accused of being a bit OCD about this, but I typically place these in the order of our stay, so the first one we need will be on top, etc.  I find it’s more about efficiency!
  • Because we are cruising with Disney and have pre-purchased Disney transfers, there is some paperwork involved both with the Disney transfers which we will need to show when checking in at Disney’s Magical Express location at Orlando International Airport.  We will show this paperwork at least twice.  Once when checking in at the Magical Express Counter and again before boarding the bus.  Both times, the barcodes provided will be scanned.
  • Magical Express information.  While we won’t be using Disney’s Magical Express until the end of our vacation, it is important to include the Magical Express booklet in your travel documents.  Have it handy when checking in at Disney’s Magical Express counter at Orlando International Airport.
  • Passports. Disney Cruise Line already has our Passport numbers and expiration dates in their computer system.  We will need to show our Passports at the cruise terminal upon check-in and then again when we disembark the ship on the last day when going through Customs at the port terminal.
  • Disney Cruise Line paperwork which can be completed on-line, printed, signed, and brought with you to the cruise terminal.  Doing that will save you time at check-in.  I also printed our reserved activities—this would include any shore excursions, Palo and Remy reservations, Flounder’s Reef reservations, and any spa reservations. 
  • Walt Disney World paperwork, including confirmation of on-line check-in, if you did this 10 days prior to your stay.  This may also include receipts for your pre-paid tickets.  All of our paperwork comes in a booklet provided by our travel agent—click her to read more.
  • List of ADR’s—Advance Dining Reservations—and confirmation numbers.  I have these on a list by each day with date, time, confirmation number, etc.  I bring the confirmation numbers for our ADR’s for that day with us while touring.  We’ve only had to have the ADR number twice in all of our Walt Disney dining history, but when we did need it, I was sure glad it was handy.  Some people make a little card with the ADR’s for each day and grab the card for the day and take it with them. 
  • PhotoPass card.  Our Photopass card came via our WDW paperwork from our travel agent.  I registered the card in our Photopass account on-line.  If you wait to get your Photopass card until you get to the parks, you can ignore this bullet.  If you have pre-ordered your Photopass CD, at a discounted rate, just leave the receipt for that in your e-mail at home.  No need to print that out and bring it with you to the parks.  You will use that information when you return home after your magical vacation!
  • Any coupons or discount codes you plan to use while traveling or shopping while traveling.  This would also include any travel club cards, guest loyalty programs, frequent flier clubs, etc. that may save you money or give you access to programs and events.  For example, I found a coupon for a half-priced coupon booklet when traveling to the Mall of America.  I then purchased the coupon booklet for half-price then proceeded to take advantage of the special offers—which there were many—in the booklet.  We have also found discount coupons for dining at certain restaurants such as T-Rex Café or Rainforest Café.  You can sometimes find these on-line or in the brochure racks located in hotel entrances.
  • Other—for us this would include our Garden Grocer.com receipt and information about our travel agent—her TA number, address of her agency, etc.  This information has changed since our last vacation, so we will need the information to give her credit when re-booking either on-board for a new cruise or a “bounceback” offer at Walt Disney World.

With all of this paperwork, an organizational system of some kind sure comes in handy. 

What other “paperwork” do you make sure you have while traveling?

Next—what paperwork to come home with!

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