I just read an article on Mouseplanet.com by Chris Barry about the Top 5 Things at Disney that he doesn’t get. And, while I agree that there’s more than one way to do/plan/be excited about Disney, I disagree with a few others. (And, yes, I do spend some of my time reading books and articles about Disney. Surprised? )
We “get” planning our next vacation while on our current vacation. In fact, we budget for that deposit. We have taken advantage of bounceback offers while at Walt Disney World and book our next cruise while sailing. The discounts are great. And, Disney’s cancellation policy is such that if you cancel within the appropriate window, you get a full refund.
I tried to get a bounceback offer while we were in the World in July for this coming March, but the specials were only through the end of 2011. So, when we are in the World in March I’ll be checking for a bounceback for December 2012.
We are able to plan where we dine 180 days in advance of our trip and make our ADR’s. What we also do, is not make an ADR for each day, and therefore, not have our schedule ruled by dining ADR’s. We plan at least one whole day with no ADR’s so we can be flexible and spontaneous. It sounds like an oxymoron—plan to be spontaneous. It works for us.
As far as the dining plan goes, in my opinion, it ranks right up there with Photopass and Fastpass for some of the best inventions to come from Disney. Some think there’s too much food. We disagree. We order two adult and one child entrees at table service locations and counter service locations. It is often the dessert at the counter service location that seems, well cumbersome, and we’ve gotten creative and asked for packages of sliced apples, or whole pieces of fruit for dessert and take those with us for a snack later.
I think there would be much less stress for vacationers if they had those dining decisions made in advance, as already there is quite a bit of decision making that goes on during a Walt Disney World vacation. I see and hear them. . . “where are we going to eat?” They consult the map, hope a restaurant is nearby, etc. Stressful! To me, it’s like driving on the interstate when you’re hungry, need gas, and have to go to the bathroom and are trying to figure out which exit will be best and how far away the exit is and if you can hang on until then. Stressful! (You now have a better idea of why we fly!)
Another Disney amenity, dare we say feature, that we use to the max is Disney transportation. The fact that Disney’s Magical Express is there to great us at Orlando International and whisk us off to our resort and then be shuttled to any Disney location via bus, boat, monorail or train makes our vacation a breeze. I am more than willing to let Disney do the driving! Now, some Disney guests find that waiting to board Disney’s Magical Express is a hassle, so they would rather gather their luggage at baggage claim and schlep it to a rental car or car service and then make the drive to Walt Disney World, and then use that same rental car to get them back and forth to the parks. While I am stepping into an air conditioned bus near the entrance to the park, rather than taking a tram or ferry to the parking lot to then find my hot rental vehicle. Hmmm. . .. What would you rather do? Did I mention that Disney’s Magical Express is FREE?
Yep, there are many Disney features, practices, etc., that we get that others may not. But that is part of what makes vacationing to Disney unique, as there is more than one way to do it.
I have written about this before, about the fact that some people planning a trip to Walt Disney World, want to plan out every detail and get it “right” or “perfect.” My point, there is no one “right” way to do Disney. It is about what fits for you, your family, the people you are traveling with. We have friends who are DVC members and enjoy the deluxe accommodations that are available to them using their points. We are pleased with our “moderate” accommodations and great specials on dining instead. We know people that drive, rather than fly. Again, if it works for you, then so be it.