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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Common Disney Travel Misconceptions

Helping others plan their Disney trips brings me great joy and I had the opportunity to do that just the other day—in person—rather than via the Williams Family Blog.  The only thing better is our own family’s vacation!

What made me smile and cringe all at the same time was that I knew parade times at various parks and good viewing locations among other things.  It’s a little “sick” isn’t it?  The husband disagrees, so that makes me feel better.

The person I was helping is going to Disney for the second time.  Our conversation about their first trip got me thinking about first time travelers in general and some common misconceptions.

  • Walt Disney World is 40 minutes or so from Orlando International Airport.  If you are taking Disney’s Magical Express to get to your resort, plan on waiting a bit to get on the bus, the drive, and possible stops at other resorts to drop off guests.  Give yourself at least 3 hours between the time your plane lands until you have to or plan to be somewhere like a park or an ADR—the more time the better.  And better yet, don’t make any ADR’s for your arrival day as planes are known to be late.  This will reduce the worry and stress for the first day of your vacation.  Who wants to start a vacation that way?
  • It will be hot—most of the year, and crowded—most of the time, so plan for it.  It’s Orlando and Magic Kingdom had over 17 million visitors last year.
  • You will not be able to do/see it all—just know this and plan to return or just be okay with what you get done.  This was something I was impressed with when helping to plan the other day as their family was admittedly overwhelmed on their first day when going to Animal Kingdom.  They did three things and one of them included a picture in front of the Tree of Life, so Animal Kingdom is top on their list for this trip.  Now, some folks would get so frustrated about the cost of that one day and not getting the most out of their money that they may not return to Disney, but not these folks.  They are troopers and realize that Disney can be overwhelming, but if you plan and pace yourself, you can do it!  Good for them!
  • There will be moments of frustration and feeling overwhelmed.  It’s a sign that it is time for a break—either from the parks, walking, or each other.  I’ve written before about taking a break from your family members during a vacation, even it means just splitting up for a bit to take in different attractions, etc.  We have all seen and heard people who aren’t handling these feelings very well and it quickly takes the magic out of their vacation for their family and those within earshot.  Don’t be that person or that family.  Even after 9 trips, our family still has those moments.  On our last trip, it was our arrival day—spills in the airport, closed bathrooms, losing the boy in the airport, difficulty finding our room at the resort, etc.  So, we headed to the resort pool—the boy and husband went first which gave me a moment to myself and then I joined.  The husband had his book to read and we eventually got a bite to eat.  This was our “break” and it worked like a charm.  But hey, we got it all out of the way on the first day and the rest was cake.  It really was!
  • There will be waiting.  Attractions, parades, shows, food, buses, monorails, trains, park openings, boats, or someone from your party to use the restroom will all require waiting.  If you are taking a Disney Cruise vacation there will be waiting to board the ship, for shows to start, characters, and for shore excursions.  Practice waiting gracefully.  It will serve you well.
  • Weather will happen, you decide whether it hinders your vacation or not.  We’ve experienced cold—like cold enough to snow, rain, and extreme warmth.  We prepared as best we could and soldiered on with smiles and enjoyed our vacation.  On our first trip, the temps dropped and we weren’t prepared as I had only packed one long sleeve shirt for each of us.  While the husband and I were okay, the boy ended up wearing that same long sleeve t-shirt under his other clothes almost every day of the trip.  I did get a pair of Mickey gloves out of the deal and still use them all winter.

Combine all of the above with some realistic expectations, a positive attitude, sense of wonder, and ability to have fun and you are sure to have a magical Disney vacation.

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