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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Getting Advice and Tips for a Walt Disney World Vacation

You’re going to Disney World!  You’ve decided, you’ve told people.  And now you are being flooded with advice.  Only the phrase “we’re having a baby” would elicit more advice from friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and complete strangers.

What do you do with all of the advice, tips, hints, and stories. . . of magic or otherwise?

For most, smile, nod, and tell them you are excited and can’t wait.  Act like you’ve got the planning under control and know what you are doing.  Really, you do probably have the planning under control and know what you are doing.

Then, mine for the nuggets.  They’ll be there.  Little hints and tips that can be filed away and remembered.  If something does sound outlandish or potentially rule breaking, double check a guide book, Disney message boards, or internet to make sure it is right. 

For example, if someone says something like if you stay at a Disney resort you can get into the parks early any morning.  This statement is half true, as the person is referring to Extra Magic Hours.  Trust me, we’ve seen disappointed guests trying to enter the park early, while the rest of us wait in line, telling Cast Members that such and such told them they could get in early at any park.  (That’s the other theme park destination across town that offers that for their two parks.)  And, it’s not how Disney’s Extra Magic Hours work, so check it out to be sure.

We are past the advice getting stage.  When people know, hear, or find out that we have 9 trips to Walt Disney World under our belts, the stance goes from advice giving to us to advice getting from us. 

But it didn’t start out that way.  I can recall searching out a colleague who had lots of Disney experience before our first trip.  I had lots of questions and it helped.  I got just what I needed.  I would recommend searching for a friend, colleague, co-worker, neighbor, or travel professional who can answer your questions.  On-line message boards can be helpful, too.

So what happens when the conversation shifts from advice getting to advice giving?  Well, I start with questions.  Probing to find out what the person really wants to know and how much they already know, listening for depth of knowledge and possible misconceptions.  Example, a person indicates that they’ve been to Walt Disney World before.  A question to follow would be, “What park did you go to?”  If this question gets a baffled look, pause, and stumbled answer then I know they only went to Magic Kingdom.  Often first time visitors or day visitors to Walt Disney World only go to Magic Kingdom and it become synonymous with Walt Disney World.  An experienced guest would tell me which of the four theme parks were on their itinerary.  This type of questioning lets me know what kind of advice, tip, or hint to offer.

Are we past getting advice for our Disney trips?  No way!  I learn something new prior to and during each trip.  For example, we discovered the Pepper Market at Disney’s Coronado Springs on our last trip.  What a find!  Our experiences and knowledge certainly enhance our trips and at the same time we continue to learn, discover, and experience new things.  That’s part of what keeps us coming back.

Here are some of the questions we get asked frequently and our short, quick, responses:

Do you stay on property?  Yes.

What’s your favorite resort?  Right now, Coronado Springs.  Port Orleans Riverside before that. 

Where have you stayed?  Caribbean Beach twice, Port Orleans Riverside five times, Port Orleans French Quarter once, and Coronado Springs once and have it booked for our next trip.

Do you go when it’s hot/crowded/busy?  Yes, yes, and yes.

What’s your best tip?  Two pronged—make ADR’s and use Fastpass.

Depending on how people respond to our answers determines where the conversation goes next.

We’re going to Walt Disney World!  Any advice you would like to give us?

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