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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Then and Now. . . Travel Tips and Style

I work with three people who are planning summer vacations.  One is planning a trip to Walt Disney World. . . a first time trip, another is planning an anniversary trip to Walt Disney World as that is where they honeymooned, and the other is planning a multi-generational family cruise—not on Disney.  In addition, two others have inquired about travel. . . obtaining passports, flights, etc.

My point—I am often sought out for the “ I just have a question” questions.  What is interesting is that my answers for them may be a bit different from what we do, as our traveling style has changed over time.  For example, the person planning their first trip to Walt Disney World was nervous about airfare going up and booked round trip flights, even though that isn’t what we did, but would have for our first trip.  My advice:  go ahead and book the flights.  It would have been nerve wracking not to for this first timer.  Yet all of this got me thinking about what we used to do and what we do now. . .

Flights:  We used to book them as far in advance as we could after determining our vacation dates. Our flights would be round trip, same carrier, etc.  Now, we are bit more relaxed, or at least I am. . . the husband still gets concerned about hitch hiking home if I make a one way purchase.  Now, if our travel date for at least one leg has to be firm due to say, a ship sailing, then I am a bit more adamant, and at the same time will look for the best deal.  Now we look for the best deal, the best flight times, and direct flights if possible. 

We are even parlaying ourselves into the “not going to pay for seat assignments” world for our next trip.  We will get them assigned when we check in for our flights.  Oh, horrors!  What if we don’t end up sitting together?  Looking forward to the ensuing comedy.  I am still waiting for SNL to do a spoof on this or Modern Family to do an episode.  Let someone else take care of the boy and the husband on our flights.  I am on vacation!

Resort:  We used to be firm in our resort selection.  If we reserved Port Orleans Riverside, then that is where we were going to stay.  Now, we will go where the special is.  We did that two trips ago and discovered a wonderful new to us resort and will be happy to switch should the need arise again.  Disney often offers specials that are attached to certain resorts and/or have limited availability at certain resorts.  We are happy for a discount even if it means changing resorts.

Dining:  We still make our ADR’s at 180 days in advance or as soon as we can. What’s changed is that we no longer include early morning character breakfasts (unless we aren’t going to a theme park that day).  I remember our first trip and everyone talking about character breakfasts.  What we learned is that there is character dining almost all day throughout the Walt Disney World Resort, breakfast is served until 11:00 am in most cases, and the best park touring time is early in the morning and I don’t want to miss it because we are eating.  So, now, if we want to have a character meal, we either have it during lunch or dinner, or later in the morning, say 10:45 am, or schedule it on a day we aren’t parking touring such as breakfast with Lilo and Friends at ‘Ohana’s.  And, to the rest of the world—it is character dining, not character breakfast!

Planning:  The husband would say that nothing has changed in this category, yet I would disagree.  Since we have worked out kinks in our planning over time, the decisions have become much more finite.  It isn’t “Are we seeing the fireworks tonight”? Now the question is, “Should we get reserved viewing for fireworks on this night?”  Much more specific!

Obviously, our travel habits and patterns have changed over time.  The word I would use to describe is that we have become more flexible. 

Yet, those folks at work who ask me travel questions need more specific answers to their questions.  My advice to them may be a bit different from our current practices.  Hopefully, I am helping.

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