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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Monday, October 21, 2013

Is Planning For The Holidays Like Planning A Disney Vacation?

This photo is on our holiday cards this year!

We are slowly heading into that time of year when the “to do” lists get long and the days get short. Part of it is planning for the upcoming holidays.  A question on the message boards about whether or not holiday shopping had begun along with my own observations got me wondering if planning for the holidays is like planning for a Disney trip.

As a planner, I can appreciate how much preparation is involved with a Disney trip.  It seems as if the same preparation can be helpful in navigating the holidays. . .

Food:   For us, dining is central to planning a trip to the most magical place on earth.  We decide which park on which day based on dining.  Menu planning is most definitely on the list when planning for the holidays as well.

Shopping:  Purchasing necessities prior to a Disney trip is a must do.  But shopping, I am afraid, may take on a larger role when planning for the holidays.  And, just as I spread out any necessary Disney shopping as not to demolish the household budget, I too spread out holiday shopping over several months taking advantage of great deals.

Logistics:  For a Disney trip, this means transportation and people and their belongings will get from one location to another.  We rely solely on Disney’s fleet of buses, boats, trains, and monorails.  Efficient park touring requires logistical planning for use of Fastpass, show times, etc.  During the holidays, logistics may mean who is traveling, when, and how are the schedules coordinated.

Expectations:  If you have seen the shows on the travel channel about Walt Disney World, you have heard them say that people’s expectations are never so great as when they go to Disney.  And, Disney delivers with theming, service, show, and an immersive experience.  Yet, keeping expectations realistic about time, how much energy your family has, etc. is important when on a Disney vacation.  We have yet to see and do it all, even after numerous trips.  Same goes for the holidays.  The quest for the Norman Rockwell painting or a Martha Stewart table, may lead to disappointment.  Set realistic expectations for both the holidays and a Disney vacation.

Enjoy the moment. . . the magic:  We have seen it; the person on their laptop in the middle of the Magic Kingdom so engrossed in something else that they are unable to enjoy the experience that is Disney.  Enjoying the moments and making memories is what Disney is all about.  Same is true for the holidays.  If stuck with a “to do” list longer than Santa’s nice list or behind a mountain of dishes, it can be difficult to enjoy the moments the holidays bring. 

Family Time:  This, is by far the most important aspect of a Disney vacation, well, any family vacation for that matter.  And, isn’t family time the priority of all the holiday planning?

There are other similarities such as budgets, photography, even traditions that overlap both Disney vacation planning and holiday planning.  And, one way we bring Disney and the holidays together is by collecting a Christmas tree ornament from each trip.

A difference is that I don’t have to plan for pet sitting or snow removal during the holidays. . . unless we are traveling!  And, I don’t have to cook or do dishes while at Disney!

So, planning for the holidays can be tackled just like planning a trip to Disney.  I plan a Disney trip with a list.  Holidays are the same; simple.  One holiday tree simply decorated gives us the same feeling as a house full of holly.  A basic menu served buffet style gives everyone plenty to eat and allows me to enjoy our friends and family.  There is no stressing over a holiday list just as there is no stressing over a Disney list as I am only biting off as much as I can chew and even a bit less.  My family appreciates a less stressed me and I appreciate the holiday season much more.

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