I was chatting with a friend recently who is planning his family’s first trip to Disney World. He started asking me questions that made me realize he didn’t yet know what he didn’t know. Knowing yourself is more important than ever when you’re thinking about a Disney World trip as there are endless possibilities and also endless ways to muck it up.
Planning a trip to Disney World is unlike any other destination in that winging it isn’t really an option if you want to enjoy your trip. So to help him (and you) I’m putting together a quick list of four questions you need to answer before your first trip to Disney World.
Having these answers in mind will make life much easier even if you’re using a travel agent. In fact, if your travel agent hasn’t already asked you these questions, find another agent. This list assumes that your trip is already booked. I’m not asking questions about dates or hotel choices for that reason.
Questions You Need to Answer Before Your First Trip To Disney World
What are your must-do moments?
You already have an idealized version of Disney World in your head. Dig into it and pull out a snapshot of the item that will make your trip “complete” for you. It could be iconic: fireworks over Cinderella’s castle, meeting Mickey Mouse. It could be something a friend told you about or something you read. Whatever it is, isolate it and make sure it gets put on the top of the to-do list. If you don’t have a must-do moment, ask friends, do some reading (you can start here) and get one!
What are your non-negotiables?
Just as you have things you must do on your trip, once you think about it you’ll realize you have things you must not do. Your non-negotiable could be dietary- Disney is great with special needs but restaurant reservations take on more priority if there are entire cuisines or types of food you won’t touch. Your non-negotiable could be crowd level- if you can’t stand lines you’ll want to take a good luck at the crowd calendar and maximize your fastpass usage. Lines are a fact of life at Disney World but choosing the right park on the right day can make a huge difference.
What is your energy level/nap schedule/need for togetherness?
Are you an open to closer- and more importantly- if you are is everyone else in your group an open to closer also? Do you have a napper amongst your midst? Are you comfortable splitting up or are you a 24/7 family? Work this stuff out in advance so no one is surprised or feeling stuck or left behind.
Do you prefer simplicity or having things planned to the last detail?
A Disney World trip can be planned down to the minute. Specific ride fastpasses and marquis restaurant meals need to booked as soon as you are able. However, if you’re just looking for a fun Disney World experience it is more than possible to do so simply. You just have to adjust your expectations. You’ll still have a great trip- just don’t sweat over missing the new Frozen ride at Epcot or dinner at Victoria and Albert’s as long as neither was on your “must do” list above. Nothing wrong with going through the Three Amigos Fiesta tour twice in a row because it’s fun and cheesy and there’s no line. I do it every trip!
I’ve answered the four questions. Now what?
Your next steps will depend on your answers but one app will make it all easier: My Disney Experience. It’s a website, iPhone/iPad and Android app that organizes everyone in your party into one easy to use place. From the app you can get extra fastpasses and snag a last minute restaurant reservation in real time.
Most of this stuff comes down to making sure you don’t try to fit a square peg into a round hole. You’ll just make yourself and everyone else miserable. By setting the right expectations and the right tone you’ll get everyone on the same page for an amazing trip.
Disney World regulars- what other questions would you have a newbie answer before trying to tackle a First Visit to Disney World?
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