Tuesday, May 31, 2011

369...The Big Questions

I ran into a friend of mine today that is planning her first trip to WDW.  She had heard that I knew a thing or two about Disney and wanted my advice. (Pretty sure my wife talked to her.  Either that or she was one of the 10 people who have seen my blog.  Joke.)  She told me that she had ordered her planning DVD from Disney and had spent some time on the internet looking at information and was beginning to feel overwhelmed.  I told her I would love to help.  
That conversation got me thinking,  where do you begin?  WDW is such a big expense.  The expectations are so high and you want the trip to be, well, magical! You want to get your money’s worth, see everything and yet have a relaxing time.  Add to that pressure the wealth of information out there and yes you can begin to feel overwhelmed.  
You have to start somewhere.  Man, that was deep.  Let’s look at the first few questions you should probably address as you prepare for your trip.  When should you go?  How long will you stay?  What is your budget?  What type of tickets do you need?    Where will you stay?  I think as you look into each of those questions you will begin to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.
I will spend the next several blogs addressing each of those questions.  I can’t answer them for you but I hope I can at least point you in a direction.  I will stop there for the night but I wanted to leave you with this beautiful picture.  Any guesses as to what it is?  Good luck.

Monday, May 30, 2011

370 Days...My Resources

When it comes to Walt Disney World, planning is EVERYTHING!  Some of us do it as a hobby but if you have any hopes of getting your money's worth, you have to plan.  A friend of mine recently returned from a trip to the World.  After their first day there they assumed that I was an idiot and WDW was not as magical as I had told them.  I can imagine them standing on Main St. overwhelmed, stressed and confused. All those people rushing by them knowing where they are going but my friends were stuck like deer in headlights.  How do you prevent that?  Planning!

First, I think the greatest guidebook out there is the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World.  It's huge.  It may actually be more intimidating than the parks themselves but I promise you if you master that book, the parks will bow before you and bend at your every command. (Maybe a little overstated but it really is a good book)  The book reviews everything about Disney and also gives you touring plans for maximizing your time in the park.

My favorite websites are...


If you have questions, those three sites should be able to answer everything.

I also listen to two great podcasts, WDW Today and anything by Lou Mongello.

Lastly, be sure to order your planning DVD from Disney and also get your custom maps.  (Both free...They may be the only free things you get from Disney, take them!)

So that is where I begin.  After years of listen to and reading this information I have become a pretty knowledgeable Disney fan but usually when I give an answer I am quoting one of those sources.  Hope they don't mind.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

371 Days...Basic Information, The Who

Our trip is still over a year away so I thought we could use this time for introductions.  I'm a 36 year old, father of three, happily married and son of the two greatest parents a guy could ask for.  That is also the list of everyone going on this family vacation.  My son is 8 and my two daughters are 6 and 3.  My parents are 72 and 70.  So you can see there is quite an age range on this trip.  Planning should be fun!

My parents took me and my three older brothers to WDW in 1981.  We went for two days.  EPCOT was still being built so all we had was the Magic Kingdom.  That was all I needed.  I was around 6 at that time and I can still vividly remember many of the sights and smells that I experienced there.  Walt Disney World made a very deep and real impression on me.  An impression that has also been placed upon my kids.

I have been to the World three times without my family and twice I have gone to Disneyland.  Our first family trip was in 2006 with my then 3 year old son and 1 year old daughter.  That trip was also my wife's first.  Sad isn't it?  We stayed at the All-Star Sports.  Good trip (more details later, heck we have 371 days to analyze all the mistakes and things we learned). On our next trip we took our  son, daughter and six month old baby.  That was hard!  We also took my parents.  We all stayed at the Cabins at the Fort Wilderness.  Another good trip.  I will go into much more detail about that trip later.  Two words, stomach bug!  Learned a BUNCH from that trip.

So there you have all the participants of our 2012 trip and probably more information then you really cared to know.

Count Down to Disney

According to my Disney Vacation Connection app on my computer, my family's next trip to Walt Disney World will be in 372 days.  I have already begun planning for this trip.  In fact, I have been planning this trip since 2008. (The year of our last trip.)  I don't like to think of myself as someone with an obsessive compulsive disorder but I have issues.  I don't like to plan.  I am not one to make lists.  That is, I don't like to do those things outside the realm of Disney.  When it comes to Disney I am a different person.  I read guide books and blogs about WDW.  I listen to several different podcasts about the World.  I plan out days at the park in my head.  I make lists and notes of places I want to eat and things I want to try.

Simply put, I love to plan for Disney.  It's almost as much fun as being there.  In my plans everything goes right.  The kids don't cry.  My wife stands in awe of my knowledge and efficiency and it's always 75 degrees and low crowds.  So that is what this blog is about.  Planning for the day that we are once again on Disney property.  Standing in the middle of the happiest place on earth!  For now, I have 372 days to plan.

You are welcome to come along, add suggestions, laugh at my mistakes and enjoy a Disney dad taking his time to plan the family's next Walt Disney World vacation.