Easy Disney Vacation Mistakes

Little “uh-oh” or colossal error, Disney vacation mistakes are made every day.  Here’s a look at some we’ve made that took little effort yet produced major detractions to our vacation happiness.  Luckily, we’ve learned the error of our ways and you can too.

Easy Disney Vacation MistakesYellow Monorail / Walt Disney World

Underestimating Travel Time – This is big.  We still struggle with this one sometimes.  Getting from place to place in the humongous Disney Bubble can take a lot longer than expected.  If you’re heading to a park for early breakfast reservations or leaving a park for lunch or dinner reservations, plan ahead and know what the worst case scenario will be time-wise.  If you end up arriving early to a restaurant, you can often be seated early.  We once badly underestimated how long it would take to get from Magic Kingdom to Disney Springs (monorail to the Contemporary then bus to Disney Springs) and we were terribly late for our dinner at Raglan Road.  The stress this creates is not good when you’re trying to relax on vacation.Walt Disney World MagicBand

Self-inflicted Sticker Shock – If you choose to use the Magic Band charging feature, you may want to consider limiting it to only the members of your party who are responsible for paying the final bill.  Use budgeting mechanisms such as Disney gift cards for souvenirs or Food & Wine festival booth purchases.  Stay out of gift shops if your willpower is low or if you have trouble saying no to your little prince or princess.  For sure, research restaurant menus online to get an idea about prices before you go.Drink-Menu-Raglan-Road

Dreadful Dehydration – It is ridiculously easy to become dehydrated in Florida.  Dehydration doesn’t just make you thirsty, it can make you cranky, give you a headache, make you feel exhausted and can even make you crave sweets when you’re not even hungry.  Start every day with a big drink of water, carry water with you or take advantage of the free ice water available at quick service counters in the parks.  Snack on fresh fruit and veggies with high water content instead of salty, dry snacks like pretzels, crackers, or chips.  If consuming adult beverages, drink water between servings.These Feet are TIRED

Doubling Back (over and over) – This can add miles of walking to your day.  Whether you’re a super-planner with very structured touring plans or prefer to freestyle it around FastPasses, familiarizing yourself with what rides and attractions are located in which areas of the park is worth a few minutes of research.  You can do this from home within the My Disney Experience app or, if you’re not into major pre-planning and don’t want to fool with the app, simply grab a park map when you arrive.  Try not to go back and forth from one end of the park to the other over and over.  When you have time between FastPasses and want to squeeze in extra attractions, use the app’s wait time feature to find something nearby with a short standby line.Kali River Rapids Boat

Water Ride Woes – This may sound silly to some of you, but others will appreciate this – Consider the damage water rides like Kali River Rapids (Animal Kingdom) and sometimes Splash Mountain (Magic Kingdom) can do to your appearance.  Imagine you’re having a lovely day at Animal Kingdom, looking forward to your dinner at the new signature restaurant, Tiffins.  You can become 100% drenched, I’m talking soaked to the skin, on Kali River Rapids.  Unless you plan ahead and wear a poncho on the ride or come to the park with a complete change of clothes and don’t care about your hair and/or makeup, this ride has the potential to make eating a nice meal less than magical.

we’ve made all of these mistakes and a few more! What lessons have you learned the hard way at Disney World?

The Burden of Happiness

Akamai 2Fans of the Enchanted Tiki Talk Podcast will love today’s guest writer!  Having been fortunate enough to have been invited into the Tiki Hut, I can attest to how funny and sweet the show’s hosts are.  When Keith agreed to write some guest posts for me, I was so excited for you guys to get to know him a little better.  He’s a great guy and I’m lucky to count him as a friend.  Enjoy!

The Burden of Happiness

As many diehard Disney fans know we take the Disney Parks very seriously. I can’t tell you how many “debates” I’ve had with people who don’t share the same opinion of Disney as I do. However, when those folks need advice on their trips to Walt Disney World I’m always the guy they turn to. I jump at the chance to do this, because I love to live through them even if I can’t get to the parks as often as I’d like.

I usually surprise them at the lengths I will go. From binders with show times, parades, hidden gems, restaurants, kids activities, etc. Even the most disinterested person comes back with so many smiles and excitement. That is the fun for me is to make someone who doesn’t want to go into someone who can’t wait to go back. I know that feeling all too well, because I was “that guy”. Since that fateful first trip I came home with a hunger for knowledge. I read everything I could on Walt himself, the parks, etc. Then, I started writing for a blog. Which lead to my own site. Which lead to co-hosting a podcast and the rest is still writing our story.RM-WDW-Entrance

You can imagine my excitement when I was approached by my mom about a “big family trip to Walt Disney World”. The last time we were there as a family I was two years old (a long time ago). Being the Disney guru that I am I was tasked with planning said trip. The trip is several months away and prices for 2016 haven’t been announced yet so I have had some time to think about how to attack this.

This is where the burden comes in. We will have three separate families spanning three generations to consider. We have everyone from the Disney addict (me), casual Disney fans, skeptics, and those who want a trip with an extra helping of shows-hold the thrill rides. As I said earlier I take the Disney Parks very seriously and want everyone to see it through my passionate eyes. The more I think about planning this the more ovewhelmed I become.RM-Cinderella-Castle

So I am sure some of you out there were or are in the same boat I am. I have some things that I know for sure.

  1. Get a Disney authorized travel agent. I have done trips both ways and believe me it is much easier with a travel agent. It doesn’t cost you any extra and the time you save is remarkable. I don’t want to publicly endorse one but if you wish to know who I use please let me know (@dolewhipdaily or keith@enchantedtikitalk.com)
  2. Each family will have a separate reservation. This way if life gets in the way it won’t affect the whole party. I have had to cancel trips because of changing jobs. So it is just easier and they can pay for the trip at their own pace.
  3. Have a big ol’ family meeting. Before our 180 day mark we will all get together and hash out what we want to do. We all won’t want to do the same things, ride the same rides, eat at the same places. So we will either have to compromise or agree that certain times we will be apart.
  4. Park hopping is a must. I always suggest this anyway, but I think in large groups it even makes more sense. All of us know that even the best laid plans get changed due to many factors. So having the flexibility can ease tension and the possibility of a un-magical day.
  5. Let each family plan a day. I know many people do this with their kids to help them feel a part of the process. For me not only will it lessen the “burden”, but it allows each family to research and get involved in the fun as well.DSCN2870

I am sure as I continue in the planning I will have many updates for you. Let me make one point clear before I finish. I use the term “burden” very loosely. There is nothing I like more than spending time with my family. To have us all together at Walt Disney World has been a wish of mine that looks like is finally coming true. I am even getting emotional writing this, because I know the memories we make there will last many lifetimes. Mostly because when my brother and I get together things tend to get crazy and stories will be handed down for many more generations!

To hear more about Keith’s passion for all things Disney, listen to the Enchanted Tiki Talk Podcast, follow Keith on Twitter, and Like Enchanted Tiki Talk on Facebook.


Five Ways to Justify a Walt Disney World Vacation

Walt Disney World Annual PassBy now you know me well enough to be certain that I never need a reason to visit Walt Disney World or sail on Disney Cruise Line or both!  I’ve heard though (sadly) that may not be the case for some people out there.  Some of my friends and acquaintences say, “I wish we could go to Disney World more often but my husband/wife/partner/mom/dad (insert applicable spoil-sport of your choice) doesn’t want to go.”  Personally, I think I’ve gotten pretty good at keeping the look of horror off my face at these moments and I usually just try to nod sympathetically and choke out some form of, “I understand” – which of course is a small white lie.  I don’t understand.  Not even a little.

This post is for those of you who need a nudge or know someone who does – let me help you get the Disney Vacation planning process off the ground with…They're only little once.

Five Good Reasons To Take a Disney Vacation:

1. Children Grow up So Fast!  He/She/They will only be this age once.  There is an abundance of magical moments awaiting children of all ages at Walt Disney World, but you must admit – the age window for that total buy-in of all that is magical and wondrous and REAL about Princesses, Mickey Mouse, Minnie, Donald and ALL the characters is limited.  Please, don’t pass up the opportunity to make those lasting happy memories!  We want future Disney fans, right?  This is the way to start that process off right!  Trust me – when you see the face of a child as they watch Tinker Bell fly from Cinderella Castle, see a ghost in their Doombuggy, receive a waive and a blown kiss from their favorite Disney Princess during the Festival of Fantasy Parade…it’ll all be worth it.

Family Pic at Disney's Boardwalk2. We Will Only Be US Right NOW!  Whether you’re newlyweds, the parents of teens, or empty nesters, this is a great reason to take a Disney vacation.  It’s hard to imagine how fast life goes by!  We took one Disney World vacation before we started a family and have traveled there many times on family vacations as our children grew up.  Finally, after 25 years, we get to go back as a couple…and it’s a good thing we’re taking advantage of this opportunity.  Our daughter is getting married next year and who knows?  We may be grandparents in the not too distant future!  Bringing on a completely new and different way to vacation Disney style!

3. So Much to Celebrate!  Any excuse will do!  Birthday, Christmas, Halloween, anniversary, honeymoon, graduation, good grades, family reunion, Super Bowl win – use what works for your particular situation. Celebrating a Birthday on Disney Cruise Line There’s no better place to celebrate than on a Disney vacation.  There are a lot of ways to celebrate on a Disney vacation and those Disney Cast Members love to help make your celebration special.  For Raymond, this is his preferred choice for justifying a Disney trip and has managed to use this excuse to celebrate his own birthday at Walt Disney World at least three times that I can remember.

4. Research!  I numbers 1-3 don’t help push you (or your loved one) to choose a Disney vacation, us this excuse:  We need to get the lay of the land, know what it’s like, practice our touring plans, test the rides and attractions, sample the food before we come back with any/all of the following:  Children, grandchildren, parents, friends, extended family, cheerleaders, choir My Haunted Mansion-themed Running Shoesgroup, marching band – whatever!  Pick some excuse for research – that’s your story and you’re sticking to it!

5. Get In Shape!  If all else fails, run!  No, seriously.  If you’re not already a runner, get moving.  This year I’ve used reasons #2 and #3 then realized that I am already a runner so I quickly said HEY!  I must participate in a runDisney event!  Right now!  Before I get any older!!!  Before Raymond realized what was happening, we were booked for a February vacation.  Now, I will actually have to run the 5k, 10k, and half-marathon I’ve registered for, but still…a Disney vacation with a twist is still a Disney vacation.  Raymond likes doing things on his own, so while I’m running, he can have some alone time to enjoy Walt Disney World!  Plus, we get to eat in some excellent table service restaurants…I believe proper pre-race nutrition is critical!  Read about my personal road to runDisney here.

Hopefully, you are now fully armed with all the ammunition you need to convince your mom, dad, husband, wife, grandmother, brother, sister – whoever necessary – to take you on a Disney vacation!!!  Use it wisely, my friend.

What are YOUR favorite excuses, reasons, and justifications for planning a Disney vacation?