I have just returned from a fabulous 4 day trip to Walt Disney World, getting in late Sunday night from what was a most remarkable trip. This time out, it was only my wife and I, as we left the kids at home. As my wife said when we made it back, “That’s what a honeymoon should be like!” I quite agree. That said, there were several things, good and bad that I learned on this trip. Allow me to pass those tips on to you, loyal reader.
Provide your own transportation – I have listened to Len Testa and the WDW Today Podcast for years now. I heard them every time they said that you should rent a car when flying to Disney World, and yet I did not listen. On our honeymoon, years ago, my wife and I had flown down, used Disney transportation, and had a magnificent time. It was so relaxing to let them worry about getting us where we needed to be, and I wanted that feeling again.
The problem was, the buses were not nearly as efficient as they were years ago. We waited 30 minutes for a bus to Epcot on our first day there, and at the end of the night, hiked what seemed like miles to the Pop Century bus stop at Epcot, only to wait another 20 minutes for a bus back. Because of the transportation, we ended up altering our plans significantly throughout the trip, which leads to the second thing I learned.
Call an audible – It’s football terminology, I know, but it’s football season, right? While you’re at Walt Disney World, it’s entirely tempting to use all the magnificent plans from this site, make dining reservations months in advance and have every minute of the day planned out, and attack things with military precision.
I’m not against that at all, but I have to say that I learned to go with the flow a bit more on this trip. Every day, we had a plan of what we wanted to do, and when we wanted to arrive. Every day, we changed some of those plans. Based on staying out late one night, we slept in the next day, even though we had a breakfast reservation. We took it easy, grabbed a boat instead of a bus, and enjoyed a quiet morning. It ended up being a great plan, because we stayed out later that night than we had planned and had a fantastic time, because we weren’t exhausted.
Pace yourself – This can apply to so many things, but since we were down for the Food & Wine Festival, it had a few meanings for us. Last year, we tried to enjoy the festival in one day. Big mistake. This year, we spread the fun over three of our four days on the trip, and that worked much better.
By the same token, since we knew we’d be doing a lot of walking around World Showcase and to other venues (see the transportation issue), we decided not to go commando style every single day. This ended up being a great plan, as we were able to stay out longer, enjoy ourselves, and not feel awful every night from all we did.
Share the fun – I knew this before, but learned how much fun it could be this time around. Whatever your social media/communication preference is, be it Facebook, Twitter, texting, etc., it makes your trip so much better to share the experience as you go along. Everyone’s used to doing this when they get home – posting the pics, telling the stories, etc. – but doing it while you are there is even better.
This really hit home for me on Saturday night. As we enjoyed a delightful dinner at Yachtsman Steakhouse, then proceeded on to Jellyrolls and Paradiso 37, I enjoyed talking with people via Twitter all night long, taking suggestions on what to do next, sending pictures, and generally having a great time. Sharing the magic is now part of the fun for me, and I can’t imagine a trip without it.
People make the magic – Again, something I kind of knew, but really hit home this time out. I’ve been talking with people on Twitter for over a year now, but this trip finally got to meet some great people, like our own Todd Perlmutter and JL Knopp from right here on the site. I met so many great people this trip, and every time I was touched and amazed that people would take time out of their trips to say hello.
But even moreso, it was the cast members who made things so much fun. From the Halloween Party cast members remarking on my Zorro costume, to the Food and Wine booth attendants sharing tips on what to try next, almost every cast member was smiling and happy. It reminded me of why I go to Disney. I see so many grumpy people in the work a day world, it’s nice to see the happiness of Disney every so often.
So, that was my trip. What about you? What were some surprising things you might have learned on your last trip to the World?