I was a first timer once. Almost 20 years ago we came back from our first trip to Walt Disney World and everyone was talking about how beautiful the countries of Epcot were. Sure, they were nice but…. Wait. Gardens? Weren’t they just buildings with restaurants and stores? Yes, we literally walked all the way around the lake looking at each country from the walkway. We never realized that there was more if we took the time or knew enough to explore each country.
I use the My Disney Experience website to make all me reservations and plans but I also have an excel spreadsheet that lays out where we can eat each day, what we might want to eat (yes, I am THAT bad!), our fast pass times, what special events we may be attending, where we want to be for parades and park hours with our suggested arrival times and departure times each day. Then I also laminate 4×6 cards with all the information on it because if my phone dies and I need to retrieve a dinner reservation number or need our itinerary I want to be prepared.
It sounds excessive to some people but it makes me happy!
When I have helped others plan their Disney trips I try to reign myself in but I want them to be prepared for their first trip. Most of them thought I was crazy in the beginning but I kept telling them to really enjoy their trip they need to have as much information about what they want to do and where they want to go ahead of time so they don’t make the same mistakes we did.
When I hear people mention how bored they were in Walt Disney World or how they waited in lines for hours at a time I try to gently begin questioning them about if they stayed on property, if they made Advanced Dining Reservation or used Fast Passes? I usually get blank stares from those people or the “What are those?” questions.
As someone once said to me, “When you purchase a major appliance for your home you spend several hours researching the best brands, the features and reading the reviews. When you are spending more than that on a vacation why wouldn’t you do the same?”
So I plan.