September 3, 2008

Advice for Visiting Walt Disney World

Get Organized for your trip!
part 2 of a 4 part series

Call ahead for dining!
It is a MUST to make a reservation if you want a sit down meal. This goes for breakfasts, lunch and dinner. There are over 100 sit down restaurants in Walt Disney World - and each one is fully booked every day. Take a look at menus online to help you determine where you want to eat. Reservations can not be taken more then 180 days before the day you wish to dine.

Bring a notebook!
I carried my compact leather notebook in my fanny pack. Take notes on places you want to visit, funny things your kids said, dining reservation numbers, a list of your must sees (see below for more info), tally of your spending, etc. This tool was invaluable!

Circle your must-sees!
This is a great idea especially if you have a large group of people or your group has many different ages. There is something for everyone at Disney World. If you don't have a game plan ahead of time you will end up only seeing half of what you could see.

In our case my sisters and I obtained a map of the park (ie. Magic Kingdom) the night before and had our planning meeting. Each person in our group choose 2 "must sees" - Most people had the same must sees. We then mapped out our day based on our must sees. Anything extra is gravy!

Trust me, you can not do everything in at one park in just one day. Your choices are: 1/ return to the park again on another day or 2/ only do what you really want!

Set realistic expectations!
As stated above, you can not do a whole Disney Park in one day. You must set realistic expectations. Be prepared. Your group may not want to be together the whole time - separate for a bit and meet up later. Tip: don't agree to meet at the castle - it's a big castle!

Your children are not used to the stimulus they will receive at Disney World - they are going to be high on imagination. Enjoy it and realize that it's only temporary.

You will do plenty of walking - you will get tired. This is no relaxing vacation! Expect to be tired.

Even though Disney World is magical it can also be a place that will test your patience. Don't forgot to pack a sense of humor.

Decide ahead of time what souvenirs you are going to buy.
Disney Shopping = impulse shopping. Again, be realistic - you are going to buy something. Ask yourself (and your kids) will I use this or wear this once I get home? For both Sara and Elijah I bought them stuffed animals. I know both of them will play and sleep with them for years to come. They are a great memory of our trip. (Total cost of Pluto and Mickey - $47)

I made Sara save her money all summer for this trip. She saved $43 (extra chores and money from Grandma) Since this was a once in a life time trip for us I let her decide how she was going to spend her money. I allowed her each day to make one purchase.

To really get your money's worth on a trip to Disney you must be organized! There are lots of sites online to give you tons of helpful information. One of the best I found was All Ears

The more the planning you do before your trip the better time you will have. Remember, it's a vacation so have some fun!

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