We are talking about possibly planning a Disney World vacation at the end of the year. The timing feels right considering our girls are all obsessed with Disney Princesses and Mickey & Minnie Mouse. Not to mention, we’d save a pretty penny by going to the parks before the twins turn 3 (while they get in for free).
I have some close friends who are going to Disney this year (so I can learn all the tips and tricks) and I know some folks who went last year. I thought it would be as simple as booking the flights, lodging, and getting tickets to the parks. OH NOOOOOOO!
One of my close friends told me I should book 8 months in advance, and I need to plan all of my meals 6 months in advance if I want to have a “character meal.” If we are unable to attend the booked character meal, you get charged something like $300?! I don’t know where, when or what I want to eat for dinner tonight, let alone how I’ll feel 6 months from now. We need to slow this down.
As I talk to a handful of mom friends about their planning and trip experiences I am feeling majorly overwhelmed. There are whole travel agent careers and websites devoted to planning your Disney Trip! Just reading some stuff on the web is giving me heart palpitations: “Disney World sells more than 160 different kinds of admission tickets… If you’ve got kids under age 10, you’ll probably have about a dozen different ticket options to consider for your family.” What?!?!
My husband and I did a Florida amusement park vacation before we had kids. We showed up and got on as many rides as we could. It was awesome and super easy and simple. Now we have to think of the logistics of traveling with young kids (which was put to the test when we vacationed in San Francisco this spring), but Disney is a whole other level.
The Disney Fast Pass means you can skip lines, but you need to be there at a certain window of time. There are crowd calculators to help you determine the best date and time to plan your rides and attractions too. If anyone understands what it’s like to have a toddler, let alone two toddlers and a four year old… best laid plans and schedules often fly out the window. I cannot guarantee where and when I’ll be half a year in advance, committing to an exact location for a specific window of time is ridiculous for my family and just doesn’t jive with our lifestyle.
After talking to my uber-planning girlfriend, I told her I discussed the trip with my husband and we could not plan something akin to what she’s scheduling. She said I am just more free-spirited than her. I guess so.
Our approach to just about anything is plan as best we can, but then we have to roll with what happens. We have taken this laid back approach to just about everything in our lives since the universe gave us identical twins. Our surprise twin pregnancy was the ultimate example of “Wanna see G-D laugh? Make plans” becoming reality. Now we make plans and go on trips and family vacations at least once a year, but we also know things change and we must be flexible. Applying this mentality to a Disney World vacation means we’ll get our tickets and we’ll decide what we want to do and see and if timing works out, awesome. If not, we’ll still have a good time. We’re there to experience the magic of the park as a family, not try our hardest to squeeze every last drop of fun out of the incredibly high expense of being there.
I hear a lot about character meals. Aren’t the characters in the park too? We’re not there just to have a meal with Belle or Ariel. If timing works out to get a character meal for breakfast or lunch, great… but I am not going to navigate dinner reservations for my adorable little nuggets who turn into loopy Gremlins when the sun goes down. I just cannot get on board. I planned less for my wedding than I would a Disney vacation! So I’m going to say no thanks to over-planning. I know I am an oxymoron because I spend a good deal of time planning my grocery shopping and meals for a 2-week menu, but I’m just going to pass on this.
Disney World, if we are coming, I’m sorry it’ll be kind of unannounced.