9 Steps To A Stress Free Disney World

Stewey2 May 22, 2010 Travel
Disneyworld is one of those places that should be considered a must see. It is accessible to everybody and has something for everyone. It can be visited on almost any budget and at any age. The best way to enjoy your vacation is to make it as stress free as possible. The way to make it stress free is to plan ahead.

Disneyworld is one of those places that should be considered a must see. It is accessible to everybody and has something for everyone. It can be visited on almost any budget and at any age - although the very young may become overwhelmed. The best way to enjoy your vacation is to make it as stress free as possible. The way to make it stress free is to plan ahead.

1. GET INFORMED! Start by buying a couple books about the park. Read through them, make notes and look at the different options available to you. Look at the attendance trends for the different times of the year and plan your holiday for a LOW attendance time of year. The less people in the parks the shorter the lines for the attractions - including the characters. This means you should be able to see and do everything with a minimum amount of time wasted in line-ups.

*NOTE: Watch for special events - they tend to draw a crowd - unless you plan to attend that event plan around these days. Go to the Disneyworld website for dates.

2. SET YOUR DATE! Decide when you want to go. Consult your book for attendance and weather trends before making your decision. Now figure out how many days you are going to stay. The key here is to not be rushed. Allow yourself at least 1 day per park, 2 days are even better and gives you even more flexibility. A 10 day trip gives you plenty of time to explore the parks to the fullest.

3. WHERE TO STAY! Stay in the park. You could choose to stay in Orlando or somewhere else and drive but the convenience of the park should not be overlooked. There is a themed hotel for every taste and budget. The enmities vary between hotels so read the details closely. Your books should cover the hotels in some detail. You should also go to the Disneyworld web site to compare prices and options in more detail.

4. PRE-BUY! As soon as you have your travel dates and decided where to stay its time to book your trip. Do it early - 10 or 12 months early! The popular hotels and the best rooms book up early. If you are taking the time and spending the money on a major trip then make sure you get what you want and book it early. This also has the added advantage of payment options. You can pay the costs upfront or a little bit every month until the time of your trip.

*NOTE: Purchasing the cancellation insurance may be a good option for you. This way should you not be able to take the trip your money would be refunded. READ THE FINE PRINT before you purchase and make sure you understand what it covers!

5. MEALS! You can pre-buy a meal plan from Disney as well. From the Disneyworld web site you can view the different meal options available. Choose the option that meets your needs. The meal plan allows you a predetermined number of snacks, lunches and dinners. These are loaded onto your Disney Card when you check in (more about the card later). To use your meals you simply present your card when it comes time to pay and the appropriate meal will be removed. Most of the restaurants and kiosks in the parks will accept your diner card although a few restaurants will use two dinner credits for one meal. These are the fancier facilities but if you aren't sure you can ask. In fact make it a point to ask if they accept the plan before you order.

6. TRANSPORTATION! I don't know anyone who doesn't get stressed driving in a strange city or trying to navigate through heavy traffic. Luckily, Disney knows how to move people - so take advantage of it! From the airport Disney has busses that will take you to your hotel and people that will collect and transport your luggage. All you have to do is get off the plane and make your way to the bus. It doesn't get any better than that! To travel from your hotel to the different parks and back, there are more busses. Everything is clearly marked and easy to follow. After a day in the park you'll really appreciate not having to navigate through traffic in your rental vehicle.

7. GIFTS! Some of the Disney hotels give you the option to register a credit card for miscellaneous purchases. This means when you check in to your hotel you leave them your credit card number. They then give you a line of credit on your Disney card. Now when you make a purchase in any of the parks you just present your Disney card and it is charged to your account. When you check out you simply pay your account off. The benefit of this is that you don't have to carry large amounts of cash with you or if you loose the card simply contact your hotel to have it cancelled. Best of all, all the gift stores and restaurants will accept it like a credit card. Another great thing about staying at a Disney hotel is that when you purchase gifts from the different parks you can have them delivered directly to your hotel. You could buy all day and not have to worry about packing your gifts around with you.

8. CHILDREN! Before you spend the money make sure your kids are ready for the trip. I can't imagine anything worse than spending huge amounts of money on a trip then having to deal with cranky children that are scared of the characters, intimidated by the crowds and don't want to eat the food. Or even worse - children that wander off or don't listen particularly well. Personally, I feel the ideal age for children are 8 and up. Only you know what your child is capable of. Ideally you want a child that has great stamina, follows your rules to a T, will eat anything without arguing, is outgoing and is willing to try it all.

9. RIDES! If your child likes rides then consider the height restrictions - again check out the Disneyworld web site or if you have a book with ride restrictions listed, look it up. Nothing is more disappointing than having to tell your child he can't go on a ride because he is too short.

Perhaps the most important factor to remember when ‘doing Disney' is to pace yourself. If you're not a morning person then sleep in. You don't have to be the first one through the gates. If you are staying at a Disney Resort Hotel then each day a different park has ‘extra hours' specifically for resort guests. Check the schedule and plan to tour the park that is open late.

Take your time. Stop and rest on the benches and have an ice cream or watch a parade. Have your picture taken with the characters and go to some of the shows. The parks are big so you don't want to be racing back and forth across them a dozen times. Pick up a map and schedule as you go in the gates and plot a course. Check the lobby of your hotel they have park maps too and don't forget Disney TV packed full of park information and catchy Disney tunes.

If you have children that are getting tired around noon then head back to the hotel for a nap and return in a few hours. Get out of the heat and let everyone regroup for the evening entertainment. Plus you may find the hotel public places less crowded (i.e. the pool or the gift shop) so take advantage of it. This way perhaps the kids will be more willing to stay for the fireworks and a late supper.

The best way to insure a stress free trip is to roll with the punches. If you have specific events booked in advance then make sure and confirm your reservations a day ahead of time. By checking early enough you will have time to remedy any problems. Don't be afraid to change your plans on the fly.

If, despite everything, your vacation starts to feel like more work than fun then its time to fall back, access the situation and ask for help. Talk to your family and find out what they expect and try to compromise. Talk to hotel staff, locals and everyone else from the gardener to the bus driver these people are full of useful information, tips and tricks.

As a last resort remember:

  • major credit cards are accepted almost everywhere
  • children can be bought (candy, gift, cash!) if necessary
  • just ask
  • be courteous
  • smile
  • you can rest when you get home.
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