Walt Disney World is massive. Also massive is the amount of information available from books, websites, apps, and even your friends and family. If you want information on planning your Walt Disney World vacation, you certainly have several places to find it, but you want to avoid over planning. Like under planning, over planning can ruin your vacation.
Here are five tips to overcome over planning.
1. Visit the library
A quick search turned up over 20 pages of books promising to help you plan the best Disney vacation ever. If you set out to buy even half of these books, you would spend hundreds of dollars. What’s more, could you possibly even read every book you decide to purchase? Probably not.
The library is a great place to start when planning your Disney vacation. They’ll probably have some unofficial touring guides, histories, and maybe even some maps, but the best part is they’re free. Yes, these books might be outdated, but although some things change quite frequently at Disney World, there are some things that have remained constant over the years. These books will provide good background information for you to build on later.
2. Realize that there are few absolutes
Beyond books, there are a ton of websites, blogs, forums, pins, and support groups for Disney fans. Some of these are reputable and legitimate; some are not. Here at World of Walt, I strive to provide the most accurate information possible, and I appreciate those of you who are loyal readers.
That being said, many of my articles are based on opinion and my many trips to Disney World. For example, my top 10 desserts or fish and chips locations may be different from yours, and my favorite Epcot attractions may not be your favorite. Nothing is an absolute. The sooner you realize this, the easier your vacation planning will become.
3. Use the information you find as a guide
Continuing from #2, the information you find should only be a guide to your vacation planning. This is YOUR vacation, and you should include things on your itinerary that YOU like. If you don’t like fish and chips, avoid locations that offer primarily fish and chips. If you really like dessert, try them all and even add to the requests you find! Use your MyDisneyExperience app to find suggestions and set your itinerary for things you want to try. Did you know that you can add items to your itinerary even if they don’t require a reservation?
If this is your first visit, follow the suggestions you find. If you’ve visited multiple times, try something different. Above all, avoid activity redundancy- don’t do the same thing every time you visit. Disney World has a lot to offer, and doing the same activities during each visit is a disservice to the variety that Disney offers.
4. Be prepared to read redundantly
With the vast amount of information out there, there is bound to be recurring information. You will likely read the same thing over and over again, but you can avoid this by reading selectively. Look at titles, sub-titles, and headings. If the information seems worth reading, then read the whole article.
If at some point you find that two reputable authors disagree about a certain topic (like whether to stay in a Disney Resort Hotel or at an off-site location), that is the place to dig for more details.
At this point, you should focus your search and consolidate the information you’ve gathered. Which option sounds like it will work best for your family or traveling group? Gather as many details as you can about the topic, then make your decision. You can even set a time-limit! Tell yourself, “I’ll research both sides for one hour.” After that amount of time, make a decision and complete any further research you feel is necessary to decide, say, which on-site hotel is best for you.
After some planning, you’ll likely find some sites that you prefer over others for whatever reason. I certainly hope that World of Walt will be in your top choices! Once you’ve decided on those sources, follow them consistently since they rarely have redundant information; in other words, you’ll get a good variety from the same author or authors.
During and after your vacation, it’s important to reflect and debrief. I like to do this after each day then again after the vacation is over.
Ask yourself, “What worked well?” Did having a water bottle save you money? Did eating an early quick-service lunch allow you to get a table? Did that afternoon snack allow you to avoid the crowds at dinnertime? If these dining options or any other strategies worked well for you, do them again!
Then honestly reflect on failures and set a plan for the next day or the next vacation. Were you exhausted by mid-afternoon? Perhaps you kept going so you didn’t waste valuable park time, and by Wishes, you were too tired to enjoy it or worse, the kids fell asleep! Tomorrow, try taking a mid-day break for a nap or relaxing by the pool. Did you schedule a table-service meal, and your little ones didn’t even eat half of their food? Maybe quick-service is a better option for you, or try sharing a meal!
These debriefings can be immensely helpful for planning future vacations. Learning from your mistakes and capitalizing on your successes can save you time, money, and frustration later on.