…I MUST be planning for a Disney vacation!!
To be honest, I typically don’t know what we are going to eat for dinner until 2 hours before the food is to be set out on the table, but for Disney I’ve got to get my game face on NOW (actually I got my game face on about 3 months ago, but I’m only getting around to blogging today). This is no laughing matter… this is organization and planning at it’s finest… I have a strategic plan to optimize our fun-o-meter, strategically time our meals, maximize our “cool-zone” time, and to minimize our costs.
The first step was to research, research, research. I’ve been up to my eyeballs in Everything Disney for about 3 months now. I’ve compared hotel prices, amenities, travel times to parks, food options, age appropriate rides, weather forecasts, crowd predictors, (*deep breath*), iPod apps, flight prices, flight times, transportation options, etc, etc, etc.
After setting up a Disney account online, and spending hours and hours and HOURS researching, my hard work paid off with a coveted PIN# from Disney. This gave me access to discounted hotel prices which are specifically applicable to the timeframe we are planning on traveling. (Note: I’ve been told these are discounts that are eventually offered to the public, but I get first dibs. Try googling how to get a PIN#… there are many theories out there)
My next task was to determine if it’s more economical to pay for a Disney Dining Plan, or to pay-as-we-go. I literally printed out dining menus for countless restaurants and priced a typical meal for my family, then compared the grand total to the cost of the dining plan. I’ve been told that the Dining Plan can be a bit of a pain to keep track of, but considering I already know EXACTLY where I wanted to eat 7 months in advance, I figured I wouldn’t have too much of an issue. Most sit down restaurants required advance reservations anyways, so it’s not much more of an effort to pinpoint the quick service restaurants too… all I had to do was determine what park I wanted to go to on a particular day, which rides I wanted to take the kids on, and what restaurants would be nearby around lunchtime. Simple, no?
My Disney excel spreadsheet identifies my hotel & restaurant reservation confirmation numbers, a breakdown of costs, park tourist traffic information, best modes of transportation with estimated travel times, preliminary itineraries, restaurant menus, rides with long exposure to air-conditioning so we can get a reprieve from the summer heat, parade & event schedules, park maps, and so much more…. oh there is so much more!
The sheer amount of information kind of makes me feel like this:
Your Disney vacation plan can be as detailed, or as carefree as you wish. Through my planning I have come to the realization that I am borderline OCD. My iPod is already loaded up with apps that tell me the wait time for rides, and where they are located. And I have an app that keeps all my reservations in order… Did you know that I’m currently located 1,714,213 yards from the Dumbo ride… and it’s a 35 minute wait?
I can only hope that all my planning will result in a trip filled with happy memories for my family. I know that no trip goes without a glitch, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that all my planning and contingency planning will help maximize our fun-o-metre.
Now that I have all our hotels and restaurants booked, I can finally take a breather, until the big trip draws closer.
I am super excited to see my kids reactions when they meet all the Disney characters. At 2 & 4-years old, I think they will be at an age where everything will be pure magic for them. I am especially excited to see my daughter’s reaction when she finds out we are having lunch with Cinderella. I think the looks on their faces will make all my efforts worth it!