Disney Vacation Planning: DeAnna’s Favorite Tips

When scanning my mind for Disney tips to share, I couldn’t help but ponder all the knowledge I’ve gained from my numerous trips to visit The Mouse.  What would I offer that has not already been offered?  You have already been given a wealth of information from our awesome writers here at The Affordable Mouse.  So my main tips, from me to you, are very simple:

  1. HAVE FUN, and

The first time you visit Walt Disney World, it can be an absolute sensory overload for young and old alike.  It is so overwhelming once you pass the turnstiles.  There’s so much to see, where will you even start, what will you do first?  Well, what you should do is take a deep breath and repeat after me……”I will have FUN on this vacation….I will not stress out, or exhibit drill sergeant behavior with my fellow-vacationers”.  This is possible to attain, although it may take some work.

There are several methods for avoiding stress, while still seeing what you want to see.  First of all, before ever leaving home, you can go to Disney’s website and create your own personalized map of each park.  Their website gives a brief definition of each ride, along with height and health restrictions.  You can then choose what “must sees” to add to your map.  This can be discussed ahead of time with everyone – after all, who doesn’t want to talk more about Disney? 🙂

Once you’ve arrived at MickeyLand, at the entrance of each park, you will find Official Map designated areas.  Pick up one of these and you will see all the rides you’ve previously marked, along with pertinent info for parade times, night shows, etc.  After our trip is over, we take these maps home as souvenirs.

Most visitors are anxious to “ride the rides”, after all, that’s a big part of Disney….but it’s not the only part.  Disney prides itself on going above and beyond; making sure no detail is overlooked.  Take some time to see the little things.  Even if you don’t intend to buy anything in a particular gift shop, stroll through just to see the great care Disney has taken in the theme and costumes.  You may even spot something in a particular gift shop not offered anywhere else in “The World”, which will become a must-have for your trip.  If a band walks through playing, stop and listen.

The restaurants, the gift shops, the pastry shops, the candy shops at Magic Kingdom, the walk-thru areas of each country in Epcot, the various shows at Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, even the art displays in Downtown Disney…….know this, EVERYTHING in Disney is part of the experience. No one gave me this information, so for my first 10 or so trips, I rushed through, focusing mainly on attractions/rides.  Don’t make that mistake.  Since slowing down my pace, I have discovered so many awesome things that I couldn’t see anywhere else, and that are now part of my great memories.  I discovered an awesome pastry shop in France, a metal toy display and diving for pearls in Japan, an extensive collection of jade carvings in China, an overgrown alien who plays a keyboard in TomorrowLand’s Cosmic Rays, the most awesome stage shows I’ve ever seen (Beauty & the Beast in Hollywood Studios/The Festival of the Lion King in Animal Kingdom), a cool show that deals almost exclusively in sound (Sounds Dangerous in Hollywood Studios), watched my son draw a picture of Pluto with a Disney artist (Animation Academy at Hollywood Studios), saw some of the most colorful parades and awesome fireworks/laser night shows I’ve ever seen – nothing compares.

So don’t be the one in a hurry to beat the crowds or the traffic, and make your party miss the parade, or the night show, or herd them past every little shop to get to the next ride, slooooow down and enjoy.  You’ll be glad you did.

Ears to ya, DeAnna

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DeAnna, along with her husband and teen-age son, lives in Wiggins, Mississippi, and has a passion for all things Disney. She is always eager to share the knowledge she has gained from her many trips to Walt Disney World, and has helped numerous people in their vacation planning to realize it’s not an unattainable dream. Her must-dos on every trip are Pirates of the Caribbean, Rockin’ Roller Coaster & a stolen moment of quiet with her “Boyz” (as she affectionately calls them) having a pastry from Boulangerie in Epcot World Showcase’s France. Disney is so much a part of her life, that she & her husband were married in front of Cinderella’s Castle, and she says it doesn’t get any more magical than that………

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