Without a doubt, there’s something to be said for spontaneity. I fantasize about making reservations at Disney a week or month in advance and showing up without a care in the world, without attempting to book those FastPass+ options or dining experiences. Maybe someday. Maybe when the kids are older. Maybe when we have more disposable income. Maybe if we’re ever able to make multiple trips to Walt Disney World each year. Maybe, maybe, maybe, but for now- that’s just not who I am or something my family can do. As of right now, we only go every other year.
So why do I plan so far ahead, you ask?
To be honest, I actually take great pleasure in planning things WAY in advance. I enjoy counting down from the day it’s booked until the day we arrive as the excitement and anticipation builds and grows with each passing day. Planning and being prepared for our trip are half of the fun for me. Spreadsheets make my heart beat a little faster and I get a little thrill from comparing crowd calendars and watching all the little individual pieces fall into place.
If you fail to plan more than 6 months in advance, you run the risk of missing out on some fantastic hard-to-get dining options. If you plan less than 60 days ahead, you might have to wait in the standby line for this year’s hottest rides (literally and figuratively). So yes, I’m a super dork when it comes to Disney, but it works for us and it pays off big time during our trip. With all that being said, I should add that there’s still plenty of room for flexibility or to change your mind on certain things once you get there. We have swapped planned park days at the last minute every time we’ve gone and it’s always worked out. Still, the fun of figuring it all out is priceless to me. Since I love to plan it so much, I don’t think I’d ever be able to surprise my kids. Now that they are 5 and 6, they really LOVE giving their input and helping decide what we’ll do and when.
Most importantly, and my favorite/most useful reason for planning in advance, is that (as I have mentioned) I’m a mom on a budget. It only takes $200 to reserve your next trip. With a little planning and budgeting, we are always able to pay off our trip ahead of time and come home to NO Disney debt.
The best thing I ever did – before I started writing for The Affordable Mouse – was booking my vacation through a travel agent. You’ve got so much more than a TA when you book through The Affordable Mouse! Insider tips, expert advice and suggestions, fun electronic planning tools and maps, and so much more. It makes that build up even more exciting every time I receive an email that says “just checking in!” or “your trip is right around the corner!” I’m not new to Disney by any means but using a TA is so valuable to me, I would never book Disney without one!
Candice was raised in east Tennessee. While in college, her best friend dragged her to a Walt Disney World College Program recruiting session at the University of Tennessee and the rest is Disney history. In the Fall of 1999, Candice became a quick service food hostess for Sunset Ranch Market and Fantasmic at Disney-MGM Studios – or what is now known as Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While soaking up her time as a cast member, she met Ryan, a neighbor and a fellow college programmer who worked as a custodial host at Epcot. Four years later, Candice moved to the Midwest and married that boy from across the hall. They now live in Greenwood, Indiana with their two little boys. The Disney-loving foursome took their first family trip to The Happiest Place on Earth in 2013 and Candice is eagerly planning their return. Candice also works full-time at a community mental health center and enjoys taking photographs and blogging at Mommy in the Midwest.