We had the opportunity to go on an amazing family vacation in February, to Walt Disney World, in Orlando, Florida. This fun-filled, week-long adventure was a truly magical experience for our family, part of which was due to all the planning and preparation we did before we left. I have many amazing child-hood memories of fun family getaways to Disney World and wanted to create some of these similar memories with my family. Lucky for us we also had our extended family with us for part of our vacation to enjoy the magic with us.
Many people say that Walt Disney World is the most magical place on earth, with a princess-crazed four-year-old and a happy-go-lucky one-and-a-half-year-old, it really was exactly that for our family on our recent vacation.
When I was younger, I can remember my parents sending away for a free planning VHS, where you could see video footage of the resorts and parks to help you decide what resort you wanted to stay at and what restaurants and activities you might want to book for your trip. Sitting down as a family to watch the video was part of the excitement of the planning process, after reservations were complete the countdown to vacation would begin!
As the roles have changed and my husband and I were now the planners for our own Disney vacation I was amazed at all of the resources and planning tools available to help vacationers book their ideal family trip.
My Disney Experience – this Disney website allows you to create your own profile and store your entire itinerary on it, hotel reservations information is stored here, restaurant reservations can be booked and managed here, fastpass reservations (reserving specific ride times for three rides per day) can be booked here, photopass photos can be viewed here, and MANY more functions as well. This is also available as a mobile app, which made it easy and accessible to use when we were on the go and in the parks each day. We could view our schedule, manage reservations and even find certain things on the map using this app. Amazing to think of all of the tools on this app not being available to people traveling to Disney years ago – pretty great to have all this information in one handy location at your fingertips.
Disney Tourist Blog – in the early stages of planning I used this site quite frequently to read reviews on hotels and restaurants. Another neat function on this website is the ability to check out their draft itineraries for a day at the park. This blogger factors in a number of different things, how close certain rides are to each other, what time of day is best to ride certain rides, what rides can’t be missed and other factors too, to determine a user-friendly system to navigate the parks and optimize your ride vs. line time. There are also some great photos on this site – I enjoyed looking at them and sharing them with my family to get excited for our upcoming trip.
Under Cover Tourist Crowd Calendars -there are a few different sites that offer crowd calendars that assess a variety of factors, including: time of year, events happening, statistical information and data from other years, extra magic hours, etc. To determine ideal days to visit Walt Disney World and each of the parks. We used this to plan in advance which parks we would visit each day, it worked out to be a very helpful resource!
Walt Disney World Insiders – Facebook Group – this group has almost 94,000 Disney Fans and they are all happy to give advice and help with any questions you may have. I found just following the conversations and listening to the advice and answers that people were getting to their questions helped me to learn so much, many of the questions I would have never thought to even ask! I also asked the group for my own advice a couple times during the planning process and also when I was at the park. One of the evenings we were trying to figure out the best way to get transportation from our resort to another so I asked who had done it before and whether we should take the Disney bus system or a taxi or uber. It was great to get fast feedback from others that had been in the exact same situation! Even after our vacation is now over, I still enjoy following the conversations and seeing pictures of other people enjoying their Disney World vacations!
These are just a small sample of some of the online blogs, Facebook communities and websites that I found to be very helpful in planning and partaking in a wonderful Walt Disney World vacation. I feel lucky that we had so many resources available to plan such a memorable vacation. My parents came along with us and they commented on the changes in the technologies available and utilized in planning and in your park experience.
Have you been on a Walt Disney World vacation? Did you use blogs or websites and apps to help in your planning? Do you look to travel blogs as a resource when you are considering visiting a certain destination? Are you in any social media communities or groups that are related to travel and travel questions? I’d love to hear your experiences!
Planning a @WaltDisneyWorld vacation? Check out these online resources to help plan your trip! http://bit.ly/2smaP6a
Are you considering a vacation to the most magical place on earth? Check out some of my favourite resources for planning a Walt Disney World vacation http://bit.ly/2smaP6a