Lysa’s Christmas at Disney World Pre-Trip Report – Episode 17

In this week’s episode, for December 18, 2016, we will be getting a full pre-trip report for Lysa’s upcoming Christmas trips to Disney World as well as taking your listener questions on Disney travel.

Please send any questions about the show to host@mousedreamsblog.com and visit our website, www.MouseDreamsBlog.com for more information. Also, like our Facebook page at Facebook.com/MouseDreamsblog and follow us on Twitter @MouseDreamsBlog.

Finally, thanks to our sponsors and friends at Big Dreams Travel, an Authorized Disney Travel Planner. Visit them at www.bigdreamstravelusa.com to help with your next vacation.

You can submit Disney trip planning questions for us to answer on the show by e-mailing us at podcast@MouseDreamsBlog.com, by tweeting your question to @MouseDreamsBlog on Twitter, or by visiting the listener questions page on our website at www.MouseDreamsBlog.com/podcastquestions. We would love to answer your questions on travel including Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or Disney Cruise Line. Have a great week everyone and thanks for listening!

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Jon’s Summer Disney World Trip – Episode 15

cropped-NEW-Icon-Edit-A.jpgIn this week’s episode, for November 20, 2016, we will be discussing Jon’s most recent summer trip to Disney World.

Please send any questions about the show to host@mousedreamsblog.com and visit our website, www.MouseDreamsBlog.com for more information. Also, like our Facebook page at Facebook.com/MouseDreamsblog and follow us on Twitter @MouseDreamsBlog.

Finally, thanks to our sponsors and friends at Big Dreams Travel, an Authorized Disney Travel Planner. Visit them at www.bigdreamstravelusa.com to help with your next vacation.

You can submit Disney trip planning questions for us to answer on the show by e-mailing us at podcast@MouseDreamsBlog.com, by tweeting your question to @MouseDreamsBlog on Twitter, or by visiting the listener questions page on our website at www.MouseDreamsBlog.com/podcastquestions. We would love to answer your questions on travel including Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or Disney Cruise Line. Have a great week everyone and thanks for listening!

Subscribe to the Podcast:      Podbean       iTunes       RSS Feed

5 Steps to Plan Your Disney World Itinerary

Cinderella CastleOne of the most daunting tasks of planning a Disney vacation is planning your trip itinerary. For this reason we have developed a five step process to help get you started on your itinerary. If you haven’t read our post on Principles of Itinerary Planning or the Nuts and Bolts of a Good Itinerary they are a nice introduction to the Disney itinerary topic if this is your first time planning a Disney vacation. Of course we always recommend using a travel agent like our friends at Big Dreams Travel to help plan your trip as they should always be able to help with your itinerary. Or in the case of Big Dreams Travel they will write a complete itinerary for you if you so desire. This itinerary process may not be the perfect solution in all situations, but it is a great place to start, especially if you are planning your first Disney vacation. Of course, you will need to make some tweaks and adjustments once you get your initial plan on paper (or in most cases a spreadsheet), but this should give you a nice plan to start with. We do recommend keeping these steps in order for the best results.

  1. Arrival Day Should Be Easy – The initial day of any vacation is almost always going to be very tiring due to the travel involved and that a lot of times it started with an early morning. For that reason we always recommend taking it easy after your arrival at Disney World. We think the best thing to do is spend a nice, restful evening getting to know your resort. That way you can turn in to bed early and be well rested for your first full day and rope drop! If you get in early enough that you want to go to Disney Springs for a meal and some shopping that is a good option, we just really recommend turning in early on the arrival day. So when it comes to planning your itinerary we say start with planning how you want to spend that arrival day, and keep it easy!
  2. Decide How Many Rope Drops for Each Park – We find that the next step that helps get the plan off to a good start is to set up your rope drops. Remember our blog post on principles of itinerary planning and how we said for every 2 rope drop days we recommend 1 sleep in and restful morning. So for a 6 day stay we recommend 4 rope drops and 2 sleep in days. With four rope drop days it is pretty easy to say you want one day in each park, but again it depends on your family and what is important to you.
  3. Decide on Nighttime Entertainment – The next step will be to decide on what evenings you want to take in the nighttime entertainment, such as Wishes, the Main Street Electrical Parade, IllumiNations, the Star Wars Fireworks, Rivers of Light, or Fantasmic. Remember we think you should plan these options on nights preceding one of your sleep in mornings. You may also want to spend some time in these parks in the evenings and these are great times to do it because you should have nothing to wake up for in the morning.
  4. Plan Your Rest Time – We spoke of the importance of this in our blog post on principles of itinerary planning and this is the next step you need to complete in your itinerary planning process. Now that you have most of your parks planned each day as well as your nighttime entertainment you need to go through and make sure you have rest periods planned. We recommend the afternoon breaks after a rope drop morning so you can get some rest and relaxation on those days you were up a little earlier. We also think you should have a night or two per week of your trip where you are off during the evening to just enjoy your resort hotel or take in a nice dinner reservation at another resort. Whatever you do, make sure you have rest time planned each and every day of your trip.
  5. Add Dining Plans – Prior to making your itinerary we recommend having a list of table service dining reservations that your family thinks they will enjoy, or if you are veterans, restaurants that you know you love! If you have this list it is easy at this step in the itinerary process to plug those dining reservations into your plan. If you have meals in theme parks you can plug them in for lunch or dinner the days you are in those parks. If you have meals you would like to do in resorts you can plan those for the evenings where you are planning to rest and get to bed early. Bottom line plugging your dining reservations in should be simple now that your itinerary is laid out. If you do need to move one or two things around on the itinerary to make a certain reservation work that is certainly fine to do, just make sure you don’t violate any of the principles we have already discussed when doing it. For some ideas or to view reviews of dining at Disney World visit our Dining Page.

At this point your itinerary should be pretty well laid out. Now, are you going to need to make some minor changes once you make sure you can get all of your dinner reservations, yes, most likely, but it is nothing to worry about. Just keep the principles in your mind and your itinerary will be great!

As always, if you have any questions leave a comment below and we will stop by and do our best to answer them for you.

3 Principles of Disney World Itinerary Planning

Trip Planning Tuesday CastleFor today’s Trip Planning Tuesday article we wanted to get a little more specific on planning a Disney World Itinerary. We think there are three major principles that should be followed when it comes to planning a Disney World Itinerary that is going to be perfect for your family. These are in no particular order of importance and the different principles should support each other as an itinerary is laid out.

1. Rope Drop is Sacred – As we mentioned in our post on the Nuts and Bolts of an Itinerary, one of the most important things you can do is use the first two hours the parks are open as lines will be much shorter than the rest of the day. Rope drop, a fancy term for park opening, is a huge part of this and arriving at rope drop is a principle that should not be taken lightly. You need to be at the park in most cases 30-45 minutes before rope drop so you are in a good position to start your day. Even being just 10 minutes late to rope drop can have a domino effect on the rest of your morning, so arriving in advance is extremely important to getting your day off to the right start. Let me present you with a scenario to illustrate this:

If you are ready for a Magic Kingdom rope drop, the park usually opens about 15 minutes early, so you will be let in around 8:45. You arrive at your first step in the plan, Peter Pan’s Flight, at around 8:50 and walk on the ride. You are done with your ride by 9:00 and headed to your next attraction, Winnie the Pooh. You arrive at Pooh at 9:00 and wait about 5 minutes to ride. By 9:10 you are headed to your next attraction, Under the Sea. You arrive there by 9:20 and ride with a 5 minute wait. So by 9:30 you have done 3 attractions and can continue with your day.

–OR–

Let’s say you arrive at 8:55 with the park already open, just 10 minutes late. The crowds to get through the turnstiles will now be larger, so it will be 9:10 before you arrive at Peter Pan. The line at Peter Pan is now 10-15 minutes, so you are not done until around 9:30. You will not arrive at Winnie the Pooh until 9:35, which also now has at least a 10 minute wait, which means you will arrive at Under the Sea around 9:50 at the earliest. It will have at least a 10 minute wait, meaning you won’t get off the ride until around 10:10.

So you see, arriving just 10 minutes late means just three rides into your day you are going to be 40 minutes behind where you would have been if you could have entered the park on time. This is not only affecting the next ride, but lines are going to be longer at every other ride you want to visit that day. So, be aware of the domino effect that will happen if rope drop is missed.

2. Don’t Follow a Late Night with an Early Morning – Now, all of the talk so far has been about rope drop and getting up early. We are certainly not expecting you to do that every day of your vacation, just on select ones when you want to hit headliner attractions. For every 2 rope drop days you plan we suggest 1 sleep in/restful mornings. The key to this is if you have had a late night for something such as Wishes or Fantasmic! we suggest making the next morning a sleep in day. It can be extra stressful trying to rally the troops to get to rope drop if you didn’t get in bed until midnight the day before. Just avoid that and schedule your sleep in/rest days the mornings after your late nights.

3. Plan Your Rest – One thing you must do is make sure you have planned rest time during your trip. This can be in the form of sleep in/rest mornings or in the form of the TBE touring method. Whatever type of day you are scheduling make sure it has some form of rest scheduled. Getting some rest during your vacation is, in our opinion, the best way to keep people from getting cranky and having meltdowns. You know the meltdowns we speak of! You have been in the parks and seen adults and parents alike have meltdowns, and most likely they are because they have been in the parks for 14 hours a day for the past three days and they just need some rest. So, plan your rest, and you won’t regret it.

If you have any questions on any of these topics please don’t hesitate to let us know and we’d love to help you answer them.