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Thread: That's My Opinion: The Seven Cardinal Virtues of Disney Vacation Planning

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    That's My Opinion: The Seven Cardinal Virtues of Disney Vacation Planning

    The Seven Cardinal Virtues of Disney Vacation Planning by Steve Russo

    Last month we reviewed the Seven Deadly Sins of Disney Vacation Planning. This month, let's look at how to do it right.

    Read it here!


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  3. #2

    The exaggeration is the implied comparison to Manhattan. Despite the square miles of the WDW Resort with its 4 parks, 2 water parks, shopping, etc, it is largely surrounded by swampland (empty space). You make it seem like a person should see it all if it wasn't consider delusional. Actually, the Disney fan is encouraged to see it all if given the right amount of time like 10 days. I was surely sold on this in the past when it was possible when it had only two parks and NOT four today. Even so, is it so difficult? You can buy a 10 day park pass that gives you at least 2 days at each park. You will surely be bored to spend two full days each at Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, which are both half day parks.

    Why would you want to see the 30 resorts and many restaurants and shopping? Again, implied that you should visit them when in reality, it is not necessary to visit every single spot. There are those McDonald's and Starbucks fans that visit every single location. That isn't what should be done on vacation.

    Real Tip #1, Set realistic expectations - Just 4 Parks (or just do the ones you like).


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    Registered User srusso100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo996 View Post
    The exaggeration is the implied comparison to Manhattan. Despite the square miles of the WDW Resort with its 4 parks, 2 water parks, shopping, etc, it is largely surrounded by swampland (empty space). You make it seem like a person should see it all if it wasn't consider delusional. Actually, the Disney fan is encouraged to see it all if given the right amount of time like 10 days. I was surely sold on this in the past when it was possible when it had only two parks and NOT four today. Even so, is it so difficult? You can buy a 10 day park pass that gives you at least 2 days at each park. You will surely be bored to spend two full days each at Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, which are both half day parks.

    Why would you want to see the 30 resorts and many restaurants and shopping? Again, implied that you should visit them when in reality, it is not necessary to visit every single spot. There are those McDonald's and Starbucks fans that visit every single location. That isn't what should be done on vacation.

    Real Tip #1, Set realistic expectations - Just 4 Parks (or just do the ones you like).
    Well, one doesn't visit Manhattan attempting to visit every resort, hotel, restaurant, tourist location, etc. I don't think it is an exaggeration to compare the two. As you say, a large chunk of WDW is empty space but a good portion of it must be traversed when traveling to and from locations. Many folks aren't prepared for that and a 15-20 minute car or bus ride is surprising to them.

    I disagree with Animal Kingdom and the Studios being 1/2 day parks but that's a debate unto itself.

    I don't think I wrote that anyone would want to visit all "30 resorts and many restaurants and shopping" but it's realistic to believe many will visit all 4 theme parks, several resorts and restaurants, and Downtown Disney. Even at 10 days, that's a large task. That's the point I was attempting to make.
    Steve

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by srusso100 View Post
    Well, one doesn't visit Manhattan attempting to visit every resort, hotel, restaurant, tourist location, etc. I don't think it is an exaggeration to compare the two. As you say, a large chunk of WDW is empty space but a good portion of it must be traversed when traveling to and from locations. Many folks aren't prepared for that and a 15-20 minute car or bus ride is surprising to them.
    The comparison is based on space as it implies it makes a difference when the two places don't have the same density. The 15-20 minutes ride is mostly on wait time, not traveling time, and it sometimes it takes longer from bigger crowds. This is a negative when Disney designs their parks so far apart when the idea, I suppose, is to get away from the real world. The real world of crowds and traffic has never gone away.

    I don't think I wrote that anyone would want to visit all "30 resorts and many restaurants and shopping" but it's realistic to believe many will visit all 4 theme parks, several resorts and restaurants, and Downtown Disney. Even at 10 days, that's a large task. That's the point I was attempting to make.
    I didn't say you said this, but Disney does market its offerings and many fan planning sites (not necessarily you) have touted visiting many places within WDW. The fact that this information filtered down to so many tourists suggests the messaging worked. It also worked on me, which I regretted my mega vacation that costed me a bundle and I ended up feeling a bit fleeced.

    People should be encouraged to focus on the 4 parks. That's the reason for visiting. The restaurants, stores, and resorts are the side shows. Missing them will not ruin your vacation. They can add to your vacation, but only if you're discerning and really want to visit them instead of something less suitable.

  6. #5

    Steve, I'm constantly amazed at how much your style and mine line up. I especially like the advice about daypart planning, and not going overboard. There's another website with an area for posting personal itineraries, and then getting comment from others about which ride to do first, why the Peoplemover works better in the afternoon, etc. Some people enjoy this type of detail in their plans (or the scrutinizing of other people's plans!). But I do much better if I plan that on this day I'm going to the MK in the morning, Epcot at night, where I'm eating, and not much else. If I had to get into specific riding of attractions in a specific order I think I'd go nuts!

    Oh, and the comparison of WDW to Manhattan has been a pretty standard one for years. Everyone knows that Manhattan is far more dense than the World, but it's important for people to understand the size of the place - especially those who grew up with DisneyLAND and its compact layout.

    Dan

    The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
    - James Taylor

  7. #6
    Registered User srusso100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danyoung View Post
    Steve, I'm constantly amazed at how much your style and mine line up. I especially like the advice about daypart planning, and not going overboard. There's another website with an area for posting personal itineraries, and then getting comment from others about which ride to do first, why the Peoplemover works better in the afternoon, etc. Some people enjoy this type of detail in their plans (or the scrutinizing of other people's plans!). But I do much better if I plan that on this day I'm going to the MK in the morning, Epcot at night, where I'm eating, and not much else. If I had to get into specific riding of attractions in a specific order I think I'd go nuts!

    Oh, and the comparison of WDW to Manhattan has been a pretty standard one for years. Everyone knows that Manhattan is far more dense than the World, but it's important for people to understand the size of the place - especially those who grew up with DisneyLAND and its compact layout.
    Great minds, Dan, great minds ;-)

    Regarding the Manhattan analogy... I have a section of my book (another shameless plug) where I compare the options for travel around Manhattan to moving around Disney World. They're not that different, in my opinion of course. If you're in Manhattan and need to get from Wall Street to the upper East side, you have numerous options including taxi, bus and/or train - and usually some walking. Now think about having to get to the Wilderness Lodge from All Stars Sports... or...
    Steve

  8. #7

    Absolutely! Remember it's a vacation. You, your family/friends are there to have fun and unwind from the stress of everyday life. Yes, there will be bumps in the road and things will go wrong but as you said learn to 'go with it'. Back in 2010 we ended up with 45 (yes, forty-five) fast passes because of changes in our vacation plans, (it's a very long story )but one that has a great ending! Any how I believe that by only experiencing the parks you miss out on so much of what WDW has to offer. Some of our most magical moments have happened while doing activities outside of the parks. My boys love, love, LOVE, Sammy Duvall's and a trip to WDW for them includes many hours on Bay Lake parasailing, jet skiing and tubing. In fact it was part of the reason we joined DVC at BLT. I know from reading trip reports on this site that some even go to WDW when their park passes are blacked out to enjoy the resort hotels and restaurants. So tour the parks but take a few moments to slow down, relax , and explore everything else there is to do on your vacation at WDW.
    Thanks Steve for all the good words about MDE. Our DVC window opens in a few weeks and I can't wait to try it. As always we look forward to and enjoy your articles every month!


    Gail


  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by baylakebeliever View Post
    Absolutely! Remember it's a vacation. You, your family/friends are there to have fun and unwind from the stress of everyday life. Yes, there will be bumps in the road and things will go wrong but as you said learn to 'go with it'. Back in 2010 we ended up with 45 (yes, forty-five) fast passes because of changes in our vacation plans, (it's a very long story )but one that has a great ending! Any how I believe that by only experiencing the parks you miss out on so much of what WDW has to offer. Some of our most magical moments have happened while doing activities outside of the parks. My boys love, love, LOVE, Sammy Duvall's and a trip to WDW for them includes many hours on Bay Lake parasailing, jet skiing and tubing. In fact it was part of the reason we joined DVC at BLT. I know from reading trip reports on this site that some even go to WDW when their park passes are blacked out to enjoy the resort hotels and restaurants. So tour the parks but take a few moments to slow down, relax , and explore everything else there is to do on your vacation at WDW.
    Thanks Steve for all the good words about MDE. Our DVC window opens in a few weeks and I can't wait to try it. As always we look forward to and enjoy your articles every month!


    Gail
    Thanks, Gail.
    Steve

  10. #9

    A caveat to #4... don't marry the plan. You may decide that you are spending a day at Epcot. You go to Epcot and realize that your family is really enjoying EPCOT more than you anticipated for and you don't get everything done there that you want to do. Have a conversation with all members of the family/traveling party and decide if you want to return to EPCOT even though the plan doesn't call for it, and if so what do you want to give up instead?

    That way everyone has ownership of the trip and nobody can complain later that they didn't get to do what they wanted to. You can always use it as a promise for the next vacation that the thing that was missed will be first on the list.

    #8 The party doesn't have to stay together. If there are some attractions that are not appropriate or appealing to a subset of your traveling party, plan on seperating. It doesn't make sense for Dad and Son to be sitting outside the bibbi-bobbi-boutique while Mom and Daughter get makeovers, especially if there is something else they want to do. Everyone will have more fun, there will be less guilt, and you can all share experiences later.

    #9 (or maybe 1B) Know who is allowed on what ride, especially when there are kids involved. Don't hype up Space Mountain, only to find out that your child is two inches two short to ride it. The child who has been wanting to go on space mountain for months and months and months and months will be crushed.

    10. Think about the cost of everything ahead of time. While Disney is a great value in terms of cost (many things that would cost more, such as transportation are built into your package) there's still a lot of cost involved. So many great restaurants, fun and unique souveniers, extra experiences, etc are also there at Disney. Set budgets for how much you are willing to spend on meals, on souveneirs, etc. and stick to it. Menus with prices are available for restaurants for example. Maybe it means you won't be able to eat at all of the restaurants you want, but at least you'll be able to afford the vacation at the end of the day... Better to have a wish list for next time than a big credit card bill that prevents a future visit...


  11. #10

    steve, steve, steve, I see you did not take my advice about prefacing your blog SO AS NOT TO OFFEND JIMBO996 . ANY CHANCE TO SEE YOU @ ROSE & CROWN MID SEPT ???


  12. #11
    Registered User srusso100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by relaaxedwheniamthere View Post
    steve, steve, steve, I see you did not take my advice about prefacing your blog SO AS NOT TO OFFEND JIMBO996 . ANY CHANCE TO SEE YOU @ ROSE & CROWN MID SEPT ???
    Sorry... I won't be at the Rose and Crown until late October.
    Steve

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