Planning a successful Walt Disney World trip can be done by anyone. It does take some work, though. My best advice is to get a travel planner specializing in Disney destinations. A good travel planner will work with you and let you plan as much or as little as you like.
I feel that I need to define “successful” and what it means to me in terms of Walt Disney World. I define successful as experiencing the magic of Walt Disney World, enjoying your time with your traveling party, and keeping the stress to a minimum. I feel the need to point out that this doesn’t always happen, but I still have the memories, good and bad, and that is what makes these trips worthwhile.
I have two friends who experienced totally different trips. Both posted a question on Facebook, about one month before their trips, to which I replied.
Friend 1 posed this question: “Does anyone have any discounts for Disney tickets that can be used next month?” I replied, “Disney usually doesn’t discount tickets unless they are part of a package, but there are some third-party sites that are reputable. Stay clear of eBay and Craigslist.”
I never heard a response, which is fine. I did see pictures a month later with smiling faces, looking like they are having fun. Yay! Then a couple days later, I see this friend share the John Crist video of Every Parent in Disney, which by the way, is hilarious. Friend 1 captioned it with “Once in a lifetime is all I need. I wasn’t impressed with the most magical place.”
I understand that Disney isn’t for everyone, but I feel that this trip suffered from lack of planning. And I don’t mean making Advanced Dining Reservations and selecting Fast Passes, but just research in general. I have never gone on a trip to a new destination without researching things to do and trying to find tips and tricks to maximize my experience. You can absolutely have a wonderful and magical experience at Disney, even planning to go at the last minute, but it is essential that you know what to expect!
Friend 2 posed this question: “Okay Disney Peeps, if you’re staying at a non-Disney hotel, is it worth it to buy the MagicBands or just use the cards they sent?” Of course, my reply was, “Yes!” We started a little conversation, and she had lots of questions, like “What are Fast Passes?” We talked back and forth for several days, discussing her trip. I referred her to my favorite websites, so she could do some of her own research, and gave her some tips to try that worked for me.
She took the time to do her own research, both on the internet and by asking questions of her friends that have went to Walt Disney World. She also took the time to make matching t-shirts and MagicBand decorations, which makes any trip better, in my opinion! She told me they had an awesome time and hope to go back. She has also agreed to do a trip report interview with me, which will be coming soon!
In the end, it doesn’t matter if you stay on-site or off-site, go one day or seven, eat at the hard-to-reserve restaurants, or even get MagicBands. You can have a magical experience with or without any of those, but it is necessary to do the research and know what to expect. And knowing is half the battle to a planning a successful Disney trip, kids.