We recently returned from Walt Disneyworld. If you’re a friend of mine on Facebook, you know that I’ve been working on a blog post (turned series of blog posts) titled “Why I’ll Never Visit Walt Disneyworld Again”. This my friends is the long awaited start of the series (and my triumphant return to the blogging world).
Some background information about us
Before I begin to detail our vacation there are a few things I think it’s important that you need to know about us, how we vacation, and this trip to fully understand everything that I’m about to word vomit at you.
Let’s start with some important geographical information. My family (myself, E, and A) live in a desert on the western half of the United States. We are about a 6 hour drive from Disneyland (in California) so naturally visit there frequently (E had been to Disneyland 5 times before embarking on our trip to Walt Disneyworld in Florida). I grew up vacationing at Disneyland and have been there more times than I can count (multiple times per year for many, many years). To say that Disneyland and Disneyworld are different is a vast understatement, but we’ll get to that.
E had freshly turned 2.5 on this vacation. This was her 3rd trip by plane, she visited Memphis, TN in June 2012 by plane and we flew back east to Pennsylvania in December 2012 both were longer plane trips, so this wasn’t her first plane trip or time zone adjustment (for what it’s worth this was a 3 hour time adjustment).
Our traveling party included: Myself, A, and E and then my parents (referenced as Mimi and Pop-pop throughout the trip). We were meeting my Aunt and Uncle , three of my cousins, and another one of my Uncles while on the trip.
Some background information about the trip
This trip was my 4th trip to Walt Disneyworld. My first trip was in 2005, in 2006 I returned with my parents and sister, and in 2009 A and I visited Walt Disneyworld for our Honeymoon, so aside from E we had all visited “The World” before.
This trip became a budding of an idea back in September of 2009 when Disney announced they would be expanding Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom. My cousin Sharon (who ended up not attending the trip) and I started instantly dreaming about a magical vacation with her daughter, my Goddaughter, who was 6ish months old at the time. (E was not even in existence at this time to give you a point of reference). At that point it was announced that Fantasyland would be done in early 2013 (it was not, and is not still done in case you’re wondering) so the wheels began turning.
If you do the math, you’ll see that this trip was 4 years in the making. That’s a long time to envision, imagine, and place expectations on a trip – just keep that in mind.
As a side note, A and I had planned on visiting WDW in May of 2011, but ended up cancelling our trip when E was born. So, to say I was excited to finally be going back to Walt Disneyworld is again a gross understatement.
We picked October for a few reasons. First, it’s Food and Wine Festival at EPCOT and I’ve always heard amazing things about this festival. Second, it’s off season (or so we thought). Third, we heard from many people that the weather is usually pretty nice in October (word to the wise, define nice weather with anyone who uses that descriptive). Fourth, we anticipated Fantasyland being beyond done by Fall of 2013. One of these four reasons was actually reality when we arrived in Orlando.
How we vacation
I like spreadsheets, a lot. I’m also a planner. When A & I visit WDW in June 2009 for our honeymoon we had a schedule and a spreadsheet and it worked wonderfully. I have duly noted that this style of vacation doesn’t work as well with a 2.5 year old, but that wasn’t realized until about 36 hours into our trip.
Before we left, we had a spreadsheet that looked like this:
Yep, I am that person. Criticize me all you want, but it’s how I functioned up until now. I will say, and hope that A would agree, that in WDW it’s almost necessary and here’s why:
- We take advantage of the Disney Dining Plan. This means we get (1) Table Service (sit down) restaurant credit per day. Table Service dining reservations in WDW book out 180 days in advance (6 months). And…they BOOK OUT 180 days in advance. So, you’re planning your eating schedule 6 months before you’re actually on vacation and it’s a BIG PLACE, so I like to make sure that I’m not scheduling us for a meal that’s 45 minutes (not including transport delays) away from where we are.
- I’m an OCD freak that likes to know I’m not going to miss anything.
Okay, I think that covers the background of our trip. I hope you’ll stay with me because I promise you, you will not want to miss the ending!