Friday, May 02, 2008

Destination Disney -- Planning Your Trip

Thanks to all of you who participated in the first week of the carnival. People linked up throughout the week, so you might want to go back and read some of the newer entries.

Now, on to this week--Planning Your Trip to Disney:

Because my weekend trip to Disney was planned to the minute by our wonderful hosts, I didn't do much research at all. I did ask my readers for advice on what I should try to catch in my spare time, but other than heading over to the the Tower of Terror with Amy during the Buzz parade at MGM, I didn't even get to them.

In general, I love the planning part of trips. I like to research hotels, restaurants, and tourist activities. When we take our family trip to Disney World, I think that I will plan out a sort of game plan for each day, as far as which park we'll visit and can't-miss rides and shows.

I know I will definitely use the Walt Disney World Moms Panel website. This group was put together by Disney because although they can provide the same type of information to patrons, anything coming from the corporate office still feels like advertising, and naturally we are all skeptical of that. The Disney World Moms (and one dad) are real people who just love Disney and were lucky enough to be one of the twelve chosen from over 10,000 applicants for this inaugural panel.

Darcie and Kim were at the mixer with us. It was so great to meet them. They enjoyed having 17 sets of ears eager to hear their input. We could literally wonder aloud about something, and they had an answer at the ready. They often knew more right off the top of their heads than the employees who were meeting with us.

Another great site that I've come across (because they've been following our Mommy Blogger Mixer reports) is the DIS Discussion Forum (disboards.com). They all seem very friendly and willing to share their information and love for the happiest place on earth.

One other ting I asked the Disney folk was the least crowded times to go. Obviously it's when kids are in school, specifically September, October, January and February. We were there in April, in the weekend that was the end of my daughter's Spring Break, and the beginning of some Spring Breaks in New York, and the crowds were not unmanageable and the weather was great.

That's the extent of my information, but I'd love to hear from you. Here are some questions to prompt you that you can address in your post (or in the comments if you're not a blogger), but feel free to structure your post any way you'd like:

When do you go and why? How far in advance do you plan? What do you do first? What resources do you use--websites, books, forums? How much thought and detail do you put into your daily itinerary?

This week I do have a PRIZE. I have some special Disney merchandise--a pink travel mug with a bejeweled mirror on it (because your dreams come true) and a pink mousepad with the Disney Moms logo on it. The winner will also be able to pick out something Disney related from amazon.com (under $20)--maybe a new guide or the latest CD or DVD featuring your favorite characters. Here's what you need to do if you want to win:

  • Leave a comment on this post. If you are linking up to a post on your blog (by putting the direct address to the post below), you still need to leave a comment, even as simple as saying you've linked up.
  • If you are not linking to a post, but still want to be entered in the contest, just leave a comment here with one of your planning tips.
  • Be sure to leave a way to contact you. I can leave a comment on your blog or I will send you an email if your email is visible in your blogger profile. Otherwise make sure you include your email address in the comment.
I will announce the winner in next week's Destination Disney. The topic next week is Disney on a budget, so please share all of your thrifty money-saving tips or tricks, discount codes, or even your favorite steal-of-a-deal experience.

15 comments:

oh amanda said...

I don't know if mine was informative as yours! I remember hearing about the Moms Panel when it first started---I was bummed b/c I'd love to be on it! ;)

Thanks for the great prizes! I'd love to win!

Dana said...

I need to check the Moms Panel. by time I found out about it, it was too late to try and "apply" for it....But I still need to check it out :)

I just love the DIS Boards!!! I listed them as well.

Katrina said...

I don't have anything to share, unfortunately. Both times that we went to Disney World were rather spontaneous and not planned in advance at all. We just kind of showed up. :) But I'm looking forward to all the tips (and appreciate yours as well), because I would like to plan a wonderful trip for us when Logan's a little older.

Lauren@Baseballs&Bows said...

Thanks for hosting Jennifer. Being on the Mom's Panel would be such a dream job. I enjoy reading their site. How neat that you got to meet some of them!

Julie said...

Hi Jennifer, thanks for hosting this. It's been lots of fun for me. I applied to the Mom's panel but didn't make it, bummer. But they sent me some package and said I was a "Mickey Mom" and part of the Mickey Moms Club. My kids were impressed lol. I would love that pink drink cup...in a houseful of boys I don't get to see much pink lol! Hope you have a great weekend.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

I'll be linking up in a bit!

Steph

ReviewsbyHeidi said...

Like Julie (above), I applied for the Disney Mom's panel also. What a fun job that would be! I got that fun packet of stuff in the mail and enjoy my mousepad (though I use it for a coaster! LOL) and the fun sticker on my van!
You've got a fun prize package to giveaway~ hope I win! (wink!)

(You can reach me via my blog~ http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/Reviewsbyheidi)

Tonya said...

I love the DisBoards and I am a huge fan of the DisUnplugged podcast. My best piece of advice is to listen and learn from them! I'm still so excited about your carnival and love reading everyone else's experiences. Thanks!

goldeelox9 said...

What a fun game...I am in an linking to you as I type!

Richelle said...

I've only ever been to DisneyLAND, and since I have been there a lot, I know the best rides and the best things to see. And I never went there with a child (outside of my belly, at least). But this summer we are going to Disney World with my 2 year old. I am going to visit the Disney Panel to make sure we find the essential things to see, and how to survive with a 2 year old!

Kristenc said...

the fun continues... I linked my addition to the carnival. Thanks for keeping this up!

Carol said...

You're killing me here! I so wanna go!

Brumbemom said...

Hello, I just happened upon your blog. I'm not sure what a carnival is and I would definitely like to know about the Disney Mom's Panel.
We have always been HUGE fans of the "Mouse". So much so, that in 2006 my husband decided that he wanted to become a cast member, so we sold our house and moved down there. He started out working at the Yacht and Beach Club, but eventually ended up becoming a Fishing Coordinator at Fort Wilderness. Unfortunatley they don't really pay enough to afford the lifestyle that living down there requires, so we had to leave and get a "real job". But we were so grateful for the times we had practically living at Disney. I will always be so thankful for all the experiences.

Sabrina said...

We plan our trip like crazy, using the Disboards, Mousesavers, and the Unofficial guide to DisneyWorld books. In fact, we get asked by so many people at work for any tips and advice, that we put together out own blog to help people plan their trips to DisneyWorld. It can be found here: http://mousemadeeasy.blogspot.com. (This blog is a portal to other relevant sites and contains information such as the best times to go, height requirements of rides, tips for flying/driving, etc, and all of the information here is free, we're not asking for anything in return. We created this because we love Disney!)

So far we've gone to Disney every year for about 3 years straight and all of the planning ahead of time definitely pays off.

The only real tip I'd give is that you need to start thinking about your Disneyworld vacation at least 6 months ahead of time. Especially if you're dining onsite. That's how far ahead you might have to book as Dining fills up fast.

Also, the best times to go are Jan - Feb and we like going in September as Disney offers free Dining for people who stay onsite. The free dining in the past has saved us over $1000. And it's Free. However, dining does take up a lot more time. Since you're talking about Budget next week, I'll save that for then :)

The Unofficial Guide to Disney World provides an awesome guide to each theme park to help you to avoid crowds. For instance, we know that in Magic Kingdom, the first rides we're going to run to are Dumbo and Ariels Grotto, followed by Winnie the Pooh, all while getting a fast pass to Peter Pan. It's a great book as it also indicates which rides are appropriate for the age of your child.

Anyway, hope this helps :)

Well Behaved Krissy said...

We PLAN PLAN PLAN baby! I've actually set up an entire blog just devoted to this. You can check it out at

www.tipsfromthedisneydiva.blogspot.com