A Week Before Your Walt Disney World Vacation

Friday, May 14, 2010

Countdown = 7 Days 0 Minutes 0 Seconds

If you are anything like me, you start planning and counting down to your next Disney World vacation many weeks or even months prior to the day you depart for Orlando.  However, there’s something special about the last week before your vacation starts.  It’s the realization you are soon to leave your job, everyday stresses, and the daily grind behind and enter a world of fantasy.  You begin to smile, lean back in your chair, and say to yourself “Yeeess, seven more days until our vacation starts!”  What you are beginning to experience is an adrenaline rush.  Soon, your trip to Walt Disney World will begin.

You’ve been planning this trip for months; you’ve made your advanced dining reservations, you’ve figured out what parks to visit on which days to avoid the largest crowds, you’ve even estimated your spending budget for the entire trip.  You’re determined to maximize your Disney World vacation, and planning every detail is critical.  But, now your 7 days away and your plan is about to become a reality. 

Now that your family is officially 7 days away from the start of your Disney vacation how can you harness the excitement.  A good way to do this is by starting an official countdown calendar.  Start by having your children draw a 7-day calendar.  Let them use their imagination.  Every morning when they wake-up allow them to put a Disney sticker on that specific day.  This will signify your family is another day closer to the start of your Disney World vacation.  You’ll be amazed at how excited your children will become knowing you’re another day closer to the magic of Disney World. 

Here is what one of our countdown calendars looked like. 

As you realize you’re 7 days away from leaving home for Disney World you will begin to also realize the 101 things you need to do before you leave.  This would include packing, mowing the lawn, stopping your mail, notifying your neighbors, picking-up any last minute items, cleaning out your refrigerator, etc, etc.  The amount of work that needs to be done before you leave can be overwhelming.  In fact, it can have an adverse affect on your vacation if you’re not careful.  It can mentally and physically tire you out before your vacation even starts.  Make sure to get as much rest and sleep as possible before your Disney vacation starts.  It can make the difference between a successful or aggravating trip.  Consider using a checklist to accomplish everything you need to do prior to leaving.  This way you won’t forget anything.  Plus, you’ll be able to pace yourself without becoming exhausted before you leave. 

Allow me to mention a couple of very good tools I use 7 days prior to our vacation, and even weeks in advance to plan our trip.  These tools will help with your pre-planning and can even be used during your Disney vacation.    

Visiting and reading several of the unofficial Disney website forums can assist in your vacation planning.  These forums give you a great perspective on where to dine, attraction closures and rehabs, transportation options, and much, much more.  Visitors to these website forums are much like you.  They are looking for vacation and theme park information and planning strategies.  Other website visitors are eager to share their information and answer any questions you may have about your upcoming vacation.  Some of my favorite Disney website forums are www.disboards.com, www.studioscentral.com, and www.wdwmagic.com.  These forum websites provide great insight to planning your Disney World vacation. 

Secondly, there are several mobile applications you can install on your phone that will assist you with your Disney vacation before and during your trip.  Be sure to do your research and see which applications will suit your family’s needs and touring strategy.  Two Disney World related applications I use for my IPhone are E-Ticket and Lines.  E-Ticket allows me to store and view my detailed itinerary before and during my trip.  Lines provides me with attraction wait times and fastpass information during my trip so I’m better informed if our family should visit an attraction or avoid it all together.  I also enjoy the free Mouse World Radio app which allows you to listen to Disney World theme park and resort music before, during, and after your vacation right from your IPhone.  

There are several ways to kick-off your Walt Disney World vacation.  I’ve always said the best part of your vacation is when you land at the Orlando airport and you have your entire vacation in front of you.  However, don’t forget about the fun and excitement the week before your vacation starts.  Make the most of your anticipation by including some fun activities along the way.  It can help get your entire family excited a few days early. 

Please feel free to share your 7 day planning and countdown activities in our blog discussion below, or on our Facebook and Twitter pages. 

Next Up:  Hey DVC members, Welcome Home!  Especially on Wednesdays… 

About this column

Aaron DelPrince looks at the various activities you and your family can experience at Walt Disney World


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