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When we think of a Disney vacation, we imagine sunny days filled with laughter, memories, and magic, but not everyone gets that ideal Disney vacation. In fact, my first trip to Disneyland was rocky, to say the least. Today I’m going to share with you the biggest Disney planning mistake I’ve ever made.
The setting for my Disney planning mistake
For our honeymoon, Shaun and I went to California to enjoy some beaches, nice weather, and yes a little Disney. We had 1day park tickets. Our plan was to get there when Disneyland opened, stay till it closed, and eat dinner at the Blue Bayou in between. That was it!
We left our hotel in San Diego 3 hours before the park opened because that how long it should take, but we forgot to factor in Los Angelos traffic. And when everyone is getting to the park at the same time, even parking can take forever. By the time we parked, caught a train, and got through the entrance, the park had been open for some time, and we were off to a late start.
How the day went
The day went well enough, but we spent a good part of it trying to figure out where we were and what to do next. It was just plain overwhelming making decisions on the go while fighting through crowds of people.
The last straw came as we were rushing to our dinner reservation at the Blue Bayou (the restaurant inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride). We hadn’t left enough time to get there because we didn’t know our way around or how long it would take to get through rides.
The moment it all went wrong
So here we are weaving in and out of crowds, holding hands because we were newlyweds when Shaun stops. I ran right into the back of him and kicked the back of his shoe hard! So hard that I broke my baby toenail clean off.
By the time we got to dinner, we were both upset and frustrated, and I was bleeding a good amount. Not exactly the romantic dinner we had anticipated. Over dinner we regrouped and finished off the day alright, but here was our biggest Disney planning mistake– We didn’t!
Our biggest Disney planning mistake
The biggest Disney planning mistake we have made is to show up to a park with absolutely no plan. It doesn’t need to be minute by minute itinerary, but you do need at least a general idea of what you are going to do that day.
Now you may say we just like to wander the park and only ride something if we feel like it. Then that is your plan. You won’t be disappointed if you don’t get to do something. But if you have a list of things you want to do, you will need an order you plan to get it done in.
Why planning works
If we fast forward 5 years, we made our second trip to Disneyland, but this time we had our 2 kids with us. Everything about this trip should have been more complicated, but it wasn’t because we had the biggest Disney planning mistake. We knew where the different lands were and what rides were there. Before we went, I looked up menus so we could choose restaurants that our family enjoyed.
We had a plan of what we would do each day. No, it didn’t all go according to plan, but it was easy to adjust and move on because we were all on the same page to begin with.
Getting started planning
When I talk to people about their Disney vacations, they are usually worried about a couple of things. Did the pack everything they need? Will their kids like the food? Will the weather be nice? My response is, “If you’ve planned a little bit, everything will work out just fine.”
Planning doesn’t need to be difficult or time-consuming. After all, it is a vacation and should be fun. Planning as a family is a great way to get excited about your trip. To get you started, check out this Disney World Vacation Planning Series. It takes you through step by step so you won’t miss a thing.