Disney Vacation Step 8: Countdown to the Trip

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Now that you have spent the first 7 steps planning your vacation, it is time to start counting down! The planning and countdown are what keeps us entertained between vacations. Really the countdown is as important as the trip itself!

Why Count Down?

The countdown to a trip is important for 3 reasons:

  1. Building Excitement
  2. Preparing the Family
  3. Extending the Vacation


Countdown To Build Excitement

I think building excitement helps to get your whole family on the same page. You may have members of your party who aren’t really excited to go to Disney. Maybe they think Disney is only for little kids or its only rides and they don’t care for those. When you count down, you can highlight the areas the areas that will most excite your family. If Dad doesn’t care for Disney, you can highlight the on-property golf courses or if you have a teenager who thinks its boring, you can point out the more thrilling rides or Star Wars experiences. The wonderful thing about Disney is that there is something for everyone! By showing your family the parts that will mean the most to them, everyone will be excited and on the same page.


Countdown To Prepare the Family

Closely related to building excitement is preparing your family for the trip itself. I would probably say the biggest enemy of a Disney vacation is unrealistic expectations. We’ve all the seen the picture-perfect commercials of families enjoying rides and meeting characters in a near empty park with perfect weather! Although these ads are magical, they aren’t exactly reality. The truth is Disney is a magical place, but not a perfect one. It is important to understand lines can be long, people will be rude, and the weather can be unpredictable. None of these things should ruin your vacation, but they can if you let them.


Come up with some games to play together in lines, pack plenty of snacks, and dress appropriately for a tropical climate. My friend Keri over at Flip Flop Weekend has a great post on staying cool at Walt Disney World. For entertainment, I suggest picking up a Hidden Mickey book like this one to help you search for all the little details the Imagineers have hidden for you. If a future step, I’ll talk more about what to do when things do go wrong, but for now planning ahead will prevent the most problems making it the best solution.


Touring Plan

Finally, I like to prepare my family by showing them the touring plan that I made back in Step 5. Before I made it I got all their opinions and now that it’s finished I want to show them that I listened to what they had to say. For my day job, I work with people anywhere from newborns to 90 year-olds, and one thing I’ve learned is that people are always happier when they know what to expect. A plan gives security.



Especially if I have a child who is scared to go on a certain ride, I like to show them a YouTube video so they know what to expect. It also helps me to gauge their true fear level. If they cry during a video of the Haunted Mansion, I’m not going to take them on the real thing. On the other hand, they may see what the ride is really like and be willing to give it a try.



Lastly, I want to talk about being overprepared. I know this is an 11 part series on being prepared for Walt Disney World, but I wasn’t to caution you from looking up videos on every single ride and show. If your concerned about how rough or scary a ride is, sure look it up, but leave some things a mystery. It preserves the wonder and magic which is what makes Disney special.

My biggest mistake on our first Disney vacation was overpacking! Find out how to avoid this and other mistakes when packing for Disney!

Countdown To Extend the Vacation

The last reason to count down to a Disney is to extend your vacation. We’ve gotten to point where we start counting down to the next trip as soon as the last one has ended. This is a great time to catch up on the latest movies, make Disney recipes, and sing along to the Disney classic at the top of your lungs while driving. Get in the spirit and you’ll feel relaxed before you ever get on the plane.

If you need some ideas for countdown activities, head over to my post “7 Thing to Do Before Your Next Disney Trip”. Better yet, download my free Countdown To Disney Pack for 4 weeks of ready-to-go activities. Enjoy the weeks before your vacation! By now you’re probably getting close to your departure date, and it’s time to start thinking about what you’re going to pack. I’ll be covering that in Step 9.


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