Planning in advance...
This week we will spend a few minutes on those people who plan a trip to Disney maybe one year out, and how their Travel Professional helps.
Disney really LOVES this type of planner. They have a preset built in set of deadlines that keeps you busy for almost the entire year. There are time lines for your dining reservations, your Fast Pass Plus reservations, your paid in full time lines, and your online check in time lines.
Some of these are set in stone, while others depend on where you are staying for your vacation.
So, let’s take a typical family booking a year in advance and staying on site in one of the Disney resorts. What should they expect after they book with a Travel Professional? While keeping in mind there really is no “Typical” family!
After you book a Disney Family vacation with me you will get a confirmation showing how much your credit card was charged, showing that Disney was indeed who received the money. Whether it was paid in full, or if you only paid a deposit, it will show the total amount as well as the amount paid. It will also contain your reservation number (which will become important soon) as well as exactly what your package contains. It will show the names of your travel party as well as ages of those under 18. The first thing you should do is to verify all that information…because sometimes letters can inadvertently become transposed, and correcting the misinformation is easily changed at this point.
At this time we will set up a My Disney Experience account for you (MDE). This will eventually contain all your important information directly from Disney. This is where your dining reservations will be made as well as all your Fast Passes. But for now, we want to get your reservation into it.
The actual account will be made by you. Disney now asks questions that only you can answer in order to set up the account. At this time we should use a generic password. Once your trip gets closer, you can change the password… but during the planning phase if you want me to help with the planning it has to be accessible to me.
Now, you have a booked reservation and a MDE account. Now what? We have a YEAR until we travel. How do I keep my family engaged? How do I build the excitement? How do I get ready? I can give you a few hints.
To keep my family engaged, we have a Disney Trivia contest. If we are leaving for Disney on a Saturday, every Saturday morning we have a Trivia day. On Saturday mornings I send out a Disney Trivia question. The first person to answer correctly gets two points, and each person after that gets one point for a correct answer. I included all the teens and adults. The prize was a $25 Disney gift certificate the week before we left. My family is VERY competitive so it worked great for us.
Some other things we have done are to have dinner and a movie…trying to tie in the menu with the Disney movie we chose for that week. We have also had Mickey shaped Waffles to count down the weeks. I have found that counting the weeks works better for us than counting the days.
Once we are within a 30 day countdown we like to count down the days. We’ve had various countdown calendars, some containing a particular Disney chore for that day, and others just simple rings to pull off a paper chain.
It doesn’t matter what method you use, but the idea is to keep your family engaged.
From here on out, you will get a series of emails from me reminding you that a timeline is about to come to a point where decisions need to be made. This will include your Dining Reservations, you Fast Pass Plus selections need to be made and your vacation needs to be paid in full. With your responses to these emails I will be able to make the reservations and selections at the appropriate time. (Which is zero dark thirty!)
After these are made, I’ll be putting together an itinerary for your family and sending it via email approximately two weeks before you travel. This can be as complex or as simple as you want. Along the way I’ll be letting you know when there is something specific that you need to complete, as well as keeping you in the loop to the many, many changes that Disney likes to make. Including keeping an eye out for new discounts and promotions that Disney may make along the way, to see if your trip qualifies.
My job is to do all the behind the scenes stuff so that your family vacation is as smooth as possible. I do as much (or as little) of the planning as you want so it can be YOUR perfect vacation. I have loads of hints and tips that I give to my clients so they can do the planning with minimal stress.
Because, after all, that is what a Family Vacation is all about. Stress Free fun with your family!
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Most of the content is written by people at JMorris Travel. Every once in a while we will have a guest blogger, usually it is part of our 'family'.Always with a nod to Family Travel!