Now that you have set your dates, decided on a resort, figured out which dining plan and tickets will give you the most bang for your bucks, what can you expect?
That depends on which of the two following general categories you fall into. Are you a planner or a split second decision maker?
If you are a planner, you have realized that Disney is only stress free if you plan in advance. You probably decided on your dates as soon as the kid’s school calendar came out for the following year. You still have close to a year before you leave. Your biggest issue will be keeping your family as excited about Disney as you are!
If you are a split second decision maker, you probably have a great Travel Professional you rely on to make all the plans for you. You truly want to just show up and enjoy. You don’t have a need for the most popular attractions or hardest to find restaurants in order to have a great time!
Neither of these types is a bad way to plan Disney. It depends on your personal style and what you are expecting in your family vacation.
To be honest, our first trip to Disney was planned like this… I decided on Monday and we left on Saturday morning! We stayed off property where it took us an hour and a half to make it to the parks! We barely arrived before lunch each day and only rode those rides that had a short stand by line! We had a blast! Mainly because we didn’t know what we were missing! On our Magic Kingdom day, it was so crowded we never made it past Main Street! (Did I mention it was the week before Easter?) We turned around at the Castle and left for Animal Kingdom! How sad it is to think of what all we missed on that trip!
Had I used the services of a Travel Professional, I would have known a few tricks that would have saved us a ton of time!
So, for the rest of this post, let’s assume you are a split second decision making type of planner. What happens after you book? Your friendly Travel Professional will ask a few MORE questions to see what type of dining you really want. More of a Fast Food type of grab and go, or more relaxed family dining where you can rest and relax? Are you wanting to see characters at dining, or more of a theme style dining? Your Travel Professional will help you set your expectations as to what is still available. (Remember those planner types? They have already set their dining with reservations at the 180 day mark prior to their vacations.)
Then, your Travel Professional will select dining for you from what is available, while making a general decision of what will be your main park each day.
Then, your Travel Professional will do the same for your Fast Pass Plus selections. Now, if you haven’t visited Disney in the past few years, this may not seem like such an important thing. But with the advent of Magic Bands and Fast Pass Plus, it has become more important than ever to have a good plan in place. Rides and attractions used to be walk-ons are now ‘coveted’ Fast Passes!
Again, having a Travel Professional to set your expectations of what your availability is will help you to have a more stress free family vacation. (Because those planner type people have snapped up all the good ones at either the 60 or 30 day mark!)
So, we have your dining reservations made, your Fast Pass selections made, now what? I, as your Travel Professional, will now send you all your information and at least a general touring itinerary to you via email. I’ll walk you through how to make extra Fast Passes (based on availability) after you have used the allotment for that day. We will go over the use of Magical Express, your dining credit allotments (and how to check to make sure you are on track), why it is important to have a copy of your itinerary each day, the Disney transportation system and how best to use it, along with answering any questions you may have.
I, as your Travel Professional will keep on top of all the changes that happen at Disney and keep your plans updated. Most importantly, I will be at the other end of a text or phone call should you run into any problems.
Now, this is where I would normally talk a bit about your Disney Documents. But at the time of this writing, that is still up in the air. Disney is on the verge of joining most other travel suppliers by doing away with paper documents and relying on e documents. It is only a matter of time before they do away with the paper kind, especially since all the info is accessible through your Magic Bands.
So, let’s talk a minute about those Magic Bands. The first thing you need to know is that it takes a couple of weeks to personalize them and then mail them to you. Depending on when you made the last minute decision to visit Disney, you may not have them in your hand when you leave. This is not a problem. They will be waiting for you at the resort when you check in. However, if you did not have time to personalize them, you will more than likely have a set of generic (at this time they are grey) bands waiting for you.
The next thing you need to know is that these bands are your key to happiness! They include your room key, ticket information, credit card information, as well as your Fast Pass Selections and Dining credits and Memory Maker information. They do NOT actually contain the information but a link to it. So, if you are at a ride that has automatic ride pictures, the scanners on the ride can detect you are on the ride and the picture will show up on your account. When you scan your band at the Fast Pass line, the scanner is set to detect your band and allow entrance. When you scan your band at a restaurant, the scanner is set to detect your dining credits. When you purchase an item, the scanner is set to detect that your credit card info is on file and attaches that charge to your room.
OK… now you are starting to see why having a Travel Professional help with your family vacation is such a good idea. Especially when you are a snap decision making type person. Next week, we will talk about those planner types.
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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!