15 Disney Tips From A Cranky Cynic

My name is Geordon, and my wife is a Disney-a-holic. It's not that I didn't know this when we got married, I just wasn't quite aware of the place it would take in our lives. I was in no way, shape, or form a Disney fan. My parents had taken me once as a teenager and that was quite enough. However - over the 17 years that my wife has dragged me on her annual "pilgrimage" to Walt Disney World, I've come to respect her love for all things Disney and the work she puts into making sure everyone gets the vacation they want. So for all those non-believers out there (or those traveling with them) I'm offering up 15 Disney Tips from a cranky cynic, so that you too can look forward to your Walt Disney World Vacation.

15 Disney Tips From A Cranky Cynic15 Disney Tips From A Cranky Cynic

1 - Schedule your vacation at a time of year that you will enjoy the Florida weather. If heat and humidity is your thing, July or August might be a fine time for you to venture forth. However if jeans and a sweater are what you're most comfortable in, give January or February a try. You can find out what the local weather patterns are from usclimatedata.com.

2 - Nothing makes me crankier than being in a mass of people. Being in shoulder-to-shoulder crowds inching down Main Street U.S.A. to all vie for a spot to watch the fireworks from is not my idea of a good time. Schedule your trip for a less crowded time of year. While Disney is working to try to even out the crowd schedule, there are still some times that you know are going to just be too much. If you hate crowds, don''t go when its crowded! Avoid the two weeks around Christmas and Easter, and whenever kids are out of school.

3 - No matter when you go, there will be lines, and a lot of them at that. Prepare yourself ahead of time with Fastpass+ reservations and something to do while you're all just standing around doing the queue shuffle. I have several games loaded onto my smartphone, but my family really enjoys searching for Hidden Mickeys. Hidden Mickeys are actually pretty cool, and you can pick up 'Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Walt Disney World's Best Kept Secrets' by Steve Barrett to help aid in your search.

A Well Planned Trip Creates The Best Family MemoriesA Well Planned Trip Creates The Best Family Memories

4 - Speaking of lines, complimentary Disney Transportation is awesome. Not only does it save you money on a rental car or limo, but you don't have to worry about having an extra drink at dinner. However, taking the Disney way is not fast. You'll need more time than you think you should to get where you're going, be sure to leave for your destination with at least an hour of travel time.

5 - Carry some Tylenol, a water bottle, and a snack in your day bag. This small survival step with help you if you get a headache, and stave off the "hangry" if anyone goes too long without eating. I swear these three little things have saved lives on our Disney trips.

6 - Cut your travel planner some slack. There is a lot of pressure when it comes to planning a Walt Disney World Vacation, and some reservations have to be made a half a year in advance to be sure you get what you want. If you don't go often, know that you really do need to talk about this trip nine months to a year before you go. Your input will help you enjoy the trip too.

My Camelback Pack Holds The EssentialsMy Camelback Pack Holds The Essentials

7 - 180 Day Advance Dining Reservations sounds crazy. I mean really - who plans where they are going to eat six months in advance? I don't even know what I want for dinner tonight. Well, Disney fans do, and if you don't it means you may not be able to get a reservation at some of the best Disney restaurants on property. A man should not have to live on hot dogs and fries alone, especially since Disney has collected some of the top celebrity chefs from around the globe to consult on their restaurants.

8 - Make sure that when your travel companions start planning this trip that they know what you consider to be a vacation. If you want a round or two of golf, say so; if you want to go drinking, make it clear; if all you desire is to sleep in all morning, they won't know unless you tell them. Open your mouth from the beginning and there's a better chance of you getting your dream trip too.

9 - Planning and taking a Walt Disney World Vacation may very well make you cry every time you reach for your wallet. My advice here is just to suck it up and take comfort that everyone else in the crowd is feeling the pinch too. My wife doesn't tell me how much money we spend on Disney - it's better that way.

Fine Dining Is Always Part of My Disney - CitricosFine Dining Is Always Part of My Disney - Citricos

10 - While in planning mode, you may want to work with a Disney Specialist Travel Agent that will automatically apply any new discounts to your reservations as soon as they are announced. I know folks that have ended up getting a discount of $1000 on their packages, and others that have gotten in on free dining this way. It's one of the best ways I know of to fight that Disney cash crunch.

11 - Relax, this is a vacation and its OK to let it all hang out. No one there knows you - so wear that funny hat and give the main mouse a hug. I know it sounds a little radical, but you can act like a kid while in the Magic Kingdom.

12 - Pick 4-5 restaurants, shows, or attractions for each day and put them on the "can't miss" list. Those few things are your mission objective - everything else is cake, and there will be cake.

This Lobster Roll Was On My Can't Miss ListThis Lobster Roll Was On My Can't Miss List

13 - If you're at your limit and need a break - suggest your next stop be an indoor show. The Carousel of Progress in the Magic Kingdom, and The American Adventure in Epcot are two of my favorite spots. I've been known to use this tactic for 20 minute mid-day "nap time" and the family never catches on until they have to wake me up at the end.

14 - Convince the group that you're traveling with to split up. Everyone has a different opinion on what is a priority at Walt Disney World, let your group split up to enjoy some time on their own and meet up later. Spending some time apart makes sure everyone gets to do their thing, and we all have something to talk about when we meet up later. You'll find me sleeping in while the wife and kids hit rope drop.

15 - Traveling with kids? Insist on a parents night out. Really. Yes it's a family vacation, but when is the last time you and yours connected without the kids around? Disney World has some safe and fun kids clubs, check them in for the night and slip away to do Disney like a Grown-up. Have a 5 star meal, ride all the roller coasters, slip away for a couples treatment at the spa, just spend some time with the one you love and thank me later.

A Parents Night Out Lets the Grown-ups RelaxA Parents Night Out Lets the Grown-ups Relax

Remember - if you don't speak up about what your vacation expectations are ahead of time, there is sure to be plenty to complain about. Make sure your planner knows the things that will be fun for you too, and schedules time for them. Walt Disney World is a great vacation destination because it offers a wide range of activities with something that appeals to just about anyone. Over the years these tips have taken a grump guy's worst nightmare and turned him into a true Disney believer.

oHIo wrote on Sun, 07/31/2016 - 16:01:

oHIo's picture

Great tips!! It took me a while, but my husband now enjoys WDW (almost) as much as I do.

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