When planning your Disney vacation, much of our attention is directed toward the time you will spend in the parks; all your planning and reservations thoughts are rightfully centered around those blissful yet busy days you will enjoy while on-site. However, any seasoned Disney-lover will tell you that planning the days before and after your trip can make your Disney experience all the more worthwhile.
Today we are going to look at a handful of ways you can improve your vacation by taking advantage of a few pre & post-holiday tips to better your experience as a whole.
Pre-Vacation Tip #4: Brush Up On Your Stories
We all have our favorite movies that we know and love, but visiting Disney parks can expose you to a whole new world of characters and attractions that don't have the same magic to them if you aren't familiar with the backstory. Take the time to brush up on a few that might be relevant to the parks you will be visiting. This can be especially helpful for any kids who may not be overly familiar with the older films in particular. Not sure where to begin? Get started here.
Pre-Vacation Tip #3: Get Familiar with Transport Options
With all of the options available, it's super easy to think that you will wait and simply work it out when you get there, but often, as soon as we arrive, we decide to hit the ground running. This is where valuable time can be lost if you don't know the best transport options for each of your destinations. Have a good look at your plans for each day and work out ahead of time specifically how you intend on getting everywhere you need to go. Your nearest exit may be behind you.
Pre-Vacation Tip #2: Start Walking in your Disney Shoes
Deciding on the proper footwear for your Disney days can be a difficult task. Whatever you choose to take with you, make sure they are well broken in before you arrive. Starting those 20,000 step days with brand new shoes is a huge no-no, so get walking. Not only will your feet thank you, but you won't regret the extra training to get you ready for the walking ahead.
Pre-Vacation Tip #1: Don't Be Tempted to Experience Everything Disney Has to Offer Before You Even Get There.
It's a long wait, I get it, but part of the fun in Disney is the surprise and delight that comes when you least expect it. Satisfy your urge to research, by all means, but try not to desensitize yourself to what's ahead of you. Checking out attraction videos and ride-on experiences can be a great way to judge what your family can handle with any younger or more sensitive family members. Still, it can also ruin the experience a little as well. Keep that feeling fresh by not overindulging in other people's documented experiences, if possible.
Post-Vacation Tip #4: Give Yourself a Rest Day
Try not to overlook the time you will need when you come home. It is tempting to book the longest possible trip that you can, without regard for the after-effects. Some of you might be thinking of physical needs, like unpacking and laundry, though don't forget about your emotional needs as well. Leaving Disney for the 'real world' back home can be disheartening, to say the least; jumping back into school and work the next day is enough to make you feel quite sad. Give yourself an extra day when you arrive home to get everything in order and casually unpack your goodies, remembering all the fun you can before being confronted with the harsh reality of your routine. That harsh transition isn't quite as bad if you aren't rushed at the same time.
Post-Vacation Tip #3: Have Something New to Look Forward to
One tradition my family always had was to use the plane ride home to Australia to start planning our next adventure. Now, given the tedious flight back to the southern hemisphere, we had plenty of time to get our new plans kicked off, but it also provided a softer landing when we made it home instead of feeling like the magic we had looked forward to all year was now behind us. Have another destination in the works, Disney or otherwise, something you can put that excitable energy into planning, no matter how far away. It will make the return to work much easier if you have a goal ahead to work toward.
Post-Vacation Tip #2: Keep that Disney Spirit Alive
Even though you have safely returned home, that doesn't mean that the magic you've enjoyed has to stop. Our Disney experience is what we make it, so who says we can't bring it home with us as well? The key to this, in my experience, is prioritizing empty blocks of space to spend as a family doing fun things. Something as simple as cooking in the backyard or camping out on a warm night can be a great way to bond and have a few laughs together. Another option is to get into the Disney spirit with themed dinner nights that will get the whole family excited again.
Post-Vacation Tip #1: Make the Most of Those Photos & Videos
We've all been guilty of taking some fantastic photos and videos, only to let them sit dormant on our devices for years to come. Set aside a weekend or two and get everyone involved in preserving those memories. Make a photo book online and have it printed; these are a cheap way to keep everything in one place, and it serves as a great conversation starter on your coffee table. Got more time? Edit those videos together into a home movie that you will cherish forever and ever.
Disney vacations have much more to offer than the time we spend in the parks. With the right amount of effort, before and after our visits, you can make memories of a lifetime while you are there and bring back that special bond of closeness and excitement to your everyday life.
Happy travels, my Disney-loving friends!