Planning a Walt Disney World vacation has gotten substantially more complicated. With a bevy of new attractions, resorts, and restaurants, I am detecting an increasing frustration amongst guests both new and experienced. But there is still plenty of magic to be had; and many find the planning a part of the fun. Information pertaining to Theme Parks Attractions and Strategies is abundant, but one option provides a relaxing hiatus during your vacation.
This is planning a day during your vacation when nothing is planned. It is an irony to a degree which is quite unnerving. But, during a vacation where Advanced Dining Reservations, FastPass+, and navigating transportation can lead to an exhausting whirlwind, one day off can be a great break.
Planning has many virtues. Snagging a FastPass for Na’vi River Journey can cut out a wait of an hour or more. Diligence in booking Advanced Dining Reservations helps to guarantee a spot at high profile restaurants. But over-planning also leads to frustration; and unattainable expectations. Picking one day with no FastPasses pre-planned or any dining planned allows for spontaneity, and can also lead to new discoveries.
So how does one and their family go about this?
If you, for example, are experiencing seven full days at the parks, pick the fourth or fifth day to go about planning nothing. One Disney World tip I have seen families employ recommends that families go to the bus stop at their resort and get on the first bus that arrives. So, if you arrive at 8 a.m. and the first bus is headed Magic Kingdom, hop on board. While swells of humanity rush to Peter Pan’s Flight or Splash Mountain, perhaps enjoy the Peoplemover instead. It can be great fun to be the only party on the car, and still see Magic Kingdom waking up. Head over to Journey of the Little Mermaid while it remains a walk on. This queue is especially well done, and offers great picture opportunities. Being enabled to meander slowly through lets you really see the beautiful detail, without causing delay to anyone else.
Let’s say that first bus is instead headed on a trek to Animal Kingdom! This park is overflowing with side trails and intimate nooks made to be accidentally discovered. Arriving to the park with no plan intended and just walking through some of the trails can easily provide a morning of enjoyment. While this is true throughout the park, two areas especially stand out: Discovery Island and Maharajah Jungle Trek. With no intention to rush on Avatar Flight of Passage or Kilimanjaro Safaris, both of these places have an abundance of animals, with something new each time.
In terms of the Discovery Island Trails (around the Tree of Life), there are flamingos that are iconic, but a large menagerie is also present. Storks, otters, red kangaroos, and African Crested porcupines are all in unique habitats. Many animals are very tricky to locate as they are designed to blend into their surroundings or may only be active at dawn or dusk.
Maharajah Jungle Trek is another area to enjoy slowly. This is another fascinating menagerie: Malayan Tapirs, massive bats, and a gorgeous mix of birds living in a stunning aviary. The highlight – the most majestic things that you will see on Walt Disney World property – are the tigers. They are most active early in the morning, and, when playful, are really a quite a sight to see. These animals are stunning, gorgeous, and live in an incredibly immersive environment.
Those are a couple of examples of things one could enjoy with no real plan, and no concerted strategy to prioritize headliner attractions.
But, of course, one must also eat, and the quest for a meal with no plan provides the opportunity to try something new. What if that bus took you to Hollywood Studios or Epcot? Heading to lunch at a country you don’t normally explore is certainly tantalizing. Morocco’s Tangierine Cafe is one place to try colorful foods in an exotic locale. While Hollywood Studios is not the most culinarily inclined park, it is relatively central on property. So, perhaps arrive to the buses and hop on the first one to arrive. A lunch and stroll around a resort you have never been to before might introduce you to a new resort or part of property with which you are not already familiar.
With no real plan, your day is not constrained by the need to arrive for a Slinky Dog Dash FastPass, or freshen up before your dinner at Boma. By no means do I wish to discourage planning, but one day off can help you appreciate all of the magical details that Walt Disney World has to offer.
Pandora – The World of Avatar has animal and plant life throughout the Valley of Mo’ara which can only be enjoyed by taking one’s time. Magic Kingdom has many overlooked attractions that a less experienced guest may not even know about. Tom Sawyer’s Island and the Carousel of Progress are wonderful experiences which may not immediately come to mind.
Aimlessly meandering through Magic Kingdom or haphazardly looking for a restaurant in the World Showcase may seem like a waste of time. But it can easily lead to a new favorite attraction, restaurant, or even favorite Disney memory. Do you care to have a blank day as part of your Walt Disney World vacation? Please feel free to share your thoughts!