Monday, May 12, 2008

How to "get started"...

The inspiration for this post came from some friends of mine that recently asked for some help planning a trip, because nobody in there family has ever been to Walt Disney World. So, here are some tips for getting started...

Order the Vacation Planning DVD by clicking here - this will give you a good overview of the fact that there are indeed 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, lots of hotels, and lots of other recreational activities for your vacation enjoyment.

Start reviewing a couple of my favorite websites...
- www.mousesavers.com - this site is great - especially if you are on a budget, because it highlights various ways to save money while vacationing at Disney

- www.allearsnet.com - this site has information on every topic related to Disney World including sample menus from all of the restaurants on property. Here is a link to their initial planning page.

- read my blog - hey this what I wrote it for, and it should continue to get better over time...

Start thinking about how you and your family vacation, and how you will answer the questions below for your family dynamics and budget...

- Onsite versus Offsite - We prefer to stay onsite, because of some of the "added benefits" of transportation, and extra magic hours.

- Rental Car or Not - You will need a car if you are offsite, but if you are onsite you can go with or without it. We preferred a car when the kids were smaller, and we were "lugging" a big stoller, because it was easier to put it in the rental than to cart it on the bus (especially at busy times).

- Fly or Drive - We have done both from Michigan (about 21 hours of driving time), and you will want to think about how your family will handle the drive, because nobody wants to start or end their vacation with a horrible driving experience.
*Story - we drove down in the middle of summer when Dawn was pregnant for our second child and after on our way home she started having pain, and eventually we realized that it was pre-term labor. So, south of Atlanta we stopped off, and found a hospital with an ER. The ER wasn't being very helpful, but with a little encouragement we were able to get Dawn into the Labor and Delivery floor where she received excellent care. They determined it was dehydration (if you go in the summer drink a lot, no I mean really a lot). She got out of the hospital (yes, I had our oldest, at age 2 with nothing to do for several hours), and we decided to get a hotel room. The next day we had a long drive, because we normally get into Kentucky before stopping on the way home.
*Another Story - We were 20 miles outside of Orlando on a trip that was going to be primarily to Sea World when we were rear-ended on the Turnpike. It made a fairly interesting vacation, because they "totaled" our van, and we had to get a rental for the week, and a different rental to drive home the following weekend.

- Length of vacation - I recommend at least a week, because there is so much to do and you really do want to enjoy your vacation (see the next item).

- Commando or Relaxed - We have been on vacation with family that insists on doing "everything" they can at the parks, and in the process have what I consider to be a horrible vacation. We call this Commando style. There are times that we do have to get up and go early, or "power through" a hot afternoon to see a certain attraction, but we make it a point to spend lots of time at the pool, and taking afternoon naps. Yes, it costs a lot to be there, but if you come home miserable with negative feelings of standing in line for 7 days... was it worth it?

Well, that's enough to get you started... Feel free to post any comments or questions...

3 comments:

sherri said...

I remember the rear-ended part of your vacation.... : )

smiliemuylle said...

On your last vacation didn't Dawn hit an animal??
Boy it sounds like when you guys drive you have a lot of fun!)

Joe said...

Yes, Dawn did hit an animal at 3 in the morning about 20 minutes from our house on the way home... It was the last trip we drove on, and it was a large raccoon (we think), and we had to replace our bumper :)