Give Yourself a Break: Have a Goal for Your Walt Disney World Vacation

Make a Goal for Your Walt Disney World Vacation

Give Yourself a Break: Make a Goal for Your Walt Disney World Vacation

Hint: Your Goal Shouldn’t be Trying to See and Do Everything

Why is it that a Walt Disney World vacation is treated as a source of stress and trepidation by so many first-time Walt Disney World travelers?

I’ve thought a lot about this, and after speaking with and working with hundreds of Disney vacationers over the years I’ve that it’s so easy for travelers to become thoroughly overwhelmed by the whole Walt Disney World travel experience. The sheer size and breadth of Walt Disney World Resort is both its greatest asset and its biggest achilles heel. There are more options here (and choices to be made) than many could ever imagine.

Germany Pavilion at Epcot.

Germany Pavilion at Epcot.

Walt Disney World Isn’t Like Most Other Destinations

A lot of travelers may be used to visiting a given destination for a week and coming away with a feeling of having conquered that area, or at least made a pretty good dent in it. But Walt Disney World isn’t like most other travel destinations. Visitors here seem to feel that they have to try to see and do everything. Many travelers get stressed or overwhelmed by the whole Disney vacation planning process and the more that they learn about it, the more stressful it becomes.

It’s easy to understand why.

Walt Disney World demands an inordinate number of decisions be made by the primary vacation planner and it demands that they make these decisions quickly and very early on in the process (at least if you want to have any chance of securing the most coveted Disney experiences for your family). Having to make a lot of decisions may not be new to travel planners, but if you’ve never been to Walt Disney World, it’s easy to become confused and overwhelmed by the level of knowledge and detail required to make the right decisions.

Or so it seems.

Hollywood Boulevard at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Hollywood Boulevard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Plan, but Don’t Over Plan

Long before it became fashionable to give this advice, as a luxury Disney Travel Advisor I was educating my clients on the important nuances of straddling that line between planning and over planning. There’s a big and important difference here. Yes, a Walt Disney World vacation will require a higher level of planning than the average vacation to other destinations. This can make it very easy to fall down the rabbit hole into a place where you feel the need or pressure to plan every minute of your vacation.

Don’t do it.

When that happens your Disney vacation risks become less about planning a vacation and more akin to planning a precision military operation. Precision is required in the military, but I would suggest that the precision of planning every minute of your stay has no place in a Walt Disney World vacation. I know travel agents who say things like “If I could plan when my clients should tie their shoes, I’d do it!” I heartily disagree with that sentiment and I would suggest that if you run into an agent like that you may want to consider finding another Disney vacation planner.

You should plan, yes. You should plan and book your table service dining (max one per day), which parks you visit on which days and which FastPasses you’d like to pre-book. If you’re interested in any special events or VIP experiences, you should plan those too.

Africa, Disney's Animal Kingdom Park.

Africa, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park.

But you should not overplan. Over planning is a recipe for disaster. Since Walt Disney World is so big, it’s challenging to get from one place to another. Even when you have your own vehicle to rely on, it can still take longer to get from point A to point B than you may ever imagine. In addition, there’s much more to do at Walt Disney World than living every minute focused on conquering the theme parks. This is a vacation, so leave time to relax on your vacation. If you come home from Walt Disney World feeling like you need a vacation after your vacation, you’ve probably overplanned and paid the price for it.

Remember also that everyone in your group can have different views and ideas for what a successful Disney vacation should look like. You each have your own Disney travel DNA. (If you don’t know your Disney travel DNA, you can find out here.) Having some sense of your Disney travel type in advance can help the planning process and ensure that everyone at least gets to knock one very important item off of their personal Disney bucket list.

Happily Ever After Fireworks. Disney

Happily Ever After Fireworks. Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park.

You Cannot See and Do Everything in One Week

No matter how hard you try, you simply cannot see and do everything in one week at Walt Disney World. You can visit each park for sure (and a couple of them even more than once), but you certainly can’t discover and experience every nook and cranny of the 43 square miles. So give yourself some peace of mind and come to terms with that up front. Walt Disney World is not about being conquered; it’s about being discovered. Discovery takes time and it should be rewarding, engaging, enlightening and exhilarating.

Walt Disney World is not about being conquered: it’s about being discovered.
~ Mike Belobradic

So give yourself licence to do that. Make a goal for your Disney vacation — something other than trying to see and do everything. Keep it simple and you’ll appreciate everything so much more (which is how it’s supposed to be). Yes, you’ll still visit every park and you’ll hit many of the highlights. But leave yourself some time to have fun, catch your breath and appreciate the magic that’s all around you.

Overplanning is a funsucker, so keep the funsucker at bay and allow yourself the ability to plan a well balanced Walt Disney World vacation. You’ll come home feeling upbeat and energized and you’ll have something to look forward to for your next Walt Disney World vacation.

Planning a Walt Disney World Vacation?

As a Luxury Travel Blogger and author of The Very Best of Walt Disney World Resort, I blog regularly about Disney vacations of all shapes and sizes.

Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook for the latest news and insights on luxury Disney travel.

Mike Belobradic: The Finer Side of Disney Travel
Luxury Travel Blogger – Deluxe Disney Travel Specialist