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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

"It Was All Started By A Mouse" - The Greatest Lesson We Can Learn From Walt Disney

Guide4WDW.com

by: guide4wdw - Collin

"It Was All Started By A Mouse" - The Greatest Lesson We Can Learn From Walt Disney

There's rarely a day that passes that I don't think of some type of article to write or content to add to the "future projects radar" to share here at some future date. However, sometimes it's fun for me to simply share a few thoughts and do what I did in the very beginning. To me, this site has always been about sharing thoughts and providing tips to improve your vacation experience, but it's also been all about bringing like minded people together to talk about things that others may find ridiculous or irrelevant in the majority of situations. Obviously this is a niche audience, but it's a niche audience that has exceeded my wildest expectations. 


Now, before I get overly sentimental and attempt to wax poetically (which is not my strong point lol), I'll stop myself and say that this may not be the article for everyone. It's not an array of clever trip planning tips or a story about the next big thing in Walt Disney World entertainment but rather a look back, while also a step forward in sharing a realization I came to a few short days ago. If you like this style of article, do me a huge favor and let me know in the comments on your favorite social media platform or even feel free to email me personally at guide4wdw@gmail.com. These are the articles I enjoy writing the most and I really do appreciate your feedback. 

Setting all of this aforementioned thoughts aside, I want to dive into the History of Walt Disney the man, rather than the parks he helped create in sharing a few thoughts today. 

About a week ago I stumbled across a quote that so many of us have seen time and time again that reads, "It Was All Started By A Mouse." In my opinion, that simple statement shares with us one of the greatest lessons we can learn from Walt Disney that we can apply not only to the business world, but also to our daily lives.



You see, 90 years ago Walt dreamed up a character that warmed the hearts of audiences and brought joy to kids and adults for generations. Mickey has inevitably become an international household name, but his roots are often entirely overlooked. 

In 1928, Walt devised a cartoon out of pure desperation on a train ride from Manhattan to Hollywood at a time that Walt called he and Roy's greatest low. Just a short time before this particularly train ride, Walt had faced the inherent theft of his work by the greedy Charles Mintz. While the story of Mintz is one for an entirely different day, the best way to portray the man would be as the ultimate antagonist in early Disney animation. At a time when Walt knew things couldn't get much worse, he sat down on the train and devised one the greatest characters the "film" world has ever known, Mickey Mouse. The most interesting part of all of this is that in relaying the information of the situation at hand to his brother Roy in a telegram, he simply stated that everything was OK. The telegram made no reference to the potential death of their company or a hatred for the nature of the business, or anything of the sort that you could readily imagine, but rather those simple words of reassurance. 

Years later, Walt shared the famous quote that headlines this article in stating, "I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing, that it was all started by a mouse." It was and is a statement that so many of us take for granted. We look back and think about how much of a literal statement that is and how in reality it is true in the most basic sense. At the same time though, we miss a portion of the message that I think Walt alway intended to share but would have never outright stated. 

We often tend to overlook Walt's early life in fond appreciation of what the man created later in life. We often overlook the fact that Walt Disney didn't have a glamorous life starting out. For years as a young boy he spent time working for his father without pay delivering newspapers at 3:30 in the morning in Kansas City, Missouri. From rain, to snow, to the heat of the summer, Walt knew the struggle of a hard days work and learned that lesson in some of the most unforgiving conditions imaginable at a very young age. When the paper route was completed the day was just beginning and Walt went off to school and returned that afternoon to deliver the evening news. After years of hard work, Walt was later quoted stating that he had never met someone that wasn't proud of the hard work of delivering papers. 



After facing trials and tribulations throughout his entire life, and after having his ideas and animators stolen by a man full of greed, Walt didn't mention the unfair nature of the issue but simply worked to reconcile the problem he faced while avoiding sharing his inevitable uncertainty of of the future with his brother. That story, in and of itself is one that exceeds my wildest expectations. However there's another piece to all of this. As we bring this whole article full circle, it's impossible for me not to respect Walt's quote, "it was all started by a mouse." It's a quote that shares a far greater meaning and the aforementioned newspaper story is a near perfect example of the thought that came to mind when I read that quote all over again a few short days ago. You see, Walt shared one of the greatest lessons we can ever learn in life in that one simple iteration of words. He shared the importance of being humble in everything you do. Walt knew better than anyone else that it wasn't "all started by a mouse." It was all started by him. Sure, the ideas likely snowballed from Mickey to Disneyland with an inordinate amount of steps in between, but at the very begging Mickey was Walt's idea and Walt's creation. No matter if his quote was intended to be a literal one or not, it still translates that incredible story of the importance of being humble. 


Walt certainly had a way with words, and no matter what his original intent for the phrase was, this is a lesson I see that could be vastly influential in many of our own lives. It's a lesson to encourage being humble in everything we do, a lesson in staying determined in every effort in life, and a lesson in striving to meet our goals no matter what obstacles may arise. One simple idea can change the course of your life and taking that one step today to make your dream come true tomorrow is something that I can never fully express the importance of. In my opinion, a good life isn't measured by how much money you make or how many things you acquire but rather the joy of waking up each day to do something you love. Life's too short to hate what you do, and taking the first step is inevitably the best way to turn your life into the daily life of your dreams. 


Your Thoughts
As always, if you have thoughts, concerns, questions, or even some tips of your own to share, don't hesitate to reach out to us on Facebook or your favorite social media platform. Give us a follow while you're there, and we'll keep the conversation going in the future. We're not the largest Disney community, but we're one that's there and one that listens. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day wherever you are! 

Ready to Plan?
Need help planning your vacation? Let our friends over at Destinations to Travel (FREE - no obligation quote request form below) help you out at no additional cost to you! Their services are free and a great way for you to help out the site at no extra cost to you! Here's a closer look at why I recommend an Authorized Disney Travel Planner!

Last but certainly not least, if you're starting the planning process, a great place to start are with some of our top planning articles! Looking for dining? Check out Disney World Dining Tips For 2018. Want to start with some more tips? 44 Excellent Disney World Tips for 2018 or Disney World Planning Guide and Tips For 2018 are a great place to begin! Looking to save money on tickets? Check out our friends over at The Official Ticket Center for great deals that even made it into our 2018 Discount Disney World Ticket selections and another great way to help us create more content through your contributions at no additional cost to you! You'll probably even save money along the way.






Saturday, November 24, 2018

Our Top Disney World Planning Tips - Things To Read Before Your WDW Vacation

Guide4WDW.com


by: guide4wdw - Collin

Our Top Disney World Planning Tips - Things To Read Before Your WDW Vacation  

Over the last few years writing articles here on the site we've shared all kinds of tips and tricks for trips to Walt Disney World in hopes that we can, even in a small way, improve your Disney World vacation experience. This Disney Parks tips have been and always will be work in progress so hopefully we can share something here that will, at the very least, give you something new to think about or even possibly experience on your next trip to Walt Disney World. Of course, this isn't the "end all be all" list and that is largely a result of the ever changing nature of what Disney World. There's always something new to enjoy and the parks are always changing on a seemingly daily basis. It's a blessing and a curse for the prospective guest, but at the same time it creates this ever changing "world" of things to enjoy time and time again. If nothing else, changes keep us coming back. Some changes we may love, and others we may disagree with, but at it's core Walt Disney World is this seemingly simple place that creates joy in a  way that very few other destinations can match. 

Our Top Disney World Planning Tips - Things To Read Before Your WDW Vacation

Rather than just throwing around our posts and making you search endlessly in the search bar, we've designed this page to help you find what you're looking for from 350+ articles we've posted on the site over the last few years! It's a lot to take in at firs tif you're a first time guest, and the volume of posts can be overwhelming for even the most experienced parks-goers, but hopefully this helps you find that one tip that changes and perhaps improves your vacation experience. As always, if you find any of these articles helpful, I would really appreciate it if you shared this page with friends! We have grown and only continue to grow thanks to your support and we can't thank you enough for that. Before eI get to off topic, lets dive right into the first category of posts you'll find here!     
       

Tips For Before Your Disney Vacation Begins


Getting ready for your trip is inevitably just as important as the trip itself and for many of us it's one of the many joys of going to Walt Disney World. I love the planning process (I bet you couldn't have guessed that one lol), but it's not for everyone and finding a good place to start if you are a first time guest is something that is incredibly difficult to do without the right assistance and tips along the way. Unfortunately, Disney planning strategies are never a "one-size fits all" scenario, so rather than telling you directly what to do, I try to make all of our tips here guiding basic principles that are adaptable and hopefully helpful to all types and styles of travel preferences. What I like to do may not be what you like to do, but the great thing about Disney is that there really is something for everyone and these tips only begin to scratch the surface of all that is out there and available across the internet. 

While Disney tips abound from all different people, I would be carful who you trust and take advice from. Your neighbor may say one thing, your coworker who's been to the parks one time may say another, and chances are most people have only been to the parks a few times. When you're planning, look for those friends that have been to Disney 20+ times, not the ones that have been once or twice. It sounds like common sense but when you do this every day you start to hear some "interesting..." stories. 

Long story made short, don't take these tips and try to replicate our travel plans to exacting details. Every trip is different and rolling with the new situations that unfold and making the most of every minute is the overlying concept I hope to share more than anything else. Enjoy every minute and find ways to do what works for you. Use these tips as a cushion and as a basis of knowledge to build your trip around and you'll be a lot better off and well prepared for your dream Disney trip.    
  


Last but certainly not least in this category, if you want a real person (other than me) to walk you through the planning process check out why we recommend a Disney Travel Agent in our post - Disney Travel Agents - Who Do I Recommend? All of this may seem incredibly overwhelming (unless you've done it many times), but it really doesn't have to be. If you know what to expect and get a little help along the way from both Disney themselves and others you may know, it really isn't a difficult process. After you do it once, it gets far easier for consecutive vacations. If you know the booking timeframes, fastpass+ booking windows, and park hours you're well ahead of the crowd of first time guests!      


Tips For During Your Disney Vacation

I think I'm in the minority, but I truly believe tips for during your vacation are just as important, if not more important, than planning tips. Don't get me wrong, planning is a huge part of the process, but what very few realize is that there's a lot that can save you time, allow you to experience new things, and let you make the most out of your trip while you're actually in the parks. If I had to give one tip out of all these articles below it would be one of the simplest tips you'll ever here... Don't over-plan! If you have every minute of every hour laid out on a calendar, you're going to get frustrated during your Disney trip. One unfortunate situation will get you off schedule and typically you'll get overwhelmed almost instantly. It's not worth stressing through your entire vacation to try and get every single attraction ridden or every single show watched. You cannot see and do it all and truthfully none of us have. There is an incredible amount of things to do and you just can't do it all. 

Our Top Disney World Planning Tips - Things To Read Before Your WDW Vacation

If you want to plan out your days, feel free to do so, but don't time stamp your vacation minute by minute. It may work for a select few but in my opinion its not the best way to travel and certainly not the most "go with the flow" situation. If you have a few key "must-do" items in mind, schedule those out if you want to, but don't overwhelm yourself. Let things happen spontaneously and you wont regret it. Often times our nights in the parks that are entirely unplanned are some of the nights we remember the most years later.              

Tips to Save Money For and At Walt Disney World 

Disney is expensive and honestly it's not getting cheaper anytime soon. As a result, this category of posts is growing and growing quickly for so many different reasons. We don't have an endless supply of money and we aren't staying at Walt Disney World for free, so we're always looking for new ways to cut costs and save a little money along the way. As we find new money saving avenues, we'll be sure to share them with you. 

Costs at WDW come in a variety of different forms, but dining, souvenirs, tickets, and accommodations are really the big four! Hopefully these tips cover all of those bases and help you out in some way or another. As always, if you have questions, feel free to send us a message anytime!    

My Disney Experience Tips

As perhaps the greatest change to the Disney planning process in the last 10 years, my Disney Experience kind of changed everything. At times it's a great system but at other times I tend to miss the free and unplanned way you could previously head to the parks without worry of having to plan your day out in advance. On the other hand, the system has improved greatly over the last two years and I believe we're just beginning to see the capabilities of this system and what it could hold for the future. You can already use your smart phone as a room key (at select resorts), order food and have it delivered to your table without ever going the counter, and at times attractions even use your name to personalize the experience. I'd be shocked if we don't see a greater use of this technology in the parks sooner rather than later and I would not be surprised if full Smartphone and AppleWatch integration is approaching in the not so distant future. The system is always improving and it is starting to grow on me over time, but knowing what to expect and how to really use the My Disney Experience platform in depth can make all the difference.   


Our Top Disney World Planning Tips - Things To Read Before Your WDW Vacation

Late Night Disney Tips 

Night time at Walt Disney World is second only to sunset in my opinion. Sunsets in Orlando tend to be spectacular (especially in the summer months) and the picturesque setting of the parks sets the stage for a truly incredible experience. As day slowly transitions to night, Disney tends to take on an entirely different look and feel. Imagineering has spent hours on end perfecting the lighting, sounds, and sights of the nighttime atmosphere. As an added bonus the crowds tend to fade as the days draw to a close and set up some of the most memorable nighttime shows and moments Disney has become known for!         

Tips For Experiencing Hidden Aspects of the WDW Parks 

Oftentimes the largest mistake guests make when touring the parks is that they never take the time to "dig a little deeper" (to quote Mama Odie) and discover the less obvious elements of the parks. The hidden backstories and things so many simply walk right past time and time again are what tend to set Disney apart from all the rest. The little details you uncover in the most unexpected places tend to be the things that make you take a step back and say "wow, I never noticed that!" Those moments get lost in the hustle and bustle of the trip far too often and can really add a level to your time in the parks and help uncover a greater story that puts things in perspective in a whole new way.    


Our Top Disney World Planning Tips - Things To Read Before Your WDW Vacation

Learning From The Past 

I'm a firm believer that we can learn from the past and that the past can give us a greater appreciation for the future. The Disney parks are no different. If you take the time to do a few minutes of research and look back at what once was a part of the parks, you can add a new perspective to your theme park experience. If you know "what was" you tend to have a greater appreciation for what's taken it's place in today's parks. Imagineering has even hidden a few tributes to extinct attractions in plain site!     



Want to work with us here on the site or in the photography realm? Shoot me a message on social media anytime or email me directly at guide4wdw@gmail.com. We're always looking for sponsors and new opportunities. If you ever have questions during your vacation planning or anything else feel free to message me there as well and I'll get back to you as soon as possible! 


Your Thoughts


As always, if you have thoughts, concerns, questions, or even some tips of your own to share, don't hesitate to reach out to us on Facebook or your favorite social media platform. Give us a follow while you're there, and we'll keep the conversation going in the future. We're not the largest Disney community, but we're one that's there and one that listens. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day wherever you are!


Need a Travel Planner?


If you want or simply need a little bit of planning help to make your Disney vacation dream a reality, check out the quote request form below this article for our friends over at Destinations to Travel. They'll let you do as much or as little of the planning as you'd like and may even save you some money along the way! As always, thanks for supporting those who support us.


Ready to Plan?


Last but certainly not least, if you're starting the planning process, a great place to start are with some of our top planning articles! Looking for dining? Check out Disney World Dining Tips For 2018. Want to start with some more tips? 44 Excellent Disney World Tips for 2018 or Disney World Planning Guide and Tips For 2018 are a great place to begin! Looking to save money on tickets? Check out our friends over at The Official Ticket Center for great deals that even made it into our 2018 Discount Disney World Ticket selections and another great way to help us create more content through your contributions at no additional cost to you! You'll probably even save money along the way.




Wednesday, November 21, 2018

5 Magic Kingdom Fireworks Viewing Tips for 2018/2019

Guide4WDW.com

by: guide4wdw - Collin

5 Magic Kingdom Fireworks Viewing Tips for 2018/2019

When most guests think of Disney's Magic Kingdom, they typically think of two things: Cinderella's Castle and Fireworks. Of course, a few other things may also come to mind like the incredible attractions, excellent dining, and world class entertainment, but more than anything, when you ask a guest what their favorite part of their Disney vacation was, it doesn't take them long to mention fireworks. There is very little more iconic than fireworks on Main Street U.S.A., but at the same time, it may not always be your best option. Additionally, there's a few things you should know about the fireworks procedures and typical processes before, during, and after the show that many guests may not anticipate on a first visit or perhaps entirely overlooked on previous visits. So, without further ado, that's what we'll talk about today! 



When the Magic Kingdom's Happily Ever After fireworks show first debuted back in May of 2017, it really changed the fireworks scene and "plan of attack" to secure an excellent viewing location for the show. The show itself centers heavily around projections coupled with the main fireworks bursts high over head. Honestly, the greatest tip I can give a first time guest, which won't even make our list, is that you want to be able to see the castle for the best possible viewing experience. While that's not necessarily one of my "go-to" tips on its own, it does lead quite well into number one on our list. 



1. Find An "Open" Location

This tip is incredibly simple, but often highly overlooked. First time guests and often returning guests overlook the fact that trees along the edges of the hub area can vastly impede your view of the show. For the previous "Wishes" fireworks show there was so little happening on the Castle itself that you could really get away with a partially obstructed view. Happily Ever After is a whole different story. 

If you're staking out a spot, your best option is on the back side of the partners statue facing the castle. the problem with this location is that it gets incredibly crowded, incredibly early on. Additionally, if you aren't willing to hold your own you'll slowly end up moving further and further towards the castle stage which will actually provide a worse viewing opportunity. If you can't claim that desired partners statue spot, consider moving back to the area between the two grassy sections of the hub. It's not quite as good of a view but the spot fills in much closer to show time and you wont feel quite as overwhelmed if you don't care for large crowds.

Something to note here is that you can only stand in designated areas when waiting for the show. The closer you get to the castle, the more prevalent those viewing areas become. The key to it is to stay within the white taped-off lines on the ground. If you're out of those designated areas, you will be asked to move eventually in order to accommodate guests trying to move from one area of the park to the next via designated walkways. It's a pretty simple process, but so many guests get moved from their spots simply because they didn't know about the guidelines.           

2. Projections Don't Have to Be a Priority

This is going to sound contradictory to what I mentioned in tip number one, but in the grand scheme of things, the show is great even without the projections. I do share this tip with a bit of hesitancy though. Many of you reading this have seen Happily Ever After many times, and have had the blessing of being able to do so time and time again like me. If you know the show, this is where this tip really comes into play. If you're a first time guest, you have to see Happily Ever After from the hub at least one time. It's the perfect environment for the show and the perfect multi-sensory experience that you can't get anywhere else. From the crowds cheering, to the amazed people all around you, to the incredibly detailed projections on the castle, there really is no substitute to seeing it at least once up close and personal. 




At the same time, it's not always a bad thing to experience a change of pace and to view the show in an entirely new way and often times with little to no crowds. Head to the external staircase of the Contemporary, or the beaches of the Polynesian, or even quite possibly the Grand Floridian to see the show from an entire new perspective. They're not "better spots" or "worse spots," but simply a different feel to the whole atmosphere. It's a more laid back vibe and one that is far less densely populated with people.       

3. Avoid the Dessert Parties 

Chances are, a few of you may disagree with me on this one, but I don't see the benefits of the fireworks dessert parties as "worth it" at their current price point. I'm typically the first person to recommend food, but the value for your dollar and the time required to partake in the event simply isn't worth the cost of the experience. At $84 per adult, you're talking $336 for a family of four (if all guests are over the age of 9). Additionally, it's recommended you arrive at the party an hour in advance. In my opinion, if I'm going to spend an hour waiting around on the fireworks, I see it as better off to head up to the Main Street Bakery (Starbucks), the Confectionary, or any other food location to grab a snack and then stake out a spot near the partners statue for a better view and likely a better snack. I may be the exception rather than the rule, but it is simply a cost I can't rationalize. 



4. Don't Overlook Main Street

One of the most memorable viewings of Happily Ever After I can remember was from one particular night on Main Street U.S.A. I don't know why but there's always been something special about that location. With the new show, the crowds have largely shifted closer to the castle, but in all honesty, Main Street is still a pretty stellar viewing location. 




If you can manage to work your way through the crowds, you'll likely find a relatively small area of low crowds about half way down Main Street perpendicular to East Center Street and the Crystal Arts Shop. I have no idea why the area tends to be less popular but from my experience, it's not out of the ordinary to find a fair amount of space available even up to 15-25 minutes before show time. Obviously, the availability will vary widely with daily crowd levels, but it's well worth looking into if you're looking for a slightly less crowded area or a last minute viewing location.


5. Don't Overlook Behind the Castle Viewing Locations

Once again, I'm going to contradict tip number one on this list, but if you're working on a last minute basis or simply want to explore an entirely new and unique viewing location, consider areas behind the castle. You will miss the projections, but at the same time it's a shockingly different view of the show as it unfolds. In the Fantasyland area, and in particular the space in front of of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Be Our Guest, you end up surrounding yourself with fireworks. Due to the two different launch sites (near the castle and behind the park) you literally end up viewing fireworks over Beast's castle on the hill while having the opportunity to feel and hear the burst on each side of the castle a short distance away. The sound and the encompassing nature of this spot is hard to put into words, but once you witness it in person, it becomes one of those shockingly unique areas that you remember and hope to return to time and time again.

In the big picture of all of these rather simple tips lies one vast commonality, an experience. In the end, that's what each viewing location is all about. It's not about what you'll be missing or what you'll have to pay, or how long you'll have to stake out your location, but rather the experience you're looking to get out of your fireworks viewing. It's not a recommendation or choice that I can make for you because we're all different and we all want something different out of our time in the parks. 

You may not have an interest in fireworks and that's completely okay (even though I have no idea why you would have clicked on this article...)! Either way, a trip to Disney isn't about finding that "perfect spot," but rather creating memories with friends and family that you'll never forget. That's what Disney does better than anyone else. You never know when a simple moment could change your life or create a memory that you'll share with your family for years on end. A new tradition may unfold, a moment in time may be shared, and a change of pace may become your next favorite aspect of the parks. Enjoy the parks and do what works for YOU and you may be surprised at how much you enjoy the experience. That is what it's all about!



Your Thoughts
As always, if you have thoughts, concerns, questions, or even some tips of your own to share, don't hesitate to reach out to us on Facebook or your favorite social media platform. Give us a follow while you're there, and we'll keep the conversation going in the future. We're not the largest Disney community, but we're one that's there and one that listens. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day wherever you are! 



Ready to Plan?
Need help planning your vacation? Let our friends over at Destinations to Travel (FREE - no obligation quote request form below) help you out at no additional cost to you! Their services are free and a great way for you to help out the site at no extra cost to you! Here's a closer look at why I recommend an Authorized Disney Travel Planner!

Last but certainly not least, if you're starting the planning process, a great place to start are with some of our top planning articles! Looking for dining? Check out Disney World Dining Tips For 2018. Want to start with some more tips? 44 Excellent Disney World Tips for 2018 or Disney World Planning Guide and Tips For 2018 are a great place to begin! Looking to save money on tickets? Check out our friends over at The Official Ticket Center for great deals that even made it into our 2018 Discount Disney World Ticket selections and another great way to help us create more content through your contributions at no additional cost to you! You'll probably even save money along the way.
             



Wednesday, November 14, 2018

My Top 5 "Must Do's" of Any Walt Disney World Vacation

Guide4WDW.com

by: guide4wdw - Collin

know many of you likely clicked on this list to find the best attractions in each park or even potentially the best resorts as you look to plan your vacation. However, I want to take this post a slightly different way. Soon, we fly south to Walt Disney World and I thought I'd share a few things that are a 'must-do" for me on any Walt Disney World Vacation, but more importantly we'll take a look at a few of my most anticipated aspects of the vacation experience as a whole. Of course, I'll have to throw in a few experiences along the way, but if you're looking for more broad and slightly out of the ordinary things to look forward to in the realm of Disney World "must-do's" I invite you to join me on this anticipatory journey! 

For many, Disney is simply a theme park, a place to ride rides, watch shows, or enjoy a few minutes of excitement away from home. While in essence, those are entirely wonderful portions of the magic and a true part of the theme park experience, there's so much more to the experience than many first time guests (and many returning guests) take the time to enjoy. Disney is an escape from reality for many of us, a place to create memories, and truly share time with friends or family. It's not the place that creates the memories, but rather the people we share those moments with that make all the difference. 



You see, it's an experience of a lifetime, but a place that draws you back time and time again. It's a place that captures your heart, and becomes a small (or large) portion of your life. As things change and the parks continue to develop, it's easy to develop a nostalgic connection to different aspects of the magic, but as many of us know the parks will continue to grow and develop as the world around us fosters new ideas and increases creatively.


With all of that being said, there's always something to look forward to as you tour the realm of Walt Disney World. For many, it's that classic attraction that's been a part of your vacations from the very beginning, but others may anticipate the latest and greatest additions to the parks. Honestly, I fall somewhere in between and that's likely why my list is so varied. It may not be the most traditional list, but nonetheless a list that I hope will give you something to look forward to or a memory to pull from the depths of your mind as we look forward to our next trip to the parks. If nothing else, hopefully this post brings a little piece of the magic into your day! 

1. Exploring Pandora All Over Again!
Inevitably, this ends up at the top of my list for a few reasons. Honestly, it's the first thing that came to mind. In all reality though, I realize there's a reason it was the first thing to come to mind. When I first visited Pandora back in the summer, I have to say it was one of those Disney experiences that defied the rationale of what I though was possible. I was a skeptic of the land as whole when it was first announced, and I have to say I was entirely wrong to doubt the creative minds of Imagineering. As I've said before, Imagineering has never let me down and I after seeing this project unveiled on such a grand scale, I have to say that concept remains entirely true to this day. For more on Pandora check out: 


Pandora is a place that will defy your wildest dreams (and no I'm not being paid to say that... even though I wish that I was). As you round the corner into the land, often times you'll witness guest after guest experience that audible "wow!" moment. At first glance, the hyperrealism mixed with the seemingly impossible physical development is truly hard to believe. The land itself throws you into sensory overload and there's no best way to take it all in. Even knowing what to expect and what to see and not see going into the land for the first time, I didn't get to experience it all. To me, that inevitable repeatability factor of the land is one of the things I look forward to the most. I didn't quite get to explore the entirety of the development at first so setting aside time to explore the land is and likely always will be high on my list of "must-do's."   





2. Trying Something Entirely New
As many times as we've been to Walt Disney World, you'd think that we'd run out of new things to see and do. However, that has never been the case. Trying something new on your Disney vacation can open up a world of new possibilities and may even create your new favorite aspect of the vacation experience. When you travel, I recommend trying one thing that you've never done before, even if you have to create that experience for yourself. Personally, about a year ago, I started traveling with a DSLR camera for the first time and I'm looking forward to the possibilities that may create in the future. In a different regard, as you book your vacation, look into a tour offered by Disney or seek out that one attraction or show that you've overlooked for years on end. 

A few years ago, I stumbled into the show that once was a part of the animation pavilion of Hollywood Studios called Drawn to Animation. The show was simple and it was corny, but one afternoon in the heat of the summer we stumbled into the place and happened upon the experience. It wasn't an elaborate show, but rather something we had always looked right past. Unfortunately the show ended a few months after we saw it for the first time, but little "hidden gems" of Disney are hidden in plain sight around every corner. Sure, a few of the lesser known aspects of the parks could be "duds" in your opinion, but you never know what may be outstanding in your eyes but overlooked by a vast majority of guest altogether.      

3. Exploring a New Resort
Resorts are a huge part of any of our Disney vacations. We eat at resorts, obviously stay at resorts, and explore many of them in depth. To many first time guests this seems like an absurd concept, especially because we typically aren't staying at many of the resorts we visit, but it's a unique portion the Disney experience. Go try a new meal at resort you've always dreamed of staying at, or go to a resort searching for something "hidden in plain sight." You may be surprised at the history and entertainment many of these unique places hold and unveil when you take the time to look a bit deeper. If you've never tried this before, the Wilderness Lodge or Boardwalk Resorts is an incredible place to start.    




4. Take A Moment to Take It All In
It's easy to get distracted by the fast paced nature of Walt Disney World, but one of the things I look forward to time and time again is taking it all in. I know that sounds far to simple to really appreciate, but take a few minutes during your trip to remove yourself from the crowds or change your mindset just slightly in order to step back and observe the little things happening around you. Look around and enjoy the smile on the faces of the guests around you, the little details you may have overlooked on the "race" to the next attraction, or even to sit down and listen to the ever present background music that plays throughout the parks and resorts.   


5. Enjoy Every Second
As the last "must-do" on my list, this particular element often comes across as common sense when in reality it is increasingly easy to overlook. You get distracted by what you're doing, you race from attraction to attraction (which can be a ton of fun), but you never stop and appreciate the moment. I know it's easy to say that, but I struggle with this element every trip. Inevitably something will go wrong during your trip. A resort will be overbooked, you'll miss a fastpass, or get in an argument with the guy who ran over your feet with his stroller. None of those things are fun, but in the big picture, it's a small hiccup in overall Disney experience. 

Try and overlook the little things and make the most of every second of your trip. Turn every bad situation into an opportunity to try something new and you'll be surprised at what kind of unexpected magic could be unveiled. I look forward to the unexpected aspects of Disney more than just about anything because what you don't anticipate is what often times sticks with you the longest. Making the most of those situations can make all the difference and create those one of a kind situations that you remember for years to come.           




When we first started today, I told you my list would be bit strange, but to be quite honest these are a few of the things I see guests overlooking or avoiding time and time again. Seeing something from a new perspective can allow you to appreciate the experience so much more than you ever have before. We never know what tomorrow brings, so taking the time on a vacation to appreciate the moment is more important to me than any attraction, show, or even a dining location. 

It could all end in a second, but I say that for a reason beyond what this article may state. No, I don't want to be grim but rather positive and to encourage you to take a step back while you travel the parks and just enjoy the moment and lock in those memories that will truly last a lifetime. We never know what tomorrow could bring, so making the most of every moment we have today is a key part of any Disney vacation. It sounds so simple in writing and to be quite honest it's a part of the experience that is incredibly difficult to portray in words, but there's something about Disney that makes you appreciate all that you have and the people that help make that experience a reality in so many ways. I've said it before, but I truly believe it's the people that create the true Disney difference rather than any particular resort, dining location, or attraction no matter how wonderful those things may be.    


Your Thoughts
As always, if you have thoughts, concerns, questions, or even some tips of your own to share, don't hesitate to reach out to us on Facebook or your favorite social media platform. Give us a follow while you're there, and we'll keep the conversation going in the future. We're not the largest Disney community, but we're one that's there and one that listens. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day wherever you are! 

Ready to Plan?
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Last but certainly not least, if you're starting the planning process, a great place to start are with some of our top planning articles! Looking for dining? Check out Disney World Dining Tips For 2018. Want to start with some more tips? 44 Excellent Disney World Tips for 2018 or Disney World Planning Guide and Tips For 2018 are a great place to begin! Looking to save money on tickets? Check out our friends over at The Official Ticket Center for great deals that even made it into our 2018 Discount Disney World Ticket selections and another great way to help us create more content through your contributions at no additional cost to you! You'll probably even save money along the way.



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