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Monday, August 5, 2019

preparing for your walt disney world resort vacation

Your ADRs were made six months ago, FP+ were last month's news, and today, your MagicBands arrived!  You're probably wondering: what else do I have to do?

It showed up in our mailbox last week.  That white, unmarked box from Davenport, FL.  Despite the inconspicuous packaging, I knew exactly what was inside before I even ripped off that perforated strip of cardboard down the middle and opened it up.  Our MagicBands had arrived!

MagicBands are a crucial part of your Walt Disney World Vacation.  They host your park tickets, dining plan credits, room charging privileges, room opening privileges, and more.  If you live in the U.S; You'll get your MagicBands in the mail about a month before your arrival date-- well after you've had time to perfect those ADRs and FP+ plans.  Now that you have your MagicBands in hand, it feels like you finally have the last piece of your pre-trip "puzzle."  Yet you're still left wondering: what else can I do?

I don't think you can overprepare for a Disney vacation.  The more you know, and the more prepared you are, the better experience you're going to have.  Now that you have your MagicBands, you may think that the only things you have left to do are the nitty-gritty, day-before stuff.  Packing your suitcase.  Cancelling the paper.  Boarding the dog.

Here are a few things I recommend doing in the interim between the day you get your MagicBands and the day you leave for vacation that will help you best prepare for your trip to Disney World.

Read up on a reliable Disney news source.

I recommend wdwinfo.com and disneyfoodblog.com.  I do not recommend any "news source" that has tried to suggest that the Enchanted Tiki Room and/or Country Bear Jamboree may be on the chopping block.  I would pick one that's updated consistently and check it every day like the morning paper.  A good news source will keep you in the loop of what's new at the parks, what unexpected closures could impact your park touring, and everything else going on in and around Walt Disney World Resort.  Even if you think you have everything mapped out from rope drop to park close each night, the Resort is changing every day.  New snacks, new merchandise, and new experiences are being added constantly.  The only way to know what's going to be new and exciting during your trip is to keep yourself updated by checking a Disney news site every day.

While we're on the subject of consuming Parks-related media, it's probably a smart idea to catch up on a few YouTubers as your trip gets closer and closer.  There are some YouTubers, like TheTimTracker, who post videos every day from the Parks.  Right now, I really like Michael Kay.  He's a good guy, and he just moved to Orlando!  He went to the first Animal Kingdom Moonlight Magic of the season and just posted the vlog about it, so we watched that together as a family this morning.  It gave us a great "feel" for what the crowds are going to look like at our event.

Get your phone ready for the Parks.

Some vacations are better #unplugged.  A Disney vacation is not one of them.  Between FastPass+ refresh and all the photos you're going to take, you and your phone are going to be spending more quality time together than usual this week.  Before you head to Walt Disney World Resort, I recommend you "prep" your phone by doing the following:
  • If your battery life is depleting, replace it before you leave.  I share this tip from personal experience.  Back in November, I noticed my battery was starting to act a little funky, so we took my phone to Apple Care a week before our 2018 trip and it could have saved my entire trip.  If you find your phone battery has started running on empty during your 9-5, imagine how often you'll need to swap your FuelRods when you're in the parks!
  • Free up as much space as you can.  Some of those memes have go to go if you want to snap a photo in front of the "You Are Most Beautiful" Wall AND the Purple Wall.  Back up your iCloud, delete any pics you don't need off of your camera roll, and delete any apps you can live without for the week.
  • Download the following apps.  Sounds counter-productive to our last point, I know.  But these apps will help you navigate the craziness that is your Walt Disney World Resort vacation:
    • My Disney Experience. If you download only one app, download THIS app and log in with your Disney account information.  MDE stores your resort reservation, FP+ and ADR information, PhotoPass photos, and so much more.  With MDE, you can download your photos right to your phone, mobile order food from Quick Service locations, modify existing ADRs/FP+ choices, make brand new ADRs/FP+ choices, search for merchandise, and so much more!  You can't do Disney without it.
    • Play Disney Parks.  Think you'll be bored stuck in a 45 minute wait for Space Mountain?  Think again!  Play Disney Parks is an interactive app designed to enhance your experience while waiting for select attractions.  The app uses location-finding services to unlock special games for you when you enter the queue for certain rides!
    • lyft.  lyft is the official ride-sharing service of Walt Disney World Resort.  Whether you find yourself stranded after Disney transportation has ended for the day or you just want to treat yourself to a ride in a Minnie Van, lyft has got your back.

Start increasing your steps each day.

2-3 weeks before your trip is set to begin is a great time to start slowly, gradually increasing the amount of steps you take each day.  You are going to be walking a lot at Disney.  The average American walks 5,000-7,000 steps each day.  But when I'm at Disney, I average 20,000 steps every day!  Try getting into a new routine before your trip that increases the amount of walking you do before your trip.  You don't have to go crazy, and you especially don't want to exert yourself before you even get to the Parks!  But gradually getting your body used to a few extra steps every day will only help you in the long run.

While you're at it, break in those cute new sneakers you bought for the parks!  Nothing is worse than blisters on your ankle after a long day at Magic Kingdom.

Take special care of your immune system.

There are a lot of germs in the Parks that are waiting to ruin your family vacation.  It's best to take precautions to make sure you don't get sick while you're there!  Taking a daily immune supplement in the morning starting a week before your trip is a good idea.  Airborne and Emergen-C are the two most popular ones on the market, but I'm sure your local grocery store or pharmacy will carry a store-brand version that works just as well.  I personally use Emergen-C drink mixes, which I take starting a week before and take it every day while I'm at the parks.  Don't forget to wash your hands and stock up on hand sanitizer.

Set up your grocery delivery order. 

My family doesn't personally get groceries delivered to our resort hotel room, but anyone staying more than a week or shelling out the points to stay at a DVC Villa with a full-kitchen is going to want to get some groceries sent to your room!  Even if you're taking a relatively short trip in a standard resort room, a case of water, some instant coffee, and a few breakfast items are always handy.  GardenGrocer is the service that most other blogs will recommend, and you can place your order in advance and choose which time of the day you'd like your groceries delivered.

Get excited!

Now that your countdown is ticking down to those last few days, it's time to get yourself ready to be fully immersed in the Disney magic!  In the stress of packing, finalizing Park touring plans, and doing those last-minute travel prep chores, it's easy to lose sight of what's important: you're going to Disney World!  Revisit your favorite Disney movies, or watch one you've never seen before.  Have the ultimate after-dinner treat: most grocery stores are still selling the Mickey's 90th birthday celebration ice cream bars.  Go on YouTube and watch a POV of your favorite ride.  Remind yourself of all the amazing things that Walt Disney World Resort has in store for you this week-- you're ready for the #WDWBestDayEver.


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