* How to get the cheapest price on a Disney Cruise (see this post)
* When is the best time to ride the Aqua Duck (as soon as you board on the first day, or at night but definitely not during the sea day)
* What are the best rides to hit first at the Magic Kingdom?
* What are some of the best/most unique restaurants at Disney World?
* What are the differences between the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Safari Park? etc.
But, while I've gotten some great tips from scouring the internet, I've also read accounts of people whose trips, despite careful planning, did not go well. And when I say did not go well, I mean that things did not go exactly as planned. According to their highly researched, meticulously planned vacation. And it seemed to sour their entire trip.
And I'm talking about things like this:
* They requested a certain building/certain room at the hotel and did not get it
* Their favorite food item was no longer on the menu
* A ride broke down and messed up their touring plans etc.
* The cruise line was out of Mickey head ice cream bars and instead substituted Mickey head ice cream sandwiches (this was a major deal for some people! This discussion thread was long and passionate!)
It seems like I read these types of complaints often about Disney trips because some people go there every year or multiple times a year, and they get used to things being a certain way. As an interesting side note...I've been to Disney World around 14 times (starting when I was a toddler) and so far I've never stayed at the same hotel twice. On our upcoming trip, we will be staying at a Disney resort (Caribbean Beach) for 3 nights before our cruise and this will be the first repeat resort stay for me in all these years!
Reading about these trip disappointments reminds me of a very important part of going on vacation: letting go. No matter how helpful the research and reading and planning is, and how it can make our vacation easier since we know the shortcuts or shorter lines and better restaurants, from the moment we step on the plane we have to just let it go and go with the flow. Especially since we are traveling with kids.
Our on first trip to Disney World in 2008 with our oldest son, we had a great time at some character meals. Our son loved getting his picture with the characters and collecting their autographs. So for our next trip in 2010, when we also had our younger son along at age 2, we had booked several character meals throughout our stay. We figured it's an easy way to see the characters without standing in line. Needless to say, this is how our younger son reacted upon seeing the characters:
So we went with the flow and cancelled our remaining characters meals (except for the last one of our trip, which was a big extended family get together, so we had to make it through that one).
On this same trip, our oldest son wasn't quite tall enough for Space Mountain. We actually thought he was tall enough, his head came up to the line, but a cast member could barely squeeze a piece of paper between his head and the bar so he was denied entrance. Good thing we had prepared our son that he might not be able to ride, and good thing none of us had a meltdown when we was denied entrance to Space Mountain!
We are less than a month before our departure date. And at this point, I've read and researched and planned all that I'm going to do. All that's left to do is wait, count down, and LET GO! Our vacation might not go exactly as planned, but hopefully by having the right attitude we can make the best of any situation and not let anything ruin our fun.
Have you ever had anything go wrong on your vacation? What happened, and how did you handle it? I'd love to hear your stories (hopefully we can laugh about them now?)