Flashback, flash forward Friday – 5 tips for a short trip to Walt Disney World

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Yesterday I should have been checking into a family suite at Walt Disney World’s Art of Animation Resort with my extended family, but instead I was sitting at home, trying not to sulk, and even further, trying to keep my 14 year old Bug from sulking as well. Yes, granted we did just go to Disney, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have some disappointment when your plans to return are shifted.

I ended up spending the day cleaning house, rearranging my home office and babysitting my sweet little grandbaby, but it was never far from my mind that I was not ‘In the World’ with my family. What was going to be a 6 night trip to WDW was now cut in half by life’s little nuances. In order to keep my mind off of it, I stayed busy, and am again busy today with more house work, writing this piece today and going to see Mockingjay with my daughters later this evening. Yay, Mockingjay! 🙂

Bug and I on a whirlwind short trip 2 years ago,
headed to Magic Kingdom and the Christmas party.

As fate would have it, and because I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, I walked into my office earlier to begin this post with a completely different topic in mind. My screen saver stopped me. I love setting my screen saver to my photos as it shows me what an awesome and amazing life I am blessed with, and often snaps me back out of the frivolous pity-party I am wont to throw myself when I don’t get what I want. At the moment I walked in the door, my screen was flashing photos of another 3 day trip to WDW a few years ago with Bug. Then, too, Bug complained, “Three days?! What can we get done in three days?!” and I sat out to show her. We took in all kinds of things we hadn’t seen, we met up with friends, we ate well, we laughed, we played and we came home full of joy and a happy, giving Christmas spirit! Again I am faced with only three days. But three days with people I love in the Happiest Place on Earth is better than no days at all and I am again to make the magic happen!

So your trip has been delayed or shortened? Here are a few tips to get the absolute most out of your

Downtown Disney all decked out

1. Find a ‘theme’ for your trip. For our shorter trips we’ve been doing during the holiday season for the past few years, our theme is Disney Christmas. We focus only on the things we can see and do at Walt Disney World during the holiday season. These include doing a resort tour, usually a Monorail resort tour catching all the holiday happenings at the resort before we go to the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom. We also focus on Christmas around the World in Epcot with a Candlelight Processional Dining Package and preferred seating for the Candlelight Processional show. Our other focus is Hollywood Studios and The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights on the Streets of America. Because we focus on one theme, we don’t get let down and instead feel fulfilled at the end of our trip with all that we saw and did.

2. Realize that YOU WILL BE BACK. Because you will. Didn’t get your favorite treat at Casey’s Corner or missed riding the front row on Aerosmith’s Rock n Roller Coaster? Don’t stress about it and move on! There is so much to see, so much to do that it is impossible to do it all in a 10 day trip so for a shorter trip, don’t stress over what you can’t get done and focus on what you can.

One of my favorite photos of all time. Even in a short trip, there is time for photos!

3. Cut out some of the reservations. Don’t spend your time rushing from one place to the next. I don’t schedule multiple ADRs (Advance Dining Reservations) for short trips. We may pick 1 or 2 special table service meals we want, but for the rest of our dining we wing it. Hungry at the resort? Food court. Hungry at a park? Lots of great counter service places, many that we still haven’t tried yet. Time is precious on shortened trips and long drawn out meals are not how my family and I want to utilize our time.

4. Keep it simple but have a plan. Know the park hours, if there are any special events going on or things that could cause delays in your travel, meals, etc. (Know if you are going during a runDisney weekend or if the park closes early for a special event. You don’t want to be surprised and have to change plans midstream when you have a short time to work with.) If you have things you MUST do, be sure to utilize FastPass+ and group things together (don’t backtrack back and forth across the park).

5. Make time for fun! Yes, we go to a Disney Parks vacation for fun, but many times in our quest to ‘fit it all in’ we lose some frivolity. There is nothing at all wrong with slowing down, taking time for laughter and just being in the moment. Talk to Cast Members, trade your pins. Dance for a few minutes when you stumble upon a dance party. Have a snack and just sit and people watch.

A short trip can be just as magical and special as a long trip, and in some ways can be even more magical if done right! So take your short trip and live it up! Make magic happen with the time you’re alloted and you will feel all the better for it.

Santa Genie at World of Disney

Until next time, keep wishing and dreaming!