|Discussion Boards | Reviews | News | Trip Planning | Shop | Travel | Site Map|
Practical tips for Walt Disney World travel
"Scoping" the Parks
Over the last ten years, I have perfected the art of planning family trips to Walt Disney World (WDW) Resort. Over the last eleven years, I have hosted chats and bulletin boards about Disney for a Fortune 100 company. Through my own experience and through conversations with hundreds of families, I have found that not everyone "hits a home run" when taking their family to Orlando.
Some people, especially first-timers, are overwhelmed to the point where frustration sets in and the vacation sometimes turns out to be a stressful and not a very pleasant part of their lives. My goal became to prevent that from happening, so I started helping people plan their vacations.
Using my own experience as well as those of my "WDW network" I have put together and presented seminars on how to go about planning a Walt Disney World family vacation.
The response was overwhelming. One of my first seminars included someone who was a Magic Kingdom director... and even she learned some things that would help her better serve her company. I have also made presentations to cast members and even a Disney webmaster or two.
Over the last eleven years I have helped 500 to 600 families plan their trips. My payment? Some postcards, trip reports, a phone call... any kind of information people can give that can help me help the next person even more.
My objectives are simple, to prepare everyone as best as possible to customize their vacation to suit their needs. We all are different and have different interests. The only common denominator is our love for the Disney "experience" and culture. My seminars are geared to be informative and to help families make decisions that are best for them.
I'll bring my experience to MousePlanet in a series of "lessons" that helps families go through the many phases of planning a WDW trip, and guides families into deciding what works best for them. I'll also pay special attention to all the details that ensure your family will have the best possible time at the Happiest Place on Earth.
If you've ever read one of my trip reports (the ones in the MousePlanet archives are listed in the side bar) you know my family (shown below) -- wife Carol, daughter Holly, and son Mike, Jr. -- whose home is in New Hampshire, "The Granite State."
So here it is, my course syllabus on how to plan a Walt Disney World vacation:
Session 1: WDW Vacation-Planning Notebook
Session 2: Deciding When to Go
Session 3: The Great Debate: Where to Stay?
Session 4: WDW Resorts: Which One is for you?
Session 5: All About Room Rates
Session 6: Admission Media Primer
Session 5: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Session 6: Bus or Car?
Session 7: Discovering Discounts
Session 8: Dressing for Mickey
Session 9: Money, Money, and Money!
Session 10: A List of Lists
Section 11: Recording Memories
Session 12: Navigating the Parks
Session 13: Unheralded Treasures
Session 14: Mike's Top Ten List
Session 15: How to do a Trip Report
After the formal coursework is complete, I'll launch into a graduate course of study, so you have plenty of things to read about!
So that's the game plan for now - and I'm sure we'll find even more things to write about as we move on ahead. Feel free to write me at the e-mail address below.
Photos on this page by Brian Bennett unless otherwise noted
Here's a list of the trip reports that Mike has written that are part of MousePlanet's archives!
Also, don't miss Lani Teshima's column, "The Trip Planner" for more travel planning information!
The first Disney trip report that I ever read was a report by Mike Scopa that I downloaded from the America Online travel library in late 1994. The report was a detailed description of the Scopa family's trip to WDW in the summer of that year.
As soon as I was done reading it, I was hooked.
I picked my own brain and documented my own trips and the things I'd learned from my own experiences. Then, in 1995 I actually wrote a report as the trip unfolded. I took a laptop with me and spent some time in the evenings documenting what had happened that day. (I've repeated that process for my own reports ever since.)
In July 1996, I started my Disney trip planning Web site. Besides including my own reports, I asked for permission from the authors of several other reports and added them to the offering. Since then, the number of reports has expanded greatly. In 1997, I added an information summary for each report to make it easier to sort through the reports that are available.
I still 'blame' Mike for hooking me on this Disney habit.
MousePlanet® is not associated in any official way with the Walt Disney Company, its subsidiaries, or its affiliates. The official Disney site is available at www.disney.com. This MousePlanet Web site provides independent news articles, commentary, editorials, reviews, and guides primarily about the theme park resorts of the Walt Disney Co. All information on this site is subject to change. Please call destinations in advance to confirm the most up-to-date information.