Help me get excited about planning next trip!

Dec38

Earning My Ears
Joined
Feb 24, 2016
My family's Disney vacation two years ago was perfect in almost every way, and I really think it will be hard to top. My kids were 4 and 7 at the time. I really enjoyed planning that trip, and treated it as a once in a lifetime kind of trip (even though I'd been to Disney a bunch before, and we'd all been there in a trip with extended family when the kids were babies/toddlers). But the last trip was the complete package -- we were there for 8 days, stayed at the Poly; tons of character meals, including CRT; had all of the hard to get fast passes; took advantage of PPO breakfasts to get no wait access to popular rides; Jedi training, etc. We saw pretty much everything we wanted to see with minimal waits, spent our afternoons relaxing at our resort, and returned in the evenings at a more relaxed pace than our mornings.

We're planning to do a combined Disney/Universal trip next summer. It is my kids first choice for a vacation. But I'm having a hard time getting excited about planning. I worry the next trip will feel like a letdown. I'd like this trip to be a little more budget conscious. Plus I had thought that Star Wars land would be open but it looks like it is now not opening until late fall 2019. And my daughter is over princesses so that aspect of Disney that made the last trip so special won’t be there. And for Universal, my daughter is still just 45ish inches, so there’s a good chance she won’t be 48 inches by next summer which would make Universal kind of pointless to go to (for us).

For all repeat visitors, what gets you excited to go back year after year? My kids will be 7 and 10. My 7 year old will be able to ride things like Everest and Space Mountain that she was too short for last time. And I know Pandora and Toy Story Land are new. Any other new things to get excited about? Or classics that never get old? Or secret/little things we can looks forward to (e.g., one of our favorite activities last time was the Pirate adventure treasure map activity in Adventure Land -- there were really cool special effects and we found it to be the perfect activity to do when ride lines were long).
 
Last edited:

Delirium

Hidden Mickey
Joined
Jun 19, 2013
I'm a little confused about your take on Hollywood Studios. As far as I know, Rock N Rollercoaster is the only ride there with a 48 inch height restriction. That leaves TSM, Slinky Dog, Alien Saucer Swirl, Star Tours, Tower of Terror, and all the shows and characters. Well worth a visit. Would not skip the park simply because there is one 2 minute ride your daughter cannot do.
 
  • Dec38

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Feb 24, 2016
    I'm a little confused about your take on Hollywood Studios. As far as I know, Rock N Rollercoaster is the only ride there with a 48 inch height restriction. That leaves TSM, Slinky Dog, Alien Saucer Swirl, Star Tours, Tower of Terror, and all the shows and characters. Well worth a visit. Would not skip the park simply because there is one 2 minute ride your daughter cannot do.
    Ack, sorry, I meant Univeral Studios/Island of Adventure! We were thinking this would be a combined Disney/Universal trip...
     

    disneydreamer1980

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2017
    If this is your first trip to US, the Harry Potter world is uh-mazing. Have your kids read the books beforehand to get excited about it. And I agree with the PP, don’t compare this trip to your last. You can still have a great trip without breaking the bank. Have your kids done the Perry the Platypus thing in WS? If they liked the Pirates adventure they should enjoy this. Planning is half the fun for me (maybe even more). Maybe try watching different Disney movies with the kids to get excited. They’re kids, they won’t be busy comparing the trip to last time, they’ll be busy having fun. It’s Disney World!
     

    Klayfish

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 19, 2016
    I think going in with the need to "top" it has already set you up for disappointment.

    So don't compare it to your last trip. It should exist in a vacuum as its own thing.
    Totally agree with this. I understand what you're trying to say, but I would strongly encourage you to "forget" about that last trip. Be excited for this trip because you're about to have new adventures and make new memories...not because you want to recreate a trip from years ago. Every one of our trips are different and special in their own way, and we've made plenty of trips recently.

    Don't worry about the budget aspect making it less of a special trip. We've very budget conscious on every trip...it's how we afford to go often. We stay offsite (we'd want to do that even if we could afford not to), bring all of our own food in...and I mean all of it, we don't do character meals, we don't do MNSSHP or MVMCP. Yet we still have an absolutely wonderful time, every time.
     

    Dec38

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Feb 24, 2016
    I think you are right that my kids will love it no matter what -- The feeling let down is likely just my own thing. I'm the vacation planner in our house and would probably choose a different place if it were solely up to me. My kids and my spouse are bigger Disney and theme park fans than me. But I chose what will be this summer's destination, so I will let the others pick for next year. I do love vacation planning. And since my kids are older, this will likely be the Disney trip they remember. I'm just hoping to get some more ideas to spark some more excitement as I plan this thing.
     
  • Nancyg56

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 17, 2005
    My family's Disney vacation two years ago was perfect in almost every way, and I really think it will be hard to top. My kids were 4 and 7 at the time. I really enjoyed planning that trip, and treated it as a once in a lifetime kind of trip (even though I'd been to Disney a bunch before, and we'd all been there in a trip with extended family when the kids were babies/toddlers). But the last trip was the complete package -- we were there for 8 days, stayed at the Poly; tons of character meals, including CRT; had all of the hard to get fast passes; took advantage of PPO breakfasts to get no wait access to popular rides; Jedi training, etc. We saw pretty much everything we wanted to see with minimal waits, spent our afternoons relaxing at our resort, and returned in the evenings at a more relaxed pace than our mornings.
    I think that you are overthinking this. We are repeat visitors and had never planned on joining this group of WDW fans who go there often. Our first trip back as a family was with my 4 YO DGD and we had the very best trip. Not just WDW trip, but best family vacation. Nothing could ever top that one....but we never tried to do so? WE did and saw everything we wanted to do and se on THAT trip. We missed way more than we could even anticipate, but again, who worries about that. There is a next time to explore new details, make new memories and plan a different focus.

    We have planned a lot of trips back, all are different. Some have tighter budgets, and others have more discretionary spending. But all are unique, and they all are special. I never compare one to the other.

    I think you are right that my kids will love it no matter what -- The feeling let down is likely just my own thing. I'm the vacation planner in our house and would probably choose a different place if it were solely up to me. My kids and my spouse are bigger Disney and theme park fans than me. But I chose what will be this summer's destination, so I will let the others pick for next year. I do love vacation planning. And since my kids are older, this will likely be the Disney trip they remember. I'm just hoping to get some more ideas to spark some more excitement as I plan this thing.
    I would let that pressure go. It is only going to set you up to feel badly, and to be anxious. If the kids are getting older, plan activities that encourage them to stop and look for the details that make Disney special. My DGD and DSIL used to hunt for hidden Mickeys. He had a guide so they were always checking those hidden beauties, and that led them to discover details they would have missed otherwise.

    Also check out the Agent P scavenger hunt thing in Epcot. My DGD did it and as a family we had a blast. We had to get to dinner so we did not spend enough time on this activity, but it was a lot of fun, and again, encourages you to slow down and see details that are easy to miss.
     

    gharter

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 3, 2004
    I plan each trip as its own entity. I look at what we enjoyed, but don't make the trips compete with each other. That never works.
    I get excoted about new things or things we didn't see last time.
    If you try and hype it too much, almost guaranteed, you will be disappointed no matter how good the trip is.
    When our kids were young, we had to modify each trip for their ages and what they were into. Doing it throught their eyes makes each trip special.
    Now without kids going with us, we make each trip still special.
     

    KaSe

    Disney-crazy mom & part-time ninja
    Joined
    Mar 2, 2016
    One of the things I love most about Disney World is that no matter how old my kids are (they are currently 17 & 20) and no matter how many trips we've taken in the past, they turn into excited, squealing 10-year olds every time we walk onto Main Street. We've had some amazing trips, and every time, we've made new memories, done something we haven't done before -- even if it's eat somewhere new or a new Pirate Adventure (by the way, I second the Perry the Platypus in EPCOT!) or resort hop for an afternoon, whatever -- and shared some popcorn or Mickey bars and laughed our heads off at some experience or crazy adventure. I have some amazing memories of my daughters at different ages in the parks -- and yes, the things they've been most interested in or the things on their "must do" list have changed at different ages, but every trip has been magical. I love how Disney turns everyone into an excited, little kid. :-)

    We often do both Disney & Universal in the same trip (we just use Mears or Uber to go from our Disney resort to US. I know a lot of people do a split stay, but we never have) And we have a blast there, too -- Your daughter might not be able to do some of the big coasters (and Forbidden Journey), but most of the rides are 42 inches if accompanied by a parent (or smaller) so she should be able to ride most everything. You can find the full height chart here.: https://www.universalorlando.com/webdata/k2/en/us/files/Documents/universal-orlando-riders-guide.pdf

    I agree that if they're Harry Potter fans, that alone is worth the trip. I think my girls could have spent an entire afternoon just doing the magic spells in Diagon Alley/HogsMeade with their wands! (The wands were a splurge -- we're also pretty budget conscious, too -- but they both used birthday money to help buy them & they've used them now on a couple of trips) Plus the Dr. Seuss area is just adorable for younger kids, and the Despicable Me ride & Spiderman ride are a couple of our favs! I hope this helps.

    Believe me, there are plenty of us who will be excited for you and help you find that excitement, too.
     
    Last edited:

    billyjobobb

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 6, 2018
    We have always had great Disney trips. Our first Walt Disney World trip we got the top floor corner unit at the resort, we got a rental car upgrade, everything was perfect. We still enjoyed the second trip there.

    One of my favorite memories was Disneyland for Christmas. It was a short trip and it was raining. We only had one chance to see the fireworks and they hadn't cancelled them yet. We sat in the hub for at least an hour with the castle all lit up in lights. It was magical. Fireworks were cancelled and we were drenched, but we're from Oregon..... I would have never just sat, the 2 of us, alone in the hub for all that time, but it is one of my best Disney memories.
     
  • wdw&sonny

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 24, 2008
    Combining WDW and US/IoA is not good for the budget. Buying park tickets to both for multiple days is much more costly than buying for one. Plus the on-site perks make it worth it to stay at one or the other, but inconvenient to transfer during a week.
    I would choose one or the other.
    And, like everyone else said, plan it as it's own vacation. Don't repeat the things you did last time expecting the same results. Just plan it out and go for the fun of a family vacation. My boys are 23 and 21, now. Sitting here at my computer, I see pictures from our first trip when they were 7 and 9. Seems like yesterday. We've had a lot of great vacations, WDW, USF or other. Get excited that you have the opportunity to have a family vacation.
    My wife and I still go to WDW (even without our "boys"). We (well at least I) get excited for a new resort, a new restaurant, a new attraction, a familiar song, seeing the castle, an afternoon swim, a morning pastry, seeing a character interact with a child, hearing the screams from Splash Mt., singing "It's a great big beautiful tomorrow", laughing, smiling, escaping the real world and acting like a kid again...
    I gotta go plan my next trip.
     

    SullyD13

    Disneyland Veteran | Disney World Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 29, 2015
    I felt the exact same way. We went in 2015 and it was so amazing and truly a once in a lifetime trip. We decided to go again in 2017 and I was worried that the bar was set so high that it might be hard to live up to. Especially in terms of cast members and customer service - everything was magical! Well our 2017 came and it was just as amazing! There were some things that weren't quite the same and some fails (I'm looking at you Ohana) but when I think about my trip I don't even think of those things. Honestly now, I think this new trip probably trumps the old one. I think if you're in a good mood and wanting to have a great time, you will. It's really nice to have your "go-to" places from previous trips and also do new things. Keeping old memories while making new ones. Now we're going for the Holidays in 2019 and can't wait! I think what keeps us going back is that it truly is a break from the real world and there's just so much to do. No one trip will be alike. We went for 12 days last time and I still felt like we had to be selective about what we did because there's just not enough time to do it all. Things we didn't do last time but want to do on this next trip are horseback riding, fireworks dessert party, try a new signature restaurant, mini golfing, candlelight processional, I could go on and on. Also there's so many new rides popping up - that alone will make the trip feel different. I think you're going to have an amazing time!
     

    Karin1984

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 5, 2012
    Besides all the great advice PP have given you, have you asked your children what their top five of best memories of last trip was?
    Children that age might appreciate a great pool at the hotel, but would it matter to them that much whether it is the pool at the Polynesian or a value resort? Did appreciate everything you liked about Poly? To a kid a hotel is usually more a place you have to return to, to sleep after a park day.

    Other example: If your daughter is over her princess phase, that dinner at CRT might not be on her list of things she wants to repeat. They are 2 years older, they have changed in certain ways, but if they love Disney they do not have your worries to top each trip. Being at Disney is probably good enough already.

    If you are a planner by heard, I would take up the challenge to find ways to make this a great vacation without spending a lot of money. Memories and monetary value shouldnt be mixed up.

    And maybe for yourself to think about: what is it that makes you think 'I have to spend as much money as possible to keep my kids happy'?
     

    KenHutch

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 7, 2005
    You are probably over worrying. In 2006 I planned our once and done trip for my then 5year old daughter. I am now planning our 6th and done trip for 2021. Talk to your kids and find our what sticks in their minds from the last trip. Use youtube and check out videos to guage their interest in different things there. You said your daughter is over the princesses. Well this past June I had to book Trattoria for breakfast so that my then 17 year old could get her picture with Rapunzel. I plan all these trips around my 2 girls and every trip they find new things and love the place more.
     

    msp2mco

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2009
    Great comments above. I would suggest getting your kids involved in the planning--more than just asking what they liked from the previous trip. My kids love watching youtube videos about Top 10 Secrets of WDW or Top 10 New Snacks (I'm making these up, but you get the idea). Then they pick out a few things from those that they want to do and experience. On a recent trip, my DS had read that there were new tiger or lion cubs at AK, so we sought those out, which was really fun.

    As for the resort, I would suggest also getting them involved in the selection. If you want to avoid a Deluxe, get them involved to see which value or mod might appeal to them. Or the campground. Or offsite.
     

    DisneyJen0504

    Married Prince Charming. Mommy to Avery & William
    Joined
    Jun 22, 2004
    I have to say each trip with our kids becomes the best ever! As they get older they become interested in different things, sometimes become a little braver, stay up later, etc. Last trip was a surprise the morning of, the kids were 6 and just turned 4. We stayed on the monorail for the first time at BLT and we thought how will we ever top this!
    This trip they will be 8 and 6. It will be our first time going during the holidays, first time staying at Polynesian, first time they are tall enough for just about everything, and they can stay up much later than previous trips to enjoy fireworks and nighttime shows. We have involved them in all the planning for the first time ever and it has been so much fun. They helped choose dining, rides we want to go on, and we do monthly countdown parties.
     

    Tksolomom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 9, 2017
    We always do split stays between Disney and Universal. While there are more budget friendly options, we always spend 2 nights at Royal Pacific to get the free front of the line passes. It is about the same price as a Disney Moderate.

    We have been to DW 3 times, and DL over 10. We have been going since our son was 4 an daughter 1, to now when they are 19 and 15. Every trip is different, but they all are great. Some trips we do a lot (cruise, Universal and Disney) and others we watch what we spend and do more CS than TS. We don’t do as many meet and greets, and the characters the kids like are different, but it is still awesome. We do more rides, and don’t have to back to the hotel every day because they can stay up later.

    They like different restaurants than when they were younger (50PT and Sci-Fi now) but still like 1900 Park Fare for the step sisters.

    I agree with the other posters to involve your kids in the planning, especially for dining.

    I know you will have a great trip, just enjoy it for what it is and don’t compare it to last time.
     

    GillianP1301

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 22, 2012
    All of our trips are similar, but all unique at the same time. I use previous trips to help me pick my facourites (restaurants, fastpasses, etc...), but I also always try to find at least a few new things to try. I always pick a different resort and then I add things on like a new tour or experience I've never done before. I love the combination of tried & true and brand new. I find it makes for a great vacation every time.
     

    isabellea

    Combining beach and Disney!
    Joined
    Jan 22, 2014
    Maybe consider going to Disneyland in California instead? Would be Disney but also very different from your previous trip.
     

    Connect

    Disney News and Updates

    Daily Updates and News



    THEME PARK MAPS




    DISNEY WORLD TICKETS


    THEME PARK HOURS
    Disney World Rehabs and Closings Disney World Restaurant Menus

    DISNEY WORLD VIDEOS




    Top