We veterans of Walt Disney World have all spotted them. When we’re walking back from a long night of celebrating in the hot tub, they’re grabbing a carryout breakfast at 5:00 a.m. so their family can be the very first in line at the rope drop. They never leave their hotel without a detailed schedule, including a map with alternate routes and three kinds of options in case their schedule goes awry. By 2:00 in the afternoon their kids are exhausted, but they refuse to go back to the resort because it’s not in the plan. They’re the overscheduled, the totally rigid… the Disney Zombies.
Disney Zombies are often first-time Disney guests. They have a budgeted amount of money and are determined, even if they are taking a cheap Disney vacation, that they will get every bit of their money’s worth on their vacation. They have read websites and planned for months, often taking notes in a day planner for every scheduled hour of the day. Ask them where they’ll be at 4:00 on Wednesday and they’ll tell you exactly how far along they should be in the line to Pirates of the Caribbean. They are the most organized people in the park. Unfortunately, they and their families are often too stressed out to enjoy themselves.
Trying to fit everything Disney into two or three jam-packed days is not the way to have a fun Disney World vacation. Anyone who has been there knows that there is no way to see every bit in all the parks on one trip. Or in ten trips. Walt Disney World is huge, and it’s designed to make you want to come back over and over again. Trying to see everything in just a few days will keep you from enjoying anything that you did managed to experience, no matter how rushed.
Think back to when you were a kid, and try to remember a fun time you had with your family. It’s likely that the memories are so strong because you had fun, laughed and generally had a brilliant time with people you enjoyed. None of this was dependent on a thousand-dollar price tag. The same is true with a Disney vacation. While you’ll be in an extraordinary place, there are no rules that say you have to rush and experience every bit of it the first time around. Take a tip from veteran Disney travelers. Buy only half as many tickets as you have days of vacation. If you’re there for seven days, only get a three-day pass. This might seem to be a waste of a great opportunity, but if everyone in your family is tired, crabby and not enjoying the parks by the fourth day of quick sightseeing, no one will go home with happy Disney memories. Spend your off days experiencing the lobbies in the deluxe resort hotels, playing with Legos and other toys in Downtown Disney or just swimming in the pool or watching movies on tv in your room. On the days that you do visit the parks, don’t get up early. Skip the rope drop craziness and saunter in well-rested. Go back to your room after lunch and take a nap, then finish up the evening back in the parks. You may end up on fewer rides and seeing less of the parks, but even cheap Disney vacations can create lifetime memories that will be talked about for years to come. And no Zombies.