Saturday, March 19, 2011

On a Trip...

Went on a trip this past week with family. Thirteen of us visiting Disney World. Some truths were learned from this adventure.
  1. A visit to Disney World is not a restful trip.  No, no, no.  It is a marathon and a sprint at the same time.  One must get up early every day and one must hurry from one park to another and from one ride to another.   There is no rest here.
  2. There is a very complicated optimization problem to solve in real time while visiting the parks.   One must decide whether to go to Soarin' to get a express pass before running across the front part of Epcot to get in line at Mission Space or at Test Track.   Or should one go to Test Track first?   It is hard to tell and I think the day of the week and the hour of the day are key process input variables (engineer speak).  At Magic Kingdom do you go to Space Mountain first for the express pass or to Buzz Light Year?   
  3. Sometimes despite your best planning, you can speed to your solution of the problem and then find the ride closed or temporarily offline which forces an immediately recalculation (Haunted Mansion).  In other times, you can be standing in the standby line and someone might walk up to you and hand you three express passes for the same ride.  (Yes it happened to us but I was wearing my St. Patricks day clover / mickey mouse head pin which explains it and should have been expected to happen).
  4. Of course, one needs a nearly infinite amount of money to be there yet there is nearly an infinite number of people running/walking around you which leads to a mystery as to how this can be when the economy is not supposed to be good.  I'm convinced that when you arrive in Orlando at the airport, if you pause and listen carefully you can hear dollars being sucked out of your wallet.
  5. Of course, at Epcot you must visit the Boulangerie Pâtisserie and purchase the chocolate mousse.  
  6. I think the real learning is that when going to Disney World one must plan to run and go and rest later.   One must go back home to rest.   It doesn't matter that the Boardwalk is slow moving or there are Spas and Golf and Pools at the resort.  There is some 'magic' rule that compels you to just go.
  7. In the end, it is an amazing place.  And it as a delight to spend a few days with family.


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  2. We are headed there this summer and learned some "philosophy" from a old guide who now runs a site called tour guide mike. Some of my take aways that worked last time.

    1. Get up early and go the opposite park of the extra magic hours,as those are usually the most crowded that day

    2. Get a fast pass for something as soon as you arrive, then ride something that's not fast pass enabled since it will be croweded as the day goes on. Also interesting "policy" is they will let you use your fast pass late even hours late, never early though.

    3. Take a nap about 2 . This was something we did every day because of what you said it is exhausting. Then when we went back for dinner and a show it was a little more relaxing.

    No matter how you do it though it is a fun place and most things are taken care of for you.

  3. I know what you mean! You just can't figure out the best scenario. Just have to go with it sometimes. I studied a guide for a couple of trips and the tips worked pretty well, but I like Phil's idea of doing the opposite park. Might have to try that next time. We also did the get up early- take a nap in the middle of the day thing. But the BEST thing we've ever done was the Disney Land/Sea Adventure. 4 days in the parks, 3 days at sea on the Disney Wonder. The ship gave us the slower pace we needed to recoup from the other days in the parks. But it was still Disney with shows, great food, pristine beach stop!

  4. Phil and Robin, I agree that taking an afternoon rest break is a great idea. We've done that some days and it really helps.

    I forgot to also mention that you discover which people don't have a mirror in their home.

  5. But, what a great week it was. It's very telling that the only picture you posted was of the desserts!!!!

  6. The best time I've found to go is the week before Thanksgiving. Just leave the kids at home with a sitter like everyone else...

  7. We've always known about and used the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, but a new tip we received was to go to A good amount of planning info is available free, but for a very small fee (discounted if you have a copy of the book), you can input the dates and it will tell you which parks to go, which to avoid, and which are neutral on any given day. Also it tells you on a scale of 1-10 what the crowd level will be for each park each day. Select your parks based on that info, then use the touring plans in the book (or customize them online), and you are good to go. A friend recently borrowed our info and said this worked like a charm, even over spring break! And as someone earlier said, arriving early each day is a huge help, no matter what else you do.

  8. Lori, I've not heard of this but it makes sense. I'll go take a look. Thanks!