How to Make a WDW Vet Go Crazy ~ By Paul Moore

August 12, 2013

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How to Make a WDW Vet Go Crazy ~ By Paul Moore


My wife and I are WDW vets.  In the 14 years we have been married, with the exception of two times, it has been our anniversary trip. Those exception years usually meant we make it to Florida at Christmas time instead. It’s my favorite time to be there, but that’s for a different blog topic.

Last year, I turned the big 4-0. I wanted to do something special for my birthday so we headed to Florida for a few days, then got on the Disney Magic for 6 nights! Probably the best vacation we have ever taken, but again that’s a topic for a different blog.

This year, my wife is turning the big 4-0. Instead of a cruise, she wanted to do a “coast-to-coast” trip. That’s right, we are heading to Disneyland then flying to Disney World, all in the same trip. It is a great vacation in the making. All I had to do was plan it.

You would think that frustration of planning said trip would mostly come from airline reservations. After all, flying from Michigan to California to Florida and back to Michigan wouldn’t be cheap, but no, I got a great fare on Detroit’s main airline carrier. I thought I should have had an “EASY” button when making that reservation.

The flight was set, now comes lodging. We are DVC members who own at Animal Kingdom, so we needed to wait for the 7 month window to open up. Everything I’ve read said that California is the hardest DVC location to get into. The 7 month window came up, and I got our room. 5 days later, the 7 day window came up for WDW, and I got a room during EPCOT’s Food and Wine Festival at the Beach Club Villas. In case you didn’t know, this is unheard of during the 7 month time frame.

It seemed that all I had to do now was wait one more month, make my dining reservations and I’m all set for a trip of a lifetime. That is when reality set in.

For those of you who love to dine at WDW and thrive on that 180 day mark, you will feel my pain. I started doing a little more research about this and what did I find? For Disneyland restaurants, they only take reservations 60 days in advance. That’s not a typo…60 DAYS!

Then, wanting to see the calendar of events, the Disneyland website only shows roughly the next 45 days of the calendar. As I write this on August 10th, the current Disneyland calendar only shows events through September 21st. 42 days. Why is this such a big deal? Well, apparently when we are going, which is a Tuesday to Sunday trip (5 nights), we will have the opportunity to see Fantasmic, only once, and the Fireworks, only once. That’s right, only once! Technically we could see Fantasmic twice on the same night, but only one night will they be showing it. What is really surprising about this is the Fireworks. Why only on Saturdays? Grant it, part of that is because they are doing Halloween Parties on Friday and Sunday, but still no fireworks during the week? Am I not paying the same price of admission as those who see them throughout weeknights in the summer? Had I known this, our trip might have been planned a little differently.

I’m told that the reason for this is the 80/20 rule. In Orlando, 80% of those who visit WDW are from out of town. 20% are locals. Therefore, they have to offer a significant dining experience because if these visitors don’t eat at Disney, they have to go somewhere else to eat. The same goes for the planning. In California, it’s exactly the opposite. 80% of those who visit Disneyland are locals and only 20% are from out of town. Most of those 80% don’t care about sitting down to a restaurant as they could easily go home and eat for a lot less, plus they attend on a more spur of the moment attitude.

Still, one would think there would be a little uniformity to the planning. I mean what is the big deal about opening reservations up earlier? And you can’t tell me that they “don’t know” what the park hours are going to be through October, or even through December. How much does that actually change year over year? They know when the special parties will be, so they know when things will close early.

So, as this WDW vet is getting closer to traveling to the “Happiest Place on Earth” take a lesson in the planning for a trip to Disneyland. Take a deep breath and relax, your planning is going to be a while.

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2 thoughts on “How to Make a WDW Vet Go Crazy ~ By Paul Moore”
  1. the reason disneyland can only have fireworks on weekends is because unlike WDW it isn’t its own little compound. The residents complained and now they are only allowed weekend shows

  2. I’m a Disneyland AP and have been going to the park since 1955, although I’ve only been to WDW a handful of times. DL is a different experience and I hope you and your wife enjoy it here. Don’t stress about the ressie thing, the park experience is different here. Dining is not the be-all and end-all of a DL trip. I’m sure you’ll be able to get what you want, there really aren’t that many choices, especially compared to WDW. I’d say that here it’s more about the experiencing the park and food is just fuel to keep you going. Everything is so close together here, getting from one thing to the next is just a few steps vs. a long walk. These are just my thoughts, but hopefully it’s helpful to you. It is very possible to see both the fireworks and Fantasmic in the same night; I just did it 3 nights in a row earlier this week. If you send me a PM, I’ll share my technique that will get you a good spot for the fireworks with less than 20 minutes of waiting and then a good spot for the 2nd Fantasmic show. Again, I hope you enjoy your trip to the only park that Walt walked!

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