by Sara Loretta
Let’s be completely honest real quick, I ended up at Walt Disney World as a total fluke, and as much as I’d like to thank the spirits of Haunted Mansion for spending the weekend at the happiest place on Earth, the 3 PM rain in Orlando was the entire cause. After a flight cancellation due to a massive storm, I gave up trying to get to Cleveland for a family visit and decided to put my phone away and take a much-needed, self-care weekend.
Personally, I love long-weekend trips to WDW and recommend them to anyone asking for advice on how to plan their vacation. So how do I pack four parks, character meet and greets, and fireworks into three days? I’ll tell ya!
First, by forcing yourself to only spend two days at the parks, you immediately cut all of the must-do’s you’ve done a million times; and allow yourself to focus on the never-done, the been-waiting for and adventuring you never have time to actually do. It’s really the best vacation you could take, even if you’ve never been to a single Disney park in your life.
By selecting a specific event like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, your weekend trip can be planned around attending that event alone; whereas if you visit WDW during one of their festivals like Food & Wine, you open up your schedule to just go more with the flow, wander around EPCOT trying new foods and then can pop over to MK to close the night out with Happily Ever After.
The possibilities are truly endless when you just choose one main event to partake in on a weekend trip to Disney. Instead of being restricted to one park per day & trying to fit as much as humanly possible into each day, only focus on your one event, and then go with the flow. Oh, make sure you buy Park Hopper tickets for this exact reason.
So on a recent spring weekend, as I had no plan whatsoever I enjoyed myself more completely than I ever have. It was Easter in the parks, so my main event was seeing the Easter parade and meeting Mr. & Mrs. Easter Bunny in the Town Square in Main Street U.S.A. The rest of the weekend, I just went with whatever happened. Tired? I rode the monorail to see the Easter eggs at Grand Floridian. Hungry? I popped over to EPCOT to try the specialty foods for the Flower & Garden Festival. Oh, then I had no idea that Donald’s Dino party in Animal Kingdom was still going on, so I got to meet my favorite chipmunks in their cute dino costumes!
All in all, not strategically planning your Disney vacation can cause many miles walked, but just keep an eye on your My Disney Experience app for wait times to change, and enjoy running into characters you usually miss.
Some of my favorite things to do on un-planned WDW trips include visiting resorts like Boardwalk to grab ice cream, do the Wilderness Explorer hunt in Animal Kingdom, take a photo in every country of EPCOT doing something from that culture, watch the Green Army Men show in Hollywood Studios, and interact with the townspeople of Main Street U.S.A.
There really are just too many things to do at the Disney parks, so the next time you head to the most magical place do something you never have, breathe because you’re at Disney, and enjoy your vacation because well, you’re at Disney.
Sara Loretta is the Founder and Creative Director of Ninety-9 & St. Claire, a creative agency focused on helping brands build their foundations; music blogger and proud Disnerd. Her favorite WDW park character is Mexico Donald, and Sara excitedly eats her weight in pot pie from Prime Time every trip to Florida.