Growing up my family didn't have too many opportunities to take vacations. So now that I am older I really cherish the moments when we do. We try to get at least 1 big vacation each year. Research is the most important thing when wanting to get the most out of your vacation. I know that any time a vacation is getting close on the calendar I go into research mode.
Here are 5 ways to research your destination and find all the fun things to do.
(For all my examples I will use a Disney Vacation as the destination)
- Internet (Locations Main Website): Depending on where we are heading, my 1st stop is the internet (you can find practically everything you want on the internet these days). I am the type of person who wants to experience everything and I don't like to miss out on new experiences because I didn't know about it. So of course I go to disney's main website address (www.disneyland.com) first and read about everything. Including what rides will be down during the time I will be there. It is the worst feeling when you get to this magical land and find out your favorite ride will be down the entire time you are there. Remember also if you are bringing little ones to check out height requirements (most rides all your kids should be able to go on.)
- Internet (reservations & vacation companies): this tip is about researching your options for lodging and vacation packages. I have booked my vacation a number of ways over the years. You can go through disney themselves, they have lots of options for packages that meet many price ranges. Then you have companies such as www.getawaytoday.com that do similar packages but are fantastic to work with and have many add on options for things like a pirate dinner show or tickets to lego land. One great thing about the packages is how easy it is to add on a character breakfast, these are located at different restaurants inside the park where your kids or you can experience having breakfast with some of there favorite disney characters. and you get some great photos too. Or last but not least you can book the hotel, tickets and everything else yourself.
- Disney Blogger Websites: Now a day's you can find tons of disney fans that love disney so much that they have made it a full time gig by blogging about nothing but disney. These people have some great ideas and info that you normally wouldn't find. Here is where you can find out more facts about the rides or buildings or little extras. Here you will find personally experiences and tips about what not to do and some helpful tips like tying a colorful scarf to your stroller so that you can find it easily through the mass of identical strollers or that if you go to a food vendor if asked they will give you a free cup of ice water. You will also see polls on what restaurant has the best hamburger or ideas on keeping your child safe (they have come out with these cool rub on tattoos that have your phone # on them so that if your child gets lost they can call the number and find you). Also there are plenty of posts out there about saving money on these kind of vacations, some of the ideas are fantastic.
- Guest Relations: We always stop at guest relations located at the front of the parks
- Cast Members: I talk to these people a lot and see if there are things they may know about that are not widely known. We scored with this one a couple years ago. By asking a cast member this question they then told us that if you talked to the captain of the mark twain there was an opportunity to ride the boat in the captains box. So we asked and we're then invited up to the top room, where we were not only allowed to blow the horn, but steer. at the end of our voyage we we're able to sign the captain's book and we're given official license's to drive the mark twain. Disney has tons of ways to get around. Make sure you try a ride on the double decker bus, horse drawn carriage, old automobile and don't forget the train, it is fantastic to use to get around the park with a little less walking. Cast members are always willing to take photos so don't forget those photo ops. We all want to remember the fun for years to come.
Those are my 5 top tips. I hope you all enjoyed and learned some new things.