Every family has their own idea of the perfect vacation. Too often, many are let down when a highly anticipated trip does not meet their expectations. From time to time we hear this from families after their first trip to Walt Disney World. WDW is an expansive resort and theme park complex where many a trip can go awry if not planned well with one thing in mind: understand what you are looking to get out of your trip

Our family, for example, with three children under 9 will be looking for a different experience than a family with Tweens or even one with older teens on vacation. A trip to Walt Disney World for our family is as much about enjoying a summer resort as experiencing attractions inside the parks. We know that a few hours surrounded by the magic of imagination in any of the WDW park each day is enough for three little ones…and that they are not looking to stand in lines to wait for attractions. We also understand our children love to swim in the themed pools as much as anything they do on our trip. Finally, we know a trip to WDW is an opportunity for our family to be able to dine out in a nice restaurant that welcomes the spirit of kids. With this basic understanding of what we are looking for we can plan our days to arrive early in the parks to experience as much as possible while everyone is fresh…head back to our resort midday to enjoy the pools for a few hours…then head back to another park to enjoy a dinner and and evening attraction. We understand that we will be spending many hours in our resort and will choose a place to stay with this in mind. This plan may not work for all…but one can easily understand why it works for a family with young children.

For a family with slightly older children more hours in the parks may be a match….for a couple with no children, it may be less hours in the parks and more experiencing the rest of the entertainment that Walt Disney World has to offer. The most obvious matches may also not actually be the most efficient. If your family has more thrill seekers and wants to experience as many park attractions as possible, the best vacation plan may actually be to arrive early in one park each day to hit a few big attractions (thunder mountain, expedition Everest, space mountain) with minimum wait, while maximizing those fast passes in the late morning for the rest of the family friendly attractions ( Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh) that were less priority than the headliners..or the top rides where a standby line will eat up too much of the morning (seven dwarfs mine train, toy story mania).

If your family is looking for a relaxing vacation, this too can be done at Walt Disney World. However it may involve arriving to the parks when at the most crowded with the understanding that you will not be looking to get onto as many attractions…yet will be able to walk the extremely detailed streets and pathways that help tell another story all by themselves. You can plan meals to be off time (lunch at 11a or 2p…dinner at 8p) to have more time to slowly develop your experience at our own pace…and choose your resort knowing you will be looking for a lot of hours from it as well.

There is no “right” way to visit Walt Disney World…however the most enjoyable and satisfying trips may start with understanding what your family is looking to do ..then making your choices for it accordingly. With a resort and park complex that has this much to offer..you will be able to design your vacation to whatever you want it to be.