I’m a Disney Travel Consultant!

So a few weeks ago, I signed a contract to join the team at Adventure is Out There Travel as an Independent Travel Consultant. Technically, I can plan all sorts of travel for you (just planned a Scandinavia trip for a family member), but my name is Daddy Does Disney not Daddy Does Scandinavia and Stuff, so I’m here for all your Disney travel needs (and I guess your other travel needs too).

If you’ve never used a travel agent for your Disney planning, here’s the spiel. We are here to take care of as much or as little as you want us to, from booking your reservation to ADR’s, FP+’s, touring plans, room requests, etc, we’ll get you covered, all at no cost to you. We get a commission paid by Disney to help make sure your vacation goes off without a hitch. Even if you enjoy the planning process yourself, not a bad idea to pay it forward and let someone get that commission (hopefully me) when you’re going, even if you don’t need a lot of help. I did it on my trip, even though I had my trip planned out to the hour before it was even booked (maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but still).

I joined the team at Adventure is Out There, because 1) there are a lot of friendly faces from the Disney Fan Community over there, and 2) they’re focused on customer service and hitting some of the¬†extra touches¬†that some of the larger agencies don’t.

So, when you’re ready to start planning that next Disney trip, feel free to reach out to me at matt@adventureisouttheretravel.com and I’ll be happy to get you on your way. 2019 dates at Walt Disney World just opened up, and Disney Cruise Line sailings are available through 2019 now. It’s a good time to get something going. Besides, I’m bored. Let’s do something.

Oh, here’s my pitch for myself personally

1) I just started, so I don’t have a lot of clients yet, and can focus more on your trip individually.

2) I stay on top of the latest news at the parks via my active involvement in the Disney Fan Community.

3) I’m a bit of a math nerd and also a planning nerd, so I don’t mind wonking out to make sure we get the best option for your family and your budget.

4) I’m a bit of an introvert. If you’re the type that doesn’t want to be harassed with phone calls, and just wants to text and email to get things to happen, that’s me. I don’t want to talk to anyone if I don’t have to, but I will if it helps to make your trip magical.

5) I even have a few strategies for saving money for your Disney trip that I haven’t shared here and don’t see a lot of out in the community.

Fair warning, I will probably ask you a lot of questions to make sure I cover all the bases, but that’s just me doing my job.

Why I Started a Podcast

It’s been a long time since I’ve been over here, but I’ve got news coming that will require me to be more active in my blogging.

I started my blog, because in the process of planning my trip, I realized I had tips and tricks and had done enough research, that someone might could get something out of what I had found. I started it up, and linked up Twitter, Youtube, Insta, etc, but then hit the wall that a lot of others out there run into, self doubt. I felt like, since I hadn’t been to the park in 6 years, who was I to tell you how to plan your trip.

So, I focused on Twitter. It was fun, and the community was very accepting and welcoming. I ended up befriending lots of other bloggers and vloggers, etc, and decided I would get a camera and try to vlog my trip, but then I got to the parks, and probably also like a lot of others, I was afraid of standing out. I think we literally saw 3 people walking around with cameras on the whole trip. As an introvert, I’m not one that likes to stand out from the crowd and I like to focus my life on my family, so I decided that vlogging probably wasn’t going to be for me at this time.

I got home, and realized, well, I didn’t get to do any vlogging, and I don’t know when I’ll get back to the parks, but I still want something to kind of expand my reach in the community, and decided that a podcast was probably the way to go. Sure, there may be plenty of Disney podcasts out there, but I’m perfectly ok if no one listens. I reached out to the community and found some brave souls that were willing to take the plunge with me (some of whom I had on a short list in my head that I wanted to do this with), and so now, I could put myself out there, and have others out there to back me up. I really appreciate my brothers and sisters at the Disney at a Distance Podcast for sharing their time (and notifications) with me. Without it, I don’t know that I could pull myself out of my own head enough to do something like this.

On the podcast, I hope to be able to reach out to the audience and just have some fun within the Disney community. Disney is supposed to be fun. I just want to talk about things, have fun, maybe debate a little, and just build a community. I hope that you guys are down to take the dive with me. Thanks for listening.

You can follow along on Twitter: @disneydistance

or on my account: @daddydoesdisney

Planning Our Perfect Vacation

So, as I’ve noted in my about page everywhere, we’ve been planning our upcoming WDW trip ever since our son was born. I’ve been to WDW a few times with my parents (once with my wife and parents), and my wife used to go every year as a cheerleading coach, so we have a decent feel for it, but I like to delve into travel plans, so I’ve spent a lot of time reading reviews and tips, watching videos, and crunching numbers to try and get everything just right. I thought I’d write this post to give you an idea of some of the things we’ve considered in locking down our plans for our reservation.

First off, this is what we’re calling our “all-in” trip. For us, that means we’re trying to knock out as many quintessential must-do Disney World things as we can in one trip, so that future visits don’t have to be so inclusive. Thus, if our plans exceed your personal budget or thoughts, don’t worry. There’s a WDW plan of attack for everyone and on a lot of budgets.

One of the first things to consider is “When can we go?”. For us, we ended up with a 1-week window to work in. I’ve only ever been in the summer, and it’s always ridiculously humid and crowded. My wife used to go for Cheerleading competitions in the fall, and really liked the weather and crowds for that time of the year, so while her teaching schedule doesn’t work for the fall, we found a week in the Spring that we should be able to go. If you want to find a less crowded time of the year (the park is pretty much always somewhat crowded at this point in time), TouringPlans.com posts crowd calendars and I think weather estimates, so you can get a feel for how your dates are going to look. I know that when I was looking at dates, going in the summer was 50% more crowded than going the week we ultimately chose.

The next important things to consider are where your priorities are. Our son will be 5 years old when we go to Disney. He’s a pretty chill kid, but even so, he’s probably not going to have the best temperament if you try to drag him around a park all day. Therefore, one of our priorities is to make sure we can build in several hours of rest time back at the hotel to nap or swim or do something aside from being dragged around a crowded park all day. To this end, we decided to prioritize a resort on the Monorail, as these resorts are fairly convenient to Epcot and Magic Kingdom (and with the new Express Transportation option in the parks, pretty convenient to any of the parks at mid-day).

You also have to consider the makeup of your party. We have our son, who’ll be 5, and we may also have my brother and sister in law, with their daughter, age 6, and son, age 9. With all the kiddos in tow, we know we’re going to want to do a lot of the age-appropriate rides and get in some character meals. The character meals keep your kids from getting bored at a meal time and allow you to skip waiting in line for pics and autographs from your favorite characters in the park. We decided since a lot of these character meals best fit at breakfast time and using a table service credit for breakfast is not exactly the best value, we decided to go with a Deluxe Dining Plan, so we can have the extra meal credits to use on nice dinners and show packages to get the value out of our plan. Once we knock out some of these experiences, we can go out of pocket or on a more traditional dining plan on future trips. The makeup of your party also helps determine how many days you need to devote to each park. With kids in your party, I can almost guarantee that you’re going to want to devote 2 days to the Magic Kingdom, you might can cut back on Epcot (a lot of attractions more catered to adults, and won’t keep kids’ attention). Depending on your kids, Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studio can be anywhere from a half day to a day and half (or 2 if you want to spend a lot of time exploring Animal Kingdom). If you’re in an adult only group, you’ll probably spend more time at Epcot, and maybe enjoy more of the shows and music at Animal Kingdom, or spend a good amount of time at Disney Springs.

All in all, we’ve targeted 7 nights at the Contemporary or Polynesian with a Deluxe Dining Plan and Memory Maker and 6-day park hoppers. I crunched a lot of numbers in the process, but generally didn’t do it across the board for a lot of things, so I’ll try to spend some time doing that, so I can give you rankings based on specific data points, like the ones I used in planning our trip. Good luck in your planning, and feel free to send me any questions you might have.