Don’t Crowdsource your Disney Vacation Planning

Don’t Crowdsource Your Disney Vacation Planning

I’m sure you’ve seen it.  Someone posts to Facebook asking for advice.  50 people chime in all with different answers.  Sometimes this is useful – say you are asking for a good Italian restaurant in your town.  Generally speaking, it works out fine to take a recommendation that a few people gave you for a Saturday night date.  But asking how to plan your vacation is something else entirely.  It usually goes something like this:

You: “Friends, I’m trying to plan a trip to Disney World.  I need your help!  Where should we stay and what do I need to know?”

Friend 1: “We stayed at All Star Movies, you should stay there!”
Friend 2: “Definitely check out the Marriott, it was nice when we stayed there.”
Friend 3: “You should buy the FastPass thing!”
Friend 4: “Do Harry Potter for sure!
Friend 5: “My kids didn’t like Epcot, so I recommend skipping that park.”
Friend 6: “The Little Mermaid rooms are really cute!!”

And so on.

Everyone is just trying to be helpful!  But here’s the problem.  None of these people asked you anything about your family, your preferences or your interests.  Instead, they just said what they liked.  Without knowing more, how do you know if any of their preferences will be true for you?

Let’s unpack some of the troubles here.

Friend 1: “We stayed at All Star Movies, you should stay there!”

Friend 1 didn’t ask you what kind of hotel you feel comfortable with.  She didn’t mention that All Star resorts have double beds, not queen beds, and maybe you and your husband are tall and double beds just won’t cut it.  Or you have two teens and sharing a double bed is just a big nope for them.  And we haven’t even gotten into differences in amenities yet.  If a friend likes a hotel they stayed in, does that mean everyone would like that hotel?

 

Friend 2: “Definitely check out the Marriot, it was nice when we stayed there.”

This friend hasn’t given any reason why they liked it, but perhaps more importantly, didn’t think to tell you that by staying here you are giving up some important perks.  It’s possible they had no idea they were lost out on some of these perks, or maybe in their case they didn’t care.  However, it’s just as likely that you would care a lot about these perks.  For example, do you want to have to pay for your transportation?  Do you want to miss out on FastPass+ options for the most popular rides?  These would be good things to know before picking this hotel.

 

Friend 3: “You should buy the Fast Pass thing!”

This statement represents the many things I’ve seen as advice that are actually just flat out wrong.  You cannot buy FastPass.  It’s free.  You can get an earlier start on it when staying at a Disney resort, but it’s free for everyone.  This friend is possibly thinking of Disneyland’s MaxPass, or they are thinking of Universal’s Express Pass, or maybe even the old term for Memory Maker which was PhotoPass, but in any case they are supplying you with wrong and confusing information.

 

Friend 4: “Do Harry Potter for sure!”

Harry Potter isn’t part of Disney’s parks.  It’s at Universal Studios, which is not right next door, requires separate tickets and sometimes is best done as an entire additional stay.  As such, this friend is not really helping with the Disney question asked and is assuming the family wants to visit an additional location for a theme that they may or may not know if the family even likes.

 

Friend 5: “My kids don’t like Epcot, so I recommend skipping that park.”

You could replace Epcot with another park and find people saying the same thing.  But again, the problem here is that the friend is not asking what your family likes- they are assuming you have the same tastes as their family.  Do you have kids who like Frozen and really want to meet Anna and Elsa?  They reside in Epcot, along with the only Frozen themed ride in the parks.  If you were to have skipped this park based on this advice, you’d have missed the chance to make that dream come true for your children.

 

Friend 6: “The Little Mermaid rooms are really cute!”

Yes, they are!  But if you are a family of 5, you’re out of luck.  These rooms sleep 4 people.  Friends tossing out advice on Facebook often aren’t thinking at this level of detail.  Wouldn’t it be better to know which rooms do hold your family of 5 before considering them?

 

Instead of weeding through other people’s preferences, why not work with someone whose goal is to match YOUR preferences?  Seeking out a Disney specialized travel agent is a good start.  But you’ll want to make sure the person you are working with is a true Disney expert that specializes in very customized vacations.  Look for a consultant that starts with a phone call rather than asking you to check off boxes for which options you want on a form – it’s so hard to know what to check off if you don’t know enough about the options!  When you work with a Disney expert that has a consultant and concierge style (like those of us here at The Enchanted Traveler), they will ask you detailed questions to help find the best matches for where to stay, how long you need, the right tickets, best parks for each day, dining recommendations, FastPass+ reservations and all of the detail down to customized ride by ride plans to keep you out of the long lines.

 

So when it comes to Facebook, just remember that as well meanings as our friends are, they usually aren’t asking questions to find the right fit.  They’re just recommending what they themselves did.  And chances are, you aren’t identical to your friends.

 

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