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“Hakuna Matata” may be the most well known Disney philosophy. (It means no worries!) But my personal Disney (and life) philosophy is “Do Less, Enjoy More.”
Mention the words “Disney World” to many people and it conjures images of Mickey Mouse, Cinderella Castle, and happy families. But to others? The words invoke images of crying children, frustrated parents, and hordes of people. How do you make sure that you stay in the first group of happy Disney vacationers? Say it with me – “Do Less, Enjoy More.”
Now that you have the words committed to memory, what do they actually mean? And how can you apply them to your Disney vacation?
Accept That You Can’t Do It All
A Disney vacation can be overwhelming. The instinct is to see ALL THE THINGS! And there is something about the planning of a Disney vacation that encourages this instinct – make your dining reservations, book your FastPass+, etc.
But the reality is, it can’t be done. Walt Disney World is 40 square miles, approximately the same size as the entire city of San Francisco. You CANNOT see everything in one trip. You can’t see everything even in multiple trips! And by trying, you set yourself up for failure and frustration. I have been upwards of 100 times, and I still have not seen it all.
But what if you didn’t try to see everything? What if you actually made seeing just SOME things the goal? This is at the heart of the “Do Less, Enjoy More” philosophy.
Once you accept that you cannot see it all, it allows you to focus on what you “want” to see. This is key! Sit down with your family and a good guidebook, and let each person choose one or two “must do” attractions. This way everyone is included in the planning!
Your Vacation Is An Investment
Your vacation is an investment, not just of money, but also of time. The instinct is to try to get the most bang for your buck by cramming as many rides,shows, and character meetings into your days so that you feel your investment was “worth it.” But this perspective is only addressing the financial investment. But what about the investment of time spent with your family? How much family time are you getting if you are rushing from ride to ride?
“Do Less, Enjoy More” allows you to slow down and appreciate the details. By choosing just a few “must do” items for each day, this gives you the space to take breaks, explore, and truly enjoy the time spent together.
Take the time to explore. The parks, your resort – there is so much more to Walt Disney World than you can possibly imagine! And take the time to talk about what you see. Compare notes, point out the tiny details, and discuss what you want to do tomorrow.
How to Implement “Do Less, Enjoy More”
It starts with making free time a priority. Leave time each day that is unscheduled. Maybe you take a mid-day break and go back to the resort for some pool time, or even a nap. Or maybe you choose to leave an entire day in the middle of your trip as a resort day where you lay by the pool.
Breaks are key. Walt Disney World can be overwhelming to the senses! New sights, sounds, and smells are all around, and your brain will be very busy trying to process all of the new information. Taking a break to rest, hydrate, and grab a snack will help prevent a mid-day meltdown.
Flexibility is another important part of a “Do Less, Enjoy More” Disney vacation. For instance, maybe the weather isn’t cooperating, or the ride you planned to ride is down for repair. When something like this happens, the ability to pivot and make a different choice is so important. Maybe you stumble across a ride or show that wasn’t even on your radar. Or maybe you just take a break!
Avoid Getting ‘Hangry’
Above all, make sure to to prevent thirst and hunger. By the time you are thirsty, you are already mildly dehydrated! It is important to drink plenty of water, have regular snacks, and wear plenty of sunscreen. Being tired, hungry, or sunburned is a guarantee for an unhappy family.
Know That Disney Is Not Going Anywhere
Chances are very good that while this may be your first trip to Disney, it will hopefully not be your only trip to Disney. If you don’t get to experience everything on your list on this trip, it is okay! You can always come back. Walt Disney World is not going anywhere!
What are your favorite tips for taking it easy at Disney? Let us know in the comments!