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Planning a surprise trip for my family

by Mick

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“Hey Dad, we are heading over to USA from Australia for Xmas / NY and have ‘penciled’ in 3rd Jan – 13th Jan 2020 for a surprise Disney World Orlando that the kids (who will be 8 and 10) and my wife don’t know about. The surprise is the easy part – now comes the planning so we can arrive and have a plan / itinerary to maximize our once in a lifetime trip.

We are planning on moving around between 3 different Disney resorts but wanted some insight into the a) whats not to be missed, b) how to maximize the 9 days and c) the local and experienced tips to make the best memories.

I note on one of your other answers about not missing the trashcan production and things like this are the insights that I am craving.

I guess firstly are there any worries about that time-frame in early Jan and then any tips on experiences and opportunities would be greatly appreciated!!

Thanks again in advance

Mick Baines”

Glad You Asked

Hi Mick,

Congratulations. YOU’RE GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!!!!

It sounds like you have a monster trip in the making. It’s going to be great and I’m glad you asked for my help. I’ll be happy to give you a little advice.

Get Dad’s Book

Dad's Simple Fun Magic Guide to Walt Disney World Planning

The first thing I would say is to go over to Amazon and buy my book. No I’m not being a hack and trying to sell the book, I’m serious. It’s just what you need. It will help you through the planning process. It’s what the book is all about. How to plan a vacation to Disney World just for you!

I don’t know if this link will work in Australia, but here’s the link.

Dad’s Book

If the link doesn’t work, just Google “Dad’s Simple Fun Magic Guide to Walt Disney World Planning” and you’ll find it.

It will help you with the day to day activities, choosing a resort, where to eat, and just about anything else you can do. Warning: it’s not going to tell you what to do, but help you figure out what YOU want to do.

Oh, and it’s a whole lot of fun.

Not Sure About

I’m not sure about the 3 resort thing. I understand the idea of experiencing multiple resorts, but it’s also time consuming to move. We’ve done it once but it was special circumstances. I found it more stressful than helpful.

Just Dad’s insights.

Things Not To Miss

When it comes to the things not to miss, (Push, the Talking Trash Can is no longer at Walt Disney World), it’s hard to say. It depends on the things that you like. Not everyone likes the same things. For example, a lot of people rave about Port Orleans Riverside Resort. I just stayed there. I’m not a fan. A lot of people LOVE Le Cellier (a steak restaurant in the Canada Pavilion at EPCOT). I had a really bad experience and thought the food was not all that good.

So when it comes to a list of must do things, I think you need to find those for yourself. (That’s what the book is all about.) You might not enjoy the things I do, but you should do the research for yourself. That’s part of building the excitement for the trip.

January is Cool

January is a great time to visit. Crowds will be a little big the first few days but will calm down quickly. The weather should be great. The Christmas decorations will still be up. It’s a good time to visit.

Dad’s January Disney World Crowds page

Some Help With Details

I also recommend you get some professional help with making reservations. My friends at Destinations to Travel are experts at making hotel reservations (even 3), booking dining reservations (they will call for you and make them, and with the time differences, that’s important), and they can even help with FastPass+.

Even with all I know about WDW I use them for every trip.

Dad’s Destinations to Travel Page

Destinations to Travel

Dad’s Bottom Line

Mick, you’re going to have a great trip. Get the book and have some Simple, Fun, Magic planning your trip. I can’t wait to hear how it comes out.


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Comments for

Aug 30, 2019 Resorts
by: Hollie

The Animal Kingdom Lodge is amazing for kids that age. Consider that resort. Wilderness lodge is fantastic too. I would say those are the two best for kids that age. Or maybe the Beach Club Resort with the sand bottom pools depending on the weather. You can walk to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios.

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