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Family Travel Resolutions for the New Year

As the new year begins, we look for more opportunities to plan perfect Disney vacations for our families; or at the very least to try! This week, our Parenting Panel took time out from their holiday celebrations to share: What Disney-related resolutions do you have for 2012?


Chris, also known as GusMan, is always planning his next family trip to the Walt Disney World Resort and loves to help others plan their trips, as well sharing his experiences. Chris writes:

Thinking back at 2011, our family had a lot going on. We made three Disney trips this year, including one that was somewhat of a surprise. And while many might think that would give us our Disney fix for a long while, there is always something else to look forward to. It might be an old favorite or it might be something you never tried before. Regardless, it seems like we start planning for our next trip before we have even left the Orlando area.

When it comes to 2012, I have some ideas and goals that I would like to work toward when it comes to our Disney vacations and home life. Here are a few examples:

  • I want to decorate. I want to take a select few pictures, out of the thousands that I have on file, and enlarge them into near-poster size. I have several empty walls in our family room that need some Disney magic and I think this is just the way to do it. Granted, one of the reasons I have not done this yet is related to the cost of framing such pictures. However, I think it would be a great finishing touch and fun conversation starters.
  • I want to write my trip reports while still on the trip so that I do not forget any details. This is something I’m genuinely bad at doing. I tend to have to go through my pictures and video files to remember a lot of things, yet I know that some details are missing. I want to get better at documenting the trips so that others can have fun reading them online, as well as entering the information within the photo scrapbooks that my wife often creates.
  • I would like to be able to plan out our trips in such a way that uses time in a more efficient manner. While I feel like our trips are much better and well-organized since our first-ever Disney trip, there is always room for improvement. Keep in mind, there is always a need to strike a balance between keeping to a plan and maintaining flexibility, but sometimes you learn how to do things even better. That way, you can get more done in a shorter period of time. I’d like to share my findings with others more often, as well.
  • I want to eat somewhere on Disney property that I have never tried before. Maybe also include trying a type of cuisine that may be somewhat new or something I would not normally eat. After all, dining at Disney is half the fun and why not be more adventurous away from home?
  • I want to finally put the “My Other Car is a Monorail” decal on my car. The Disney “family” decal is already on my wife’s vehicle and she has been bugging me to Disney-fy my ride.
  • I would like to make it a plan to see more of my friends who might only be a day trip away, especially if they are somewhat near my route down to Disney. Not only would that be able to extend our trip a bit, but seeing old friends is never a bad idea.

Most of all, I want to treat my 2012 trip, which is already planned, and make it the best ever. Of course, I say that before every trip. But it is also a reminder that time with my family is precious. Regardless if we are at the Walt Disney World  Resort or doing something locally, I need to cherish every moment.

Mary Kraemer is an avid Disney fan and travel consultant with CruisingCo/MouseEarVacations who loves to travel with her husband and children to Disney destinations as often as possible! Mary writes:

Our family’s Disney resolutions are fairly simple this year. First, we cannot wait to see the new Carsland attractions at Disney California Adventure, so we plan to visit the Disneyland Resort as soon as we possibly can when that area opens. We want to ride on Luigi’s Flying Tires as much as possible and check out the Radiator Springs Racers.

Before then, we are going to spend a long weekend at the Disneyland Resort in February at the Disneyland Hotel, now that the renovations are complete. My kids are really looking forward to enjoying the Monorail pool and I am eager to see the fiber optic fireworks in the room.! We are also planning on going on the Lights, Camera, Magic tour, which is a one-day Adventures by Disney tour, shortened from the longer Backstage Magic tour. I’m hoping, as a travel agent, that this one-day offering is successful because it seems like it would be a great option for folks who’d like to venture outside the Disney parks, experience a little more of Southern California, and have the chance to visit the Walt Disney Studios, too. Personally, it’s been a dream for me to visit the Studios, so I’m really excited about this opportunity.

It’s been nearly five years since our first family visit to Disneyland Paris, so we are working on plans to include a couple days there this summer, after our Mediterranean cruise in June. My family truly loves that park and are eager to see the changes, as well as ride some favorites (their Big Thunder Mountain is the best!).

I have a particular fondness for the Halloween decorations at Disneyland Park, so I have the resolution to visit in October to be able to enjoy the decorations once again. It seems like Disneyland makes the fall decorations better each year, and we haven’t been there in a few Octobers, so we’re itching to go again.

It’s not a resolution, but if we could find fairly inexpensive airfare from the West Coast, we’d love to spend a few days at Disney Vacation Club’s Aulani resort in Hawaii. We saw it under construction, know the area, and would love to have the chance to enjoy the resort, with its great amenities such as the teen spa, snorkeling, beautiful lagoon, or just enjoy the beauty of Oahu.

I know that I will probably find myself in Orlando once or twice this year due to business, but, as a family, we have no plans for a trip to Walt Disney World or the Disney Cruise Line for vacation. Since we did both last year, we’re pretty comfortable with making other travel destination choices this year, especially since Disneyland Paris is one of them. But I’m going to keep my eye on the Fantasyland expansion at the Magic Kingdom and I hope that any business travel I have to Walt Disney World will include a tour of the new Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. I’m also hoping to have a chance to see the new Disney Fantasy ship for myself; it will be great to be able to see how it compares to its sister ship, the Dream.

MousePlanet columnist Chris Barry his wife Diane, 11-year-old Samantha, and twin 8-year-olds, Casey and Alex, live on Long Island and are all major Disney and Walt Disney World fans. Chris writes:

Here’s something you might not expect, and I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to keep this one, but I think my Disney New Year’s resolution might actually be…to not go to the Walt Disney World Resort this year.

I know…let that one sink in for a moment. It wasn’t easy to write on this end either. We’ve gone yearly, sometimes more than once, for about nine years now. Obviously, we love it. It’s home. It’s tradition. It’s all of those things to us and it always will be. I’d leave tomorrow if given the chance. But, I think we need something different on our big family vacation this year.

If we’re lucky we get two “bigger” vacations each year. In the winter we try to get up to Vermont and ski for four days or so. We love that, but it can get pretty hectic and it’s very tiring. We all know how hectic and tiring a Disney vacation can get, also. So, we’re dying to get back to the Caribbean and…heaven forbid…do nothing on our family vacation. No plans. No lines. No long days in the park. No ski school. No crowds; just a beach chair and some clear blue warm water in front of us.

I’m curious to see the kids in “do nothing” mode. Granted, we’re not pitching a tent on the beach. We still want a resort with amenities. After two years in a row at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, and many other years at Disney hotels and resorts, we have some high expectations and, quite honestly, we’re a little spoiled. We want to be treated well, as well as we’re treated at a Disney resort. I realize that that’s a pretty tall order. We want some great kid friendly restaurants. We want an awesome pool. These things are out there and we’ll find them. The trouble is that Disney does it so well, that the odds of being let down are pretty high. Most importantly, we want to be together and soak in a different environment for a change. Bahamas? Puerto Rico? Turks and Caicos? British Virgin Islands? There are plenty of choices and I can’t wait to make one.

That said…I don’t think I can leave Disney behind completely. I might just go a little crazy without them for a year. It just so happens that the Disney Cruise Line is coming to New York City this spring and summer. No flights. Just a taxi ride into the Big Apple and we’ll make our first foray into cruising and, for the first time ever, see a Disney cruise ship aside from the Travel Channel.

So, can I do a year without Walt Disney World? Will I make it? Will the Disney Cruise be a fitting substitute? We’ll see. Besides sometimes the best part of making a New Year’s resolution is caving in and breaking it isn’t it?

It’s your turn—keep the discussion flowing!

Visit the Parenting in the Parks forum on our MousePad discussion board, and share your opinions about this topic or many others, or send your suggestions via e-mail. Reader-submitted tips might be used in a future article, and you might be selected to participate in an upcoming panel discussion!

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