TouringPlans is pleased to welcome guest author Amy Crockett.
We’ve walked you through what to do before your first Disney trip and what to do during your first Disney trip, but what about when your vacation is over? There are still a few important things we think you should know to help put a cherry on top of your first Disney experience.
- Catch up on rest. A Disney vacation is many things, but restful is not usually one of them. If possible, I highly recommend a full day at home before returning to work so you have time to unpack, do laundry, restock the fridge, and get as much sleep as you can.
- Download your PhotoPass photos. These are only available to download for 45 days after they were taken, so make sure to purchase (if you didn’t already buy Memory Maker) and download your favorites before it is too late!
- Back up your photos. The last thing you want is to lose these once-in-a-lifetime photos if your phone breaks or dies. Make sure to back them up to your computer, the cloud, or a photo-storing site soon after you get home, to ensure those memories are kept safe.
- Display your photos. Maybe you’ve been sharing photos on social media throughout your trip, but once you’re home, don’t forget to print some, update your phone/computer background and profile picture, or create a photo book as a memento of your first visit. (Shutterfly even has Disney styles available.)
- Complete the TouringPlans survey. So much of the reviews, ratings, and tips in The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World come from readers who provide feedback after their trips. Take some time to share your experiences with lodging, dining, attractions, touring plans, and more, to help us provide the best information to our readers.
- Write reviews. If you had a great experience at a certain resort or restaurant, or a terrible experience, or even just an average one, consider leaving a review on a site like TripAdvisor or Yelp to help future travelers make informed decisions about what to do and what to avoid.
- Check the crowd calendar. Look back at the predicted crowd levels versus the actual crowd levels. If you’ve never been to Disney, it is difficult to contextualize what the different numbers mean. Checking the actual crowd level afterward can give you a sense for what those numbers actually felt like in the parks.
- Reflect. Take some time to reflect back on your trip with other members of your party. What were some of your favorites and least favorites? What do you wish you’d done differently? What would you want to do again, or not do again? Jot down some notes while everything is fresh in your mind. It’s a fun way to reminisce, and also helps with future planning!
- Budget review. No, this doesn’t sound very fun, but it’s still good to do. Compare your original budget with what you actually spent. Should you have allocated money differently? This is also useful to know for the future.
- Enjoy your souvenirs. Wear your new t-shirt. Drink coffee from your new mug. Display your new fridge magnet or Christmas ornament proudly (even if it’s not Christmas time!). Seeing a small daily reminder of your amazing Disney vacation around the house will bring a smile to your face.
- Develop some coping strategies. Leaving the happiest place on earth is tough. Try some of these strategies for coping with your post-Disney blues, like bringing a little of the magic into your home, and staying connected to the parks even from far away.
- Start planning your next trip! I hope you had a magical time on your first Disney vacation. So magical, in fact, that you can’t wait to go back! It’s never too early to start planning your next Disney adventure. So let the dreaming begin!
Your first trip to Walt Disney World is an unforgettable experience. Whether you are a big planner or not, we hope this series has given you some good ideas and things to consider for making the most out of your magical vacation.
What was the best Disney suggestion that anyone has given you before? Let us know in the comments.
Amy Crockett is a native Michigander who works at a library by day and dreams of Disney by night. Planning Disney trips is her favorite thing in the entire world to do (apart from the trip itself)! In addition to all things Disney, she loves reading, musical theatre, playing tennis, traveling, and cheering on the Detroit Tigers.