I’m not particularly keen on New Year’s Resolutions. If you have a goal, waiting for the changing of a calendar seems silly, and the common knowledge that most resolutions fail provides justification when giving up on that goal since “everyone else did too.”
Nevertheless, people seem to like New Year’s Resolutions. Since we recently reviewed what we had done last year in order to come up with some goals for our 2018 Walt Disney World trips, I figured I might as well flesh that list out with a few more ideas and make a top 10 list. In hindsight, I have to admit that it was a good exercise; two of my favorite ideas in the top 5 were the result of us discussing ideas for this post. (So perhaps New Year’s Resolutions aren’t so bad after all!)
For this list of Walt Disney World New Year’s Resolutions, we tried to come up with things that are actual long-term goals that will require some degree of discipline to achieve. Even though a couple entries are things we know we’ll accomplish simply by virtue of the trip we’ve already booked, we didn’t want this to devolve into a checklist of one-and-done things. After all, these are resolutions, not our Disney bucket list. With that said, here are our Walt Disney World goals for 2018…
10. More Off-Site Hotel Stays – Last year we didn’t do a single off-site hotel stay at Walt Disney World. Between the year before that was filled with many, and regular off-site hotel stays at Disneyland, we were a bit burned out and just wanted to convenience of Disney’s hotels. Plus, there were a lot of room renovations and other on-site hotel action that we needed to cover.
While we’re resolving to do this for the sake of more comprehensive coverage on the blog, I suspect we’ll also be pushed into doing this by virtue of prices. Hotel discounts really dried up towards the end of last year, and those discounts that were available had really limited inventory.
For us, Walt Disney World hotels aren’t even close to worth their rack rates. If we can’t score at least a 20% discount (usually more), we’ll look off-site. With our supply of DVC points depleted this year, I suspect that’ll mean more off-site nights during the increasingly popular Halloween and Christmas seasons.
9. More Disney Springs – The easiest types of resolutions are the ones that you know will occur regardless, thanks to coincidence or prior planning. (Hence my “eat more ice cream” resolution right after buying a couple tubs of it.)
Even though our amount of time spent at Disney Springs has increased each of the last several years, we still want to spend more time there this year. Given that we have hotel stays booked at several Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels that are within walking distance of Disney Springs itself, it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that we’ll accomplish this.
Irrespective of that, this would be a resolution. A ton of new restaurants have opened at Disney Springs that we have to try for the sake of “research,” and we’d love to revisit some of our new-ish favorites like the Boathouse and Morimoto Asia. It also doesn’t hurt that many of these third party restaurants offer far superior value for money than in-park options.
8. More Boat Rides – The boats at Walt Disney World are awesome, and few attractions can compare to the leisurely ride from Fort Wilderness to Magic Kingdom at night while the Electrical Water Pageant is running. (Speaking of which, watching the Electrical Water Pageant more this year is another goal.)
Over in the Crescent Lake area, we don’t use the Friendship Boats nearly enough. We usually walk, reasoning that it’ll be faster or good exercise. We need to slow down and enjoy the journey more, and this is one such way.
7. Less Counter Service – Due to menu simplification and price increases, in-park counter service restaurants are becoming less attractive to us. At Magic Kingdom in particular, mealtime is met with ambivalence. We aren’t really wild about many of the counter service restaurants there, and the ones we do enjoy can be a hassle.
This results in us debating whether to leave the park and eat at one of the resorts, an idea we usually nix due to transit time and security hassles. We then look to see whether last-minute table service ADRs are available, and then scratch that idea because it means eating at Tony’s Town Square, and we don’t hate ourselves nearly that much. (Joking aside, maybe 2018 will be the year we finally eat there.) In the end, after wasting a bunch of time weighing our options, we just choose Pecos Bill for its toppings bar.
There are a few solutions to this, but the biggest is going to be grocery delivery (see our Tips for Grocery Delivery at Walt Disney World post) and having large, healthy breakfasts before leaving our room. Another solution that I plan on implementing to help “offset” the healthy breakfasts is more desserts from bakeries, which I feel we didn’t do enough last year.
6. More Table Service – The natural consequence of less counter service is more table service. We also want to do more table service restaurants, as there are several of these we’ve never done, or haven’t done in a few years.
Generally speaking, we enjoy in-park table service restaurants at Walt Disney World much more than counter service ones. In many cases, it seems like the price gap between the two is narrowing. Despite counter service prices increasing dramatically over the last few years, most table service restaurants still have some <$20 entrees, which puts the price gap at only a few dollars in some cases. That far superior experience is well worth the price difference, and that’s especially true if we save money by doing large breakfasts at the hotel.
5. Disciplined Midday Breaks – I’m pretty stubborn, a “problem” that’s exacerbated when I’m tired. Instead of taking midday breaks when we should have last year, we often found ourselves wandering around in a lethargic daze, too stubborn to leave the parks. We’d spend an hour in the DVC Imagination Lounge having coffee and resting, only to fall asleep on the next attraction we did after being “recharged.” (I fell asleep on Test Track last year. TEST TRACK.)
In the past, we’ve avoided midday breaks because of the time lost in the transaction: commute, security, showering, and even the time wasted trying to fall asleep (it’s always easier in a theater than an actual bed!). However, all of those losses are worth it if our time in the parks is more enjoyable and more efficient, which brings us to the next resolution…
4. More Rope Drop – Last year, about the only times we managed to do rope drops were on our arrival days, going immediately from our red-eye flights to the parks. We love early morning in the parks, so this was really disappointing, but jet lag from being three time zones away really doomed our chances of getting up early on other days.
This year, we’re going to do whatever it takes to be there for rope drop. As we learned from our visit to Japan where we benefited from the time change, those first couple of hours at any park are pure bliss. We want that experience more often, and if we have to sacrifice a few hours in the middle of the day for an early morning, that’s a worthwhile trade.
3. Try New Things – This is such a basic, generic one that I’m a bit embarrassed to include it so high up the list. The twist here is that we want to try new things without thinking so much about the price. We are pretty open-minded, and willing to try new things we might not enjoy without second thought. When it comes to trying new things, the barrier for us is almost always the price. We are suckers for a good deal, and hesitate when it comes to anything that even might fall short on the value front.
The problem with this approach is that, with few exceptions (looking at you, Tomorrowland Cabanas), you truly don’t know whether something is worth the money until you give it a try. We’ve wanted to do things like Wild Africa Trek, Dolphins in Depth, unDISCOVERed Future World, and Club Level at Wilderness Lodge or Animal Kingdom Lodge for a while but have hesitated due to value concerns. With the money saved by staying off-site more, we’re planning to do more splurging on new-to-us experiences like these.
2. Give Thanks More – We wrote an entire post thanking Cast Members and reminding others of how important they are to the Disney experience and what they sacrifice to bring magic to guests. That’s nice and all, but it’s abstract and has no tangible benefit for actual Cast Members.
By contrast, going to Guest Services and taking the time to leave ‘Cast Compliments’ for those who leave a memorable impact on our trips actually does make a difference. These accolades are delivered to Cast Members (and their leaders), and beyond making an individual feel appreciated, they can help with promotions and career advancement.
Given that this can also be accomplished by simply tweeting @WDWToday with #castcompliment, there’s no excuse for us not to do more of this. (Even if it does ‘break’ our next resolution a bit…)
1. Less Phone & Camera Time – I could throw away my camera today (practically speaking, selling it might be a better idea), and still be set for life in terms of Walt Disney World photos. I have tens of thousands of unedited photos sitting on hard drives, a number that only grows with each subsequent trip. Yet, I have this compulsion to keep taking more. It’s an addition, really. A totally normal and some might even say healthy one, but an addiction, nonetheless.
I have no intentions of taking fewer sunrise, sunset, or night photos, but there’s no reason to feel compelled to take more during the middle of the day on attractions. There’s also no reason to carry 25 pounds of camera gear every day, and as I get older, I’m becoming more acutely aware of the long term toll that could take on my back.
As for phone time, this is something we’re both already pretty good about, but there’s always room for improvement. We spend so much time staring at screens in our day-to-day lives that traveling provides a much-needed opportunity to get away from that. Sharing what we’re doing in real time via social media means we’re less present in the moment, and it equals less real engagement while we’re there.
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
Do you have any Disney-related New Year’s Resolutions? Do you like our ideas, or ‘disagree’ with any of the resolutions we’ve chosen? Any questions? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!