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.” (Updated December 28, 2019.)
While reviewing posts to update for 2020, I stumbled upon this one. In typical New Year’s resolution fashion, I realized that we didn’t end up doing over half of these things when we originally set the goals–and they’re still things that we should do.
Accordingly, we’ve refreshed this with some new goals for 2020 at Walt Disney World, deleting old resolutions that we either accomplished (hooray!), adding new ones that we now should do, and editing others to so that we might actually accomplish them this go-round…
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 2020…
10. More Off-Site Hotel Stays – The last two years have been filled with a lot of on-site hotel stays, either to take advantage of perks like Extra, Extra Magic Hours or to check out room renovations.
The latter have mostly slowed down, with the only “new” rooms we need to check out this year being at Saratoga Springs (that’ll happen the first week of January), the All Stars (again), and maybe Wilderness Lodge later in the year. Aside from those, we are entirely caught up on hotel review updates thanks to a ton of on-site hotel stays last year.
Now, it’s time to go into “expansion” mode with more off-site stays for the sake of more comprehensive coverage on the blog. Many readers have indicated that Walt Disney World rack rates have priced them out, which means we’ll focus more attention on off-site deals.
9. Less DHS – We had such high expectations for Christmas. We thought we’d have plenty of time to see the new holiday entertainment at Anima Kingdom, ride Living with the Land dozens of times, and so on. Instead, we spent over half of our total park time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Disney’s Hollywood Studios!
The constant changes to Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opening protocol caught us by surprise, and we were in DHS before sunrise more in December than we were all other parks combined for the entire rest of the year. This is a resolution that’s sort of outside our control, because who knows what changes are on the horizon for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. And then there’s the opening of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, too…
8. More Disney Springs Dining – 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–and eat there more.
Even more 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.
7. More Resort 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.
Fortunately, the Skyliner now makes it easier to leave Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot to dine at resorts, with the monorail and boats offering the same convenience from Magic Kingdom. In addition to opening up better dining options to us, this also means we can update some restaurant reviews from venues outside the parks. (We made an effort to do this with in-park restaurants last year, and that task is mostly complete.)
6. More Table Service – We also need to do more table service, especially (again) in the resort hotels around Walt Disney World for the sake of reviews. We also want to do more table service restaurants, as we’ve found the cuisine is generally better, as is the value proposition.
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. Closing Out the Parks – We did way more rope drop than ever before last year (satisfying one of our New Year’s Resolutions!), but this came at the expense of late nights in the parks, particularly Magic Kingdom. It’s also tougher to justify staying around until the bitter end because many other guests are doing the same.
While it’s great that word has gotten out about the greatness of late nights and post-closing strolls in the parks, it’s put a damper on our own experiences. Nevertheless, we’re going to make more of an effort to stay late and enjoy the wonderful ambiance, moody lighting, and all of the little details that just pop a bit more as the parks are clearing out.
4. More Tripod Time – This sort of goes hand in hand with more night hours in the parks. Part of the reason we probably didn’t stay late as often is because I frequently left the tripod behind (I’m getting old and my back is less keen on lugging around ~25 pounds of camera gear all day).
Even if it means getting a locker, going back to the room, etc., one goal for this year is carrying the tripod more–not just to capture crisp nighttime photos, but also to get more creative with photos during the daytime. The caliber of photography I’ve posted on here has waned over the last couple years, and I want to correct that in 2020.
3. Less Phone Time – We’d like to use our phones even less in 2020 (except when it comes to goat selfies–we need more of those, proving there’s an exception to every rule). 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. I don’t really like Facebook and I’ve lost interest in Instagram, but kicking my Twitter addiction would be a huge accomplishment for 2020!
2. Try New Things – This is such a basic, generic one that I’m a bit embarrassed to include it so high up the list. First, we want to try more dining we’ve never done in third party hotels that are on-site (Swan & Dolphin, Four Seasons, and Disney Springs Resorts being the big ones that come to mind).
Second, 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, 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, and other tours for a while but have hesitated due to value concerns.
1. 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 @WDWGuestService with #castcompliment, there’s no excuse for us not to do more of this. (Even if it does ‘break’ our next resolution a bit…)
Do you have any Disney-related 2020 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!