Traveling to Walt Disney World with a Friend: Talk First, Book Second
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I'm a married woman with two teenage sons. My whole family enjoys trips to Walt Disney World, but I seem to be more of a "Disney nut" than the rest of the family.
With Friend #1, we both felt like we could splurge a little bit. She was in a bit better financial position than I was at the time, but we were able to agree that we wanted to buy the Disney Dining Plan, and we were willing to spend the money for the Halloween Party. Since we had talked ahead about how much we could spend for the trip, we never had a conflict about the cost of food or extras.
With Friend #2, we were both stretching our budgets to take this trip. I had earned the cost of the trip through an extra job, and since she joined me so late in the planning, she had no chance to find the extra funds. I offered to pay the cost of the room; after all, I had already been planning to pay for it when I was going by myself . We agreed that we would pay for food out of pocket, and go cheap. We didn’t get any extras, spent little on souvenirs, but we still had a great time! We found lots of free and cheap things to do; we visited some of the other resorts as afternoon breaks, and wore our Birthday Buttons every day and enjoyed the attention (and free desserts!) those brought us.
3. If one of you isn’t a roller-coaster lover and the other is, will the more adventurous one mind riding solo? And will the non-rider be ok shopping or relaxing while waiting? This didn’t turn out to be an issue with either of my friends, since none of us are thrill-seekers. But it’s something you do need to talk about – the time the adventurer spends waiting in line for some of the attractions can be considerable. Make sure you’re both willing to compromise. The non-rider could offer to shop or catch a show so the friend can ride Expedition Everest, and the rider could consider passing up that third Yeti-chase so their friend doesn’t feel like the afternoon is just hours of wasted waiting time.
4. How adaptable are you both? Unexpected surprises – both good and bad – can and will happen. With Friend #1, we had planned a day at Animal Kingdom and a day at Epcot. On our Animal Kingdom day, it rained, and was supposed to keep raining. We decided that Epcot looked easier to handle in the rain, so we switched our days. We were both pleased with that – and even happier when the rain stopped mid-morning!
Also during that trip, I developed severe pain in my left foot, which made walking extremely difficult – just in time for our Halloween Party. I really appreciated my friend’s help and understanding. We did as much as I could handle, cut our evening short, sadly, and hobbled back to the resort. Had she grumbled about how much money we were wasting, or insisted that I could "work through the pain," that would have made the situation so much worse. You should already know yourself and your potential travelmate well enough ahead of time to have some idea of how you’ll handle bumps in the road: weather issues, health concerns, ride breakdowns, two-hour queues, flight delays, parade space-crowders, heat and humidity… but it’s worth a chat.
I was lucky – both friends had similar interests and touring styles to mine, and that helped make both trips work. It did require compromise, however, on all our parts. I'm currently planning a trip with my 20-year-old son, and we’ll go through some of the above while we plan. After having two fun trips with two different friends, I'd do it again -- as long as I remember to ask before finalizing our plans!
About the Author: Erin Conrad is the owner of a website for the parents of performing kids - PerformersParent.com. She is planning a trip with her own performing kid for October.
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