Let’s set the scene. You’re planning a trip to Disney World and one of your friends sends you a message to let you know that they’ll be there at the same time. What do you do?
After many experiences, both successful and not, I’ve put together a list that could help you navigate the expectations of meeting up with friends at Disney.
My Past Mistakes
I’m usually the person who starts the conversation, but every so often it’ll be another friend who will reach out to me. Both ways, it’s a mix of setting expectations from the beginning about what you’re asking of the other. This is where you’ll probably mess up, as depending on when you’re starting the planning, could be months out vs the next day.
The biggest mistake that I’ve made is to leave things open, with the pressure being on the other person to come up with an idea. Don’t make my mistake:) It’s a lot easier for your friends to work around a specific event.
I’ve set up schedules with openings, had calls and email chains…all to end up with a last minute change of plans. Lots of stress!
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So let’s look at the Top 10 Tips for Hanging out with Friends
ASK FOR YOUR FRIEND’S PLANS
Starting out with a basic understanding of where they’ll on which day could help you figure out if it’s even do-able. Lots of times, your friend may have plans that aren’t adaptable due to family obligations. If they only have the time to hang out in the Magic Kingdom on a Monday, but you are planning to be there on Sunday and again on Tuesday for a party, it may not work out from the beginning.
You don’t need all their detailed plans, but most times they’ll want to share all the stuff that they’ve got planned anyway. It’s an exciting time during the vacation planning process!
BOOK AN ADVANCED DINING RESERVATION
Remember that you don’t get penalized for a no-show dining reservation unless you cancel in the last 24 hours. This means that you can book a bunch of reservations at different parks on different days, just in case one works better for your friends’ plans.
If you wanted to wait until last minute, we’ve got a list of restaurants that are fairly easy to book for groups with little notice.
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DON’T RELY ON WIFI – MAKE A PLAN IN ADVANCE
HUGE mistakes can be made when you make plans that involve “send me a note when you get to the park and we’ll meet up”. Make a plan in advance, confirm it the day before and say that you’re meeting someone at a specific location at a time. If they’re not there within 15-minutes (with no contact), then just go on with your trip.
As an out-of-country visitor, my data plans are more expensive than domestic travellers so I’ll end up just using wifi. There are places within the theme parks that have horrible wifi zones, including just outside the turnstiles and by transportation. Know before you go!
MEET SOMEWHERE SPECIFIC AND RECOGNIZABLE
Don’t say that you’ll meet someone:
- In front of the Castle
- in front of the giant golf ball
- Beside the Tree of Life
- In Star Wars.
All of these have the potential of going sideways, because there’s really no exact spot. You’ll want to say that your friend should meet you in front of guest relations or the starbucks…because it’s such an easy thing to share and there’s only one location in every park.
SET EXPECTATIONS EARLY
Are you wanting to spend the day with your friend, or is it a situation where they’re more of an acquaintance and you’d rather just do a specific activity together? All of this should be communicated early, because you’re on vacation too!
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TAKE PHOTOS WHEN YOU CAN
If you’re in front of an icon (castle, tree, etc) grab a photo. Some of the best tips come from personal experience, and this is a doozy! I’ve met up with a ton of friends, and by the time our meetup was over…we had no pics and couldn’t share in the excitement when those memories would come up in the future.
One of my favorite parts of meeting up with friends is trying new things. Maybe its a restaurant or a new snack, but no matter what it is…include your party in the activity and it’ll be that much better!
Not saying that you should pay for Victoria & Alberts, but a lunch or snack won’t hurt to really have fun.
I also love to show up with gifts, so if you know that you’re meeting up with friends who aren’t from your hometown…bring a pin or a gift. I’ve been known to bring down air fresheners from Tim Hortons or a “You are Here” mug from Starbucks. Just good fun:)
DON’T WORRY IF PLANS FALL THROUGH
This will take some time to learn, but there’s only so much that you can do to meet up with friends. At the end of the day, you’re going to be putting your best foot forward with the end goal of being a great friend. IF for whatever reason the stars won’t align for you…don’t worry about it. Things will be okay:)
Hope that this was helpful! I know that this is a topic that can only be helpful for a small group of our readers, but there’s been enough requests for me to write the list and stand by the advice. Every vacation is different, so do what you can without sacrificing your own trip.