Disney vacation

Tips for Keeping Work from Sabotaging Your Family Vacation

Tips for keeping work from taking over your vacation so that you can focus on the people that matter. 

Tips for keeping work from taking over your vacation so that you can focus on the people that matter. 

Sure, you’re researching hotels and restaurants and what attractions you want to experience on vacation but did you know that a really important part of vacation planning is figuring out how to manage work when you’re away from work? A recent study found that half of all couples argue about how much time one spouse or partner spends attending to work while on vacation and it isn’t just adults that get upset – the kids notice when you’re with them, but not really with them too.  

“How many of us have seen parents standing in an amusement park line reading their email instead of connecting with their kids and spouse? Taking time to make the break from work and enjoy experiences with friends and family makes for professionals who are healthier, happier and more engaged upon their return.”

We know we should take vacations and our family probably even needs a vacation but we find leaving work at work hard to do.  Here are a few vacation statistics from a professional study by Korn Ferry:

  • 88% of study participants have cut short or cancelled vacation due to work pressures.
  • 34% connect with work multiple times a day while on vacation
  • Only 3% did not check in with the office while on vacation
  • 52% did not plan on using all of their vacation time for the year

This is an important thing to think through because daily life is demanding and vacations are important time set aside to strengthen relationships and to build memories through shared experiences. Unfortunately, spending too much time checking on work matters has the potential to really undermine that goal.  HomeAway partnered with researchers at the University of Texas on a study to determine what factors affect the memorability of vacations and they found that spending too much time spent working on vacation affects your ability to remember the trip later:

Working while traveling decreases trip memorability. Those who work while on vacation are less likely to recall all of their memorable events than those not working. This effect increases as vacationers spend more time working. Of those who used devices for work-related activities, just 43% who spent one hour or more working recalled all trip events, while 60% of those who spent less than an hour working recalled all events. Overall, working an hour or more on vacation made participants 43% more likely to have trouble remembering their trips than those who worked one hour or less. Those who used laptops, versus smart phones or tablets, also had significantly more trouble remembering their vacations.”   

Take a minute to let this really sink in because you would probably say that your spouse and children are a major motivation for doing well at your job – you want to provide the things your family needs to thrive, not just survive.  You probably already agree that, when you set aside time to spend with them, you need to be present in that moment to focus on those relationships and experiences. It can be challenging to keep the means of experiencing a good life from becoming something that ultimately detracts from a life lived well but here are a few tips from Sunset magazine to help:

1)  Set some boundaries and rules before heading on vacation that will allow you stay on top of work without neglecting your travel partner.

2) Before heading out on vacation, touch base with coworkers and establish a set time when you will be available for emergencies only. It shouldn’t need to be any more than 15 minutes per day.

3)  If you have circumstances that absolutely cannot wait until you get back to the office, you can use this time to let the kids interact with their screens before coming back to each other. This can help minimize resentment from family members feeling like they’re in a holding pattern while you are attending to those things.  Then make a commitment as a family or a couple to put the outside world aside while you spend some time doing things together.

4)  It becomes much easier to stick to screen limits by turning off push notifications from emails and work apps like Slack or Trello. Hardcore digital detoxers can even put their phone on airplane mode to eliminate temptations.

5)  The final step in cutting down work time is remembering to set an out-of-office message before heading out. This email can simultaneously refer inquiries to someone in the office, warn coworkers that you’re off the grid, and make everybody back home jealous.  Click here for out of office message writing tips.

Don't get overwhelmed by the details - let us help!

Vacation planning is always a lot easier when you have one of our travel agents on your side because we specialize in Disney and Universal Orlando vacation destinations and we can help you manage things like crowds, park hours, entertainment schedules, and dining options.  It can be a lot to think through but Imagine how much better your vacation will be when we:

  • Give you a "Best Days" itinerary that puts you in the best theme park for each day of your trip
  • Book dining reservation on your behalf (subject to availability) at times that don't interfere with parades and fireworks
  • Give you excellent theme park touring plans that keep lines to an absolute minimum.  

You get all of this expert service at no extra charge when you book your Disney vacation through Build A Better Mouse TripClick here for more information.

Let’s start planning a great vacation!

Our “Quote Request” form is the easiest way to start planning your trip. Just fill in as much or as little information as you know at this time and one of our agents will be in touch soon. There’s never any pressure or obligation.

Get A Quote

Planning A Disney Vacation - The Devil is in the Details

Do you need a travel agent specializing in Disney destinations?

The types of people who benefit most from having the help of a travel agent that specializes in Disney destinations like Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise line and Adventures by Disney. 

The types of people who benefit most from having the help of a travel agent that specializes in Disney destinations like Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise line and Adventures by Disney. 

For every person who loves researching and planning trips, there is at least one busy person who just doesn't have time to wade through mountains of information and appreciates a disney-focused agent who eats, sleeps & breathes this stuff. For one thing, you don't know what you don't know and first time or infrequent visitors to Disney World find it helpful to have an agent that walks them through the vacation planning process.  Not only that, but there is a lot of old and just plain wrong information out there - we focus on the Disney destinations so that you get accurate, up-to-date information.

Here’s how we help you have a great vacation

Hotels and building location requests -  Picking a hotel that is a good fit for your needs is just the beginning of what your travel agent can do for youMost people don't add building location requests to their reservations and we do it for every client. (not guaranteed, though Disney does try).   Guests don't always realize that a few Disney hotels don't have elevators which is fine for a lot of people but becomes very difficult if someone in your party has mobility issues or if your drying to carry a sleeping child or stroller up the stairs. We also watch for discounts and promotions and automatically apply the best available offer to your qualifying reservation.

Dining Reservations - people sometimes don't realize the sheer size of Disney World and they'll book dining that has them wasting a lot of travel time or scheduled at times that cause them to miss parades or other priorities - we watch for red flags like that.   Not everyone plans a trip six months or more in advance, which is when you can start booking Disney Dining reservations, and they have trouble getting good reservations for their trip.  We can help with offering good alternatives and watching for cancellations.

All FastPass+ options are not created equal - for example, not everyone realizes that having a Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Toy Story Midway Mania FastPass+ reservation is more helpful than any others in those parks and that certain FastPass+  options don't really bring any benefit to the table.  We can help guide you through these challenges.

We want to help you have the most wonderful, most memorable Disney vacation possible. We know that giving you good, up-to-date information and a few simple tools will make a huge difference in your Disney vacation. Long lines become short lines and you will have great memories of shared experiences instead of missed opportunities.  That's why we're called Build A Better Mouse Trip.

Your travel agent – You have one agent from start-to-finish who knows your name and your priorities and who wants to do everything possible to help you have a wonderful experience.

“Best Days” Itinerary – We’ll help you build an itinerary that includes your priorities for fireworks, parades, crowds and shows. Then we help with dining & Fastpass+ reservations.

We Are Fee-Free - We book directly through Disney and we never charge a service fee so you never pay any extra to use our services when you book your trip through us.  You can have all the benefits Disney offers PLUS all the services we offer.  You can also purchase planning services through us if you've booked on your own or through another travel agency.

Let’s start planning a great vacation!

Our “Quote Request” form is the easiest way to start planning your trip. Just fill in as much or as little information as you know at this time and one of our agents will be in touch soon. There’s never any pressure or obligation.

Get A Quote

Important Information for Your February Trip to Disney World

Here is some information that will help you have the most wonderful, most memorable Disney vacation possible.  

 Weather:  Bring a jacket and plan on layering your clothes because February can go from shorts weather to jacket weather within the same day, especially when the sun goes down. You can rent lockers near the front of the parks if you don’t want to carry jackets or extra clothes.  The Disney World resort hotel pools are outdoors and are heated to about 82-86 degrees.  The Disney World moderate and deluxe resorts have towels available near the pools; the value resorts and campground do not provide pool towels so be sure to request extra towels from housekeeping. 

  • Average high temperature: 74°
  • Average low temperature: 52°
  • Average humidity: 71%
  • Average Rain: 7 days in January / 2.4 inches of total precipitation.  

Disney World Ride Closures and Refurbishments:

  •  Magic Kingdom - Hall of Presidents will be closed from January 17 to June 29, 2017.
  • Magic Kingdom – Walt Disney World Railroad will be closed from January 9 to March 2, 2017.
  • Animal Kingdom – Kali River Rapids will be closed from January 3 to February 13, 2017.
  • Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park will be closed from December 25, 2016 to March 11, 2017.  Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park will be open, weather permitting.
  • Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort Fantasia pool is closed February 6-10, 2017 but the Mighty Ducks pool is open.
  • Disney’s All-Star Music Resort Piano pool is closed December 12, 2016 – February 2, 2017 but the Calypso feature pool is open.
  • Disney's Beach Club Resort Tidal pool is closed February 20 - 22, 2017.
  • Disney's Boardwalk Resort Garden pool is closed February 13 - 15, 2017. The Community Hall pool is closed February 27 - March 1, 2017
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort – Sandcastle pool (main pool) is closed January 3– February 24, 2017 but the resort’s two smaller leisure pools will be open.
  • Disney's Yacht Club Resort Admiral pool is closed February 22-24, 2017.
  • There may be more pool refurbishments - you can check for updates at http://www.buildabettermousetrip.com/wdw-february-crowds-closures-special-events/

Disney World Ride Special Events in February:

Epcot International Festival of the Arts (January 13 – February 20, 2017) will debut on January 13, 2017 and will run for six weekends (Fridays through Mondays).  Guests will get to enjoy the works of past Disney artists like Mary Blair as well as works by current artists like Joe Kaminski and Costa Alavezos, including live demonstrations. Disney Theatrical will bring an exciting new showcase of favorite music and Broadway talent to the America Gardens Theatre stage, including songs from Disney on Broadway's award-winning shows The Lion King, Newsies and Aladdin.  The culinary arts will also be celebrated in the Food Studios area of the festival.   Most of the festival experiences will be included in the cost of Epcot admission; some dining and other events will have a separate cost associated with them.

Atlanta Braves Spring Training begins on February 25th – Tickets on sale beginning Dec. 12th.   The Atlanta Braves do spring training in the Champion Stadium at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Disney World. Click here for additional information.

Have you booked your accommodations? Discounts must be booked by December 21, 2017 - Disney World has released two promotions – a room rate discount and the popular “Play, Stay & Dine” offer - for February and availability is limited. It’s okay if you don’t know where you want to stay, I can help you select a hotel that is a good fit for both your family and your budget.   I can also help with Universal Orlando resorts and other area hotels.

Now is the perfect time to start planning your itinerary -  Disney has released their February 2017 calendar and park hours and it is a good idea to map out which theme park(s) you want to visit on a given day during your trip so that you can book dining and FastPass+ reservations that don't have you running all over Disney moderate from most of the month but spike to high levels for February 17 – 20 (Presidents Day Weekend).  Did you know that the parks are not equally crowded on any given day?  For example, on February 25, the projected crowds for Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ expected crowds will be about a "9" on a scale of 1-to-10 but Epcot has projected crowds of “4” that same day.  Disney’s Animal Kingdom crowds will be around “8” and the Magic Kingdom are an expected "7"  that day.  I can help you map out an itinerary that lets you take advantage of the best relative crowd and show conditions during your trip. When you book your trip through us, you’ll receive either a copy of the Unofficial Guide to Disney World (printed guidebook) or a subscription to TouringPlans.com because we really know for a fact that their touring plans will save you a lot of time otherwise wasted in line and help you make the most of shorter hours when crowds are low.  

  • Clip-out theme park touring plans (itineraries) are available beginning on page 814 of the 2017 Unofficial Guide to Disney World.
  • Printable theme park touring plans (itineraries)  are available in the Touring Plans tab of our TouringPlans.com account or you can access their itineraries through their smartphone app.
  • We also include printed, standardized plans in the packet of documents and information mailed to you shortly before your trip, when you book through us.

We’re Here To Answer Your Touring Plan Questions - Do you know which plan you want to use? Do you have questions about how to use the plans or how to include your FastPass+ & dining reservations into the plans? We don't expect you to figure it all out on your own; Steve, our theme park guy, is available most evenings and on the weekends to talk with you about your touring plan questions.   With a little advance planning, you can have a great time regardless of the crowds.   

 Have you booked your Disney Dining Reservations?  There are still some great options available and you may even be able to snag a reservation at popular locations if your schedule is flexible. I can help you narrow down the restaurant choices to options that you will really enjoy so we can lock in some great options before they’re gone.

In a nutshell, here’s how we will help you have a great vacation:

1.   Your travel agent – You will have one travel agent from start-to-finish who will know your name and your priorities and will do everything possible to help you have a wonderful experience.

2.   “Best Days” Itinerary – We’ll help you build an itinerary that includes your priorities for fireworks, parades, and shows and help with dining and Fastpass+ reservations.  The theme park touring plans we provide will help you stay ahead of the crowds and out of the long lines. 

3.   Saving Money – Of course we will watch for discounts and promotions and automatically apply the best available offer to your reservation but I also help you avoid up-sells and costly options you won’t use.

4.   We Are Fee-Free - We book directly through Disney and we never charge a service fee so you never pay any extra to use our services when you book your trip through us.  This way, you can have all the benefits Disney offers PLUS all the services we offer.  If you booked directly through Disney within the last 30-days, you can also sometimes have us listed as the "agent of record" on your existing reservation and still receive our services for free or you can purchase vacation planning consulting services from us if you booked more than 30-days ago or through another travel agency.

Does that sound like a good plan? 

Let’s start planning a great vacation!

Our “Quote Request” form is the easiest way to start planning your trip. Just fill in as much or as little information as you know at this time and one of our agents will be in touch soon. There’s never any pressure or obligation.

Get A Quote

Free Disney Planning Videos Now Available

2018 Free Disney Vacation Planning Video  - Every year Disney creates a vacation planning video that you can view online.  Just click the image below to request your free copy.

It is a fun way to tell the kids about your Disney vacation plans. This free video provides some great basic information about the Disney World and Disneyland theme parks and resorts but won't help you plan an itinerary that puts you in the best theme park for each day of the trip but don't worry - we'll help you with that when you book your Disney vacation through Build A Better Mouse Trip.

The online version is available in both English and Spanish.  If the banner above doesn't work, you can click here to view.

Don't Miss Out on Great Experiences at Disney World!

We want to help you have the most wonderful, most memorable Disney vacation possible. We know that giving you good, up-to-date information and a few simple tools will make a huge difference in your Disney vacation. Long lines become short lines and you will have great memories of shared experiences instead of missed opportunities.  That's why we're called Build A Better Mouse Trip.

Here’s how we help you have a great vacation:

  • Your travel agent – You have one agent from start-to-finish who knows your name and your priorities and who wants to do everything possible to help you have a wonderful experience.

  • “Best Days” Itinerary – We’ll help you build an itinerary that includes your priorities for fireworks, parades, crowds and shows. Then we help with dining & Fastpass+ reservations.

  • Saving Money – Of course we watch for discounts and promotion and automatically apply the best available offer to your reservation but we also help you avoid up-sells and options you won’t use.

  • We Are Fee-Free - We book directly through Disney and we never charge a service fee so you never pay any extra to use our services when you book your trip through us. You can have all the benefits Disney offers PLUS all the services we offer. You can also purchase planning services through us if you've booked on your own or through another travel agency.

Let’s start planning a great vacation!

Our “Quote Request” form is the easiest way to start planning your trip. Just fill in as much or as little information as you know at this time and one of our agents will be in touch soon. There’s never any pressure or obligation.

Get A Quote

This is a sponsored post. Build A Better Mouse Trip receives a commission on each person who views the free video available through the ad in this article.

Vacation Tip: Test Your Clothes Before Your Trip

Orlando Theme Park Tip:  Take a brisk walk in the clothes you plan to wear to Disney World, Universal Orlando, or SeaWorld to see if they remain comfortable.  

Orlando Theme Park Tip:  Take a brisk walk in the clothes you plan to wear to Disney World, Universal Orlando, or SeaWorld to see if they remain comfortable.  

Once you've planned your clothes for your trip to the Florida theme parks, test your outfits by walking briskly around the block because you'll probably walk 6-10 miles over the course of a day in the Orlando theme parks. Dealing with shorts that scrunch up all day or that shirt button that keeps unbuttoning when you walk is not how you want to spend the precious vacation time you've worked so hard for. Have your kids test their clothes too. Although you can find apparel at the theme park gift shops, it is easier and less expensive to make adjustments to your vacation wardrobe before you go.  

Orlando Theme Park Vacation Tip - Test your shoes and socks before your trip to Disney World, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld.  You'll do a lot of walking and you want your feet to be comfortable. 

Orlando Theme Park Vacation Tip - Test your shoes and socks before your trip to Disney World, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld.  You'll do a lot of walking and you want your feet to be comfortable. 

Think too about how quickly or slowly your clothes dry because you might get soaked to the skin on Splash Mountain (Magic Kingdom) or Kali River Rapids (Animal Kingdom) at Disney World, Dudley Do-Right's Rip-Saw Falls or Popeye and Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges (Islands of Adventure) at Universal Orlando, and Journey to Atlantis or the Shamu show at SeaWorld.    Click here for Monica's rain poncho tips. 

Don't forget to take your socks for a test drive (test walk?) in the shoes you plan to wear to the park.  I once had to hunt for a gift shop at Disney California Adventure that sells socks because the pair I was wearing kept sliding down and bunching up in the middle of my shoe.   

Here are a couple of additional apparel tips from our friends

Jeni says, "I remember having all new clothes / undergarments / socks.  Bra + see through shirts...definitely not cute!"

Kathy added this great suggestion:  "And definitely DO NOT BUY NEW SHOES. Learned that the hard way on my trip there in 2000.  Had to use my mother's wheelchair in EPCOT because my feet hurt so bad."  

Speaking of shoes, Toni wrote a great article on picking shoes that will keep your feet happy in the Disney World and Universal Orlando theme parks.   Click here to read it. 

Planning a Disney vacation? You'll definitely want to subscribe to our free newsletter. You will receive a link to 45 great Disney World Freebies in your welcome note and several helpful “how-to” e-guides over the next week. Unsubscribe at any time.

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Disney World Tip from Toni: Give Yourself Permission to NOT do it all!

Disney vacations are a huge investment, and many people try to do EVERYTHING to feel like they're getting their money's worth and end up stressing themselves out to the extent that they don't actually enjoy the trip!

We plan these things for a living, and any good agent will tell you you can't do it all. Give yourself permission to enjoy the time you're spending with your friends and family without feeling you're missing out on something - the only thing you're missing is your own sense of enjoyment.

About the Author: Toni is a travel agent who specializes in Disney World and Orlando theme park vacations.   Because of her extensive experience, she is a great one to have in your corner when you're headed to Orlando.

Click here to read Toni's bio and request a no-obligation quote.

Planning a Disney vacation? You'll definitely want to subscribe to our free newsletter. You will receive a link to 45 great Disney World Freebies in your welcome note and several helpful “how-to” e-guides over the next week. Unsubscribe at any time.

Email: