Early this morning we got back from our first Disney trip as Annual Pass holders. My husband, sister and I went down for a long weekend to enjoy the parks, test out some touring plans and just get a quick fix before longer trips later in the year.
We planned like always, but there was something different about this trip. We were laid back.
I mean really laid back.
We ditched our plans for the first day after our flights were delayed and skipped out on an 8 a.m. dining reservation at Kona Cafe. (Shout out to the cast member who waived our fee!) We took a leisurely walk over the Art of Animation for breakfast instead and then went shopping at Disney Springs.
We rope dropped Country Bear Jamboree and traded thrill rides for The Enchanted Tiki Room.
When Soarin’ was on a 65 minute wait only 10 minutes after park opening, we said “no thanks” and grabbed some breakfast from Sunshine Seasons then rode Living With the Land instead. Y’all, we spent precious park-opening moments snacking and people watching.
It was absolutely incredible.
A lot of the Disney media I consume tells you to “be in the moment” and just enjoy your time in the parks. That is easier said than done, especially for those of us who’ve been suffering from FOMO since long before it got its own acronym. And social media doesn’t help. I love watching Snapchats and Instagram Live Stories from friends in the parks, but I intentionally limited myself on this trip. I put my phone down (with some occasional prompting from Hal) and enjoyed being with my people in one of my favorite places.
I know the Annual Pass helped foster this new attitude, but I don’t think you have to have an Annual Pass to take this kind of trip.
For me, it was just a matter of putting the phone down and looking around. It was about enjoying the moment I was in rather than thinking about what was coming next. It was letting go of the idea that “you can do it all.” Disney is so big and so dynamic that it’s impossible to experience everything, and you can make yourself miserable trying.
So be flexible. Take a midday break. Enjoy the line queues and people watching. The best place to be is the place that you are.
Planning will always be a part of Disney preparation, and I won’t ever turn down a Fast Pass. But as we embark on what my sister is calling #theyearofdisney, I’m going to focus on enjoying the moments and letting go of expectations.