There comes a point during your Disney “Obsessed” Life that you will be approached by a friend, co-worker, or family member to answer some questions about Walt Disney World. You have a Disney cell-phone case, your desk is covered with pictures from Walt Disney World, and your ring-tone is “It’s a Small World After All.” The people around you can’t help from noticing your love for Disney and usually this is something that they just shake their head at in disbelief. However, when it is time for their family to go to Walt Disney World all of a sudden they are eager to soak up what they can to enjoy their vacation.
I have to admit that the first few times that this happened I made several mistakes that resulted in these people becoming extremely disinterested and never asking me another question about Walt Disney World. This was bad for both of us. I couldn’t share any advice that I had and they went on their vacation without any advice at all. After a while I started implementing some strategies that helped this from happening. What follows are some of those strategies and why I think they help. Hopefully you will find this useful as you share your love of Disney with someone who doesn’t necessarily “drink the Kool-Aid.” And if you are the person asking these questions of a Disney fan this might give some insight on how to get your questions answered. Once you reach a level of love for Walt Disney World you will understand completely.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
When approached by someone asking questions about their upcoming trip to Walt Disney World offer the information that they want in small doses. This way you can ensure that they are getting the information that they need. You will probably not be able to answer all their questions in the first conversation. Some of the advice you give today may lead to more questions tomorrow after the individual does some more of their own research. It is a process. The common misconception is that we need to be an all-inclusive guide to Walt Disney World for that individual. That is not the case. We are but one resource that they are using to plan their trip. Know that they are also doing their own research and based on that continued research they will have continuing questions. The more comfortable they feel about coming and asking you quick questions they have based on their research the more you will get to talk about your favorite place and feel great about helping someone enjoy it as well.
With this being said there are questions that I usually ask to gauge where they are in the planning process. They can be anywhere in the planning process from just knowing that they want to go, to leaving next week. It is important to know where they are in the planning process to avoid giving them advice on things that they now can’t control (where they are staying) or making them give pause to any of the decisions that they have already made. One time I gave the advice to not stay at a particular location before knowing that they had already booked that very location for their stay. This was uncomfortable and probably made them feel like they made the incorrect decision.
Have you ever been to Walt Disney World?
When are you planning to go to Walt Disney World?
Do you know where you will be staying?
How many people will be traveling? Ages? Boys or Girls?
How will they be arriving (driving, flying)?
These questions should help you with understanding where they are in the planning process and know general information about their trip. Any of these questions could lead to many questions from the traveler. The first conversation with them you may find that you only get through a few of them. This is just fine because I have made the mistake many times of taking it too fast. I wanted to get them to the parks before I even knew if they had any questions about the basics of their trip. The basics are where a majority of the questions are going to come from anyway. This may be the only part of the vacation that they would like advice on. If after this point they are still hungry for information we as Disney lovers start to get very excited. We are now getting to the part where we get to talk about Walt Disney World Parks!
Everyone is Different
Some individuals may have all of their planning done and just want to talk to you about the parks themselves. When we get to this point we can really go off on a tangent. We love these parks. We have had so many great experiences at Walt Disney World that we share a bit too much, especially when asked. Our task at this point is to again ask questions to help give the best advice possible. You may love Space Mountain or Expedition Everest but if the person traveling to Walt Disney World hates roller coasters and has two small children you may be sharing some information that is of no use to them. I have in the past pushed my opinions a bit too much as well. I personally love EPCOT! I could go every evening and never get tired of it. I talked to someone who said that they were skipping EPCOT because they only had three days and they felt the kids would enjoy Disney’s Animal Kingdom more. This sent me into an internal rage. I then spent the rest of the conversation trying to convince them to go to EPCOT instead of helping them with advice for the parks that they had already decided to tour. This was yet another “fail” on my part as a Disney lover trying to help others enjoy their experience. This person never asked advice from me again. The following questions help me to keep the conversation flowing in the right direction and seem to give the traveler the best opportunity to ask questions based upon them.
How long will you be staying?
What are some things that you have seen that Walt Disney World offers that you are excited about?
What are the interests of the people in their party?
What, if any, are everyone’s favorite Disney Movies and characters?
What type of daily schedule would they like to follow?
Now you have your opportunity to talk about the Walt Disney World you know and love! You just edit it down to the parts that would interest the traveler. There are suggestions that can be made for everyone based on their likes and interests. They may not be things that you have personally experienced or that you ever would experience but you can still let them know that they are there. I also try to keep the personal stories to a minimum when at this point in the conversation unless it is needed. Just because I didn’t like something doesn’t mean that someone else might not. If asked if I did enjoy a particular thing and I have to answer I always give reasons why I did or did not enjoy it. By just stating that I didn’t like something or didn’t see the value without stating why may lead someone to skip something that they may have really enjoyed.
Walt Disney World can be overwhelming when traveling for the first time. There are a lot of things that can distract from the “magic.” It is really important that you find out what their concerns are so that you can help them prepare for them. Some things are a given like crowds, weather, and cost. The way to help someone traveling is to reassure them that there are ways to help avoid the crowds, there are ways to prepare for the weather and make it less of an issue, and there are definitely ways to save money at Walt Disney World. If you can help ease the mind of someone travelling to Walt Disney World you can really enhance their vacation.
I personally get very excited when someone asks questions about Walt Disney World. This excitement would lead me to a jumble of stories and crazy information directed at the person asking. There was so much information that I was trying to share all at once that it was almost gibberish. When we as Disney Fans get talking fast we abbreviate everything. I once texted someone that had never been to Walt Disney World that they could “Park at the TTC and take the MR or Ferry to MK for MNSSHP or take the bus from POP.” I am sure that this was very helpful information to them. I have learned that the above approach helps me to share the information in a much more structured and helpful way. After all most people we are close to have already heard enough Disney stories that they really were not interested in, right?
Be sure to follow Michael and Theme Park Local right here!