Oh good. I've entered the Twilight Zone

I’ve consistently found that the period immediately running up to a WDW trip is the worst part of the waiting. I’m about two weeks away.

As recently as yesterday I made some major changes to the plan. But I’m in that weird place where I start feeling negative about the whole thing. On my last trip this graduated into a full-on panic attack the night before my flight.

Why does this happen? Perhaps it’s because you invest so much time — and money — in the trip that it turns into something of a monster. Are the plans realistic? Is the cost justified? Can it really all turn out magically wonderful? Can it really be as great as you’ve been imagining for months and months?

Well, yes. My last three trips were all the best holidays I’ve ever had.

But, well, . . . I don’t know. It suddenly all feels, well, . . . weird.


It occurs to me that I only feel weird when I look at the plan in its totality. If I look at any one piece of it, I think “hey, that’s going to be really cool”. So I guess the feeling of unease is something to do with whether all those really cool things work together.

Some of my days are, er, ambitious in terms of content. I have one day which may be overzealous. It starts with a seven hour VIP tour at Universal. Then dinner at Flying Fish. Then DAH at HS. Will I have enough adrenalin to carry me through. Haven’t I possibly been just a teensy bit greedy? Should I feel guilty about that? Hmm.


The time before really is the worst of it. The second or third time we went to Disneyland as I was getting ready to pack & organizing the kids’ gear for the trip, I had this gripping panic that stayed with me until we were well into our drive on the way there & made me question the whole sanity of repeating a Disney trip.

It continued to happen (not every trip but most of them, especially longer ones that involved more planning or had extra people coming with us) for probably the next 20 or so trips over the next 2 years. A lot of times too I start to get stress dreams about the packing, planning or leaving on top of the panic. There was one time (a 6 day trip that was going to be over 2 birthdays in our family) when I just didn’t even want to get the car to leave bc the panic was so heavy and I just wanted to go back in the house & make sure “one more thing” wasn’t forgotten.

Having the trip preparation become more of a routine & the fact that most are just quick weekend trips has definitely helped but every now & then I get a stress dream. And interestingly enough, whenever we travel to non-Disney destinations road trip or by flight (or even our first trip to WDW) I didn’t not have an inkling of this panic. It’s only repeat Disney trips that set it off. So yeah, there must be something in our psychology about the fear of the magic falling short.


For me it’s all the things I can’t plan for or control - flight delays / cancellations, car rental issues, weather. My DW just has to be my “handler” and keep my anxieties in check.

IMHO - Just try to be flexible. I’ve never had a trip go exactly to plan, but I’ve had my plans laid out perfectly. In the heat of the moment, when things begin to go awry, if you can breathe & make peace with the idea of dropping an activity then you’ll be fine.

It might all go smoothly, but just be prepared to Let It Go, so that your trip is full of Hakuna Matata.


Wow! That is great planning but that sounds exhausting! When I do a lot in the day, sometimes I am too hot and bothered to eat. I don’t think I could last through DAH!

Right there with you. Our Disney portion of our trip starts in 12 days. I keep second guessing if what I’ve planned is going to be “right” for us and if we can do everything planned.

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Yup, that lull before the trip is rough. Not looking forward to it. I am planning to research all the treats during that lull - daydreaming about snack credit use (which I probably won’t end up doing in the end hence not needing to research them much in advance).

Don’t feel guilty about your plans or if they’re justified. You work hard to afford these trips. This is what makes you happy.

Are you going to do a trip report while you’re there? Maybe start outlining that in your notes app so you can edit and post on the fly?

remind yourself of this during the negative times.


Your going to have a great time! Looking forward to following along. Do you typically stay with your plan 100% or is it just an awesome guide?

It’s an awesome guide. I’ve typically been very relaxed once I’m in the World. It’s the short period building up to actually leaving where I start to lose it a bit.

I worry about things over which I have no control. Current worries include: will my mouth recover after my dental surgery in time to enjoy all the food, will there be issues with the flight, how awful will the line for passport control be, . . . You know, crazy stuff.


One “challenge” I’m going to face is forcing myself to get value for money that I don’t want. This was an issue at Christmas with the deluxe DDP. I kept wanting to make the most of it by eating too much or eating expensive things when I really wanted something cheaper.

On this trip that challenge will also arise with the After Hours events I’ve booked. I want to resist the compulsion to stay till the very end to “make the most of it”. Which will end up in me just being really, really tired all the time.

The money is spent. Enjoy it, Matthew!


I think all reasonable things to worry about, but also not in your control. Which are the worst!! Sounds like the most stressful part is just getting there.

Try and focus on when you are there how great it will be! Look at old pics save a great one as your lock screen on your phone? Might be calming — just an overly simple idea. But I hope your travels go smoothly.

I like to fill my time with lots of youtube videos of all the things I’m about to do, Sorcerer Radio (particularly the Atmospheres channel) to keep me in the mood, and Disney podcasts. Occasionally even a Disney movie (last time it was Lilo and Stitch in preparation for Ohana breakfast) - which you have plenty that need watching

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Ah yes, this is a challenge I have too and part of the reason why I haven’t done a DP before. This year we’re doing the regular DP and I will struggle with this a bit. I’ve already tried rehearsing “It’s a sunk cost, just get whatever you want.” Not sure if it’ll work or not but the whole thing is an experiment so you know - anything for new data points!

Wait, do you get headaches when you get overtired? Was that your trip report? Please be kind to yourself and get the rest you need (I know how hard it is with wanting to maximize park time).

Our first trip was last year as a family and in retrospect I did try to squeeze in too much. I had every moment planned out and needed some downtime to rest and catch a breath. We had Early morning ADRs that we didn’t want to miss and tried to do everything we could everyday and did’t factor unpredictable weather into any of it. “Poncho up and Disney on” was our moto but again a break mid day might have helped.

Our next trip, I feel more prepared to schedule a bit of downtown, part of vacation is supposed to be relaxing…

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I think this would be my problem as well. I often find myself in the reverse situation where I convince myself to order something minimally cheaper instead of ordering the thing I actually want and paying $2-3 more.