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The 5 Stages of a Disney World Vacation

by FrogBlog on February 21, 2013

By guest blogger Carl Trent of Dad's Guide to Walt Disney World

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a vacation (nothing new there). It hit me last week. There must be several stages we go through as you plan our Walt Disney World Vacations.  Let’s explore …

Stage 1 – The Honeymoon 

Superbowl MVPEvery Disney World Vacation I’ve ever planned started out with a party, or at least with a celebration. My favorite was when we surprised the kids at Christmas (they were 19 and 23 at the time) and left on January 1st. That was quite a celebration.

There is always that initial rush, that joy, that incredible happiness that comes when you decide, shout it out with me, “I’m going to Disney World!!!” Even the Superbowl MVP gets pumped about it. Yep, start the happy dance music.

Stage 2 – Heigh Ho

Next comes the “off to work we go” stage.

Characters in Flight at Downtown DisneyAirline Reservations, Hotel Reservations, Disney’s Magical Express® Transportation Reservations, Tickets, Advanced Dining Reservations, Restaurant plans, Park Plans, Extra Magic Hours, Park Hours, Water Parks, Downtown Disney, mini-golf …

Planning a Disney Vacation is a lot of work.

Stage 3 – The 100-Day Blahs

I realized something last year when we were planning a big trip to Disney World. There was a time when the blahs set in.  It was about 120 days before we left. I called it the 100-Day Blahs.

What causes the 100-Day Blahs? It comes from the lack of anything to do. You are through Stage 1 and you’ve done all you can do to finish Stage 2, then all of the sudden, there is nothing left to do. There’s an empty feeling. All you have to do is wait. (Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock.) The calendar just won’t move quickly enough. That’s the 100-Day Blahs. It’ usually lasts until about 3 weeks before departure time.

Stage 4 – I’m too excited to sleep

Cinderella CastleNow who didn’t love that old Disney commercial with the little boy who was “too excited to sleep”? That’s Stage 4 of our Magical Vacation. About three or four weeks before the trip, everything starts to get exciting. Packing, checking the tickets and reservations every day just to make sure they haven’t changed, dreaming of that first glimpse of Cinderella Castle.

Stage 4 continues all the way through the trip. It’s amazing how little sleep you’ll get during your trip and still be able to function. It’s just so exciting.

Stage 5 – ADVBS

What got me thinking about this is last week I announced on my blog that I’m suffering from ADVBS.  I bet at some time in life you’ve suffered from ADVBS too. ADVBS is “After Disney Vacation Blues Syndrome” (yes, I made that up myself). That’s Stage 5 of a Disney World Vacation (or any Disney vacation for that matter).

ADVBS is that time after the trip when you get down, you get depressed, you don’t want to go to work, all you want is to go back to Disney World. It’s OK. There’s a cure for ADVBS.

It’s time to start planning the next vacation to Walt Disney World!!!

Yes, it’s a vicious cycle, but who’s complaining? What stage are you in?

Related: 'Surprise! We're Going to Disney World!' -- Stealth Planning Tips

Related: The Best Time to Visit Walt Disney World

Planning a Walt Disney World Vacation is a big task. There are hundreds of things to think about. That's where I come in. Hi, my name is Carl Trent, but I'm better known as Dad. The Disney Dad. I run a little website called At Dad's Guide we want to help you plan a "Perfect" Vacation. Dad is a self-proclaimed (rarely challenged) Disney World "expert" who focuses on how to develop a plan that will allow you to have the best vacation possible.

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Aimee Feb 27, 2013 at 8:03 p.m.

I experienced the first 3 almost at the same time. I began planning our September 2011 trip in May of that year, AND it was a complete surprise for my kids (our first trip). So, I almost burst from excitement.

I'm currently suffering from ADVBS. Thank you for giving it a name! I'm so hoping to be able to go back in either December or January.

Snowbird Apr 2, 2013 at 6:04 p.m.

Even though I'm a teen, I still get so excited when I find out we are going to Disney World!!! I'm usually the one who plans the days and makes the dining reservations (with the permission of my mom of course), and gets everyone else hyped up for the trip!! Every week my family (grandparents, uncle, aunt, their two kids, and my parents and brother) asks me how many days until our trip because they know I am counting down!! But I totally know how you feel with the 100-day blahs. For our Christmas present, we were surprised by my grandparents with our trip in April. I was still getting over the shock for the first 2 weeks. Then after we made our reservations, the "blahs" set in. Finally after months of waiting, the time has almost come! T-minus 9 days until our trip!!! I already have my packing list ready so I can start packing Wesnesday night before we leave Thursday night!!! Ahhhhh! So excited!!! So as for now I will not mention the ADVBS. My family knows I go into depression whenever we leave. But like you said, we an always look forward to that next trip! On the spiritual side, i know I am going to heaven. And that's a place I will never have to leave!!

Doris the Funkasaurus Oct 8, 2013 at 4:13 p.m.

We fly out 2 weeks from today. Rapidly approaching the "too excited to sleep" phase. I'm such a nerd, I even downloaded the app so I can monitor wait times. I have a spreadsheet running which will help us determine our plan of attack. CAN'T WAIT!!!

Libby Aug 29, 2015 at 2:18 p.m.

I loved this blog, this explains my life right now, I am at Stage 4, have been from probably two or three weeks, of course, my initial "high", lasts a little longer than most, because I am a travel agent, so I see people coming in for Disney trips all the time and it gets me so excited for my trip in September. Thanks so much for sharing this awesome post, I will be sharing on pinterest, because it explains at least my Disney Trips, to a "T"

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