Welcome to the Most Magical Place on Earth, 101.
“I knew it would be complicated, but I don’t think I could have imagined the Disney-industrial complex was this complicated,” Theresa Brown, an NYC resident who went with family to Disney World in August, told The Washington Post last week.
“The sheer brain power just to figure out the Disney lingo and landscape is monumental,” she added.
That’s why content creator Brooke Raybould sells a 200-page “Mom’s Guide to Disney World” for $40.
“There’s an entire system to doing Disney World the right way,” Raybould told WaPo.
Concierge travel planner Kirsten Andrade of Pittsburgh is also in on the action — she hosts a $39 “remote college class”-esque Zoom tutorial on Disney planning.
“We’ve got a little pop quiz built in,” she explained.
It’s there that you’ll learn that what was once a vacation is now a mad dash of pre-7 a.m. wake-up calls to beat lines and an unhealthy compulsion to constantly check wait times on your phone (heaven help you if you don’t bring a mobile phone charger) — and more stress that makes magic disappear from the kingdom.
“I’ve had people call me crying,” trip planner Jacquie Murphy of Kingdom Elite Travel said.
Even with expert advice, park visitors are being told to manage their expectations for what is considered, in the academic sense, fun.
Along with being at the park exactly at 7 a.m., Murphy doubled down on sticking tight to your phone.
She recommends Genie+, a Disney-made online tracker that alerts when there are opportunities to skip general lines and instead use “Lightning Lanes.”
Of course, the service doesn’t come free and is dynamically priced depending on park volume. It was $39 around Christmas time, according to the Washington Post.
“I think the thing that people have the hardest time wrapping their brain around is not knowing how much it costs in advance,” Murphy said.
Meanwhile, the founder of the Disney-planning business Well Hello Magic advises it’s best to go in the worst weeks of Florida heat — between August and September — as kids return to school.
“You kind of exchange the heat for the crowd level,” Jessica Mickelson noted.
It seems that many overwhelmed customers are wishing upon a star that recently begged-back Disney CEO Bob Iger can restore the worldwide theme parks to their former glory days.
“It’s the one time in my life where I want to be looking around and taking in all the sights and smelling the flowers,” NYC resident and theater reporter David Gordon said of his latest family trip to Disney World.
“The fact that you have to be so tethered to your app that you should probably bring an extra battery just to make sure you get on the one ride you want to get on is shortchanging the whole Disney experience,” he lamented.