“Plussing” Your Vacation

Walt Disney World is not just some theme park that you just go to.  Walt Disney World is a resort with many theme parks and should not be taken lightly like Six Flags.  You can’t just pick up and go.  Well, I guess you can but you shouldn’t and that is the purpose of my blog.  There is so much you will miss out on if you just show up at WDW.  I want you to see it as it really is, not as the stereotypical assumption that it is “just for kids” or “just another theme park.”

There is a concept Walt Disney instilled in his employees at WED Enterprises (now WDI) from its inception all the way up to his death and the Imagineers’ approach to their work has continued to carry on Walt’s legacy in the entertainment business.  When Walt created something he did not just want to do something that had been done before.  He wanted to create new experiences for people and improve on things that had been done in the past.    The concept of creating new experiences can still be seen in WDW as it is constantly going through changes.  As nostalgic as some WDW fans may be, we must remember it was never Walt’s dream for Disneyland or WDW to remain the same.  Walt had a bit of nostalgia in him but he was also a man of innovation whose imagination often drifted to what the future had to hold. When developing the Walt Disney World concept he stated that he did not just want to create another Disneyland.

The idea of creating unique experience for guests lives on long after Walt as well as the word he coined for the idea: “Plussing.”  Plussing is it exactly what it sounds like: adding to in order to improve.  When creating new attractions Imagineers constantly look for ways to plus the guest’s experience.

Sometimes plussing is added into an experience by Imagineers with no extra effort needed on the guest’s part but there are countless ways you can plus your WDW vacation that may take a little more effort.  Again, that is the whole point of my blog.  I want to make you aware of some of the many ways you can plus your vacation so that you can catch a glimpse of the potential a Disney vacation has to offer.  I say a glimpse because there is always the potential to have a better experience because Disney has so much to offer and things are constantly changing.  It would be impossible to ever experience it all!  Which is bittersweet really because there are things you will miss but there are always things to look forward to!  My advice to you is to do some research before you vacation at WDW and find out how you can make your trip more unique, memorable, and magical!

“[Disneyland] is something that will never be finished. Something that I can keep developing, keep plussing and adding to. It’s alive. It will be a live breathing thing that will need changes. A picture is a thing, once you wrap it up and turn it over to Technicolor, you’re through. . . . I wanted something live, something that could grow, something I could keep plussing with ideas, you see? The park is that.”—Walt Disney

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One Response to “Plussing” Your Vacation

  1. kb says:

    [I got a little long-winded and by the time I was done, I’d written an entire article myself. Woops! Oh, well. I can’t help but share anyway.]

    What a great quote from Walt. I wish we could have spent more time at “One Man’s Dream” in the Studios. I definitely want to make time for that next time.

    I am constantly in conflict with myself because I treasure the Disney I remember as a kid. But I know Walt would not approve of everything staying the same. I look back and I see some attractions that I would have revamped or reworked instead of dismantling, and I see some I would have put on the chopping block before others, but as a whole I love the fact that Disney is always moving forward, always changing. It gives you an “excuse” to go back again and again.

    For example, I miss Horizons and wish it could have been preserved and just updated, but Mission Space seems like such a cool thing to take its place. The same can be said of Test Track. I believe it was a nice substitute for World of Motion.

    I love how they have been able to add to some of the classics and keep them fresh, like adding Jack Sparrow to Pirates and updates to the Haunted Mansion. Also, thanks to the Imagineers, we are able to enjoy Dumbo in a whole new way. Now it has twice as many Dumbos and a water feature with a much more comfortable queue. This will allow us all to enjoy this attraction in a fresh, new way (with a shorter wait).

    While I tend to miss things when they’re gone, there are “newer” additions, that I can’t imagine not having. Some of my favorite additions (since my childhood in the late 80s to early 90s) are:
    -The Magic, the Memories and You (Projection show on the castle)
    -Toy Story Mania
    -Lights, Motors, Action
    -The Seas with Nemo and Friends

    To get back to the initial point of “Plussing Your Vacation” I completely agree. Do your research. There’s so much to see in each park and there’s so much detail that some really cool things in the parks are overlooked by 99% of visitors. I say, do your research ahead of time, but don’t micro-plan your day. Know what you want to try to see and do, but be flexible about how and when to do it. While there has been a lot of time and money spent tracking and predicting crowds at Disney, you really never know exactly what it will be like when you get to the park that day, so be flexible. And try not to rush. Don’t stress yourself out. If you have trouble making a FASTPASS time, don’t let it ruin the rest of your day. There’s so much to see and do. Better to miss out on a classic attraction and have a nice, enjoyable day in the parks, than to run around in a frenzy trying to make sure you “do everything.” Who knows? By slowing down a little, you may miss out on Peter Pan, but instead you may run across something that no one else does. The Imagineers put so much into the entire park, it’s a shame we overlook so much of their attention to detail. For example, I listened to a podcast recently where they talked about the Pecos Bill restaurant alone for like 45 minutes. I had no idea how much story there was on the walls. I highly recommend listening to some podcasts or reading some blogs and forums before going. You can find everything from tips to planning your trip, to things to look for while you are in the parks. My favorite is the WDW Radio Show. There are so many things I’ve heard about on there, and now I can’t wait to go back and explore more. I want to notice the details I’ve overlooked for years and spot some of these things that most people miss.

    Before you go on your next trip, ask yourself, “What is my goal for this trip? What do I want my family to get out of it?” Would you answer, “I want to ride every ride.” I certainly hope not. Walt Disney World is not about rides. It’s about an experience. A magical experience. So next time you go, decide to make it your goal to have a “magical experience.” THAT is what would have made Walt happy.

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