Ready for your most magical Disney vacation ever?

Good news: you’re in the right place.

Disney World! It’s magical. It’s expensive. It requires so. much. planning.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the complicated, sometimes contradictory Disney information out there, don’t worry — you’re definitely not alone. That’s where I come in.

Hey! I’m Ali. INFJ who can quickly disguise as an ENFJ.

Left-brained human. Efficiency and strategy enthusiast. Numbers nerd (like… I actually enjoy doing my taxes. For real).

When I’m not zipping through the Disney parks with a stopwatch in hand, you can usually find me at home in Colorado – either creating new content for this community or listening to jazz with glass of wine. And probably eating pizza or cake. Under my fuzzy blanket. 

I’m the founder of Wish Upon a Planner® and The Insider’s Digital Strategy Guide to WDW.

The short version: 

I teach busy people like you how to plan stress-free WDW vacations, learn super strategy to avoid waiting in long lines, and use algorithms and technology to your advantage so you can have fun, relax, and enjoy that Disney magic.

Oh, and still, ya know, be on speaking terms with your family (and bonus points: not totally broke) when vacation is over.

The Longer Version

Like a lot of you, I grew up loving all things Disney. I went to Disney World for the first time when I was eight. My parents made a rule that each kid had to be potty trained and able to walk before we could go, so when my little brother turned five, it was finally time. After that, we were lucky enough that family trips to Walt Disney World became an annual thing.

I remember getting my first Annual Pass even though I lived in Kentucky (back when an AP would pay for itself in two visits, and Southwest flights were always $49).

I remember that so-excited-you-can’t-even-sleep, better-than-Christmas-Eve feeling I’d get a few days before every single vacation.

And then walking into the Magic Kingdom and feeling like I was entering another world. Even as I grew up, there was still nothing quite like going through those gates, leaving the real world behind, and living in a bubble of nostalgia and happiness for a few days.

But just like going to Walt Disney World can be one of the most magical, exciting experiences ever, it can also be confusing, overwhelming, and stressful… not to mention expensive and crowded. Especially these recent years with all the changes.

There’s so much WDW-related information out there, and a lot of it is out of date, overfluffed, vague, or just plain clickbait (ew). 

That’s why I wanted to do things a little differently around here. I want you to know how to maximize your time and dollar, and all of the snacks you should be shovin’ down yer gullet.

Whether you’re casually reading the blog or diving deep into The Insider’s Digital Strategy Guide program materials and group, my goal is to always make sure you have:

  • The most current information available
  • Strategies for planning and touring that are actually backed by numbers — not estimates or guesses — and then tested and re-tested
  • In-depth feedback to help you decide what’s best for your group and your budget
  • Concrete, objective data that you can actually use
  • Easy-to-understand analysis
  • Tips, tricks, and reviews for people who are traveling with or without kiddos
  • Information presented in a way that’s convenient and fun to consume

Most people like to avoid applying efficiency, data, numbers, and testing to their vacation plans, but not me.  Honestly? I love it.

This is how I’m able to travel not just to Disney frequently, but all around the world.

I’ve always been information-obsessed. Like, I’m the kind of constantly reading, always-looking-at-data, forever-brainstorming-about-how-to-make-things-more-efficient, let’s-make-a-spreadsheet, and researching-new-ways-to-determine-whether-a-purchase-is-actually-worth-it kind of obsessed.

And while I truly do love Disney, I also love being an efficient consumer.  And this is my goal with everything I write on this website and my products: expertise via efficiency.

That’s why you can always count on our team to give it to you straight: no bias, no nonsense.

Q&A with Ali

What’s the biggest mistake people usually make when planning their trip?

Trying to do too much! Most people think every detail needs to be set in stone, so they don’t allow space to go with the flow. But putting too much on your agenda doesn’t make for a very relaxing vacation. It’s just going to leave you even more tired and stressed out. Rain, in the moment food cravings, and ride closures can all change a day real quick.

Also? Not taking the time to understand the new Genie+ system. I absolutely recommend it to help skip those lines — but it’s unfortunately a whole ordeal, and guests need to learn to properly optimize and use it, or they’re just throwing more cash at Disney.

 Do you recommend the Disney Dining Plan?

Meh, tough question. In most cases, no. You really need to do the math and be strategic if you want the money to work out in your favor, and you need to be ready to eat a lot (it’s a ton of food and not in the exciting way, and it can keep you on a pretty rigid schedule). But if you want to do a lot of character meals or buffet, then it is worth crunching the numbers and considering.

Favorite Disney resort in each category?

Value: Pop Century, for the Skyliner convenience and the Strawberry Margarita 😉  

Moderate: Coronado Springs. With all the recent additions and changes, it’s a foodie’s dream, and the Tower rooms are gorgeous. Dahlia Lounge and Three Bridges have some of best food, drinks, and staff on property.

Deluxe: I have two favorites, and both are 100% because of the theming: The Boardwalk and Animal Kingdom Lodge. I could spend a week at each and never even have to go into the parks. 

Animal Kingdom Lodge is dark, relaxing, and cozy. The Boardwalk has everything that makes me happy: views of the water and 1920s – 1930s theming (fun fact: my favorite music comes from that time period, cause I’m actually 90 years old. Play that Glenn Miller, maestro).

Favorite rides at WDW?

Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, stop making me choose.

Favorite food?

CHEESE PIZZA! And sushi. Wait, at Disney? Homecomin’ Mac and Cheese. Do La Cava’s Jalapeño margaritas count as food? Another is the Carciofi Pizza at Via Napoli (and I’m a red sauce girl!).

Do you run Wish Upon A Planner all on your own? 

Not anymore, we’re fortunate enough to have turned into a full-fledged company over the past few years. My sister and my husband do help out, though, mainly as researchers. I like to think they enjoy their jobs!

Favorite WDW websites aside from yours?

Great question, since most of my business revolves around my community and creating content for people who purchase the Insider’s Guide and my email newsletter. I don’t run ads, so I don’t focus on blogging or Disney news (and there’s already a lot of thorough blogs out there).

For newbies, I recommend WDW Prep School. Shannon is a rockstar; she’s so thorough and her content flows in the methodical manner that beginners need. She manages to cover everything in detail without making the reader feel overloaded. 

What’s the #1 thing I can do to make sure I have a great vacation?

Get The Insider’s Digital Strategy Guide to WDW (with Line Hacks™!), seriously. Am I biased? Maybe. But has this guide legitimately helped thousands of people? Definitely. It’s a tiny investment that will save you so much time, money, and stress. There’s even a money-back guarantee! (and a 98% satisfaction rate 😉)

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