Making The Most Of A Working Vacation At Walt Disney World

Vacation - it's that thing we all dream of. That period of time that a person spends away from home, school, or business that conjures up images of lying in a hammock on Bay Lake with a Lapu Lapu in your hand, or maybe staying up late to take full advantage of the theme park extra magic hours. As much as we grown-ups love our vacations, it takes an awful lot of work to get one, and sometimes business has a way of creeping in when we're finally there. Read on for my best tips to not let work ruin your vacation, even when you have to stay on point.

Making The Most Of A Working VacationMaking The Most Of A Working Vacation

Gone are the days when a Walt Disney World Vacation was a complete escape from the outside world. Today it takes real effort to separate from everyday life. We all have our smart phones and tablets pushing information right into our hands and a computer back in the room to stay on top of what's happening at the office. All of the Walt Disney World Resorts offer complimentary Wi-Fi, so do the four Theme Parks and Downtown Disney. Just one quick peek at your email and that's it - you're down the rabbit hole.

Disney Resort Guests Have Complimentary Wi-Fi and VoicemailDisney Resort Guests Have Complimentary Wi-Fi and Voicemail

Prepare Ahead Before You Leave

As with most Disney travel details, a little extra preparation can make even the busiest times of year go smoothly. During the weeks leading up to your trip get as far ahead as you can on work. My goal is always to try and be two weeks ahead with my job before I travel. Working ahead helps in two ways, first, it will keep you from having to do time consuming projects while you're supposed to be having fun, and second, it makes reentry into the "real world" a whole lot easier once your trip is over. As you ease back into your work schedule, you may still be dreaming of Disney, but you won't be left behind.

Buy a good electronics bag and create a mobile office to take with you. Mine is a rolling carry-on with space for my computer and charger, flash drives, a few files, my business cards, and a few office supplies. It also has a compartment where I can stash a change of clothes.

A Good Electronics Bag Will Keep You OrganizedA Good Electronics Bag Will Keep You Organized

Make Communications "Emergency Only"

You may have to define just what an "emergency" is, but tell everyone that you'll be out of the loop while you're out of town. Let your co-workers and clients know who they can talk to in your absence and make it clear that they should try and solve the problem before emailing you. Set an "Out Of Office" reply to your email and leave a new voicemail message. With those set, even if you do check in on what's happening you've pre-established the expectation that they won't be getting an answer until you have returned.

Let Your Co-Workers Know You Will Be UnavailableLet Your Co-Workers Know You Will Be Unavailable

Organize, Wake Up Early, And Manage Your Time

If you can't avoid working while you travel, you'll need to set some rules up for yourself. Unpack your mobile office on the first night and get organized so that everything you may need is at your fingertips. I usually take over the desk or a table. This will save you time when you do sit down to work.

Set aside a specific amount of time, once a day - then stick to it. I like to take advantage of the early morning hours to get work done and then leave it in the room! Wake up before the rest of your party and take care of your email before others are up and ready to go. That extra hour can be a big benefit if it means you're not checking in for the rest of the day.

Set Up Your Work Space When You ArriveSet Up Your Work Space When You Arrive

What ever you do, avoid the urge to respond to email while you're in that hour-long queue or waiting for a show. Park time should be time with your family and friends. Instead use your phone for taking pictures of your companions or checking off the WDW For Grown-ups photo hunt list!

In this ultra fast, ultra connected information age, it can sometimes be difficult to unplug from work completely and just have fun. However, if you set some rules and stick to them you should be able to have a great time while still keeping tabs on the world back at the office.

Have you ever had to work through a vacation? How did you manage a balance? Share your tips in the comments below!

crazycatperson wrote on Tue, 10/28/2014 - 16:36:

crazycatperson's picture

When I was managing a website a few years back, I took my work computer along on vacations but made sure everyone knew I was not available for routine work. I checked email every evening after returning from the parks (works better for me than morning) and updated the website with time-sensitive news and information, but nothing else. I never had to spend more than an hour working and usually much less, which didn't really affect my ability to have a good time. That time of year (autumn) the parks weren't open late anyway.

BarbaraB wrote on Tue, 10/28/2014 - 18:59:

BarbaraB's picture

We once had to cut a vacation short because Hubby was desperately needed back at work. We left 3 days early, but we were well compensated. His boss paid for the airline fees to change the flight and treated us to dinner at Victoria & Albert's on our last night in the World.

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