View Full Version : What percentage of people do you think go to WDW without a plan?

03-21-2006, 09:04 AM
My trip is not till December and I have been immersed in books and websites reading and learning and planning. I can't imagine going on a vacation like this without it. I have been to WDW numerous times but not in almost 10 years so there is a lot of new stuff for me to consider.

I just wondered what percentage of people there do you think just book the trip and go? Have no idea on touring plans, best way to see things and avoid lines, etc? Are there those that go and make no ADRs and then sort of expect to be able to eat wherever they want?

Just curious! :wave2:


03-21-2006, 09:17 AM
I don't want the percentages would be, but my mom and I are going on our third trip and I am TOTALLY immersing myself in anything Disney right now! There are some new things that I would like to do, like the Grand Floridian Afternoon Tea; there are also some old favorites we're doing such as breakfast at Crystal Palace and Festival of the Lion King! I even know what souveniors I'm after this trip!

03-21-2006, 09:25 AM
Well, this is probably my 10th time to Disney World and the first time going with a touring plan! And I have to say, all the times I went without one were just wonderful. My family would just go, and take it as it comes. It was definitely a low stress vacation. Now, we didn't do ADR's because frankly we couldn't afford to eat at sit downs, we just did table service and off site dining.

Now I'm planning my first trip as 'the adult' and I'm kinda going plan crazy. It's comforting to me to know we have ADR's and a plan - but OTOH, I think there's something to be said for winging it too. I know I'm kinda stressing about things I know my mom never thought of when I was little, like which day to go to what park due to historical trends, extra magic hours, etc.

A lot of words to say - not sure on percentages, but I think there's a little good in either way.

03-21-2006, 09:31 AM
This is our first time to WDW and my DD (who should really be a travel agent!) and I are totally immersed in learning all we can about vacationing with The Mouse! And loving it!

03-21-2006, 10:46 AM
When I was planning this past trip we took, I would ask my best friend about things they did on their honeymoon.
I asked "Did you see spectro?"
She said "Huh?"
I'd ask "Did you get to see Fantasmic?"
She said "We only went into MGM for the villains store"
I said "What places did you guys eat at?"
She said "Mostly the resort restaurant"
She confessed about rides they missed, shows they didn't see and restaurants they didn't even know about.
I asked her what in the heck she did there.
She said "We didn't have a plan!"

I can't imagine not having one now. My husband thought I was nuts, with my notebook and itinerary. But one morning at AK, when we'd ridden EE, Dinosaur, Kilamanjaro, and Kali, and it wasn't even 11 yet, he turned to me and said "Wow, I guess this tour nazi stuff really works" :rotfl:

03-21-2006, 10:54 AM
I'm not one for the hardcore touring plan. However, I always plan ahead enough that I make reservations for the few "must-do" sit down restaurants. I also always plan which park we will start each day in and which one we'll finish each night in. I don't plan out my rides, except I always make sure we hit our favorites in each park FIRST. In addition, we always go at slow times of the year, so planning each ride isn't as essential for us as it is for those that go at busier times.

03-21-2006, 10:58 AM
We don't plan. I generally get a book for wherever I'm going (or, in this case, I check out a website) and I read up on what kind of things can be found, but I don't make a formal plan for what to do and what to see. :blush:

The last time we went, we had a four day hopper and we picked the park of the day by seeing which one opened early. I looked through my book the night before and picked out any attractions that we wanted to try to get to see, and other than that, we just took it all as it came. :thumbsup2

This time we are taking my parents and ds, and I have gone so far as to make reservations for two character dining meals. :teeth: Otherwise, we're going to wing it based on whatever book I take with me, whatever tidbits I pick up from here, and whatever seems to be the most interesting at that particular moment in time.

I love vacations like that! :love:


03-21-2006, 11:01 AM
I am learning all I can about everything but I am not a believer in ok now we have to do this or this. I will just try to do the opposite of what the crowds seem to be doing. There are some things I have stuck in my head to work around, but we'll be there 10 days and I feel that should be eniough time to make it a slow enjoyable, relaxed time. If you don't see it today, don't sweat it, there's always tomorrow. After all it is a vacation and shouldn't be stressed. :cool1:

1000th happy haunt
03-21-2006, 11:23 AM
I book ADRs for dinner, and sometimes one for breakfast. We tend to decide in advance which park to visit on which day. Occasionally we'll book a tour. But that's pretty much the extent of our planning.

I want to be open to discovering new things, not rushing from attraction to attraction in order to keep on schedule. If we miss something, so be it. If we get to see something new, so be it.

We joined DVC last year, so I know there are plenty of Disney vacations in our future. It's not necessary to "do it all" on every trip.

03-21-2006, 12:00 PM
Well the first time (as an adult) my dh and I said to ourselves...PLANNING, WHAT PLANNING, it's disney, you just GO...we literally thought we would DO disney in like 2 days and never go back until time to take the next kid for a 2 day weekend. YEAH RIGHT!

I laugh now at how much we missed on that first trip! I mean we only did one day at MK and one day at EPCOT.

turned around and went the following year with ADR's, MNSSHP, stayed onsite and the whole bit.

now here we are again, totally emmersed (sp?) in DIS, mousesavers, and all ears planning a magical gathering for Fall 2006.

so to answer the question, I think there are a lot of people that just show up and go, expecting it to be like other parks where you just check off the list and that's all, not really taking in the "experience" or magic of it all.

Lea Ann

03-21-2006, 03:18 PM
Being our first trip to WDW, I have been completely taken in by every website, book an so on that I can find to help plan our trip. I believe I have been driving everyone bonkers on "here's another website, check this out". I want to make the most of our trip, but I am sure all planning will go out the window when we arrive for vacation. :rolleyes2

03-21-2006, 06:16 PM
I have been so many times... that unless something special is happening - a birthday,anniversary, etc - I don't made any ADR....

but I also stay either onsite in a studio (Kitchennett) at OKW or offsite with a full kitchen....

my big problem has always been the :sunny: ....

I have to avoid it between 10 to 4 pm (summer) - fall/winter 11 to 3 pm.....

so I plan my times NOT to be in the parks.... :blush:

03-21-2006, 07:49 PM
We used to do hard core planning when we first started going to WDW, but now we just take it easy and enjoy the magic while in the parks. :tink: If there are somethings that we surely want to do, we would just write them down before we would get to the parks. :thumbsup2

Have a Disney Day :disrocks:

John :wave:

03-21-2006, 09:06 PM
I would think at least 50%.

03-21-2006, 10:42 PM
I would have to agree that 50% or more don't plan. You see alot of "clueless" people walking around. I "loosely" plan. we pretty much know what park we'll start at and make PS arrangements. We have been so many times that we intuitively "know" what we have to do and what we would like to try. We leave alot of our day open for "gently guided" spontinatity (spelling sucks...) I think no plan and it's your first time, disaster. A total let down when you realize all that you have missed. However over planning takes the magic out, we live on such tight schedules at home, I could never do that on vacation. :confused3

03-23-2006, 02:15 AM
I think I would be sacraficed to the mouse gods by my DW if I insisted on following a set plan any further than making dining reservations. we may make a goal of 2-3 attractions in the morning, but beyond that we like to live in the moment.

I always get a book and research, but DW says "If I hear 'well the book says...' more than once on the trip..." of course, when we were lost in Paris on our honeymoon, she was always the first to ask me to look in the book to find the nearest Metro Station. you just buy a book, know what you want to do, and try to do it.

03-24-2006, 12:19 PM
My Dad and Mom go every year and are DVC owners. So my dad's #1 hobby is planning Disney trips. He loves it, and while I enjoy the planning part, I am just a novice compared to him.

I've seen people at WDW who didn't plan, they didn't tell me that but you can just tell if you know what I mean.

Also, in my experiences with people 98% of people who claim to have had a bad experience at WDW didn't plan.

And I would bet the 5% that come to WDW don't look at a book they don't research they just come. and another 10% just don't plan enough.


03-24-2006, 01:22 PM
My DD and I are having a lot of fun planning our family's first WDW trip! We aren't scheduling every single minute, but we are now trying to come up with a loose "plan of atteck" when we hit the parks!

03-24-2006, 09:36 PM
No clue about the %, but I know the first time I went as an adult...I had not planned anything other than get there and go!!! Now...I can't imangine not planning, and reading and learning. The more I know about my vacation the more excited I get and the more I want to know.

03-25-2006, 11:30 AM
As far as planning for my trip I let things go unitl we get there. I tried planning once and the plan just fell apart. We planned certain days and times for parades and the weahter had other plans. Our first day somewhat has a plan, we are going to hit the MK and eat at Casey's Corner as a tradition. Other than that we only have one ADR. I like to look at the weather for the next day and decide. If it looks like rain I always seem to go to EPCOT, to me major parts of EPCOT you spend inside. I think some people operate better with a plan and some don't. I ALWAYS have a great time and do everything we wanted. We visit many theme parks during the year so we are pretty good last minute changes..........My best advice is enjoy the parks at your own schedule and pace YOU enjoy.....

03-25-2006, 01:48 PM
I would agree that probably about 50% do not plan. I am going for my 16th time this year and I plan for most of them and find it so much fun. I remember being 9 or 10 and sitting with the book in front of me and writing all of our favorite ride down according to ear land. (At that time there was only MK and EPCOT along with TL).

If you have kids get them involved it is just as much fun. Also be flexible and if your plan goes wrong don't fret at least you know the layout of the parks. Have fun...

03-25-2006, 02:22 PM
50 / 50?

03-25-2006, 02:38 PM

if i hadn't found this site i would not have planned either, having never been to disney i just didn't realize how big it is and i wouldn't have known about things like the specialty cruises or most important ADR's. i would have been one of those people standing in line saying "what do you mean i needed to have an ADR 180 days ago". :eek:

thank you disboards!!!

03-25-2006, 03:17 PM
I will be going to WDW at the end of June and I am a planner. Booked a package through AAA, Menus researched, ADRs made, best/worst days reviewed, best rides, best times, and I have the UG. It will be our first family trip and I want to make it the best possible. My sister and her family will be going in early June and have done very little planning. Room booked with DDP (because I told her about it), 2 ADRs booked (because I told her she needed them and would not be able to just walk in) for 4 nights (2TS each-MYB and Luau) I don't know what she will do if they get rained out. She has nothing else researched or planned. So there you go 2 families, 1 a planner and 1 not. 50/50 :thumbsup2

03-25-2006, 10:22 PM
I think it is a must to do some planning, but not to the point that you have a step by step list you have to follow. Here is what I do:

I like plan out what days you will visit the different parks (EMH hours, wether you are staying on site or not). Then you can make a few ADRs, and see if there are any special events/tours that you want to make sure you hit. After that I use the Unofficial Guide touring plans as a reminder on what attractions are a priority to get in before the lines get too long. I figure that if I can get a good amount of attractions in early then we can explore, wander, and slow down and relax for the rest of the day.