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View Full Version : Now I am booked , how do I plan???


meldud
11-05-2009, 04:23 PM
I would like some advice on how to plan our itinery for August 2010??

I have never been to WDW, so am unsure as to what on earth I am doing!!

My husband is already getting stressed about not having enough spontaneity in our holiday. But reading several blogs it appears that planning is reasonably important.
Is there a way to plan and be spontaneous at the same time? I feel a compromise coming on!!!!

We will be staying on site for 2 weeks from 13th august 2010, with me, my husband, a ten year old boy and a nine year old girl.

Thanks in anticipation,

mel

~Piglet~
11-05-2009, 04:33 PM
Is there a way to plan and be spontaneous at the same time?

Planning is the best part! ;) How about just deciding on which days you spend at a certain park and then being spontaneous once you are inside the park?! (for me that wouldn't work though - I need to have some structure!)

There is so much to see and do though in Orlando that some kind of loose plan is a good idea :)

wayneg
11-05-2009, 04:37 PM
Do whats best for your family. Some people plan every little detail down to routes around the parks and estimated ride times. Some just plan the park itineries, some their evening meals and others don't have a single plan.
For a 1st trip I would try decide which parks you want to goto, basically so you can pre-buy your tickets. Plus if you are doing Dining plan try book a few in advance, August gets very busy in the popular restaraunts so you need to book at your 180 day mark if poss. Some are essential others you can walk in and get a table.
If you are not sure on anything post and ask, there are no right or wrong way to do things, its finding the best way for your family.

loobylou44
11-05-2009, 04:40 PM
I think a good guide book is a good place to start you can then get an overview and then you can ask more detailed questions on here. I really like 'The Brits Guide to Orlando' by Simon and Susan Veness a new one for 2010 has just been released.
Its a good idea to have a rough plan of 'must do's' and the best days to visit each park, but its still possible to be spontaneous, we definitely manage it. Have a fab trip! :goodvibes

mcco5543
11-05-2009, 05:09 PM
This is how my family does it (A mix of planing and being spontaneous is our way of doing it)


1. we look at the menus on allears.net and since we have the dining plan, we choose what table service restaraunts we'd like to go to.

then we look at the Extra magic hours for the parks for the time we will be in Disney. (We stay on site so we get to participate in the extra magic hours. My wife and much prefer the PM Extra magic hours and prefer not to go to the AM magic hours at all.)

We then see if any of our restaurant choices are in any parks and put that restaurant on the PM EMH day for that park. (We do this if we can because we think the less time we spend "traveling" between parks, the better since "traveling" stresses us both out).

Once our "park restaurants" match up with our evening EMH hours we see what other locations are chosen retaurants are in and try and put those restaraunts on the days that we will be at the nearest park for traveling to that location. (I.E) Boma is in the Animal Kingdom Lodge which is closest to the animal kingdom, so if we aren't eating in the Animal kingdom park that day, we will put our Boma dinner reservation on this day for the shortest amount of travel.


We then look in each park and choose our top 3-5 must do's for each park. since there's only the 2 of us, we have the ability to make sure we each get at least a few of our "top must do's" in. The rest of that park day is devoted to "whatever we feel like doing!" We also don't neccesarily do our "must do"s first thing. We do them as we come across them in the parks. So are "plan" is in between all the "go with the flow" .

A lot of time are top choices actually match so that works out well too! But we've been before so we know already what to expect when we pick our top choices. You have the element of still getting to experience it for the first time! (So exiting!!!)

I also take note of one last thing: parades, shows, and fire works times and locations.

I write/type all this into a word processing document. I start by listing the day of the week and the date. Under the appropriate day I:

Then I list what park we want to go to on each day and note if it's an AM or a PM EMH.
Then I list our food reservations and the confirmation numbers
then I list the shows/parades/fireworks times for that day

on a 2nd piece of paper i type in the names of the 4 parks and under each appropriate park I list our "must do's"

finally my third sheet of paper lists how to best transport ourselves between the parks and to and from our dining "ressies" I do this by using the travel wizard at the laughing place.com

One last note. Since my wife and I go for a week we ALWAYS plan a "whatever" day in the middle of the trip. Nothing at all is planned for this day except our meal reservations. We use this day to go back to a park and do things we feel like we didnt' get a chance to do, explore our resort, go resort hopping, swim at the pool, sleep in all day, or do literally whatever we want for as long as we want. We dont' take a break during the middle of the day and take naps so this day is really important to us. Also, you can use this day to swap out any other day if you have an emergency or bad weather. (I ended up in the ER on one of our "park days" and felt like poo so we used it as our "hang out" day and went to the intended park on our original hang out day!

Finally, even though we take this 3 page document with us the whole trip. We only use it as a reference and then only if we feel like it!. It's just a guide, suggestions for ourselves. We're both totally willing to trash the whole thing if we find we're doing just fine without it and are having a blast. It's a "just in case" . I just enjoy the planning so I don't mind if all my "planning" goes "to waste". For me , planning is fun.


No matter what y'all decide. Plan , no plan or semi plan. Have a great first time!!!! :cheer2:

DISWolves
11-05-2009, 05:18 PM
I agree that a guide book would be a good investment, but also suggest that you make a plan for each day. Use this plan as a guide rather than set in concrete. August is usually quite warm :cool1:so be prepared to have 'time out' when you need it. We pre-plan every day of our annual 3 weeks but probably only stick to 70% of the timetable. Be prepared to be flexible, but also remember that time (especially in Orlando) is precious....ENLOY! :thumbsup2

Disneynutinlondon
11-05-2009, 06:09 PM
I agree that if you do nothing else then with 2 children you MUST plan and by that I mean make ADR's for your meals.

We have been to WDW many times and it breaks my heart when we are sitting down to eat and we see families walking up to the resturant check in with tired, gumpy, hungrey children only to be turned away or told that there is 1 1/2 hours to wait. If you are like us and enjoy a sit down family dinner then plan your evening meal in whatever park has evening EMH and then you can enjoy the park without to much travelling.

Also August is very hot and also very humid. For our family we have found that we get up and hit the parks fairly early and do whatever we want before it gets too hot. Then about lunchtime we go back to the hotel and spend the afternoon just chillin by the pool or catching a nap. After our relaxing afternoon we are refreshed and ready for dinner and whatever exciting thrills the EMH park holds for us.

PChef
11-06-2009, 04:27 AM
I second the recommendation for a guidebook, but remember a lot of libraries will have copies of Brit's Guide and others so worth a look there to see which book you prefer.

On our first trip we had a plan of which park on which day, an idea of which rides were gonna appeal to us most, and had made some dining reservations. It is useful to know which days are busiest at each park as it can make a huge difference to how many rides you can get on! Definitely have some days 'unplanned' though so you can go back to parks you particularly enjoyed, our two boys loved Epcot and Blizzard Beach so we went back to those. Also factor in some shopping and chilling time!

We are just planning our second trip now, waiting for flights to come out for end October 2010.

torsie24
11-06-2009, 05:34 AM
I would reccomend you go and subscribe to Tour Guide Mike for your trip. it's like 10 and will really really help you.

The most valuable part of the site (in my opinion) is his Best Day guides. For each day he rates which parks will be quietest and which to avoid, a really helpful thing to have!

That's just the start though as there is a real wealth of information.

We used it and it allowed us to be confident we would be at the least crowded park each day, be able to plan suitable ADRs but it didn't mean we were really regimental with our days. I jsut saved the guide and took it with us, so days we didn;t have any set plans we could just have a look at where mike suggested for that day and then went to one of the green rated parks. :)

JohnnySharp2
11-06-2009, 07:11 AM
I agree planning is part of the fun but personally never plan past the first couple of days, for me 'planning' is deciding on accomodation and having a rough idea what different things we want to do this time.

Once you are out there plans can change, to be honest we have never had it set that we go to Magic Kingdom on day 9, or Universal on day 12 etc. Partly because with our son we prefer some flexibility, everyone is different it's just about finding your way of doing things.

My suggestion is to resarch on here and ask questions , read up or use the internet to get as much information on what there is to do, and most importantly have a few days where you are free to do other things away from the theme parks.

eeyorefanuk
11-06-2009, 03:35 PM
I would reccomend you go and subscribe to Tour Guide Mike for your trip. it's like 10 and will really really help you.

The most valuable part of the site (in my opinion) is his Best Day guides. For each day he rates which parks will be quietest and which to avoid, a really helpful thing to have!

That's just the start though as there is a real wealth of information.

We used it and it allowed us to be confident we would be at the least crowded park each day, be able to plan suitable ADRs but it didn't mean we were really regimental with our days. I jsut saved the guide and took it with us, so days we didn;t have any set plans we could just have a look at where mike suggested for that day and then went to one of the green rated parks. :)


How far in advance can this be done?

Also we have in our minds now our itinerary (only done really because of the free dining and booking the ADRs) ........... do you think it is still worth it?

torsie24
11-06-2009, 04:32 PM
You could definitely do it now. I think it might be like 2 years out you're allowed. His best/worst day guides wont be out until the park hours are, but you can take your time planning ADRs and setting them up on there and stuff and reading all the info. :)

disneyholic family
11-06-2009, 04:42 PM
i would read Simon's book, 'The Brits Guide to Orlando' , as your first step.

i used to inhale guidebooks to WDW....i still do even after 50+ trips to the mouse.. ..the ones i still read are: the brit's guide, the one by birnbaum, the one by the neales - i think that's their name, and the unofficial guide to WDW...
but read the brit's guide to orlando first....it's really very comprehensive and particularly good for brits who are firsttimers...

meldud
11-06-2009, 04:59 PM
I have already devoured the unofficial guide to WDW and have made marks in it as to which restaurants I like the sound of. My daughter is a coeliac, so meal planning is reasonably important for us.

When do the park opening hours for august 2010 get published?

Mel

eeyorefanuk
11-06-2009, 05:09 PM
When do the park opening hours for august 2010 get published?

Mel

Snap .... same here for August 2010 opening hours :lmao:

wickesy
11-06-2009, 05:26 PM
How far in advance can this be done?


You could definitely do it now. I think it might be like 2 years out you're allowed.

I subscribed a couple of months ago for a trip in October 2011 so definitely two years, in fact I don't think there is a time limit as such - the cost is the same whenever you subscribe and runs until 60 days after you return from your trip.


When do the park opening hours for august 2010 get published?

Mel

Snap .... same here for August 2010 opening hours :lmao:

180 days before so somewhere around 1st February 2010.

disneyholic family
11-07-2009, 01:41 AM
I have already devoured the unofficial guide to WDW and have made marks in it as to which restaurants I like the sound of. My daughter is a coeliac, so meal planning is reasonably important for us.

When do the park opening hours for august 2010 get published?

Mel



180 days before so somewhere around 1st February 2010.


This past year, they only published park opening hours 90 days in advance of september, so i don't know what it will be in 2010.

eeyorefanuk
11-07-2009, 03:10 AM
I subscribed a couple of months ago for a trip in October 2011 so definitely two years, in fact I don't think there is a time limit as such - the cost is the same whenever you subscribe and runs until 60 days after you return from your trip.





180 days before so somewhere around 1st February 2010.

So since we have to book our ADR's 180 days out, do you just normally look at the previous year's opening hours and work from there for closing time/parade time/firework etc?? :goodvibes

wayneg
11-07-2009, 03:11 AM
This past year, they only published park opening hours 90 days in advance of september, so i don't know what it will be in 2010.

Since ADR'S moved back to 180 days park hours are supposed to be the same.

"Effective October 27th, theme park hours will be released 180 days in advance."

wickesy
11-07-2009, 04:23 AM
So since we have to book our ADR's 180 days out, do you just normally look at the previous year's opening hours and work from there for closing time/parade time/firework etc?? :goodvibes

If you particularly want one of the most popular restaurants then yes do it that way, but personally I have always been able to get in to most places by booking at 170-odd days out once I have worked out where I am going to be when. The only restaurant I haven't been able to get into on the day I wanted was Le Cellier in April this year, although that was when ADR's were only being taken at 90 days out.

eeyorefanuk
11-07-2009, 06:37 AM
The only reason I am slightly nervous about not booking 180 days before is that we are going in August :scared1: and there are eight of us :scared1:

disneyholic family
11-07-2009, 06:43 AM
Since ADR'S moved back to 180 days park hours are supposed to be the same.

"Effective October 27th, theme park hours will be released 180 days in advance."

that's good that the hours will be out, but it's terrible that ADRs have been moved back to 180 days....
most "normal" people in the world don't plan their holidays 180 days in advance.....even 90 days is difficult for some people...

it means there will be a lot of people who will make reservations that they'll never use - "oh gee, maybe we'll go to WDW in august, i better make some ADRs just in case"..
and then i wonder if they'll cancel them when they decide not to go....i bet most of them won't...

eeyorefanuk
11-07-2009, 06:56 AM
I do find it strange that they put the opening hours etc at 180 days, the exact same day as when allowed to book ADR's?

scojos
11-07-2009, 11:44 AM
I have already devoured the unofficial guide to WDW and have made marks in it as to which restaurants I like the sound of. My daughter is a coeliac, so meal planning is reasonably important for us.

When do the park opening hours for august 2010 get published?

Mel

dont worry about dining out with your daughter, the chefs at disney are amazing!
(i have severe food allergies and the ddp, chefs last year made everything fresh for me!

tracy

meldud
11-09-2009, 05:06 PM
I have only heard good things about the chefs at Disney, so I am pretty confident that we will be able to find something for her. She will be 9, but have upgraded her to an adult(10+) ticket in order that she will qualify for the adult menu. The kids menus seem so restricted and I have come across so many jobs worths in this country that I am not prepared to get into arguements while we are away!!!!

Is it essential to book ADRs at the 180 day mark?

Thanks,

mel

mcco5543
11-09-2009, 07:56 PM
I have only heard good things about the chefs at Disney, so I am pretty confident that we will be able to find something for her. She will be 9, but have upgraded her to an adult(10+) ticket in order that she will qualify for the adult menu. The kids menus seem so restricted and I have come across so many jobs worths in this country that I am not prepared to get into arguements while we are away!!!!

Is it essential to book ADRs at the 180 day mark?

Thanks,

mel

Yes it is essential to book at the 180 day mark if you want

A. a certain time ("I must have 6pm dinner, no exceptions)

or
B. I want a popular restaurant (Le Cellier, Cinderella's Royal Table etc...)


If you have a plan A.B and C for potential places you'd like to eat, the likliehood that you would be able to get one of your top 3 choices is much better. If you can't book exactly 180 days out.

Also if you are willing to eat at "odd" times (not meal times, and/or any time they can offer you) you will most likely get your restaurant of choice.

it depends on how flexible you can be with times and restaurants and how popular the restaurants are.

ukdisney101
11-11-2009, 07:50 AM
Hi there

Just felt i must chip in, our 1st WDW trip was Feb 2008 and i didn't have any plan or really any idea what i was going to do when i got there, i hadn't done any research (how stupid) thought "oh i'll figure it out when we get there".

I felt like i lost the first 3 days due to not being prepared. I just wasn't prepared for the enormity of it all.

Even if you don't make a plan do some research and make a wish list of what you would like to do. For our next trip Feb 2010 :banana: i have made a wish list and a rough plan but i won't let it rule the holiday.

I have enjoyed the planning this time and am even more excited than i was the first time.

Have a fantastic time :cheer2::cheer2::cheer2:

zippy99
11-13-2009, 07:29 AM
On our first trip to Disney Florida in Jan 08, our children were 9 & 8, we only made one reservation and that was for the Lilo & Stitch Breakfast.

We were quite happy playing it by ear and doing things as we went along. I use to check on here and think 'OMG these peoples are freaks - with all this uber planning' - infact it scared me.

The thing to remember is it is so much easier to plan when you have been before.

Our second trip in Sep 09 had loads of bookings, we planed what days we were doing what parks to plan around shows etc.. We were only on the QSDP so not full blown planning - but the discovery of places like Wolfgang Puck were all down to the support on here

October 2010 OKW As for next year (which has not even been booked yet) we have got a list of everywhere we want to eat, and planned where all our credits are going!!

Yes, planning is good fun - but I believe the planning is more fun for those of us who know what we are going back to!

As a first timer don't get too caught up in the planning or worried about it, find out what you need to know, opening hours, magic hours, shows etc.. and be sure to make some reservations for the busiest & most popular restaurants. (We often cancel reservations when we are out if plans change there and rebook without any trouble)

eeyorefanuk
11-13-2009, 01:52 PM
Can I ask you, if you have booked reservations on the ddp, but say something crops up on the day, will you be penalised for cancelling say the morning of the evening meal?? :goodvibes

wayneg
11-13-2009, 02:19 PM
Can I ask you, if you have booked reservations on the ddp, but say something crops up on the day, will you be penalised for cancelling say the morning of the evening meal?? :goodvibes

Quote from Disney, no idea how strict they are or what penelties.

Reservations
must be cancelled at least 48 hours (6 days for Grand Gathering Experiences) before the scheduled seating time or a cancellation charge may be incurred (charge varies by location).

wickesy
11-13-2009, 03:23 PM
Can I ask you, if you have booked reservations on the ddp, but say something crops up on the day, will you be penalised for cancelling say the morning of the evening meal?? :goodvibes

Quote from Disney, no idea how strict they are or what penelties.

Reservations
must be cancelled at least 48 hours (6 days for Grand Gathering Experiences) before the scheduled seating time or a cancellation charge may be incurred (charge varies by location).

I think the only ones you get charged for are the ones where you have to leave a credit card number when you book, which would be California Grill, Cinderella's Royal Table and the Fantasmic Dining Package - and I think there might be a few others as well.

rabit
11-22-2009, 09:28 AM
[QUOTE=meldud;34220962]I would like some advice on how to plan our itinery for August 2010??

the most important thing to remember is that this is a HOLIDAY, too many people go to florida and try to do everything ,it is not a military campaign you are planning , in august it will be hot and humid and it will rain so you need to be flexible ,by all means look at the guides but in the end suit yourselves.look at the U.S. section of this site and see how the locals do it . have a great time

scojos
11-22-2009, 10:17 AM
now me, im a military planner!!!
this is what works for us, my asd son "leads" the military, we all go at his pace, we plan max 4 hour stints in parks, rope drop most mornings, out either for lunch or just after, back to hotel for swim/sleep and then (sometimes) back to parks, or dinner in a resort hotel, or trip off site - but everything is planned before we go. All restaurant choices are made before travelling both TS and CS, this avoids conflict when we are there, the menus are all checked before hand, so we know everyone will eat off the menu... we always have an alternative in case we work through the park quicker than planned or the menus have changed between us checking and arriving.
this said, after the first week last year we ended up at MGM every morning for a week to ride TOT and TSM!
flexibility is important, but my advice, is knowledge is power, know where the good places to eat are (yes we are obsessed with food, but you spend time relaxing or queing for bad food- your choice;)) know the decent snack and where they are available, know quickest routes, which rides to do first etc. if its your first time, no what to avoid, (basically any parks with EMH), decide which parks to do, we avoided epcot on our first trip, but now its our fav park!! use planning videos, plan but be flexible!!
have fun
Tracy

WiganTony
11-26-2009, 05:31 AM
Throwing our hat into the ring!!! We have generally tended to:

1) Decide well before the 180 day mark which TS restaurants are must-dos, nice to dos and will-dos, for which reservations are required.

2) When park hours are released at 180 days, determine which days are busiest and which parks have EMH days. Also check times of shows and fireworks (e.g. Fantasmic at HS, Spectromagic at MK etc). Then pick parks that are the quietest and have no EMH on specific days. Also determine days for visiting water parks and/or shopping etc.

3) Align our ADRs with TS restaurants for any particular day with our chosen park (or a resort nearby) to avoid wasting time travelling between areas. If at a water park and if on DDP, we would choose a restaurant at a resort or at DTD.

4) When we visit the parks, we have an idea of the most popular rides and get Fastpasses as soon as we enter. Specific rides include Toy Story Mania/Aerosmith at HS, Kilamanjiro Safari/Expedition Everest at AK, any of the "mountain" rides at MK, and Soarin/Test Track at EPCOT. We then just please ourselves as to which attractions to visit/ride, but always keep in mind any show times and rides that have Fastpasses and obtain these as and when we can.

HTH.