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NicPie 01-09-2013 11:57 PM

Trip is booked! Very excited, but feeling overwhelmed. Any expert planners out there?
First off... Hello, everyone! :) I'm new to the board and am very happy to have found you all and be able to join in for some much needed help.

Secondly, I apologize in advance for the information overload I'm about to go into. I hope that's okay.. you all know how much there is to do in the parks.

My husband and I have decided to book our first WDW trip. We're super excited, our 7 year old has been asking for a long time and now is the perfect time for us to finally do it. She is already 48 inches, so the rides shouldn't be an issue, and I'm hoping she's old enough that she'll remember going.

We're going for 9 days/8 nights, so the first and last days will be pretty much non-eventful except for dinner the first night and maybe some time in DD. So, that leaves me with 7 days and I cannot seem to figure out a way to make it all work. I've been laying the whole week out for hours now and I can't figure out the last few things. I thought maybe you all could help me out.

Now, I know my trip isn't til June and I shouldn't be obsessing quite this much already, but I knew how important it was to book restaurants and all right away, so I have done that and now I'm trying to work in everything else around them. I haven't been since I was 15, so I'm pretty much a first-timer and I can't remember things like how long it takes to transfer parks and whatnot.

So, what I have so far...

day 1
arrive at Caribbean Beach Resort
Rainforest Cafe in DD at 6:30
maybe hang out in DD for a bit

day 2
HS @ 8am (EMH)
(sign up my daughter for the Jedi Training)
lunch at Pizza Planet
Pixar Parade @ 3pm
-head to MK at who knows what time-
Chef Mickey's @ 5pm
light parade @ 9pm
fireworks @ 10pm

day 3
Epcot @ 9am
lunch at Electric Umbrella
Fantasia Gardens mini golf sometime before 4pm
Coral Reef @ 5:25pm

day 4
Animal Kingdom @ 8am (EMH)
early lunch at Restaurantosauras
-head to DD at some point-
T-REX @ 3:30pm
-go to HS-
Fantasmic @ 9pm

day 5
Magic Kingdom
lunch @ Tortuga Tavern
Be Our Guest @ 4:30pm

day 6
Typhoon Lagoon @ 9am
lunch at Typhoon Tilly's
-go to the resort, dry off, change, head to MK-
The Crystal Palace @ 5:05pm

day 7
Magic Kingdom @ 8am (EMH)
lunch somewehre TBD
Dreams Come True Parade 3pm
Via Napoli @ 4:30pm
-monorail to Epcot-
IllumiNations @ 9pm

day 8
Disney Quest @ 11:30am
Planet Hollywood @ 4:30pm

day 9
breakfast at the resort
plane leaves at noon

I'm not sure if that is waaaay too much info for you all, but you guys are pros so maybe it won't be so bad. :)

So, my questions are..

My hubby wants to do the ESPN thing. For one.. I can't even seem to find where that is. I see the ESPN Club is on the Boardwalk, but can't tell where the complex is. Also, how long would that take for us to do? Keep in mind, I think he's going to be the only one interested, so I don't 'want' to be there long, but still want to see what there is to see, kwim? Would a few hours do it? I can't seem to find a way to rearrange the schedule in a way that allows for more than 3-4 hours to do it.

How long should I expect to be in DQ? I planned the first half of our last day, not sure if I should plan to go back after dinner or if we should be done by that point.

We will also need some resort time.. my daughter will want to take full advantage of the water slides and pool, at least a couple times.

My main issue is knowing we have to eat, but not liking how much time I'm imagining it will cut out of the day. Like when we go to Be Our Guest at 4:30.. I would think we wouldn't be walking out til at least 6:30? That doesn't leave much time to go anywhere else outside of MK. Or the night in HS where we want to see Fantasmic (says to be there 90 min early.. so 7:30).. won't be getting to HS anyway til after dinner at T-Rex at 3:30.. so 5:30-6ish? That's the only time I had set for HS except the first part of day two. I'm worried that won't be enough? Same with Epcot on day three and then what's left after Via Napoli on day seven.

*SIGH* I am very overwhelmed.

Any advice or insight would be MUCH appreciated. :)

Again, I apologize for the overload of information.

nym4588 01-10-2013 12:45 AM

The Boardwalk is part of the Epcot resort area so you can walk from the International Gateway Epcot entrance (Epcot has two entrances, you'll be able to find it on a park map) to the ESPN Club. It's about a five minute walk. Maybe you can build this into a day you're visiting that particular park?

I will let some of the more experienced DIS'ers answer your other questions. They give great advice!

I've been planning a January 2014 trip since April so I know how you feel! It'll all come together in the end, though :)

nym4588 01-10-2013 12:48 AM

Somebody correct me if I'm wrong but I think ESPN is just a themed restaurant. It'll probably just require the time it would normally take your family to eat a meal.

NicPie 01-10-2013 12:58 AM

Thanks for the reply. :)

So.. is the ESPN Complex or whatever it's called on the boardwalk as well as the Club restaurant?

I didn't know the boardwalk was right off of Epcot, thanks for the tip!

nym4588 01-10-2013 01:16 AM

Lol, I'm sorry, I was confused! I re-read your question and saw that you mentioned the Wide World Of Sports ESPN Complex. I just saw ESPN and automatically thought of the Boardwalk restaurant.

I'm not exactly sure where the complex is. I think it's towards the edge of the property because I always see the entrance not long after we've crossed into WDW territory. I'm sure someone will be along to shed some light :)

NicPie 01-10-2013 01:19 AM

That's okay! I appreciate you trying to help. :)

kdog_1981 01-10-2013 01:25 AM

Being your going in June there isn't going to be the Braves spring training there. It's just complexes to show games. You might see softball games.

pens4821 01-10-2013 01:37 AM

I'm by no means a disney expert. I've been there twice, and joined this board recently to ask a couple questions about my trip.

The one thing I wouldn't do is plan my day including dining. I don't know if you did or not, but that's why I don't think the dining plan is worth it. yeah, there may be a place or two you want to go, but add those in and then just eat when you're hungry and go to where is around. To me, adding specific times for dining every day could take away from the park enjoyment.

graywakemom 01-10-2013 01:49 AM

Just my opinion here - I think your schedule jumps around too much from park to park and it seems as though it is all being based on the restaurants. Personally I think this is a mistake. You will spend too much of your day traveling between places and worrying about the time and not enjoying the moment. Best wishes!

mummabear 01-10-2013 02:13 AM

I think your times are going to be tight to transport either after a parade to make a res or after eating to make a "show". I personally would cut back on some of the dining to free up time and make it more easy going....

Selket 01-10-2013 07:28 AM

I would look at a site like EasyWDW ( to see what are the best days to visit each park for the week you are there. You may want to shuffle some of those ADR's to visit a lower crowded park.

Although the Tour Guide Mike site has gone downhill the past few years, I think it is still worth paying for (especially for someone new to touring) - and his best days to visit a park are spot on. His touring advice was invaluable. Considering the overall cost of your vacation I think spending another $20 or whatever for his site is probably worth it.

I haven't spent as long looking at the EasyWDW site for touring plans and such so his might be superior - but take a look.

We are a family who often plans a sit down meal (usually dinner) every day and that works great for us - you just need to make sure you have the reservations where you want them!

Just briefly looking at your plan I think you are not allowing any time for a rest in the afternoon - getting up that early and staying in a park until 11pm and then getting back on the bus, then getting to sleep - you'd have to get up again at 6-7am the next day. If you are getting up early you probably need to go to bed earlier - or at least not have to get up early the next day if you stay out late the night before. Sometimes it is best to avoid EMH parks - they definitely get the most crowded!

pepe of ohio 01-10-2013 07:45 AM

Too much planning daily and scheduling... Why we don't do dining plans.... ADR's 180 days out... No way would dining run our vacation... We enjoy say 2 must do meals, the rest are counter service or whatever we're close to.... Nothing on property in the way of dining is a must do for us, we can eat at home in fancy restaurants but at home we don't have 4 theme parks to play in..

We dedicate our time to parks and resort/pool time ... Less hectic commando trips are not fun, a down day of say pool time, shopping, putt putt... Relaxing and smelling the roses in WDW is what our stays are about... Don't try to cram everything into one trip, never happen, you'll be over tired and miserable !! Just my 2 cents from a 40. + trip veteran!

nat8199 01-10-2013 08:10 AM

I love dining and ADRs as part of our dining trips, but I always pick parks first then dining. I think that you are jumping around way too much. I would decide which park you want to be at for the day, I use touring plans to see crowd levels, then plan the dining around that. Too much traveling to get to dinner or lunch will just be stressful for you.

nat8199 01-10-2013 08:11 AM

Sorry... Should say dining and ADRs as part of our DISNEY trips.

ChitownFamily 01-10-2013 08:13 AM

Welcome! I think paying to access touring plans or another service is a must for your trip, as someone else suggested. I'm not sure how you created these plans- logistical they are unrealistic. your epcot day 3- is almost impossible. I think you are jumping around too much, if your entire day is navigating transportation etc, you are going to miss the magical moments & opportunities to stop & smell the roses.
Check out the trip reports here on the Dis, I think that's a good place to start & a touring plans type website.

At epcot- check out agent p's showcase:

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