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Old 07-07-2010, 09:54 PM   #31
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Commando? My definition of commando is leave before the sun rises and don't go back to the room until night falls.

Seriously, the park hoppers are utilized, ADR's are made and we trek along all day. The key to surviving is scheduling attractions during the hottest part of the day where it's air conditioned and you're sitting down. I had an ADR for dinner at 4:15 which was waay early on a Fantasmic night....but it turned out to be a much needed break out of the sun and humidity and it rejuvenated us, so that's one tip I would highly suggest.

Get there early and get FP's for the night, ride the big rides first, reserve the sit down attractions for mid day, eat a meal between 1-5 pm where it's hottest and you can rest, reserve the night for using the fast passes and the fireworks/parades, snack or dessert between 6-9 pm. Shopping can be done mid day in an air conditioned store, have them send your stuff back to your room so you don't carry extra stuff. Don't shop at night, too many people doing last minute shopping and the registers have long lines.

We will try and schedule a down time this upcoming trip because we never utilized the pool until our last day last September, so I kind of regretted spending the money for a moderate; the beds are small and I'm used to a king bed at home; so we'll compromise and do Coronado Springs because of the queen size beds, and we'll try and slow down...use the pool....we'll see....
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Old 07-07-2010, 10:01 PM   #32
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God help the person that takes too long in the bathroom

We would so be able to travel together!
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Old 07-07-2010, 10:17 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by starwarsdisney View Post
I guess my wife and I would fall into the commando style (me more than her). We actually make a binder with every day planned out. While we don't plan it to the minute we know where we want to be and what we want to do on each day. We list which parks have EMH, the regular hours of the parks the show times, ADRs etc. Then we just take the page of that day with us. I've told my wife we should make this binder a business somehow, that's how much detail and planning goes into it.
This is almost exactly what I did for the '07 trip, which my brother-in-law christened "Disney Boot Camp". I created a color coded binder with the overall trip itinerary, a few pages on each park, plus my own notes and then distributed to each of the three families with us. I'm sure they promptly "forgot" where they had placed their copies, but no worries - I was on top of it!

For each day of the itinerary, I had a removable "cheat sheet" that I could fold up and take with me inside that day's park(s), which included:

Attraction Chart
* must-ride list organized by the basic chronological touring order
* whether FastPass is available
* average length of the ride itself (not including queue times, obviously)
* height requirements (no longer needed for this year's trip!)
* planned closures and refurbs
* performance times (live shows, parades)

Restaurant Chart
* meals served (breakfast/lunch/dinner)
* food style
* typical price range
* snack kiosk locations
* whether character dining is available

Character Greetings Chart
* character name(s) / group
* location / land
* times of day available

Play-by-play Guide
This is my down-to-the minute (ok, not really, but close) playbook on when to be where, factoring in when to get FP's and when I can expect to use them, when and where to go for ADRs (plus res#), etc.

All of this worked very well for the last trip. For some days, I included a "plan B" version of the play-by-play for events beyond my control (bus breakdown, rain, etc.). But more often I just referenced the charts on my cheat sheet for on-the-fly adjustments. And joking aside, the others used these cheat sheets for reference on the one occasion when the guys' and gals' itineraries diverged.

This year, we're going about 1/2 Commando and 1/2 free-style. Which means we do commando style from rope-drop through early afternoon and then switch up...

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Old 07-07-2010, 10:29 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by dudelydude View Post
I agree, but the strategy sharing hasn't really taken off yet. I'll start....#1 rule of going commando is.....what? Well I was gonna say arriving at the parks 1 hour early to ensure that you really are "at" the rope drop and starting your day off right....BUT....if we are starting chronologically, are we starting with packing our park bag the evening before and what to pack???? What's a good starting point?
I would say it would be having a plan of action months in advance, as far as what to pack for the parks, I bring a pocket notebook with my cliff notes, a light wallet, child finder unit and a nice strong rum & coke (I know it's 7am but I'm on vac and it's relaxing)

The only other things we basicly bring is a umbrella stroller (son naps while were on the move, great time to hit the stores or the Boardwalk) 1 very light bag for camera & vid cam, some wipes and change of clothes incase DS has a accident

2 things I tell my friends who are going to WDW are:
1-When going to AK to avoid the line getting in use the entrance at the Rain Forest Cafe, seems like not many people know about it and you can bypass a big crowd.
2 when walking in any park and the road splits or come to a split while on line, GO LEFT, most people are right handed and will go to the right by habit

The one thing you most likely will not hear on this thread that you will find on most others. Thats to much to do in 1 day, You might hear that it's not enough though
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Last edited by Disney Commando; 07-07-2010 at 10:57 PM.
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Old 07-07-2010, 10:39 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Disney Commando View Post
...what to pack for the parks, I bring ... a nice strong rum & coke
Now there's a tip!
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Old 07-07-2010, 10:58 PM   #36
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We always go commando DD 7 stopped taking naps at 3 so we go early and stay
late. Biggest tip for touring is staying away from Character meals at the parks. They take up so much time! We always eat breakfast in the room and early lunch and early dinner before they get crowded. I even jog to get FP's ! Serious commando !
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Old 07-07-2010, 11:09 PM   #37
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We always go commando DD 7 stopped taking naps at 3 so we go early and stay
late. Biggest tip for touring is staying away from Character meals at the parks. They take up so much time! We always eat breakfast in the room and early lunch and early dinner before they get crowded. I even jog to get FP's ! Serious commando !
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Old 07-07-2010, 11:13 PM   #38
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Commando here! Here is what I did one trip. We live 2 hours away, so we got up at 3:30, left the house by 4:30, checked in at resort, made it to rope drop, stayed all day at park until around 5 PM, went to resort showered and changed (no rest), went to the Luau, and got back to our resort around 1 AM. That's 21 1/2 hours of doing stuff. I fell asleep no the bus ride back.

It really is a "Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow".
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Old 07-08-2010, 01:58 AM   #39
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So does Commando mean comprensive planning or packing in as many attractions as possible? Can you be a commando if you do one, but not the other? I'm just asking, because I do both. Don't you know that planning is half the fun of the trip? And yes, things don't always go according to plan - that's why you need a plan B and a plan C and maybe a plan D.

We're just back from Disneyland where my BIL had only one day in the parks. He had never been to any Disney property before and we wanted him to have the perfect Disney experience (so he would catch the bug). We started at RD, 7:00 am, and went until dinner at 7:00pm. We managed 28 attractions, a TS lunch, a morning break, and two afternoon breaks. Over dinner he thanked us for all our planning. He really noticed that he waited 10 minutes for Splash Mnt with FP while the standby line was 90 minutes.

I just don't understand why people don't plan.
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Old 07-08-2010, 08:03 AM   #40
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Hello Commando here..I too am the disney nazi as my kids and DH will call me but HEY we always get alot done and enjoy our selves.. I just get soooo excited and I want to go go go from the time I get in FL that I cant help it! I normally plan out my days and my meals, hit park at rope drop or as close as possible plan out the biggest and our fave rides and then relax from there.

Now that being said, I promised DH that this trip we would relax and enjoy our resort as well as other resorts, swim and do a monorail crawl and its just the two of us no teens on this deluxe anniversary trip so..I PLANNED our relaxation..LMAO! I cant help it I love to plan..We have 8 nights and 9 days so plenty of park time as well as several early evenings to relax and do other things plus our anniversary will be a down day swimming and enjoying drinks by the pool as well as renting a boat and having dinner at Narcossee and another night of dinner at Calli Grill followed by the monorail crawl ending it watching Hallowishes from a hammock at our resort.

So bottom line plan away just leave room for the impromptu magic to happen..
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:09 AM   #41
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DH and I go psuedo-commando I guess. (So we're only half wearing undies? I'm not sure how that works.)

So far we've gone to Downtown Disney first before doing any park stuff. That's pretty chill for the most part, the only time frame we're working with are our ADRs. We also grab maps to the parks, which is the important thing.

That night we pull out the map to the park we're going to the next day and go over the rides. I'll circle the rides I want to go on and put question marks by the ones I'm thinking about going on, and he'll do the same. Then the next morning we haul our butts out of bed, grab breakfast at the hotel and are off to the park before I'm all that awake. More than once I've been drinking coffee while waiting for the bus, and fighting sleep on the way to the park. But once I'm there the energy kicks in.

We almost always make rope drop, but I think we've missed it a couple of times. And like pretty much everyone else we hurry to the rides that are going to be crowded later. (Epcot involves hauling butt to Soarin, riding it, then grabbing a fast pass to ride it again.)

I've never understood why people say you can't get everything done in a day. Granted, we don't have kids which I know gives us time that families don't have, but we've never had a problem with getting everything we wanted to do done.

The only thing that slows us down now is that between our first and second trips my body decided it'd be fun to develop fibromyalgia, so we do have to take more breaks so I can sit down. But if at all possible I just rest while waiting for a parade or in a long line, and I encourage the DH to do things I don't want to do (like go on the more intense version of Mission Space) while I take a break.
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Old 07-08-2010, 11:08 AM   #42
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Link to detailed maps and showtimes??

Does anyone have a link to detailed park maps with all the rides, CS locations, TS locations, etc?? Does anyone have a link to show times in the parks?? Not fireworks/ parades but the special shows like Beauty and the Beast etc.??
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Old 07-08-2010, 11:30 AM   #43
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Long time lurker, first time poster.

My wife and I are semi-commandos. We spend hours and hours before we go planning which parks to go to on which days. We agonize over when to leave to maximize our fun. Do we do the Park Hopper or the Water Fun and More when it comes time to buy tickets? (We stay offsite now, but have done onsite several times and loved it).

My wife makes sure that we get to the parks an hour early every day, despite my usual grumbling (I like to sleep). We are usually the first people in the queue for one of the turnstiles into the parks. One day, we even got picked as the MK opening family, which was awesome! But it also precluded me from ever being able to grumble about getting up so early ever again. As someone else earlier in the thread mentioned, though, "i can sleep for free at home."

When we get into the parks, we have the first three hours or so through lunch usually planned out. Just like everyone else, we hit all the E-ticket rides, picking up the big FP attractions, and so on. I don't think that's a secret to most by now.

Then by early to mid afternoon and we've hit all the big stuff, we usually will decide what to do for the rest of the day according to what we're near, what we feel like, whether or not a T-storm is coming in, how the kids feel, etc. Just make sure that you are not expecting to be able to come back and knock off Soarin' in an hour or something. Not gonna happen. All the smaller attractions come later, but in no particular order. And if we can't do them when we want to, we'll usually FP the bigger ones and ride something with a smaller line nearby.

It works every time, and this August we'll be going for our 5th time... this'll be the 3rd time we've been during a big crowd season. The first time we went on our honeymoon, in early November. The second time, we took my parents and went in early February.

I'm sure more stuff will come to me as far as planning goes, but that's the major stuff.
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Old 07-08-2010, 01:01 PM   #44
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My name is Lisa and I'm an OCD Disney vacation planner....

I should have known I was doomed when my dad used a clipboard to plan our very first WDW trip in 1990 when I was 12. I got to go through the Fodor's and circle the rides I wanted to try. My parents analyzed and agonized over the resort and decided on the Poly due to it's proximity to the TTC... I guess it was inevitable that I would evolve into the WDW Planner I am today.

Excel spreadsheets, index cards, circled attractions on maps - check check check! Once DS was born, I added possible nap places, ride lengths with FP notations (not that I need them anymore), family bathroom locations, possible meals for DS at various restaurants....

My spreadsheet accounts for travel time between destinations, typically includes words like 'rest' (commando-style of course - rest is just a code word for: DS/DH nap while I shop/spa/visit the pool bar/etc), all ADR ressie numbers, the EMH parks for each day, parade times, and the weather!

1st rule
in going commando according to me: Know your party and plan accordingly. You can go go go all day if you tailor it to your party. I.e. collect tickets and send one runner, be sure to tell everyone where you are headed and where they should be headed and where you will meet them. Take your cell phone and text each other if needed.... I tend to sometimes walk ahead of my party to grab fastpasses along the way (like for Buzz lightyear or Winnie the Pooh), while they head towards the next attraction.

Rule #2 - hide your Commando plans from anyone in your party who would freak if they knew you had written down which rides you wanted to ride and in what order. If you are a true WDW travel specialist, you can disguise the planning as "disney magic" that you always just happened to be in the right place at the right time, that favorite random character (like Mary Poppins) just happened to appear where you were, had little to no waits, and didn't feel totally exhausted mid-day b/c you had alternated between a/c and non-a/c attractions.

We're flexible, especially to avoid meltdowns, but we don't "waste time" saying "what's next" when we have big groups. When it's just us three, we have a little more flexibility and spontenaeity because there's no group consensus to achieve or re-laying where we are headed next.

Oh - my new favorite "commando" planning site: Steve Soares live entertainment listings! Google it and bookmark it!

To make all you fellow commando's laugh - I once went on a cruise (yes, planned the excursions in advance), but they didn't leave the little cruise ship newsletter that outlined the entertainment and movies and events for us each day until late the night before. It drove me CRAZY! I would make my DH come back to the cabin to check if it was there, so I'd know what I was doing the next day. Ironically, I do like cruising, b/c there is a lot to do and HA HA, I like being entertained non-stop on vacation.... imagine that!
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:26 PM   #45
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On our last trip I had my finest commando hour ever (it only took about a hour to do).

We got to MK at opening 9am got our pic with Daisy & Picnochio ( the other characters there we already had many pics with). Then we got on the horse drawn trolly with a added bonus The Dapper Dans were on board singing, we got off at the castle and took the double decker green bus back to the entrance (we were the only ones on board) While we were on the bus I noticed the Mayor of Disney & The Fire Chief were out and about, So when we got off the bus we went over to where they were I got a pic shaking hands with the Mayor (I told him I voted for him, he liked that), Then my DS got his pic with The Fire Chief (he let him hold the ax)

When we got up to the castle, My DW & DS went to Storytime with Belle, I went to get FP's for BCR, of course using the dock path for qiuckest route there, on the way back I hit the shooting gallery I remembered that it was free in the early morning (got that off of a tip & fact list that I consider the Disney Bible the holder of the list is a DisBoard Member,IMO it is better than any book you can buy, I consider her as a friend and I'll get more into this at a later time)I shot 3 games and back to the DW & Ds at storytime.

Now although most of this was on my list, without doing the bus I might not have seen the Mayor or Fire Chief, so the point I'm trying to make is be prepared to go off your agenda, be aware of your surroundings, take a chance, it could lead to a great experience
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