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Old 10-10-2012, 04:05 AM   #1
MrsSDW
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Planning, planning and more planning! Help!

In recent days, a strange kind of malady has me firmly in its grip. My brain is perpetually working overtime, I feel rattled and agitated and can't settle, random thoughts pop into my head day and night and I'm forever muttering to myself and scribbling on bits of paper. I think it can only be....... Disney Fever coupled with a strong dose of Fear-of-Missing-Out-itis!!

It's 4 weeks and 5 days till our trip and I've starting planning with a fervour. I've been reading my guide books and scouring DLP info sites in a bid to arm myself with ammo for a fantastic time. But is this enough? Am I making a rookie mistake and there is something else I should be doing to make sure we get the most out of the magic? I confess that I am not a spontaneous person and the thought of simply going with the flow makes me shudder - much to my laid-back DH's amusement (aka, irritation!).

So I'm after your Top Tips for planning a trip and making sure that we do/see/experience all the things that our first trip to DLP can offer. We arrive at the DLH on Monday 12th Nov around 7pm so the first day is bombed out apart from dinner. We'll then have 3 full days in the park, and until around 2.30 on our Friday departure day. If this was your trip, what would be your plan of attack? What planning methods have worked for you in the past?

Travel party is me, my DH and our 4-year old DD, who likes princesses and the Disney characters but would prefer to watch from a safe distance as she finds their size overwhelming. The only things I have booked so far is tickets for BBWWS on the Tuesday evening, courtesy of Carrie's tip on the discounted tickets, and our airport transfers with Ezyshuttle.

Phew, this got long! Thanks a lot for reading and I'd be very grateful for any advice you can offer.
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Old 10-10-2012, 05:04 AM   #2
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Take full advantage of Extra Magic Hours, you can get a surprising amount done during those two hours and the park is lovely if you're one of the first ones there. Peter Pan tends to have long queues later in the day so that's definitely one to do early.

At the DLH there are character waiting outside the breakfast room which is a good way to see them from a distance and to give your daughter a chance to get used to them.

We went last year with our just turned 4 year old and one thing I really wished we'd done on the last day was hire a stroller - we did a 2 night, 3 day trip so crammed a lot into the time we had there and he was shattered by the end of the trip. He normally wouldn't dream of going into a pram but he was exhausted.
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Old 10-10-2012, 05:12 AM   #3
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You and I are in the same boat...I'm in a constant state of 'Disney brain fog' trying to sort out all the details and ensuring that we see and do everything we can during our first stay (which is a week after you)...

It's exhausting, as my husband knows it's best to just let me go about my business sorting everything and writing notes, so I plan everything on my own.
So I feel your pain!

Can you visit other hotels than just your own (we'll be at SL) to look for characters? Or is that frowned upon? Last thing I want are dirty looks.
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Old 10-10-2012, 07:11 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissSkellington View Post
Can you visit other hotels than just your own (we'll be at SL) to look for characters? Or is that frowned upon? Last thing I want are dirty looks.
You can easily do that. I plan to visit DLH for characters this time for sure. Never found time to do this before.

I'll be going with a 4 year old in March. Last year, on his first trip DS was scared of characters, but he wanted an autograph badly. So he found courage to give his autograph book and then run away, hide behind my back and wait till his brothers gets both autograph books signed. Tiger was the first one he hugged, came close and got his picture. So you might be surprised with your DD.

I would book some meals like character ones (But don't do this meal on your first couple evenings) and the restaurants you don't want to miss. As said before take advantage of EMH, go straight to the ones you wanna do (we hit Buzz Laser blast first thing in the morning). Plan your lunch time to avoid crowds and take advantage of time the crowds go for lunch - the queues tend to get smaller, much smaller.

Do the ones your DD isn't afraid of. No point stand in a queue and then leave (done this couple of times).

I always do a plan: plan our meals, plan in which park we would go etc. This helps me get most of it. DLP map is my huge helper

Oh, don't forget to look at the showtimes, pay attention when it's in English.
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Old 10-10-2012, 07:19 AM   #5
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If your daughter loves the Princesses, take advantage of EMH and queue outside PP about 9.40/9.45 before they open at 10 (the signs say 10.30, but it was 10 last week) and you will be near the front of the queue before they open the park to the public - well worth it
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Old 10-10-2012, 07:42 AM   #6
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Hello!

My advice, plan! I have a planner I use to make lists of all my "Must do's" and then I figure a way to fit them all in - I always have more places I want to eat than I have meals though...!! (Happy to share if you are interested)

I would also recommend reading through other peoples trip reports to get an idea of what they did on their visits.

We went last November and I can honestly say that it is an amazing time of year to go!!

Make the most of Extra magic hours as has already been said, and consider character meals.

Happy planning - it's half the fun!!
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Old 10-10-2012, 07:43 AM   #7
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I would say, once you've been once you are going to return... many many times!!! So... take your time, enjoy the atmosphere, take it in slowly!

I wish I could go back to my first time, the joy of finding a new surprise around each corner. Our best trips have been one's where we are not rushing around trying to 'ride' everything. EMH is very very useful although allow yourself time to have a lazy morning or two depending on the length of the trip.
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Old 10-10-2012, 07:47 AM   #8
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that depends on many things. My kids never have lazy mornings but they do have lazy evenings. They get up at 7am and are ready for the action. We tend to have lazy evenings and to say the truth never stayed in park until it's closure.
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:28 AM   #9
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I definitely agree with using EMH. We did most of our favourite rides during those two hours and the park is much nicer when it's not busy. Worth getting up for! I would also say that as much as planning makes you feel a lot better, you may find that if you plan everything with a specific time you may find it difficult to stick to it. For example if you went to ride Peter Pan and the wait was an hour, you may decide to do something else that's not on your plan instead. We found it useful to have a plan of everything we would like to do that day, do it when it was most convenient wait time wise, then tick it off when we had done it. Sorry it's so long and hope it's not just my ramblings...

Oh and just one last thing: if you want to go swimming, go in the middle of the day when the parks are busiest. We had the whole pool to ourselves at about 2pm I think, then when we went back the park was a bit quieter.
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:43 AM   #10
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You're staying at the Disneyland Hotel, for four nights midweek, during what should be a reasonably quiet time of the year. That should make life really nice and easy! If it was me I would make a note of the must dos and then go with the flow the rest of the time. The only thing I plan is where we are going to eat if reservations are required.

Of course if you enjoy the planning then fine, but don't let it take over!!
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:48 AM   #11
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Good tip about the Princess Pavilion - however, when we were there it didn't open until 1 pm and the queues began from 10 am - kid you not! Hoping it is 10 am ish opening this time, that would be great.

Have you booked Auberge for lunch? - maybe a do-er if your DD is Princess mad. We took DD1 when she was 3.5 yrs the first time, 4.5 the second and both times she loved it. DD2 was just over 4 yrs when we went in June and we did it again. Well worth doing at least once - make sure she gets dressed up (if that is her thing) for going - it makes the difference!

Personally, I would do dumbo first during EMH, it is a slow loading ride (slower than PP) and so therefore queues build up v quickly. Then hop over to PP and then Teacups etc. Think the latter is open when you are there? As you have a DLH FP and get get timed FPs too - you can always do these for PP. Tbh my DDs aren't that bothered by Dumbo so I like to get it out of the way!

I think we 'talked' about taking your pushchair on another thread?? so that is probably sorted. Don't forget to take raincover & some kind of blanket for legs too.

We have been a few times now and never had time to swim!! My personal opinion, but it's not something I'm bothered about when I have a short trip - too many other things to do .

Finally, while you are a planner and want to plan to precision, (and I did similar on our first trip), try and take in the little things and give your DD time for this too. Sometimes things can be missed by marching on keeping to a plan if you know what I mean, and plans don't always go to the letter - but are handy I agree!

Good luck - my DH is the same, just point him in the right direction etc. He sometimes has an opinion on where we eat (like June trip when I had planned and booked all our meals, then DH decided a few days before that he wanted to eat at the Blue Lagoon - wasn't on the 'plan' so I had to rejig - men!). I think we have been that many times now, my family know I research and know the most about the place, so rarely question what plan I have....
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:33 PM   #12
MrsSDW
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Thanks, everyone, I really appreciate your replies. I've made a list of random things that I need to do before we go, such as print out our BBWWS tickets and buy extra memory cards for our camera and hats that cover our ears (hot tip from the "cold weather" thread!). I've also planned which restaurants I'd like to eat in. Definitely want to do Rainforest Cafe, Blue Lagoon and Walts, most likely for dinner, and my DD is intrigued at the idea of a restaurant called Hakuna Matata as she loves the Lion King. Is it just BL and Walts that can be booked in advance? The tiniest tummy in our party won't wait till after Dreams for dinner so my thought is to eat around 5pm, which should recharge our batteries nicely for Dreams then maybe a wander round Disney Village.

Definitely must build time into the plan for spontaneity and taking things easy!!

Seriously, though, I'll try very hard to go with the flow too. The last thing I want is to ruin our time there by trying to cram too much in and exhausting everyone. Our trip can only be as good as my daughter's mood - small people aren't known for hiding their feelings when grumpy and tired.

Regarding shows, is there any way to find out in advance what is on each day at what time? There are lots of shows at the Studios that look really exciting. My DD loves Lilo and Stitch so that is a definite must-do.

Mum to Belle, I'd love to see your planner if you're happy to share. Always glad to see how a fellow control freak organises things!!
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Old 10-10-2012, 01:14 PM   #13
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hi! I've sent you a PM about the planner.
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Old 10-10-2012, 01:18 PM   #14
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You can find the current park schedule here which will give you a rough idea, however you will have to wait until the Friday before you visit to see the schedule for when you are there (although the ones for the previous couple of weeks should be pretty similar).

I agree with the other suggestions to have a look at trip reports to give you an idea of what other people do. You'll have three and a half days to spend in the parks which is plenty of time so you won't need to rush around too much. Try and walk round the parks in a fairly methodical manner - on our first visit we exhausted ourselves hopping from one land to another and to and from Walt Disney Studios!

If you're concerned about missing dreams or the parade you might want to consider have your main meals at lunchtime and then having a snack or counter service meal in the evening. Also bear in mind that if the park shuts at 7pm then the sit down restaurants like Walts may not take bookings after about 4pm anyway.
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Old 10-10-2012, 01:23 PM   #15
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Going for dinner at 5 should be very good I found that earlier like that there was hardly anyone in the restaurants.
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