Trip is booked! Very excited, but feeling overwhelmed. Any expert planners out there?

Discussion in 'Theme Parks Attractions and Strategies' started by NicPie, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. graceesmom

    graceesmom DIS Veteran

    Sep 8, 2008
    Touring plans are strategies for how to navigate and plan your days inside the park

    Itinerary planning is planning what day to go to each park.

    I think you have some good framework here and you started with a plan. That means you will be so far ahead of most of the people in the parks already. Let's just try to make sure you have the best time possible with a few tweaks. I love to research this stuff. Give me a little bit and I will make some suggestions for you. I made the same mistake of overplanning, not realizing how long it would take to get from point A to B, trying to do too much, etc. on my first trip too, but I got some good advice before going and we had a excellent time. Now that I've been 10 times in the last 5 years, I hae a much better idea of how to plan, do all the "must do's" and not come home feeling like I've been beaten with a baseball bat.

    You also have a nice length trip that you can still have some relaxation. It will make the whole trip so much better if everyone is not tired and cranky by day 4.
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  3. NicPie

    NicPie Frozen 24/7

    Jan 9, 2013
    Thank you all. :)

    I know the touring guides will change and I'll definitely keep an eye on them as it gets closer, but still just trying to get the basic layout of which park to go to when. With the dining reservations, I can't really decide on those too last minute, right?
  4. graceesmom

    graceesmom DIS Veteran

    Sep 8, 2008
    I have a few questions that will help me figure out your best itinerary

    1. Are you on the dining plan?
    2. Is your daughter at least 48" tall. I think you said she is 7, so at this age I wasn't sure. My 6 year old is exactly 48" tall, but she has lots of friends who are not. If not how tall is she?
    3. If so, is your daughter a "thrill junkie" meaning she is going to want to ride Tower of Terror 10 times in a row? Have you been to other theme parks? If so, what were your favorite/least favorite rides? (I'm asking more for itinerary at this point and thinking about how long you will need in each park more than a tour plan right now) E.g. If your daughter loves Rock N Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror AND you and/or your husband are willing to ride with her as many times as she wants then Hollywood Studios could be a full day. If no one in your party wants to ride those rides then it might be shorter day.

  5. NicPie

    NicPie Frozen 24/7

    Jan 9, 2013
    You're so sweet. :) I appreciate your willingness to hold my hand and help me out with this.

    She is 48 inches.. yay. :) Um, as far as the thrill junkie, I'm not entirely sure. She's kind of half and half. We haven't done any other big parks before, the only thing we've really done is boardwalk rides at the beach. She loves the kids coasters, but she acts like she's afraid of things until she tries them. She is more a tomboy than a girly girl, so she likes to act like she's not scared, but then other times she's a 'fraidy-cat. It's really hard to say. lol That being said.. pretty sure DH and I will be riding ToT, so we'll probably try to get her on there with us. Hope she will because going alone is no fun.

    ETA: Yes, we do have the dining plan. :) 1 TS, 1 QS, 1 snack, per day and the mug.
  6. elaine amj

    elaine amj DIS Veteran

    Jan 26, 2012
    I see a lot of people stress about moving dining reservations and feeling stuck in stone. Dining is a HUGE part of our vacation experience and we adore the dining plan and I plan a lot of our trip around dining, but I also know reservations open up all the time and I never despair 6 months out if I can't get something. Over the course of 6 months, things change a lot and if u are willing to stalk reservations, you'll likely get what you want. If not, there are lots of great compromises. So don't overstress about shuffling. Chances are, it will be easy to shuffle. For me, the overall itinerary are the most important of all.

    Be prepared to make changes to your plans when u are there. I usually switch reservations, switch park days, etc to accommodate my family when we are there. I spend a year fine tuning my plans just to have the flexibility to make changes when we are there and have all the info at my fingertips.

    Know you family - every family is different. Our first trip I was excited and sent my DH running for FPs, pushed them to brisk walks to "get to the next ride", etc etc. When I told my kids I was planning a 10 day trip next, my DD actually groaned at the thought of 10 entire days! I took that as my cue to make sure I slowed the entire pace down. Since I love my minute by minute plans, I have since allowed a solid half hour to get from ride to ride and this has worked beautifully for my family. I feel like we are on schedule, and my family gets to stroll. Win win!

    Have fun with the planning process. It's a bit overwhelming in the beginning but with 6 months to go, u have plenty of time. Don't be afraid to completely change your plans if necessary. Planning for me is 50% of the fun of our trips!
  7. SilverSynchro919

    SilverSynchro919 Who needs a Pal Mickey when I'm around? =P

    Jan 8, 2010
    It is going to be HOT while you are there, especially for your seven year old. I suggest taking some time off during the day and going back to your resort for a pool break. Planning your ADRs around the park that you're in will save you a ton of heartache in attempting to get to places on time. The only day I suggest having dinner somewhere different is possibly while you are at HS. The dining options there aren't great, so maybe trying one of the Epcot Resort Area restaurants would be a good idea (since HS is so close). I suggest checking out the Boardwalk. Lots of fun options of things to see and do there in addition to some great food! If you don't like the restaurant options there, Beaches and Cream is at the Yacht Club (YC), and that's a super fun option.

    Happy Planning! :flower3: :goodvibes: :thumbsup2:
  8. blessedby3

    blessedby3 Actually Blessedby4 now, but cant change my userna

    Mar 7, 2003
    I always check out for Josh's crowd calendar and see what is the recommended park for the day. I go with the first park he recommends (or the second). I never go to the 3rd or 4th...just dont want to go to a park with high crowds. If there is an event that we want to see (on a non recommended day) we will sometimes go to that park anyway just to catch that event. We have been so many times, though, that we dont feel the need to hit up every parade/show.
    After I get my game plan down for what park on what day...I focus on the meals. We dont get the dining plan (unless its free) and then only the counter service plan. We do usually pay OOP for 2 TS meals during our trip. Dining is not high on our priority list...rides and park time are. So after I figure out what restaurants we want to hit up, then I see what day we are going to be in that park and make a ressie for that day.
    It seems like you have lots of travel between parks and that takes up lots of time. We dont park hop either. I prefer to stay in one park for the most part. We have only had hoppers maybe twice in all of our WDW trips and didnt use it much for those. I think that you will need to build in breaks on at least some of your days. It will be very hot and humid and you will want to have some time to rest or swim. Even if you dont do this everyday, I would do every other day at least.
    Here is a direct link to the June crowd page that gives suggestions as to what park on what day.
  9. GeorgiaHoo

    GeorgiaHoo DIS Veteran

    Nov 7, 2005
    I haven't read all the posts but my reaction to your initial schedule is that it looks exhausting. I would imagine your 7 year old will be wiped out if you stay at the park the entire day.

    I saw a couple posts about your dining and would echo the thought that you should plan the park first then try to dine at the park or close by. For example, we planned our parks for the upcoming trip in March and then made reservations at park restaurants or, in the case of one day at Epcot, at Cape May which is fairly close. I wouldn't jump around much for meals. Disney transportation is fairly dependable (except maybe the monorail?) but it is going to take at least 30 minutes to get from point A to point B by the time you leave the park, catch a bus, offload and walk to wherever you are going. That's a lot of time out of a day. The only traveling we plan on doing for a meal is the last full day, which we'll spend most of at Animal Kingdom then go to Epcot for dinner at Rose and Crown and fireworks viewing.

    And if you intend to do Fantasmic, you might want to book the Fantasmic dining package.
  10. Maximus68

    Maximus68 Earning My Ears

    Aug 14, 2011
    Just a question - why two trips to DD?
  11. Selket

    Selket <font color=blue>Yes I AM being whiney about not g

    Feb 28, 2000
    I can spend two days at DtD - one to do Disney Quest and eat and the other to shop and eat.:thumbsup2

    For the OP I'd check easyWDW (or Tour Guide Mike if you want to sign up) and find the best days (least crowded) to visit each park. Then see what ressies you have work into that schedule. It is fine to go to a least crowded park in the morning - eat lunch there - back to the hotel for rest/swim - then back to a different park for dinner and to do a few non-headliner rides and see a parade, shop, etc. We do that sometimes.

    Some reservations if you got them (maybe like the Be Our Guest restaurant) are special enough to keep no matter what perhaps - but others you might change. You will love T-Rex - one of my favorites!:love:
  12. jenndisney

    jenndisney <font color=teal>Is this a tag? Am I dreaming? S

    Jan 15, 2005
    First of all, welcome!!

    Disney is a magical place. I agree that your original plan has you traveling a bit too much. I suggest looking at the menus at and pick out what restaurants you want. Spots open up all the time, so just wait until you see a time that works for you. I for one have cancelled a lot of ADR in the past week when better times for my family opens up.

    We love mini golf. Remember they are open in the evenings also that is when we go.

    Disney Quest is just too loud and crowded for us, so others are better to help you there.

    As far as the touring plans, I mainly look at the recommended days for each park and plan around that. I look at the touring plans but just take them for tips ( like shortcuts).

    The biggest mistake most first timers make is to try to do too much. We have been many times and still have not done it all. We have our favorites and then we build from there.

    Keep asking and reading on this site. The people here are half of the reason we keep going back!!!!
  13. NicPie

    NicPie Frozen 24/7

    Jan 9, 2013
    ^^ I think my DD will love it too. :D I was most excited to book that one for her.

    Okay, took me all day, but how's this? I left free spaces where the schedule is open to either stay in the park or head back to the resort or shopping or whatever. There is one HS-Ep-HS that I don't think I can avoid. Other than that, there's not too much hopping anymore.

    day 1
    arrive / check in at CBR
    T-Rex @ 6:30

    day 2
    - MK
    Chef Mickey @ 5
    Electric Lights parade @ 9

    day 3
    - HS
    Pizza Planet
    Pixar parade
    - Epcot for Coral Reef @ 5:25 - (since you guys said it was close)
    - back to HS
    Fantasmic @ 9

    day 4
    - AK
    parade @ 3:45
    Rainforest Cafe @ 4:30
    - DisneyQuest

    day 5
    - MK
    Celebrate parade @ 3
    Be Our Guest @ 4:30
    fireworks @ 10

    day 6
    - TL
    - MK for Crystal Palace @ 5:05

    day 7
    - Epcot
    mini golf
    Via Napoli @ 4:30
    IllumiNations @ 9

    day 8
    - possibly HS (definitely will do if we can't get into Jedi Training on day 3, otherwise this is FREE as well)
    - DtD for Planet Hollywood @ 4:30
    - FREE
  14. NicPie

    NicPie Frozen 24/7

    Jan 9, 2013
    Thank you, Jenn. :)

    Hmm... when I checked about the mini golf it said to do it before 4. Was where I saw that wrong, or could that possibly be how it works with my ticket? We have the 7 day park hopper with water and fun or whatever it's called.
  15. eeyoresmom

    eeyoresmom Guest

    Your revised plan is sooooo much better. You should still plan on being flexible, especially in the summertime, but you did great :)
  16. NicPie

    NicPie Frozen 24/7

    Jan 9, 2013
    *takes a bow* Thank you. :)

    Yeah, I like being flexible and going at our own pace... I just also enjoy a little bit of structure so the things we want to do don't get overlooked. I definitely know we won't see everything, just want to make the most of the time we have.
  17. goofy4tink

    goofy4tink No tags...not needed! Transportation moderator Moderator

    May 2, 2002

    PlayStation® Pavilion
    Jump in the game at the PlayStation® Pavilion located at the ESPN Wide World of Sports with 17 PS3™ systems and new exclusive game titles. PS3™, it only does everything with a built in Blu-ray™ player, hard drive, Wi-Fi, free access to the PlayStation® Network and more. The PlayStation® 3 is the most fully loaded gaming console available.
    This gaming location is outfitted with sixteen 40 inch HD TVs. The PlayStation® Pavilion showcases an evolving line-up of the latest PlayStation® games including favorites from Sony's publishing partners and their own studios. The Pavilion also has its own stage where you can grab the mic and jam to your favorite tunes.
    The PlayStation® Pavilion is located at the back of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill. The cost to play is $5 per 30 minutes.

    And then, this.....
    ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill
    Whether you are visiting for one game or here for a tournament, ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill is a great place to catch a quick bite to eat or unwind after a long day of play.

    The ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill offers new features including seven high-definition displays running live updates and daily highlights from the field of play, an outdoor patio seating area with two high-definition displays, and a replica of the ESPN Sports Center desk creating an excellent photo location.

    The menu is designed to cater to every Guest from 3 to 73, featuring Chicken Breast Nuggets and Assorted Salads and Sandwiches, including our Bacon Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich, and a full bar. The Disney Dining Plan is accepted as a Quick-Service option.

    Transportation is available from Disney's All-Star Resorts, Disney's Pop Century Resort and Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort one hour prior to the start of competition. Transportation will end 45 minutes after the completion of the last event.

    I got that directly from the ESPN site. Hope it helps a bit.
  18. T. Baker

    T. Baker Earning My Ears

    Apr 22, 2010
    We were at Disney in December. I picked which park we would be going to for each day and then planned dining around being at that park. It worked out great. Sometimes we could get lunch where we wanted and sometimes it was dinner; so we planned accordingly. If we had TS dinner reservations we went slept a little later because we knew we would be at the park late.

    We did something like this:
    MK -- lunch at Tony's ---arrived for lunch --- stayed until closing. Had a sandwich at Main Street Bakery in the evening while waiting for the parade to start.

    Animal Kingdom -- Breakfast at Tusker House at 8:30am. Toured Animal Kingdom all day (the parade is a good one). Tusker House has a fab breakfast and has characters -- Donald, Daisy, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy.
    We had dinner at Flame Tree BBQ (great ribs!!)

    Epcot -- We did 2 days here because we love Epcot.
    Day 1---Arrived early to do Test Track, Soarin, etc. Had sandwich for lunch.
    Went to world showcase for Candlelight Processional. After that we had dinner at LaHacienda.

    Epcot --Day 2 Started about 11:00am. Saw 2 storytellers, then had lunch in France (this was not planned -- just walked up). Saw rest of the storytellers and toured shops, etc. We left Epcot about 6:00 and went to Rainforest Cafe for dinner.

    This was the only day we went 2 different places.

    HS -- Lunch at 50's Prime Time -- toured HS. Osborne lights, then back to hotel.

    Not all the ADR's were available when I first tired --- just tried again. I had to call Rainforest Cafe to get reservations. They were not taking reservations for our time frame on the disney site.

    Each park warrants a full day and then some; especially when it is your first time. Try not to wear yourself out running from park to park. Transportation can be slow and mess up your great plans.

    We have been twice in the summer and it is miserably hot. It was 103 for 3 days and that really zaps you in a hurry.

    This will be a wonderful vacation. Just don't stress and allow for a lot of changes to what you think you should be doing.
  19. starjazz

    starjazz DIS Veteran

    Oct 23, 2012
    I'd skip the Coral Reef on Day 3 - no need to leave and then come back to HS just for that restaurant. Just eat at HS.

    I'd also skip Planet Hollywood on your last night. Enjoy the DD's favorite park that whole day/night.

    Otherwise, I think you're in good shape.
  20. graceesmom

    graceesmom DIS Veteran

    Sep 8, 2008
    This looks great. You now have some flexibility while still having a game plan.
    For activities like mini-golf, etc., those are easily added in or moved around depending how everyone is feeling.
    You also may be surprised at what your daughter wants to do most. Even though my daughter has access to a pool and/or beach almost everyday for 5-6 months of the year, she still wants to go to the pool everyday. And she absolutely MUST go the arcade.
  21. katt789

    katt789 DIS Veteran

    Mar 14, 2010
    DTd is always a good idea on the first night so you don’t feel like you have to RUSH everything! Rainforest is a great choice for food too!

    -If possible, send one runner to sign up DD for the jedi training, and send the other person over to Toy Story Mania for fast passes, and then meet over at TSM. When you meet up, if the standby line isn’t too long you can jump in there and ride it twice! I would also possibly spend some more time at DHS that day, and just take your time heading over to dinner, maybe explore the Contemporary a bit, then head over to MK afterwards, less rushing!

    Make your Be Our Guest ADR as soon as you possibly can!!

    For your MK day, with the extra magic hours, try to finish as much of Fantasyland as you can, and by say 8:45ISH have someone in line for Enchanted Tales, as people start lining up early. Send a runner for any fast pass you might want, and then explore the rest of the FLE after Enchanted Tales.

    In terms of meals, Disney usually does things pretty efficiently once you’re seated. I know everywhere says that you have to be there SUUUPER early, but sometimes if you’re there over 30 minutes early, they’ll send you away til a little later. Quick Service meals usually take around half an hour, with a small child maybe a bit longer.

    I also wouldn’t worry too much, no one can see everything on one trip, there’s just too much to see! Possibly consider a little bit less park hopping, it takes up a lot of time, and sometimes can make you antsy to just “be there” and in a park already, especially with small kids.

    Instead of park hopping, plan to stay at the same park all day, BUT then you have the time to head back to the resort for a nap/pool time during the day and get that rest in there.

    Either way, don't stress! Take the time to take it slow, smell the roses, check out the shops, avert from plans for a character, and just enjoy the vacation, you're going to make magical memories no matter what! :cloud9:

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