Didn't Plan Our Trip

Discussion in 'Disney World Tips' started by LauraWDW2017, May 7, 2017.

  1. LauraWDW2017

    LauraWDW2017 Earning My Ears

    May 7, 2017

    We are leaving on May 17 for WDW for the first time and I am just now planning. I have reserved some fast pass selections and some dinner reservations however I noticed that most reservations are gone. Any suggestions for enjoying our trip without reservations and ideal fast pass selections? I had no idea how much time and energy needs to go into planning a WDW vacation. Next trip, I will plan well in advance, however this is my kids first trip so I still want it to be enjoyable. They are 7,6, and 22 months, so the 6 and 7 year old should remember the trip.

    Any pointers or suggestions for a mom that did very little for the WDW trip. I thought this was to be a vacation and semi-relaxing but I am becoming overwhelmed.
  2. Anesthesia Fine

    Anesthesia Fine DIS Veteran

    Apr 11, 2014
    Honestly just planning some fastpasses and a couple of reservations has you ahead of the game! You'll do fine. It's a lovely time of year to go! Make your first stop in the park at Guest Services for a My First Visit button for the kids, make a list of "must-dos" and if you are early risers, get to the parks at rope drop; depending on how everyone's feeling, that means you maybe get things done earlier and then you can relax back at the pool and then head out for dinner?

    Also you can often get pretty decent reservations at the last minute. I've never tried last minute for Be Our Guest or anything, but we've had several nice resort dinners that we only booked that afternoon.

    I would say maybe to get a Touring Plans subscription just for access to the Lines app to use while within the parks; it'll help you maximize your time while minimizing wait times. But it's certainly not a requirement, and toddlers will throw off schedules all the time!
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  4. DisTXMom

    DisTXMom Mouseketeer

    May 3, 2013
    This site has some info on Fastpass priorities:


    The best advice I can give you is: 1) be at the parks 30 minutes brfore they open. The first hour or so is the mkst valuable touring time. 2) review the park maps available online so you have a sense of what is where. Review park hours in advance so you're not surprised. 3). Ideallly, be familiar enough with each park's attractions/shows to know what you'd like to see and then have a touring plan for the morning- what you'll hit and generally in is what order (i.e. Hit fantasyland, then frontier land etc- or at least be cross/crossing because your choose to, not because you didn't know the attractions were located across the park. Morning is the best time to hit rides. 4) review restaurant menus at all ears.net so you know which restaurants appeal to your group. Walk-up ADR's are not likely. If there is a sit down ADR you want, keep looking for it or sign up for the touring plans reservation finder. We have a plan for the morning and are more laid back in the afternoons/evenings.

    May is a beautiful time. Don't stress about not having done a lot of planning. If you can do some of the above, you will be fine.
    kbmartin likes this.
  5. danielocha30

    danielocha30 DIS Veteran

    Jul 10, 2014
    are you staying on site? if yes, do plan rope drop, be there early and ride when the crowds are still low, with small children's I will recommend to head back to the hotel and rest or go to the pool and head back to the park in the afternoon for night time, bring snacks and don't be controlled by the fastpasess you already book, you can change them with the Disney app as you go, and keep in mind they have a 15 min grace period after your time is up, There are lost of good counter service restaurants, if heading back to the hotel is not a option do research places inside the park to rest, indoors shows and rest areas. Have a great trip!!!
  6. danielocha30

    danielocha30 DIS Veteran

    Jul 10, 2014
    celebration buttons are available at the hotel front desk, tickets booths and sometimes there is random Cast members inside the park handing them.
  7. SG131

    SG131 Mouseketeer

    Apr 3, 2017
    Just keep breathing. There are plenty of people that actually prefer not being tied down to dining. You can still have a great time. Also keep in mind people cancel reservations the day before so you can check the my disney experience app while you are down there.

    Since your kids have never been to WDW they won't know what rides they are missing out on that you weren't able to get a fastpass for. They will just be able to enjoy the rides they do go on. Even if they aren't your ideal fastpasses I would still schedule as many as you can now.

    Also, if you are early risers take advantage of the early morning magic hours. That will help you get on a few rides.

    If either of your kids are into Pokémon cards look into the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom.

    If you haven't tried already, Crystal Palace is a nice character meal and should have openings.
    T-Rex in Disney Springs is a good option if either of your older children are boys. You can call the restaurant directly to check for availability. They only open up some of their seats to the disney app.

    Don't worry, even without the perfect reservations disney can still be amazing!
  8. biochemgirl

    biochemgirl Mouseketeer

    Oct 23, 2016
    Let someone else do the planning for you - use a touring plan ☺️

    Touringplans.com, wdwprepschool.com, disneytouristblog.com are some of my favorite sites. I'm too much of a control freak to completely hand over the reins, but having a base plan really helped me build our best plan.
  9. Sundowner2

    Sundowner2 Mouseketeer

    Mar 7, 2017
    We always do quick service, and there are tons are really yummy choices, so I wouldn't worry if you can't get all the dining reservations. Your kids might be too impatient anyway to sit still for dinner when they know there's something more fun to do outside the doors!
  10. DisneyFansInNYC

    DisneyFansInNYC DIS Veteran

    May 28, 2012
    Where are you staying, for how long and how many are you?

    First of all there are many reservations that you can get once you are there. Many people cancel. I did a quick look and there are many restaurants open starting May 18. Some restaurants that should still be open is:

    Crystal Palace - a character fun meal - had a reservation
    Whispering Canyon Cafe - at the Wilderness Lodge hotel - a boat from MK. So much for your kids ages.
    The Wave - in the Contemporary Resort and really good.
    The Plaza - in MK - when we were there it didn't take reservations - but I think that changed - we enjoyed the food and love the ice cream.
    The Skipper Canteen in MK - a little more expensive but good and fun.

    Yak and Yeti - in AK - they have a quick service or a sit down.
    Boma - Animal Kingdom Lodge - then you can go out and see the animals.

    The Garden Grill - this is a character meal and so much fun.
    Akershus - a princess character meal. Also good.
    Biergarten - a Germany restaurant with entertainment - also good food and fun.
    Rose and Crown - UK restaurant
    Via Napoli - Pizza in Italy - we love this restaurant.

    To us the Fastpasses are the most important. As long as you have those set up - you will be great. If you have any other questions - ask. Enjoy!
  11. Barbydoll8

    Barbydoll8 Offical Disney Dork

    Apr 29, 2011
    Load the My Disney Experience app on your phone. You can check wait times for other attractions, book last minute dining reservations while you are in the park standing in line for whatever you are doing at the moment. It's been very helpful.

    Biggest word of advice - DON'T TRY TO DO EVERYTHING. Go with the flow and be prepared to change directions if need be. You are a head like others have mentioned by getting a few fast passes and a few dining reservations. Don't be afraid to eat at the resorts near the parks. Their food is often much better than what you have in the park and it's usually a bit easier to score last minute ressies.
    Have a great time. It will be hot here next week (near or over 90 each day) so bring extra sunscreen and drink LOTS of water.
  12. Surgie2

    Surgie2 DIS Veteran

    Sep 19, 2016
    ^^^ Yes, this! We are still nearly a year out from our trip next May so lots of time for planning. But with an 10 day trip (8 days in the parks) we are only planning three ADRs in all. Our four grandkids will be from 1-5 years old. We don't want to be tied to a bunch of ADRs at sit-down restaurants missing out on park time and having to connect an ADR plan to a FP+ plan. Rides and shows are the priority as kids are fine finding something to eat most anywhere. So I wouldn't worry a bit about not having ADRs. You can meet characters in the parks and eat QS meals.

    That said, I just did a quick check for meals on 5/18 and there are still character meals available for a later breakfast at Garden Grill in Epcot and Hollywood and Vine as HS. I would focus on park plans at this point and let the meals fall into place once you're there.
  13. Beer Me

    Beer Me Mouseketeer

    Jun 3, 2014
    I've done quickly planned trips and they are just fine.

    If you absolutely have to eat at BOG, CRT, etc at 6pm on Tuesday and ride FEA at 10am on Thursday - well then you messed up. You have to plan those things ahead of time (for the most part). Otherwise choose from the restaurants and fast passes that are available. There will still be many good options especially if you are flexible with times.
  14. CMByers

    CMByers Earning My Ears

    Apr 24, 2017

    I agree to all of this! And bring ponchos ($1 at Walmart, Academy Sports, Dollar Tree, etc, but $6 plus dollars in the parks) because rain showers pop up all of the time!
    Barbydoll8 likes this.
  15. HeidiGW

    HeidiGW DIS Veteran

    Oct 2, 2007
    the night before, there will be lots of ressies open for sitdown meals. two nights, for meals like Fantasmic! or HDDR.
    When doing CS, eat either before or after the rush times. ie lunch at 11 or 1:30.
    Relax, and don't worry about the "extras," there is more than you can possibly do on your first trip.
    Barbydoll8 likes this.
  16. candaceg

    candaceg Mouseketeer

    Oct 1, 2001
    I would suggest getting a Touring Plans subscription. We followed it last time when we were there with 3, 3, & 4 year olds, and everyone was amazed at the way we moved through the park all morning and didn't wait in lines. The Dumbo-in-a-Day or die plan is great for MK and the Epcot plan really worked too. We are going next week and I have moved around a bunch of fastpasses in the last couple of days - there is still availability for some stuff and I even snagged Frozen Ever After the other day after someone posted that more had been released.
  17. Oneanne

    Oneanne DIS Veteran

    Apr 21, 2014
    How exciting to be going on your first WDW trip.

    The best tip I can share is don't stress... it's all going to be new and fun, and as a PP mentioned the kids are only going to remember what they do and will have no idea what they missed... and even with experience you can't do it all. Also, factor in breaks, which could be a mid-day break back at the resort for pool or nap time, or could be a long cool sit down meal. I'm another one who only books ADR's for about half of my trip days, there are plenty of good options for counter service eating and it's nice to not be committed to a schedule. I'm also for getting to the park at or as close to RD as possible, if early rising suits your family, so you can take advantage of the cooler/calmer mornings and second (or third) the advice from PP's to study the park maps so that you know where things are - and you are.

    Hope you have a wonderful time!
  18. Mickey's Best Girl

    Mickey's Best Girl Magic, mayhem and shenanigans ahoy.

    Sep 28, 2008
    We're non-planners. The only advantage we have over you is experience so we have a general idea of what will be busy when ie. Magic Kingdom on Saturdays are quite busy or eat at off times to avoid major rushes etc.

    Just go where the wind takes you. If you end up waiting in line for something so be it. You'll be with your fam at Disney World. And in my opinion you'll have a much better time not tied to a schedule with small kids in tow.

    You can consider this trip a "research trip" and you'll be better prepared for your next visit.
  19. DisneyWorldbuff

    DisneyWorldbuff Colorado

    Jul 5, 2008
    First, realize that WDW is massive, and you won't be able to "do it all" anyways on one trip. Don't try to cram everything into one trip. You already have some knowledge and are ahead of many first time visitors.
    I have three kids, I have each one pick their top three "must dos". Everything else that we do on top of that is just icing on the cake.
    Secondly, don't worry about the dining. There are plenty of great quick service options and there are often availabilities for table service on the day of. You will be just fine.
    Finally, enjoy those precious smiles and make some awesome memories with your kids. They grow up way too fast :)
    I hope you have an amazing trip!!!
  20. disneybeautyfnp

    disneybeautyfnp Earning My Ears

    May 3, 2017
    I have been to WDW a few times over the course of my life and I have a tripped planned for October. I have been heavily planning for the October trip. In the past I never planned my trips as they were off site stays and short one to three day trips. I never was upset or felt like I missed out on anything due to not planning in advance. I was always able to ride the rides I wanted to ride even if I had to wait and we usually did QS meals. I'm sure the kids are going to enjoy their trip. Please report back and let us know how it went.
  21. RADOPT

    RADOPT DIS Veteran

    Jan 20, 2005
    It will be if you don't stress about the things you don't do. I would just pick a few thing that eveyone would enjoy in each park you are going to. If you can get a character meal, great. IMHO, I'd stay away from Chef Mickey's - I think it was worse food and the dirtist out of all the places we ate at WDW. Make sure there is time to relax at the pool or to watch the water parade or visit the animals at Fort Wilderness. If we can't do something my daughter want, there is always next time. ADRs have to be cancelled 24 hours in advance if not being used so you may be able to get some last minute dining reservations.

    Have a wonderful time and let us know how it went.

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