Planning every little detail, and then bagging the plan

Funfire240

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 8, 2012
Our trip this past August was planned / we were there just over a week. Half way in after we had met up with friends and all and had a few days left to ourselves we threw in the plan and went day by day even on deciding which park to do the night before. We had so much fun! Even rope dropped FOP one day when we decided we wanted a second ride but had cancelled that FP for one of the other days
 

timsueshd

Julie the Cruise Director
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
My husband is very Non-Disney as well... And cringes every time I talk about it, my son and I are VERY excited about the trip.

I am an EXTREME planner.

We are going during free dining, so I have made reservations for a dinner each night, but I did ask his opinion on where he wanted to go.

As far as the FP's go... I have talked those over with my son and we picked those, my husband will go along and do whatever we have planned. HE WILL HAVE FUN!!!!!! LOL

I am going with a whatever happens attitude. We are only going for 4 nights, so I did plan which park we are going to on what day, but I know FP's can change and update while we are down there, so for the most part we are just winging the trip.
 

tex1989

Mouseketeer
Joined
Mar 13, 2018
Wife and I are planners to an extent, but once the ADR's and FP+'s are done our planning is pretty much over. What I mean is we have what park we will be at each day and what our FP+'s are and where we plan to eat sit down meals but beyond that nothing else is planned. We will skip FP+'s, cancel dinning plans (24 hours in advance) and take things on the fly. Last trip we cancelled a reservation at Via Nappoli because it was F&W and we knew we would eat a lot at Epcot that day. We took off from Epcot, monorailed it to the Poly to look around and wound up sitting at the Sushi Bar at Kona for some rolls. We do that kind of thing every trip. It's fun and spontanious and since it is just the two of us easy to do. I like to think that that is part of what makes Disney fun. It is why we have AP's and can Park Hop. We almost always hit at least two parks each day and our next trip is the first week of December in the Christmas season and so we will definitely be touring more resorts to see decorations and the special Christmas stuff.

I find trips aa lot more relaxing when taken that way.

Lastly I have to confess that ever since we got AP's the stress level of going has dropped significantly. When had length of stay tickets we felt like we were wasting money if we were not at the parks every hour they were open. Now since we know we will be back and the AP is a sunk cost we have slowed down and really started enjoying some of the less popular attractions and just spending time looking at the theming and the details. It really has made our vacations more relaxing.
 
  • CERS

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 15, 2018
    I would plan probably the "main" park you're going to visit each day, so you can book up the fastpasses which are like the only real thing you NEED to plan.

    Don't make more than 1 meal reservation a day, leave time for improvisation and "last-minute" fun. I have an upcoming trip for the Holidays and I'm deciding just main park for the day, fastpass selections, must-see fireworks and must-eat places (max. 1 per day). I want to leave plenty of room for changes, as I have a first-timer adult coming and actually not extremely fond of theme parks in general. Heheh.
     

    QueenElinor

    It's not my fault they're all redheads.
    Joined
    Aug 21, 2012
    Of course. It’s the beauty of a plan. You get to know things so well ahead of time that you know what you can do differently once you’re there.

    We have always tended to lose all steam halfway through DHS days. Not sure we’ve ever made it a whole day there. And we’ve been happy to say “nope, let’s go”.

    But with kids like that, why do it? Can I borrow them? Kiddingnotreallykidding.
    I think that's really true. Doing all the research for the plan is more important than executing the plan itself. Our plan almost always gets modified in whole or in part, except for the Fps and ADRs. But I also know what parts of it were really important and what parts weren't, so even when we wing it- we're not, not really. For instance, I'm never going to say "Oh, it's 11 am, let's go do standby for Flight of Passage.":p
     
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    Rach3975

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 12, 2018
    I think that's really true. Doing all the research for the plan is more important than executing the plan itself. Our plan almost always gets modified in whole or in part, except for the Fps and ADRs. But I also know what parts of it were really important and what parts weren't, so even when we wing it- we're not, not really. For instance, I'm never going to say "Oh, it's 11 am, let's go do standby for Flight of Passage.":p
    That's kind of how I think about it, too. We're a family of 5, and this is only our 2nd trip. I don't know if there will be a 3rd, at least not for all 5 of us together. All of us planned together--everyone got to pick their must-do's, their want-to-do's, and their refuse-to-do's. Then I made detailed plans to fit in all of the must-do's and as many of the want-to-do's as I could. When we're actually in the parks, I'll know which of things on our plans are the most important and which we can let go or change. And if people's priorities change, hopefully all the planning I've done will help me know the best way to move things around so that we all enjoy this trip as much as our first.
     

    QueenElinor

    It's not my fault they're all redheads.
    Joined
    Aug 21, 2012
    That's kind of how I think about it, too. We're a family of 5, and this is only our 2nd trip. I don't know if there will be a 3rd, at least not for all 5 of us together. All of us planned together--everyone got to pick their must-do's, their want-to-do's, and their refuse-to-do's. Then I made detailed plans to fit in all of the must-do's and as many of the want-to-do's as I could. When we're actually in the parks, I'll know which of things on our plans are the most important and which we can let go or change. And if people's priorities change, hopefully all the planning I've done will help me know the best way to move things around so that we all enjoy this trip as much as our first.
    I don't know why this might be your last trip together- I hope nothing too serious.... I can say I have also thought that many times as my kids grew older. But WDW has a way of luring them back. Now the three of them are in their early 20's, it's the ONE thing they all love to do- as long as Mom & Dad are paying!
    Hope you have a really lovely trip and make wonderful memories together, I sure think your thoughtful approach will go a long way in that regard :)
     
  • B. Shoe

    I'm Gonna Stand Out, 'Til You Notice Me!
    Joined
    Oct 26, 2017
    I began planning our trip just about a year ago. I was thinking "We'll get everything down to the minute detail, and it'll be perfect!" Then I remembered how my real life works, as I share custody of my daughter. I try to make great plans for things for us to do, go eat, etc...and then we wake up, scrap everything and figure out the in-between as we go.

    We have a general blueprint of where we'll be each day; including a couple of ADRs and our daily FP+s. But after that, we're figuring it out as we go. It may not be the most ultra-efficient way to spend our time there, but we'll have a blast either way.
     

    Rach3975

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 12, 2018
    I don't know why this might be your last trip together- I hope nothing too serious.... I can say I have also thought that many times as my kids grew older. But WDW has a way of luring them back. Now the three of them are in their early 20's, it's the ONE thing they all love to do- as long as Mom & Dad are paying!
    Hope you have a really lovely trip and make wonderful memories together, I sure think your thoughtful approach will go a long way in that regard :)
    Thanks for the kind words! Luckily nothing serious, mostly logistics. We spend most vacations visiting family. We only do a big trip like WDW every 3 or so years, which means that after this Disney trip there will only be 1 more big trip before our oldest goes to college. :( There are so many places that we haven't been yet, so I'm guessing that our next trip won't be to Disney. Fingers crossed that our experience is like yours and our kids want to travel with us into their 20's! If that happens, maybe we will manage a 3rd some day.
     

    emmabelle

    Crazy cat lady who loves Disney
    Joined
    Jun 15, 2004
    I plan everything until the final detail and then proceed to change things day of. I always want to make sure I have good plans, but I'm always on the lookout for better plans.
     

    gulliesmom

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 6, 2017
    I would plan probably the "main" park you're going to visit each day, so you can book up the fastpasses which are like the only real thing you NEED to plan.

    Don't make more than 1 meal reservation a day, leave time for improvisation and "last-minute" fun. I have an upcoming trip for the Holidays and I'm deciding just main park for the day, fastpass selections, must-see fireworks and must-eat places (max. 1 per day). I want to leave plenty of room for changes, as I have a first-timer adult coming and actually not extremely fond of theme parks in general. Heheh.
    Yes, this is basically what I have done. We are there Thanksgiving week. I have my FPs and a couple ADRs and did print out a TP for each park day, but will reserve the right to not follow the TP, LOL
     
  • mi*vida*loca

    Collect memories, not things
    Joined
    Mar 29, 2008
    I did FP+ and just a few days of ADR's for our 10 day trip. Everything else is on the fly. I can't imagine planning everything down to the minute. Kills the fun for me.
     

    disneyvoice

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 13, 2000
    Yep, we do that all the time. I enjoy the planning - it's part of the fun for me but once we get to the parks we don't do anything we don't feel like doing. We reschedule/cancel ADRs if we aren't hungry and cancel FPs instead of racing all over the place to make it to a FPs. We sometimes go to a completely different park, decide to sleep in, or leave a park earlier than planned if we feel like it. We have had several trips where we dropped all our ADRs and just ate based upon what sounded good at a nearby counter service.

    I think our trips have been much more enjoyable since we made flexibility our priority. Now that we live nearby it's even better. We don't feel any self made pressure to accomplish anything we just go and enjoy.
     

    kiford

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 9, 2012
    Lastly I have to confess that ever since we got AP's the stress level of going has dropped significantly. When had length of stay tickets we felt like we were wasting money if we were not at the parks every hour they were open. Now since we know we will be back and the AP is a sunk cost we have slowed down and really started enjoying some of the less popular attractions and just spending time looking at the theming and the details. It really has made our vacations more relaxing.
    This is exactly what we're doing this year. We're going over Christmas holidays (yike). We like to go to WDW in the early part of December when it's not so busy but we just came back from three weeks in Italy and couldn't justify taking another week off work and since we're closed that week, I figured "why not". Then realized how crazy busy it was going to be. So we decided to go at least one more time over the next few months for an extra long weekend. Then APs make sense financially. Now I'm less stressed about the Christmas trip; if we only do an hour or so in a park, I don't feel like I've wasted my pass. If we arrive late in the day on our next trip and just head out to Epcot for dinner, I'm OK with that. I think it will give us so much more flexibility and allow us to have an even more relaxing vacation. In fact, now that we're getting APs, I'm planning another two long weekend trips over the next year. Normally I wouldn't do that because the cost of passes for a short trip is more expensive per day than longer trips but I won't care now.
     

    Jasperann

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 23, 2009
    We tend to follow the plan until lunch.... on most days... I spend months and months and months planning our trip down to the small details and usually it is thrown out the window at a moments notice. Like if we get down to the bus stop and our chosen park has more than a bus full headed that way we will scrap the day and make new FPs for what ever bus we hop onto while on the way to the park. :rotfl: Or we are at a park and we decided that after we ride our last FP that we just want to go chill at the pool for a few hours, we just do it. It is a vacation and we will enjoy whatever we decided to do and if we don't follow the plan that I created that's okay too. I do make maybe one ADR a day (usually not that many) and our FP's are booked early so I can book more as soon as we use the last one.

    Funny story though... on my very first trip (many, many years ago before paper Fast passes went away) I had a binder with our lamented plans that I had spent MONTHS on, and I brought that binder with us into each park. It was in the bottom of our stroller. We followed that plan like the world would end if we deviated. Then a ride was down. (Not that it matters, but that ride was Pirates) Well that turned into a melt down a short time later for me. I sobbed :sad: in the middle of Adventure land because we were not following the PLAN. It was the end of the world. :rolleyes: Well... my very laid back husband looked at me like I was nutty (I was) and took my binder, that was in a death grip in my hand as proof of our plan that was NOT being followed, and tossed it into the nearest trash can. :sad2: All that work! Just tossed out without a second thought. :laughing: But I can honestly say the remaining 4 days of our trip were so amazing and not having a plan was the best feeling in the world. I wouldn't go in without a plan at all to start (because I love planning) but when we toss out the plan I have a much better reaction then that first trip. :rolleyes1
     

    SLim501

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 13, 2016
    I plan my park days and FPs and a couple of ADRs for our trip and have a general idea of what we want to do each day. I make touring plans, but we often only do the first couple of things on it before we do whatever we want or find FP for.
     

    gulliesmom

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 6, 2017
    We tend to follow the plan until lunch.... on most days... I spend months and months and months planning our trip down to the small details and usually it is thrown out the window at a moments notice. Like if we get down to the bus stop and our chosen park has more than a bus full headed that way we will scrap the day and make new FPs for what ever bus we hop onto while on the way to the park. :rotfl: Or we are at a park and we decided that after we ride our last FP that we just want to go chill at the pool for a few hours, we just do it. It is a vacation and we will enjoy whatever we decided to do and if we don't follow the plan that I created that's okay too. I do make maybe one ADR a day (usually not that many) and our FP's are booked early so I can book more as soon as we use the last one.

    Funny story though... on my very first trip (many, many years ago before paper Fast passes went away) I had a binder with our lamented plans that I had spent MONTHS on, and I brought that binder with us into each park. It was in the bottom of our stroller. We followed that plan like the world would end if we deviated. Then a ride was down. (Not that it matters, but that ride was Pirates) Well that turned into a melt down a short time later for me. I sobbed :sad: in the middle of Adventure land because we were not following the PLAN. It was the end of the world. :rolleyes: Well... my very laid back husband looked at me like I was nutty (I was) and took my binder, that was in a death grip in my hand as proof of our plan that was NOT being followed, and tossed it into the nearest trash can. :sad2: All that work! Just tossed out without a second thought. :laughing: But I can honestly say the remaining 4 days of our trip were so amazing and not having a plan was the best feeling in the world. I wouldn't go in without a plan at all to start (because I love planning) but when we toss out the plan I have a much better reaction then that first trip. :rolleyes1
    The visual on this is hilarious! You must have been in shock when he threw it away!
     

    mi*vida*loca

    Collect memories, not things
    Joined
    Mar 29, 2008
    We went to Disney in 2003 and 2008 and stayed offsite with minimal knowledge of the parks. I didn't find the Dis until about 3 weeks before the trip. My XH had been every summer as a kid so he knew about FP. We had NO idea WDW had restaurants or even character meals. LOL So we went in with no plans and had a great time.

    After being on the boards for a year I read so many people saying you must do RD, you must have a touring plan, you must do this and that to make it worth it. So for our first onsite trip in 2009 I did got a subscription to Touring Plans and made detailed plans and printed them out. I took the first plan to MK on our first day, opened it up, looked at it, looked at my family and threw it away. I never looked at any of them again. We still had an awesome time!!!

    I believe what is more important than a touring plan is having common knowledge of the parks. After reading on the Dis for a year before our trip I learned a lot. Know that Peter Pan fills up fast and has a long line most of the day, knowing that doing shows (Philharmagic, COP, Tiki Room) midday is a good plan when crowds are high, knowing where CS places are, knowing a good spot to watch the fireworks, etc. That to me is more important than a detailed plan. And helped us more than anything.
     
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    QueenElinor

    It's not my fault they're all redheads.
    Joined
    Aug 21, 2012
    We went to Disney in 2003 and 2008 and stayed offsite with minimal knowledge of the parks. I didn't find the Dis until about 3 weeks before the trip. My XH had been every summer as a kid so he knew about FP. We had NO idea WDW had restaurants or even character meals. LOL So we went in with no plans and had a great time.

    After being on the boards for a year I read so many people saying you must do RD, you must have a touring plan, you must do this and that to make it worth it. So for our first onsite trip in 2009 I did got a subscription to Touring Plans and made detailed plans and printed them out. I took the first plan to MK on our first day, opened it up, looked at it, looked at my family and threw it away. I never looked at any of them again. We still had an awesome time!!!

    I believe what is more important than a touring plan is having common knowledge of the parks. After reading on the Dis for a year before our trip I learned a lot. Know that Peter Pan fills up fast and has a long line most of the day, knowing that doing shows (Philharmagic, COP, Tiki Room) midday is a good plan when crowds are high, knowing where CS places are, knowing a good spot to watch the fireworks, etc. That to me is more important than a detailed plan. And helped us more than anything.
    But you probably learned at least some of that common knowledge by making a detailed touring plan. There's no way I'd ever have figured out as much as I have without that kind of discipline. People don't know what they don't know- it's those unknown unknowns that really muck up a plan!

    It's like studying hard for a test, then showing up and finding it's open book. You're still going to do far better than the folks who kind of just glanced over the material ahead of time.

    The other thing I've found is the parks are a lot busier than they used to be. We went a lot right around the turn of the century (hah- weird saying that) and things have changed quite a bit. In 2012 we used a plan- more or less- and the family all agreed it went much better, even though we all had fun before. I think it's probably even more important now. I'd rather make and not need it, for sure.
     
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    lroger01

    Touring the parks one Mickey bar at a time!
    Joined
    May 17, 2008
    Schedule what's important to you and your family. You don't want to get to the end of the trip and realize you never made it to (insert attraction, show, food here). Scheduling helps with making sure you end the trip with no regrets. I tend to plan attraction routes extensively for most mornings and then which evening show for which day. Other than that, I wing it.
     

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