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. NicPie

    NicPie Frozen 24/7

    Jan 9, 2013
    First off... Hello, everyone! :) I'm new to the board and am very happy to have found you all and be able to join in for some much needed help.

    Secondly, I apologize in advance for the information overload I'm about to go into. I hope that's okay.. you all know how much there is to do in the parks.

    My husband and I have decided to book our first WDW trip. We're super excited, our 7 year old has been asking for a long time and now is the perfect time for us to finally do it. She is already 48 inches, so the rides shouldn't be an issue, and I'm hoping she's old enough that she'll remember going.

    We're going for 9 days/8 nights, so the first and last days will be pretty much non-eventful except for dinner the first night and maybe some time in DD. So, that leaves me with 7 days and I cannot seem to figure out a way to make it all work. I've been laying the whole week out for hours now and I can't figure out the last few things. I thought maybe you all could help me out.

    Now, I know my trip isn't til June and I shouldn't be obsessing quite this much already, but I knew how important it was to book restaurants and all right away, so I have done that and now I'm trying to work in everything else around them. I haven't been since I was 15, so I'm pretty much a first-timer and I can't remember things like how long it takes to transfer parks and whatnot.

    So, what I have so far...

    day 1
    arrive at Caribbean Beach Resort
    Rainforest Cafe in DD at 6:30
    maybe hang out in DD for a bit

    day 2
    HS @ 8am (EMH)
    (sign up my daughter for the Jedi Training)
    lunch at Pizza Planet
    Pixar Parade @ 3pm
    -head to MK at who knows what time-
    Chef Mickey's @ 5pm
    light parade @ 9pm
    fireworks @ 10pm

    day 3
    Epcot @ 9am
    lunch at Electric Umbrella
    Fantasia Gardens mini golf sometime before 4pm
    Coral Reef @ 5:25pm

    day 4
    Animal Kingdom @ 8am (EMH)
    early lunch at Restaurantosauras
    -head to DD at some point-
    T-REX @ 3:30pm
    -go to HS-
    Fantasmic @ 9pm

    day 5
    Magic Kingdom
    lunch @ Tortuga Tavern
    Be Our Guest @ 4:30pm

    day 6
    Typhoon Lagoon @ 9am
    lunch at Typhoon Tilly's
    -go to the resort, dry off, change, head to MK-
    The Crystal Palace @ 5:05pm

    day 7
    Magic Kingdom @ 8am (EMH)
    lunch somewehre TBD
    Dreams Come True Parade 3pm
    Via Napoli @ 4:30pm
    -monorail to Epcot-
    IllumiNations @ 9pm

    day 8
    Disney Quest @ 11:30am
    Planet Hollywood @ 4:30pm

    day 9
    breakfast at the resort
    plane leaves at noon

    I'm not sure if that is waaaay too much info for you all, but you guys are pros so maybe it won't be so bad. :)

    So, my questions are..

    My hubby wants to do the ESPN thing. For one.. I can't even seem to find where that is. I see the ESPN Club is on the Boardwalk, but can't tell where the complex is. Also, how long would that take for us to do? Keep in mind, I think he's going to be the only one interested, so I don't 'want' to be there long, but still want to see what there is to see, kwim? Would a few hours do it? I can't seem to find a way to rearrange the schedule in a way that allows for more than 3-4 hours to do it.

    How long should I expect to be in DQ? I planned the first half of our last day, not sure if I should plan to go back after dinner or if we should be done by that point.

    We will also need some resort time.. my daughter will want to take full advantage of the water slides and pool, at least a couple times.

    My main issue is knowing we have to eat, but not liking how much time I'm imagining it will cut out of the day. Like when we go to Be Our Guest at 4:30.. I would think we wouldn't be walking out til at least 6:30? That doesn't leave much time to go anywhere else outside of MK. Or the night in HS where we want to see Fantasmic (says to be there 90 min early.. so 7:30).. won't be getting to HS anyway til after dinner at T-Rex at 3:30.. so 5:30-6ish? That's the only time I had set for HS except the first part of day two. I'm worried that won't be enough? Same with Epcot on day three and then what's left after Via Napoli on day seven.

    *SIGH* I am very overwhelmed.

    Any advice or insight would be MUCH appreciated. :)

    Again, I apologize for the overload of information.
  2. nym4588

    nym4588 Mouseketeer

    Jun 23, 2007
    The Boardwalk is part of the Epcot resort area so you can walk from the International Gateway Epcot entrance (Epcot has two entrances, you'll be able to find it on a park map) to the ESPN Club. It's about a five minute walk. Maybe you can build this into a day you're visiting that particular park?

    I will let some of the more experienced DIS'ers answer your other questions. They give great advice!

    I've been planning a January 2014 trip since April so I know how you feel! It'll all come together in the end, though :)
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  4. nym4588

    nym4588 Mouseketeer

    Jun 23, 2007
    Somebody correct me if I'm wrong but I think ESPN is just a themed restaurant. It'll probably just require the time it would normally take your family to eat a meal.
  5. NicPie

    NicPie Frozen 24/7

    Jan 9, 2013
    Thanks for the reply. :)

    So.. is the ESPN Complex or whatever it's called on the boardwalk as well as the Club restaurant?

    I didn't know the boardwalk was right off of Epcot, thanks for the tip!
  6. nym4588

    nym4588 Mouseketeer

    Jun 23, 2007
    Lol, I'm sorry, I was confused! I re-read your question and saw that you mentioned the Wide World Of Sports ESPN Complex. I just saw ESPN and automatically thought of the Boardwalk restaurant.

    I'm not exactly sure where the complex is. I think it's towards the edge of the property because I always see the entrance not long after we've crossed into WDW territory. I'm sure someone will be along to shed some light :)
  7. NicPie

    NicPie Frozen 24/7

    Jan 9, 2013
    That's okay! I appreciate you trying to help. :)
  8. kdog_1981

    kdog_1981 Mouseketeer

    Mar 30, 2011
    Being your going in June there isn't going to be the Braves spring training there. It's just complexes to show games. You might see softball games.
  9. pens4821

    pens4821 DIS Veteran

    Jan 3, 2013
    I'm by no means a disney expert. I've been there twice, and joined this board recently to ask a couple questions about my trip.

    The one thing I wouldn't do is plan my day including dining. I don't know if you did or not, but that's why I don't think the dining plan is worth it. yeah, there may be a place or two you want to go, but add those in and then just eat when you're hungry and go to where is around. To me, adding specific times for dining every day could take away from the park enjoyment.
  10. graywakemom

    graywakemom Earning My Ears

    Oct 25, 2012
    Just my opinion here - I think your schedule jumps around too much from park to park and it seems as though it is all being based on the restaurants. Personally I think this is a mistake. You will spend too much of your day traveling between places and worrying about the time and not enjoying the moment. Best wishes!
  11. mummabear

    mummabear DIS Veteran

    May 2, 2012
    I think your times are going to be tight to transport either after a parade to make a res or after eating to make a "show". I personally would cut back on some of the dining to free up time and make it more easy going....
  12. Selket

    Selket Been there - done that

    Feb 28, 2000
    I would look at a site like EasyWDW ( to see what are the best days to visit each park for the week you are there. You may want to shuffle some of those ADR's to visit a lower crowded park.

    Although the Tour Guide Mike site has gone downhill the past few years, I think it is still worth paying for (especially for someone new to touring) - and his best days to visit a park are spot on. His touring advice was invaluable. Considering the overall cost of your vacation I think spending another $20 or whatever for his site is probably worth it.

    I haven't spent as long looking at the EasyWDW site for touring plans and such so his might be superior - but take a look.

    We are a family who often plans a sit down meal (usually dinner) every day and that works great for us - you just need to make sure you have the reservations where you want them!

    Just briefly looking at your plan I think you are not allowing any time for a rest in the afternoon - getting up that early and staying in a park until 11pm and then getting back on the bus, then getting to sleep - you'd have to get up again at 6-7am the next day. If you are getting up early you probably need to go to bed earlier - or at least not have to get up early the next day if you stay out late the night before. Sometimes it is best to avoid EMH parks - they definitely get the most crowded!
  13. pepe of ohio

    pepe of ohio DIS Veteran

    Jul 5, 2001
    Too much planning daily and scheduling... Why we don't do dining plans.... ADR's 180 days out... No way would dining run our vacation... We enjoy say 2 must do meals, the rest are counter service or whatever we're close to.... Nothing on property in the way of dining is a must do for us, we can eat at home in fancy restaurants but at home we don't have 4 theme parks to play in..

    We dedicate our time to parks and resort/pool time ... Less hectic commando trips are not fun, a down day of say pool time, shopping, putt putt... Relaxing and smelling the roses in WDW is what our stays are about... Don't try to cram everything into one trip, never happen, you'll be over tired and miserable !! Just my 2 cents from a 40. + trip veteran!
  14. nat8199

    nat8199 DIS Veteran

    Sep 8, 2012
    I love dining and ADRs as part of our dining trips, but I always pick parks first then dining. I think that you are jumping around way too much. I would decide which park you want to be at for the day, I use touring plans to see crowd levels, then plan the dining around that. Too much traveling to get to dinner or lunch will just be stressful for you.
  15. nat8199

    nat8199 DIS Veteran

    Sep 8, 2012
    Sorry... Should say dining and ADRs as part of our DISNEY trips.
  16. ChitownFamily

    ChitownFamily Mouseketeer

    Aug 9, 2012
    Welcome! I think paying to access touring plans or another service is a must for your trip, as someone else suggested. I'm not sure how you created these plans- logistical they are unrealistic. your epcot day 3- is almost impossible. I think you are jumping around too much, if your entire day is navigating transportation etc, you are going to miss the magical moments & opportunities to stop & smell the roses.
    Check out the trip reports here on the Dis, I think that's a good place to start & a touring plans type website.

    At epcot- check out agent p's showcase:
  17. smellyia

    smellyia DIS Veteran

    Mar 12, 2012
    Going for the first time can definitely be daunting and I spent hours prior to our first trip trying to figure it all out so I get where you're coming from. At this point my excel workbook for our Disney trips would get me checked in somewhere!

    1. As for ADRs and meals - always a needless hot button issue on here- eat where you want. My family likes a table service an evening and we do a character brunch on our off park day. We enjoy eating out for dinner and it's part of our vacation experience.

    2. Since you don't list your dates ore resort area, it bears repeating to visit Explore his site and forums. He has monthly calendars that list which is a preferred park for lower crowds- EMH park will never be recommended because it's always more crowded. His forums also help people out with "touring plans" for inside the park to help maximize the park time which I found invaluable. **Josh's site is current & free.

    3. It does appear that you have a lot of moving around in your day. You should attempt to streamline your schedule because moving around that much can equal a lot of wasted travel time. Also, be mindful of your meal times so as not too close together.

    4. Best strategy we used was morning RD with or without early EMH. Finish up at park midday/mid-afternoon. Afternoon break for pool. Evening dinner/park for fireworks. And one day def sleep in, get some brunch or go to the pool and do the parks later in the day or something like DTD with Disney Quest (you really could get this area out of the way in one afternoon).

    -plan a RD for each park. (4 days). Go to Recommended parks or park hop after morning EMH and a break.
    -DTD is great after AK
    -try to get your meals in the area you are planning to be in to decrease travel

    Good luck!
  18. NicPie

    NicPie Frozen 24/7

    Jan 9, 2013
    This will more than likely be the only trip we will take for quite a while, it's not cheap. lol So that is the main reason for trying to cram in all we can.

    I don't particulaly want to hop all around for dinner, but without making the reservations, I have no idea what to do about dinner. Everyone I have talked to stressed the issue of reserving early, so I did. Now here aren't really good times left so I can't shuffle them much. I thought at least I could plan things in half days and spend at least one half at the park where the restaurant is. Now I don't know what to do. :(
  19. MrRomance

    MrRomance Planning and Plotting

    Sep 19, 2011
    Let me start by saying we were at WDW last year with our 8 year old. We had a 2 week trip (14 nights/15 days). My advice would be to revisit some of your plans and see if you minimize your hopping, reduce your park time and streamline!

    For example, your day 2, involves an 8am start meaning you will need to be up and out for 7.30am and you won't be back at your resort around 11.30. You are taking in two parks, Jedi Training with a 7 year old? I'm not sure a child that young could cope with such a long, eventful day with no break or rest period. Kids tire fast, especially in the June heat and I would say that is way too much for a 7 year old to manage. You're talking about a 16 hour day.

    As far as ESPN goes, it's at the Boardwalk and could be rolled into a day at Epcot. Use the International Gateway exit/entrance between France & UK.

    My advice would be to make a list of MUST DO things and where they are. Then streamline your plans.

    For example, what time are you arriving at CBR on Day 1? Could you go to Disney Quest that evening? For me, Disney Quest is a 3 hour thing. Get that out of the way then.

    ESPN can be done while at Epcot

    Minimize the hopping, do all of the things you want to do in one park on one day. Make reservations at the restaurants closest to the park you're in that day. etc.
  20. Eoywin

    Eoywin Chaos Mandy

    Aug 3, 2006
    I agree with what everyone else is saying - you are going to be wasting so much time going back and forth.

    But we have never park hopped - I just don't see the appeal and I would not recommend parking hopping for a first trip. I'd cut back some - skip mini-golf and possibly DQ as well.
  21. Kona65

    Kona65 Taking it slow and easy!

    Apr 4, 2011

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