who had completely winged it? with children.


DIS Veteran
Jan 16, 2015
And I mean completely - no planning at all, just deciding what park when you get up. No FP, no ADR etc... Just total spontaneity. How old were your kids and how did it go? Especially if it was busy time?
We did once on our first trip only because I didn't know about fp and adrs and it was a total nightmare. We got there midday in the middle of june. Had a 2 year old boy and 8 year old girl. I have since learned my lesson. We make lots of subjective plans so if we want to skip something or change a fp it's fine. Fp's are easy to change on the fly. We do stick to our scheduled adr's though.
We did it back in 2007, the Tuesday after Easter. We knew nothing about the old Fastpass system (it was my first visit since 1992 and my husband's and kids' first visit ever), and only had one day. We rolled into MK just after rope drop with our seven year old daughter and four month old son and just sort of went from there. In the all-day pouring rain. Daughter is now sixteen and still refers to it as one of the best days of her entire life and my husband has become a certified Disney nut. We did everything we wanted to do (a couple of them twice) and got out of there during the night time parade.

I probably wouldn't do it that way again, though, if only because we're up to three kids now who are all well out of the portable infant stage.
We've never done a whole trip like that but we have done days like that. Just wake up when we wake up, decide where we want to go, get ready, and head out. It is kind of liberating to not be tied to any plan. Of course, everyone has to know the limitations of what can be done without FP+ and ADRs. If everyone knows what to expect then there are no worries. We wouldn't do a whole trip like that because there are things that we really want to do that are just too hard without FP+ or an ADR. We usually plan(or don't plan) 1 or 2 days like that in a 7-8 day trip.

It's hard to compare trips pre-FP+ (or pre-original FP) to more recent trips. These days the crowds are a lot larger overall, and FP+ makes it different animal!

(I mean, way back in the 80's my parents admit they didn't plan anything for our family trips! We just showed up and had fun. :) Now, I definitely plan!)
100% winging it used to be every trip for us. Then with advent of the dining plan, We did have to plan if we wanted any tableservice. Used to be you could usually get something walk up. So we were still mostly just winging it, Besides one or two ADRs per trip. But now with FP +, winging it doesn't work. And since planning doesn't really work for us, we are kind of screwed.
At one point this trip I was so fed up with waiting for buses that I suggested playing bus roulette. Just heading to the bus stop and going wherever the first bus that pulled up was going. I think there was a time you could have done this and had an enjoyable vacation. Of course in this hyper planning world of booking FP+ 60 days out and ADRs 6 months in advance good luck making it work.

I would never recommend this type of touring plan these days. At one time long ago it was doable and enjoyable...not so much anymore. I would never go without a plan of some sort.
I would NOT reccoment this - espcially if your kids want to eat with certain characters - reservations are booked 6 months out now and are booked full quickly
Our trips are about half planned, half spontanious.

I think if you have realistic expectations, it's fine. Know that you may not be able to eat a table service meal where and when you want. Know that you may either not be able to ride headliner rides and if you do, you may have to wait a long time for them.

We have never waited until the morning to decide what park, only because my son (7) does better with a bit of structure, so knowing we'll go to Epcot and ride The Seas first (for example) keeps him in a better mood. I also often let him lead the way (though I do help him with decisions like wait 20 minutes now or maybe come back and wait longer or miss it all together).

I also feel like I have enough knowledge of WDW to know that my spontaneous decisions are good ones. I do tend to avoid MK on Monday's because I feel like it's more crowded, for example. I know riding certain rides during parades could decrease wait times, etc.
I don't wing it because I have a child with special needs so that doesn't work for us. I have a plan but we don't always stick to it, we make changes if we feel like it at the last minute. I think as long as you go into it knowing you may not get to do the things you want to or be waiting in very long lines if it's a busy time of year then go for it. I know some people hate all the planning and they say they do fine without it.
We wing it more and plan less and less with each trip. But the. We are DVC and know we will always be back so if we don't ride something it really doesn't matter. We are more focused on relaxing than on riding
And I mean completely - no planning at all, just deciding what park when you get up. No FP, no ADR etc... Just total spontaneity. How old were your kids and how did it go? Especially if it was busy time?
Back in the day, all the time. If you were an AP holder on a day visit, fine. For a vacation, no way! I guess being spontaneous can be fun and exciting, but it's definitely not the smart way to maximize your time or money.
I had a friend do this recently. Only thing she did was make 3FP+ the night before. She showed up at Noon with a 2 year old a one year old and a teenaged cousin. & aunt on a Saturday at MK. She saw the castle show, did Monsters Inc, teacups, 2x on dumbo, used a FP at 1:30 for Cinderella & Rapunzel rode the carousel like 4 times, met the characters under the big top, had CS dinner, did a FP plus for A&E ( they got the night before!!!) & saw the MSE parade. They were happy as clams with their day & had the best time ever. They also had a FP plus for Enchanted Takes but the babies fell asleep so they swapped it for SM. & baby swapped.
we use to wing it all the time before the horrible fp+

We wing it all the time except when we go with others.

1) first kids don't know what to miss. would your kids really get upset if they didn't have a character meal? I find all that stuff, parents do for themselves. my kids didn't do their first character meal until they were about 10. they could have cared less.

2) We would get up and the first bus that came, that's the bus we would get on.
3) I hate making adr's. basically your entire day revolves around a meal. no spontaneity, I have seen parents have meltdowns because they had to get to some almighty restaurant and all the kids wanted to do was enjoy the rides. Now let me say I don't really have any "must do" place to eat. WDW restaurants are mediocre at best.

In the interest of full disclosure, it's a little easier for me because I'm a dvc'er. pretty much I know I'll be back within 16 months so it takes the pressure off of the "must get every thing done" mentality.

My family is simply happier when we are not forced on a schedule. so much of our real life is scheduled, we prefer not to vacation that way.

We generally go the last week in august/first week in september so crowds are moderate.
1991 was the last time, and I actually had a great time! I didn't know what I missed so I didn't miss it!


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