How to Create a Trip Planning Spreadsheet

For many seasoned Disney travelers, an important part of trip planning for Walt Disney World includes "The Spreadsheet". Many of you have seen some of my past creations, and know this is one of my many Disney obsessions. The benefit of a spreadsheet is having everything I need or use - confirmation numbers, key dates, ADRs, park hours and Extra Magic Hours - all on one handy page. It helps me figure out which parks we want to hit on which days, which helps me with food planning. And we know how important that is!

Finally, it's just darn fun and helps me pass the time until our actual trip.

Spreadsheet Help Organize Vacations in One PageSpreadsheet Help Organize Vacations in One Page

If you are interested in creating a spreadsheet for your vacation - and not everyone is, which is perfectly fine - here are some handy tips and tricks that I use to get started.

Begin With the Basics:

  1. Lay out the days of your vacation, either horizontally or vertically. I use Microsoft Excel, but feel free to use whatever works for you. I started out with hand-written index cards in the early days!
  2. Add in the park hours for each day, and any Extra Magic Hours.
  3. Decide which parks you want to visit on each day. What's important to you? Does your first park have to be MK? Do you want to take advantage of Extra Magic Hours, or avoid them? Will you have a park hopper add-on?
  4. Add in any Advance Dining Reservations, or any specific places you want to eat for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner.
  5. Then decide if there are any night-time shows you wish to see and add them in.

The result is a basic plan that helps lay a decent foundation for your trip.

Include As Much or As Little Information As You'd LikeInclude As Much or As Little Information As You'd Like

From here, you can continue to add as much detail as you like, or leave it as is. In past years I've incorporated color-coded crowd level ratings, new things to eat and pictures from previous trips as fun reminders. I'd also suggest checking the park hours and Extra Magic Hours at least once closer to your visit to see if anything has changed that might impact your plans.

And don't be afraid to change plans on a whim once you get there! After all, it's your magical vacation.

Now head over to the WDWFG forums and check out my latest creation for our upcoming trip in September! Feel free to ask questions, make comments or share even your own spreadsheet tips!

A big shout out and thank you to JeffC for this fantastic post. Creating a vacation spreadsheet really helps to organize planning, and his are truly inspiring. You can find Jeff on our member forums sharing his passion for all things Disney.

JoAnn C wrote on Tue, 06/11/2013 - 14:50:

JoAnn C's picture

yay Jeff! You inspired me to add a little more gusto to my planning spreadsheets.

Vettelover wrote on Tue, 06/11/2013 - 17:22:

Vettelover's picture

Great article Jeff really good. Thanks for the time and effort that went into this.

MrHub wrote on Wed, 06/12/2013 - 00:01:

MrHub's picture

Great article Jeff! You know I just love your spread sheets, and one of these times, you will have to have on one day "Meeting up with Mrhub & Scrappy! Yaaaaay!"

carlsbaddrew wrote on Wed, 06/12/2013 - 02:45:

carlsbaddrew's picture

Can i have the xls file you use :)

mimi wrote on Wed, 06/12/2013 - 13:20:

mimi's picture

>> GREAT << article Jeff !!! - My spreadsheet isn't nearly as fancy as yours.(something to aspire to :) ) - I did find having a spreadsheet was very handy and helpful, especially for park hours and EMH hours/days.

carlsbaddrew - JeffC posted a template a little while back on this forum. It's a great starting point!

JeffC wrote on Wed, 06/12/2013 - 15:13:

JeffC's picture

Thanks everyone! This was quite fun :)

drew, happy to share! Send me a PM and I can get you a cleaned up version of a template.

JeffC wrote on Wed, 06/12/2013 - 20:37:

JeffC's picture

Oh, and mrhub - yes!!!!!

Kelly Nemeth wrote on Tue, 06/18/2013 - 14:31:

Anonymous's picture

Could you possibly send me a xls file of this in my email? I am going for the first time in July and this spreadsheet is just amazing.

Kelly Nemeth wrote on Tue, 06/18/2013 - 18:47:

Anonymous's picture

Could you possibly send me a xls file of this in my email? I am going for the first time in July and this spreadsheet is just amazing.

KellyN wrote on Wed, 06/19/2013 - 12:54:

PMed you! Would love a template!

Dana wrote on Thu, 06/20/2013 - 02:01:

Anonymous's picture

Would you be willing to email me this template? (if it is editable) I LOVE IT!!! Nice Job.

sharon heasley wrote on Fri, 06/28/2013 - 13:48:

Anonymous's picture

I love this spreadsheet. We are going in December and I would love a template of this spreadsheet if it is available. It is by far the best spreadsheet that I have seen!! Great work!!

Connie wrote on Thu, 07/11/2013 - 21:46:

Anonymous's picture

Could you send me a template also?

Kristen K. wrote on Fri, 07/12/2013 - 13:18:

Kristen K.'s picture

Hi Kelly, Dana and COnnie! Jeff's spreadsheet pdf file is available over on our forms here http://www.wdwforgrownups.com/forum/do-you-use-spreadsheet

Jennifer wrote on Thu, 11/21/2013 - 17:24:

Anonymous's picture

I love your spreadsheet - I use one every visit as well but yours is much better!! Can you send me a copy??

Kristen K. wrote on Thu, 11/21/2013 - 17:48:

Kristen K.'s picture

Hi Jennifer - You can download it here http://www.wdwforgrownups.com/forum/do-you-use-spreadsheet

brennon wrote on Wed, 04/30/2014 - 16:30:

Anonymous's picture

Hi I love the spread sheet pictured above! it is so creative!! Is there anyway you can email me the file?

Kristen K. wrote on Thu, 05/01/2014 - 20:28:

Kristen K.'s picture

Hi Brennon - you can just download it here
http://www.wdwforgrownups.com/forum/do-you-use-spreadsheet

megandumont59 wrote on Sat, 05/31/2014 - 11:50:

When downloading that version, there is no option to edit it correct?

Carolyn Irwin wrote on Wed, 09/03/2014 - 19:43:

Anonymous's picture

Hi Jeff,

Would I be able to .xls version of your Fall 2013 spreadsheet so I can use it for a template.

Thanks!!
Carolyn

Kristen K. wrote on Thu, 09/04/2014 - 12:27:

Kristen K.'s picture

Hi Carolyn - Please head on over to our member forums to see what's available for download.
http://www.wdwforgrownups.com/forum/do-you-use-spreadsheet

Leslie Warner wrote on Sun, 09/14/2014 - 19:59:

Anonymous's picture

Jeff C.,
Please, please...please send me this template. We are going on our first-ever trip to WDW this November and I am trying to compile all of our trip info. This is the omega of all spreadsheets...MUST HAVE!!

Kristen K. wrote on Mon, 09/15/2014 - 13:51:

Kristen K.'s picture

Be sure to check out the message boards for this Leslie!

Lindsey T wrote on Fri, 10/10/2014 - 03:43:

Anonymous's picture

Could you please tell me how you made this spreadsheet? I have searched and searched and this is by far my favorite. Unfortunately I am not great with excel or any computer program for that matter.

Thanks!

Kristen K. wrote on Sat, 10/11/2014 - 13:41:

Kristen K.'s picture

Hi Lindsey! I'm not sure which program Jeff used to create his spreadsheet but I use Word to make mine. I simply set up a table and then plug the information into the correct boxes. You can change the background colors and add images in the program as you like, also adjust the size of the text to what suits your needs.

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