It's The Ultimate Trip Planning Vacation In The World...

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It's The Ultimate Trip Planning Vacation In The World...

So there we were on Saturday night, the good lady and myself just having finished our dinner at our favourite Indian restaurant and having a coffee in the lounge area, when we bumped into old friends..Now this lucky couple always book a villa in Florida..They go every year but never have stayed onsite...They have a boy aged now about 13 and he's more into Uni/ IOA..So of course we were delighted to tell them of our upcoming vacation,and staying at our first deluxe resort..The couple in our company own their own business so spending big bucks is nothing to them...So of course we mentioned that our 180 day countdown for booking ADRS is not far away...What! eek Complete surprise to them..As was the new magic wrist bands..Also booking your FP on the 60 days before arrival..In fact I believe they thought we were pulling their legs..They never realised that onsite guests get various benefits..Extra hours..No need to carry cash..If you purchase something you can have it delivered back to your resort,free of charge..The only problem they said they would have is all the planning..To be honest when I think about it, I don't think there's another vacation where we spend so much time checking out restaurants, or working out your park hours, planning something special like a birthday surprise,and of course this year in October,planning what night to get tickets for MNSSHP..Not forgetting the F&W at Epcot...But it's all part and package of the magic..We booked our trip in January this year for October, and there isn't a day that I don't check out various stuff or order for our upcoming adventure..Last week we bought our throw away ponchos..Today we bought our ESTA forms online ($14.00) That's PS8.75 in our money..I'am still trawling restaurants for maybe one more ADR..And the clock is ticking...Sorry about this long epic story, but here's my question to you ( At last waiting ) Once you have booked your resort and travel arrangements..How serious do you take the planning side of things.?..I've read here that some folk just go with the flow..Don't book any ADRS etc..Where some others not only book every lunch and dinner restaurant but also work out what times they'll be doing stuff..Wow! eek Now that to me is extreme..Give me your planning schedule..How crazy or sane are you.?

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Once the trip is booked, the only things I plan are ADRs and which parks to visit on which days. Hubby makes tee times for golfing. Everything else is go with the flow. Last time I went (7 years ago), they only had the regular FP. Haven't used the FP+ yet. From what I've been reading, though, I'll have to book those in advance and not wait until day of.

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We have this awesome TA, but I have the spreed sheet going and a constant list on my phone. Planning so that there are no worries or surprise (and to be honest save a few $ when we didn't have to does help).

But the three reasons, aside from IT'S DISNEY!, that my husband (and I) love the most

1) meals are prepared and cleaned up by someone else (okay that's mine) and you can choose what you WANT off the menu, not just what we can afford (we do DP and that is definately DH's love). muchlove

2) If I purchase something I just swipe and fill out the form (do we do that now?) and don't have to haul it around. DH thinks it makes it too easy to shop, but he didn't feel that way about his crystal Mickey as sorcerer or his jade dragons (LOL). waiting

3)Mass transit. No, riding on a bus at park closing with tired, hot, sweaty people is not my fav, BUT I don't have to drive, while I am tired, hot, and sweaty. I also find that the drivers we get seem so nice and pleasant.

SHARING ALERT!!!!The last time we were at WDW, as my three men exited the bus, they said "Thank you for driving us." It was a bit automatic, but when I finally said it, the man asked me to wait. He said, "Thank you for teaching those young men manners. You would be amazed how many are ready to criticize but not many thank me."

So folks, if you don't already do it (and I am sure you were all raised by parents who taught you this basic life skill) try it. Look him/her in the eye and be grateful. It makes him/her and you feel good. awesome

My teacher lecture for the day is over...I am getting off my soap box now Big smile

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Allie's picture
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Planning is part of the fun! While I'm more go-with-the-flow once we get there, I love to organize our "must do's", make a list of foods and drinks to try, pour over blogs, forums, and podcasts, pick our park days, make our ADRs, etc. etc. etc. It extends the vacation for me by keeping me distracted and in my happy place, at least in my imagination awesome

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The most planning we do is our ADR's. Parks are only planned IF our meal is in a park. Most often our meals are not in the parks. Now with FP+ we do pick a park each day in which to book them. However, we more often than not still change our minds about which park we will head to on any given day. Heck we have even cancelled ADR's last minute just because we changed our minds.

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scrappy wrote:
The most planning we do is our ADR's. Parks are only planned IF our meal is in a park. Most often our meals are not in the parks. Now with FP+ we do pick a park each day in which to book them. However, we more often than not still change our minds about which park we will head to on any given day. Heck we have even cancelled ADR's last minute just because we changed our minds.

I like the way you roll awesome Sounds pretty much like how we plan our trip

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scrappy wrote:
The most planning we do is our ADR's. Parks are only planned IF our meal is in a park. Most often our meals are not in the parks. Now with FP+ we do pick a park each day in which to book them. However, we more often than not still change our minds about which park we will head to on any given day. Heck we have even cancelled ADR's last minute just because we changed our minds.

As long as your ADRS aren't signature ones.. eek

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No, I do not think we have ever cancelled a signature meal. We cancelled two meals on our last trip. One was for La Hacienda de San Angel but I can not remember what the other one was.

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Allie wrote:
Planning is part of the fun! While I'm more go-with-the-flow once we get there, I love to organize our "must do's", make a list of foods and drinks to try, pour over blogs, forums, and podcasts, pick our park days, make our ADRs, etc. etc. etc. It extends the vacation for me by keeping me distracted and in my happy place, at least in my imagination awesome

I am absolutely with you Allie! The planning is part of the magic and what makes the trip more than just a vacation for me. When I go to the beach, I definitely just throw a few bikinis and sandals in a bag and off we go! (my fam meets up in the Outer Banks, NC every other year or so) But with Disney it's so much more!! I make a spreadsheet that is a quick glance for the week with the basics (Park hours/EMH, ADRs and other food/snacks, FPs and must-do attractions, Parades/Fireworks times...). Some days are more outlined than others (parks we plan to only go 1 day vs 2-3 days). I don't have anything hour-by-hour or super detailed, because I think there is something to be said for spontaneity, and if we want to go 'off script', it's no big deal! The fun thing about this spreadsheet is that it is ever-changing in the months leading up to the trip and everyone gets a say. This encourages us all to talk Disney for MONTHS and I love it Smile

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MandaLynn wrote:
Allie wrote:
Planning is part of the fun! While I'm more go-with-the-flow once we get there, I love to organize our "must do's", make a list of foods and drinks to try, pour over blogs, forums, and podcasts, pick our park days, make our ADRs, etc. etc. etc. It extends the vacation for me by keeping me distracted and in my happy place, at least in my imagination awesome

I am absolutely with you Allie! The planning is part of the magic and what makes the trip more than just a vacation for me. When I go to the beach, I definitely just throw a few bikinis and sandals in a bag and off we go! (my fam meets up in the Outer Banks, NC every other year or so) But with Disney it's so much more!! I make a spreadsheet that is a quick glance for the week with the basics (Park hours/EMH, ADRs and other food/snacks, FPs and must-do attractions, Parades/Fireworks times...). Some days are more outlined than others (parks we plan to only go 1 day vs 2-3 days). I don't have anything hour-by-hour or super detailed, because I think there is something to be said for spontaneity, and if we want to go 'off script', it's no big deal! The fun thing about this spreadsheet is that it is ever-changing in the months leading up to the trip and everyone gets a say. This encourages us all to talk Disney for MONTHS and I love it Smile

I agree with both of you ladies! I love planning because it gives me an excuse to think and talk about Disney more often! I made itineraries on touringplans.com mainly so I have an idea how long the waits will be, but I don't intend on following it minute by minute. This will be our first trip making any ADRs, but with the dining plan we are excited to try a bunch of new places mickey

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Planning makes the fun last a whole lot longer. It helps build anticipation for the trip, then when the trip is over doing preliminary planning for the next trip (even if I have no idea when the next trip will happen) helps ease the post-Disney depression.

So. I plan ADRs in advance, although I will also make them last minute for restaurants that are easy to get into - as in, walk into Epcot, go to guest services, and ask what kind of availability they have at, say, Biergarten or Restaurant Marrakesh. For counter service meals, I list the preferable options and we choose among them when we decide it's time to eat. If Epcot's Food and Wine Festival is going, I make a rather lengthy list of booth menu options starting with the stuff that sounds most awesome and working down to the stuff I can skip without feeling deprived. And when I'm not planning a scheduled trip, I'm reviewing menus and thinking about new places to eat.

Based on crowd predictions and anticipated park hours, I plan which park we start at each day as well as which park we hop to for the evening. However, we have been known to change plans last minute - for example, adding a hop to AK between morning at Epcot and evening at MK, or even skipping one park if we're more in the mood for another.

And of course, I plan our FastPass+ reservations as soon as possible.

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About the same as most on here. I pick dates, book and start with the basics. Which park on which day. ADRs. Our one meal out of the bubble. I also pick the things I am going to FP for sure with a back up. Snacks I want to try in each park. And of course the big one saving $$$ we have a vacation jar that gets all of our change and then dollar bills and sometimes 5s (this goes on year round even when a trip is not planned)

I like the feeling of being free once we get there. So I try not to "over plan" but I have my must does in place. silly

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I think the the point of planning is the part that I enjoy second to actually going. My spreadsheet is color coded and all confirmations are there. I will transfer it to the tablet and phone when we get closer to our trip.
I also have a separate list of clothes that would work well, so this summer I treat them carefully so I don't ruin them. I aske DH is I could plan out his clothes and he said sure, but he was going to pack what ever he wanted anyway. LOL

We have the tip envelopes out for those spare singles so those are done ahead of time. We also have one of those coin machines with rolls so when they are full, I drop them off at the bank and put it in the vacation fund!

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I am pretty much the same. I have planned our ADR's....all 2 of them laugh We are on the QS plan but we are going to "splurge' on a couple of sit down restaurants. Of course, we now have to plan our FP's and I did book a fishing excursion and the Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert party. I do like to have an idea about which parks I want to visit based on the crowd calendar, but if we decide to do something else then so be it. This time I am making a list of snacks and signature drinks we would like to try and where to get them. Everyday, I plan and rearrange my days and peruse my books or websites that might give me more info....just so I can see which "plan" may be better. I like doing that ...it keeps me busy until we actually get there and I kind of feel like I am already there when I immerse myself in all things Disney mickey

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Cost, preferred time to go and a wanting to go all have to come first before anything else. It's the only way for me for to feel good, justified and satisfied for spending the money. I love visiting Disney World like everyone else, don't get me wrong, but I'm not going to force myself to go during the busy times of the year and/or if the costs are outrageously high and if applicable, the crowds are unbearable.

Anyway, once I've decided all that, booked my trip, got my reservation # and all that jazz, transportation arrangements have to be next either the same day as the reservation confirmation or at least a few days afterwards. (The earlier the better!) Then, in terms of restaurants, I'll make notes of what restaurants I want to try and which favorite I want to come back to. I've stuck to mostly CS so booking ADRs hasn't been necessary yet. My next trip, however, I want to try some fan favorite TS places so whenever my next trip is, I'll definitely ask if an ADR for one is even necessary. (Though I think depending on when I visit, that answer may be yes or no.) Anyway, I'll do a prospective schedule for my trip and plan it based on each day I have and the corresponding weather. Not exactly hour by hour but rather, what park, what activities and what restaurants I want to do that day. Then, about a week or a few days before I leave, I then go shopping for all the necessary materials and then, about 1-3 days before I head out, I start packing and then the night and morning before, it's two final checks to have everything and then, off to Disney.

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I'm weird, since I'm waiting to see if a discount's going to be made available (preferably room only) so I haven't even actually booked yet, but I'm knee deep in planning anyway!

I stick to mainly QS, so I only have two ADR's (Cape May Cafe and Beaches and Cream, though I may cancel Cape May since I'm not sure I want to pay for a character meals since we're definitely doing MNSSHP). So now I'm planning out which parks I want to do on what days, and then which FP+'s I want as a start. Then since I want to get a lot done in a short amount of time, I am working on a loose touring strategy so I'm not running around like I'm crazy. This is where my list of things I want to do, see and eat come into play. If I'm in Adventureland, I'll go ahead and plan to get a Dole Whip so I don't have to walk over from Fantasyland to get one, etc. Right now I'm trying to decide if I want to do MSEP the night we arrive, or do them the night before we leave. Or both (though I really like the idea of using one night of them to do rides with shorter lines)!

I also truly enjoy the planning and working everything out. It keeps my mind on Disney and gets me excited.

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Once we have booked our plane and hotel I focus in on ADR's with when and where we are going to eat on certain days. I do try to plan certain meals around parades or shows we would like to see. Just to make it less of a hassle or rush to try and get somewhere and end up costing one or both of the experiences because of that.

But ... Once the trip (with ADR's) is booked, we pretty much jump on the first bus that hits the resort and go from there. We are on holiday and prefer to just let the day take us where at may. Works best for us, that's all I can say.

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We're not big planners. We just book the airline tickets and resort and maybe a few FP and a couple of ADRs.

We generally like to "wing it" while at WDW. I don't like over planning at all or being locked into a schedule of any sort (I get enough of that at work thank you). We tend to travel to Disney during the quiet times of the year so we don't even bother with ADRs unless we want to eat at a certain place on a certain day.

Most of the time, we just walk into a restaurant, and that's worked quite well for us. Mind you, there's just the two of us and we are flexible when it comes to eating times (we tend to eat dinner later in the day). The exceptions to this are places like Le Cellier or Cali Grill. But, we've also found that even with those places, you can make arrangements while you are on vacation instead of months beforehand.

While I see a lot of benefits to the new FP system, I think it has somewhat removed the spontaneity a bit since you now have to know which park you will be in on any given day. I like waking up in the morning and thinking "Hmmm... where should we go today?".

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My feelings exactly.

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KenJ wrote:
We're not big planners. We just book the airline tickets and resort and maybe a few FP and a couple of ADRs.

We generally like to "wing it" while at WDW. I don't like over planning at all or being locked into a schedule of any sort (I get enough of that at work thank you). We tend to travel to Disney during the quiet times of the year so we don't even bother with ADRs unless we want to eat at a certain place on a certain day.

Most of the time, we just walk into a restaurant, and that's worked quite well for us. Mind you, there's just the two of us and we are flexible when it comes to eating times (we tend to eat dinner later in the day). The exceptions to this are places like Le Cellier or Cali Grill. But, we've also found that even with those places, you can make arrangements while you are on vacation instead of months beforehand.

While I see a lot of benefits to the new FP system, I think it has somewhat removed the spontaneity a bit since you now have to know which park you will be in on any given day. I like waking up in the morning and thinking "Hmmm... where should we go today?".

I completely agree. I actually made my first ADR for this trip I have coming up in October and that was for breakfast at Boma since we are staying at AKL. I just couldn't bring myself to commit to anything on a specific day since we love winging it.. We haven't had a problem getting into restaurants when we want to, but we're also super flexible and go at less busy times of year like you.

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