Over planning at Disney..

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The Watchmaker's picture
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Over planning at Disney..

Jeez...Had a friend round today and she showed me her planning schedule for her upcoming 14 night stay ( onsite ) Ok, she's picked her ADR choices, and they look cool, she's got a list of FP that she wants to do, she's picked out two days for both water parks, her day she wants to visit Uni/Ioa and shopping on I drive..But on her Disney days onsite she's trying to work out times to spend at the resort pool, and times for lunch..etc...I didn't have the heart to tell her I think she's over planning but it's her first time onsite and she's so excited..Is there such a thing as over planning at Disney, or do any of you out there go down this route.?.. confused

NikkiMouse's picture
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I do not plan exact times for meals, unless I have an ADR, of course. However, I do really plan things.I know what park we are going to, where we are eating, any special events we might want to hit, Fast Pass selections.....etc and then keep it all organized in a spreadsheet.

I have found that it makes everything run smoother that way. I do plan times for heading back to the resort and such just to ensure that we get everything done, but still have some downtime in there, especially when I know we will be in the parks until later in the evening.

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I'm also not a super planner. I plan out ADRs and which parks on which days. We now generally leave time open to for the pool and lounging. We schedule our FP+ too but beyond that it's done. We go with the flow for lunch and eat wherever the wind might blow us and then take our break when it seems right. I totally get the spreadsheet idea but I would hate to pull it out in the park. We enjoyed ourselves so much on the last sheet by leaving lots of wiggle room. Same "plan" for this time. Smile

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Kristen K.'s picture
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I have been known to over-plan, but for the past few years I've been trying to keep in mind that everything is flexible.

If you go in already knowing that the plan will change, it's ok. It's when a person thinks that their plan is full proof that trouble sets in - because nothing in life is fool proof.

ScottFL's picture
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I don't know how you people do it - I don't think I could line up 7, 10 or 14 days without a nervous breakdown.

Tiggerbelle's picture
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I think it's difficult to over-plan, but it's easy to over-schedule and try to pack way too much in. A plan is good as long as you know not everything will go to plan. Wink If you schedule yourself within an inch of your life, it's almost guaranteed to fall apart and fall apart spectacularly. The guide says it's a 25 minute bus ride to MK, so we'll be on the bus at 8am and arrive at MK at 8:25 sharp! (yeahhhh, that's never going to happen!)

Ms.Mouse's picture
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Yeah.... today I spent most of my day doing plans for our 10 day trip next week. Tweaked a few FP's, cancelled a couple of ADR's, rebooked others.... knowing that we are more than willing to drop or add as we see fit. I enjoy having a plan so we are not just going around saying "Ok, what now?" laugh

jhugo's picture
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I think I may be an over planner but I have yet to go to the extreme of planning when we take bathroom breaks. Wink This up coming trip I am trying to be a little more flexible and have set aside a day where we can just wing it and go wherever we feel like.

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I don't think I am an over-planner, but might have a little Disney OCD. On our last trip I had to make sure our FPs were "in order" - Pirates then Big Thunder then Haunted Mansion. No running from one end of the park to the other for me! I think the potential to be an over-planner is there, and I must know which park is open late each night so I know where I want to be, but I really try to just go with the flow most of the time.

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Emilio's picture
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I do some planning and reservations awesome , but at this point wheelchair , we visit WDW with relaxation in mind and are totally flexible: depending on the weather, crowds, or mood swings.

As we enjoy our walks through the parks, we'll get on a ride or eat at a restaurant date not because we planned it, but because we haven't been there in a while or because the food smells delicious Cool .

The key for us is to enjoy our vacation, and leave completely relaxed and looking forward to the next visit whoopdedoo

The Colonel's picture
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I always say, you can't plan too much for Disney. You see what I did there?

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The Watchmaker's picture
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The Colonel wrote:
I always say, you can't plan too much for Disney. You see what I did there?

awesome

crazycatperson's picture
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For our first trip we seriously underplanned and spent a lot of time standing around wondering what to do next, trying to find a TS restaurant with last-minute availability, etc.

On our next two trips I seriously overplanned and ran everyone ragged. However, we got to see and do a whole lot more and ate a lot better, too. So I'm of the opinion that overplanning is better than underplanning. And then eventually you find the level of planning that's right for you and everything is about as close to perfect as you can get.

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Tiggerbelle wrote:
I think it's difficult to over-plan, but it's easy to over-schedule and try to pack way too much in.

I like this distinction! I think I plan well, but don't really "schedule" and certainly don't over schedule. The only schedule we have so far followed without change is our ADR schedule which to this point has only been in the evening. Then the second schedule is the Fast Pass. Beyond that, we don't schedule.

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Christine's picture
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Prior to the introduction of Fastpass+, you could pretty much wing everything except dining reservations. Fastpass+ really forces you to plan very carefully in advance. If you wait to choose fastpasses once you arrive, you may not have much luck getting on some rides. Likewise, if you book fastpasses ahead of time but without much thought, you'll end up booking over a dining reservation, committing to an unreasonable schedule (an 8am FP may sound like a great idea until you realize how early you have to get up to account for travel time), or causing yourself to run from one end of the park to the other in a very inefficient manner.

I've found the more planning I do ahead of time, the less I have to think about what I'm doing once I get there, which is actually more relaxing. A key tip I've discovered as well is to only plan half days and leave the rest open. In other words, if you have 3 fastpasses at a park before lunch, then dinner reservations at 8pm at a resort, you have the freedom to stay in the park all afternoon or take a break if you'd like. If you plan fastpasses at 9am, 1pm, and 5pm, then dinner reservations at 8, you're really giving yourself very little room to improvise. I generally make a spreadsheet with specific reservations that also contains a checklist of flexible items that I want to cover at some point during the week (restaurants, snacks, shopping, resort visits, pool time, etc). Then we can just fit those in wherever they work best.

danijrod's picture
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I am going for the first time in 12 years next year with my DH, he is leaving everything up to me and I am determined not to over plan anything I don't want it to feel like we have no freedom to change plans or anything. Although we are going out of the bubble to; UNI/IOA, Discovery Cove, Busch Gardens, Shopping and wanting a trip into kissimee around old town. We have a lot to fit in 14 days.

I am only going to plan which days we are going definitely to the parks and book my fastpasses and ADRs and leave the rest blank so we can take it as we go and making sure we have enough time in the Disney parks is my priority. I have already made some little notes/plans and its not till next September!

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My wife would tell you that I plan everything in fine detail, arrive at Disney World, and throw the plan away.

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CdnSquirrel wrote:
My wife would tell you that I plan everything in fine detail, arrive at Disney World, and throw the plan away.

rolling rolling

I have scrapped a "few" things but I like my itineraries!

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I always think it's better to over-plan than to not plan at all or under-plan. I think planning by the minute is a bit extreme but by every 2 hours, one hour or half-hour, it's more acceptable and understandable.

You should have at least a plan with room for flexibility. The way I handle my travel plans is to plan and hope for the best but always anticipate the worst. Nothing is guaranteed on a Disney trip so if there is a certain part of the trip I really want to experience, I leave nothing to chance and do everything that I can control or change it in my favor but I keep mind that the odds may stacked against me so I need at least a backup plan or two. Three backup plans is a little extreme in my book but at least have one backup plan so that those negative surprises won't faze you one bit.

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my family members will be provided with laminated strips of paper stating what time we have FP what we are intending to do throughout the day etc and they get one of these every morning!

however I'm not s strict as that sounds we basically have a plan of where in the park we will start and if we are in this area at this time we could see this etc

I promise I'm not a drill sergent!!!! i do relax a lot once we are there but like someone else says I like to over plan than under plan!

crazycatperson's picture
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LOL I used to do the strips of paper (but not laminated) with the day's schedule - ADRs, FPs, etc. Now we have MDE and don't bother with paper anymore

CdnSquirrel's picture
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that 'laminated strips of paper' gives me a great idea for a t-shirt; a grossly over planned schedule, down to the second!

11:45:04 pee
11:45:56 wash hands

amy1989's picture
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CdnSquirrel wrote:
that 'laminated strips of paper' gives me a great idea for a t-shirt; a grossly over planned schedule, down to the second!

11:45:04 pee
11:45:56 wash hands

believe it or not my mam has actually asked me to schedule shower breaks in....... haha they do not go on the laminated sheets though!!!!
the reason I started it was because I have it all memorised because I've planned it all and tend to forget that they don't have it all memorised!!!!

NikkiMouse's picture
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CdnSquirrel wrote:
that 'laminated strips of paper' gives me a great idea for a t-shirt; a grossly over planned schedule, down to the second!

11:45:04 pee
11:45:56 wash hands

My DH would probably agree that I need this shirt. Though I am not quite that extreme......maybe.

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Planning is a way to extend a Disney trip. It lets us start the experience months before we hit our actual departure date. We all have out countdown clocks, and we visit Disney Blogs ahead of our trip. It increases and extends the excitment of an upcoming Dinsey experience. Completely understandable.

I highly recommend the My Disney Experience App for your phone. You can put everything there! Reservations, sechdules, fast passes. Easier than a spreadsheet. But I get it. Doing the spreadsheet is another way to start the vacation early.