Planning, and planning, and planning again.

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Kristen K.'s picture
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Planning, and planning, and planning again.

gaah We've changed our plans a bit again.

Now, when I plan a trip, it's pretty much nailed down at 6 months and that's that. However this trip, we didn't even know we were going on at the 180 day mark. Then finances changed, and changed again, FastPasses happened, we added a Park day, now maybe we're subtracting a Park day. I feel like we're going to get there and totally be flying by the seat of our pants. Hahahaha...

Now, I know this is perfectly normal - probably - but for me all this change is totally a new thing. It's good that in 2014 I spent most of the year learning how to go with the flow.

So how much do you plan? Once you have a plan does it stay the same or is it fluid and changing? Does it upset you when plans change?

Kris1971's picture
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I'm not a big fan of change, especially when I've spent a lot of time making a plan. That being said however, I do tend to be a little more flexible when it comes to WDW! Its my happy place, so as long as I'm there, and nothing prevents me from having fun, a little change never hurts. mickey

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I think one of the things that I have learnt from our last two trips, one in F&W and one in the height of the summer season is that you do have to book the very popular and new attractions if they are important to you. If you want to ride the seven dwarves mine train, meet Anna and Elsa or have dinner at be our guest or California Grill then get booking. However, everything else you really can go with the flow. Over planning can mean that you miss some wonderful spontaneous magical moments in the rush to get from FP to ADR. Getting the balance between planning and spontaneity is the ultimate quest...

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We have found that the more often we go the less we plan. This works very well when it is just the two of us and we are going during slower times. However, our next trip will be in June and there will be 9 of us. I feel as though this trip must be planned. I just spent the morning changing some of our dining plans so that we would be spending less time getting to ADRs. I will have to be ready for FP day for this trip too. Although the planning is fun, I think I still prefer our much more relaxed, do what we feel like doing trips.

As far as changing plans go, when it is just the two of us we change plans all the time. I am not sure there is ever a full day we stick to what we planned.

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This coming trip will be our least planned. I went as far as figuring out which park to start out each day and made 3 ADRs, and I have a good idea of the FP+ selections, but that's it. I haven't even done a countdown calendar! Joe is suspiciously suspicious.... biggrin

alicemouse's picture
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Our plan is usually pretty fluid. Even once we arrive, we probably do about 80% of the things that we planned. Sometimes we have to adjust for the weather or are more tired than we expected or something more fun pops up. The first time we rented a car, we improvised a lot because having our own transportation made everything take a lot less time than I expected. Traveling with extra people did the exact opposite, so we had to dump a few things that we had planned. A lot of how I feel about those changes has to do with whether the change makes our itinerary more fun or less fun!

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jw24's picture
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I usually don't schedule every little thing, otherwise, I'd drive myself insane. I have a general plan in terms of what I want to do and I prioritize what I really want to do in terms of how little tolerance I'll have if forced to wait in standby for a long time which is usually the rides I must do. I don't take into account re-riding because I know a re-ride may not be possible knowing my limitations and impatience for waiting. I value my time greatly and I won't waste too much time waiting unless I am absolutely willing to do it. I would never wait more than 45 minutes for any ride period.

But I try to be flexible. A lot of crazy things can happen beyond my control. (i.e. weather changes, ride breakdowns and closures, no FP+ reservations for my favorite rides at all, a sudden but treatable health issue like a stomach bug or dehydration, etc.) If I'm in a position where I need to consider changing plans, I need time to think it over very hard and I usually trust my gut and instincts on whether or not I think it's worth the risk of changing. The important thing is to make sure I never sacrifice or compromise my happiness and well-being with the change along with the ensured feeling I'm not wasting my time. I often do have a Plan B or even C for my top priority activities. But if it's anything to do involving personal health, that has to be addressed and resolved right away. My safety and well-being means more than anything else. I'd rather spend a half-day perfectly fine opposed to forcing myself to grind it out full day when I'm not feeling well.

I plan and hope for the best but I always anticipate or expect the worst.

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disneydoc's picture
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scrappy wrote:
We have found that the more often we go the less we plan. This works very well when it is just the two of us and we are going during slower times. However, our next trip will be in June and there will be 9 of us. I feel as though this trip must be planned. I just spent the morning changing some of our dining plans so that we would be spending less time getting to ADRs. I will have to be ready for FP day for this trip too. Although the planning is fun, I think I still prefer our much more relaxed, do what we feel like doing trips.

As far as changing plans go, when it is just the two of us we change plans all the time. I am not sure there is ever a full day we stick to what we planned.

I echo what scrappy says here - the more I go, the less I plan, and the more relaxed fun I end up having too. Other than the FPs that are necessary to do the popular stuff, I enjoy flexiblility now.

But I did read that times guide really carefully for Epcot Holiday around the world stuff - and to find Mulch Sweat & Shears!

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oHIo's picture
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Oh heck yeah...I've made fast passes and ADRs on the fly. In January made an ADR for dinner at Sana on the way back from Universal!! Of course there some times of the year that it works better than other times of the year! wink

JoAnn C's picture
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I was making changes for my October trip right up to before I left and while I was there.

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Belinda's picture
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I do like to have a loose plan but at the same time I NEED to know which park is staying open late. I love the parks after dark, so tend to make good use of EMH evenings. We do tend to change things on the fly and it seems to work most of the time. I think the whole FP+ might be a little more planning than I care for. Time will tell.

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I am a planner by nature and take it pretty seriously. Living in Minnesota with our current budget, we are only able to go once a year. However, I generally like to have two trips in the works so that means I'm usually planning beginning two years out. ADR and FP+ selections are usually decided on well before the window opens up. I will often tweak things up until a couple of weeks before we leave (i.e. let's add another park day, or after rethinking it, it would probably be better to have the EE FP+ at 11:30am rather then 11:00am), but I get really annoyed when external factors cause me to tweak (i.e. the crowd calendar changed and now MK is going to be really busy so we should switch to DAK that day, or Free Dining doesn't start until the day after we get there so let's shift our trip by a day and rearrange all of the ADRs we already made).

That being said, once we get there I am a lot more loose and a lot less frigid. I definitely roll with changes more once I'm immersed in the Disney magic! laugh

93boomer's picture
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I am a huge planner! Always make those fp+ and dinner/lunch res early. I keep on top of it and the weather to make sure I have everything packed accordingly. That said, we have been extremely lucky and never had anything to mess with our plans. The weather, no one sick, DH could get off work when we wanted to go, etc. But, I must say that this last trip that we did do some spur of the moment plans and really liked it. And if we did stray, I didn't get too upset about it.

kathys's picture
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am also a huge planner (not just for Disney trips). I check the hours and plan my day to the park accordingly except for the my first full day to Disney as it always has to be Magic Kingdom. I look at the restaurants (old and new ones) and decide what day we are doing what. I make all my dinner reservations at 180 days out and I do my FP's at 60 days out along with my on-line check-in. I know people have said to me where is the fun in that. And I say I (we..whoever am going with) always have tons of fun and down time (as I think that is very important) so when am there I just get up in the morning and just go. I eat when I want to eat for dinner so what is wrong with that I ask them? And after that they never say another thing. I have friends that went to Disney World with me a couple years back and they tell everyone they will never go again unless am going with them silly

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jhugo's picture
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I love to plan! I start the minute we come back from the last trip. I have already started planning our November trip. I make lists and plan parks and restaurants. We usually go in September but opted for November this year so I am also checking out crowd levels and weather. I like to be prepared.

The Watchmaker's picture
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I change my Disney plans more than Italy changes its parliament ( every month ) Tho I call it tweaking..lol.. laugh

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The Watchmaker wrote:
I change my Disney plans more than Italy changes its parliament ( every month ) Tho I call it tweaking..lol.. laugh

Love it.......

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Nyxess's picture
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I'm a chronic over-planner. Most likely because I get just as much of a thrill from planning the trip as I do taking it.

I've got event reminders in my planners as well as on my work calendars to let me know when we hit the 180 day mark, the 90 day mark, the 60 day mark - and from that point on I do countdowns on anything that has dates on it (including other people's calendars that they leave unattended).

I've done one or two impromptu trips in the last few years - one such instance was to crash a Disney wedding that was the day after my birthday! Turned out that my boyfriend at the time's best friend was marrying a girl I'd know from high school - so I bought myself a plane ticket, booked myself in for a weekend at All Star Movies and flew out the following week. I managed to land, get to the hotel, change, slap on some make-up and heels and dive into the limo with the groom's party to head down to Coco Beach for the ceremony.

It was lovely, and a wonderful surprise... But I like things to be more structured than that. I love to plan everything down to the last detail if people will let me.

Not to say that I can't have fun when we go 'off script', but I like not having to worry about where we'll eat, or stay, or if everyone will have the MagicBand colour that they want XD

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