1st timers late start to accommodate awestruck kids

We are taking our first family trip to Disney. Starting at MK, planning on getting there early but can’t guarantee we can rush them through Main Street to the first ride since we’ll all be awestruck at being here for the first time. Should I make a TP that has a later start even though we may get there earlier than the TP starts? What if you get to an attraction before the TP time suggests? Does that matter? I am SO overwhelmed at all this planning. I honestly had no idea it would be this in-depth. Don’t even get me started on FPP. It’s taken me hours just to decipher all the acronyms on these boards! Thanks for the help in advance.


You could add a break or meal stop as you enter the park to give some extra time at the start.
I know what you mean about it being overwhelming. I brought the Unofficial guide after booking my holiday and I almost regretted booking because there was so much to get my head round that is new since I was last there 14 years ago!

So would I still have my start time at the opening? Then just build in a break. That makes sense, thanks! If times on our TP get off, I just optimize, right?

What time do you actually arrive at WDW? A good way of dealing with the initial awe is to go to MK on arrival day with the intention of soaking it in and getting the feel of things. That way on your first full day you can focus on the TP and attractions.

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We are flying in late Friday night and hitting MK first day for the full day.

Don’t bother building in a break - just set your start time to later than park opening. If you get to an attraction ahead of time, don’t sweat it - even with a “perfect” TP you will be a little ahead some times and a little behind others. Only reoptimize in a park if your plan is really going off-schedule.

Okay, thanks for the advice. That’s what I needed to hear.

No problem - feel free to ask more questions. Also, think about it this way - you are going through a lot of stress and anxiety now so that the actual trip will be stress-free!

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I honestly don’t know what I don’t know! I almost need someone to come hold my hand while I make all these plans. I know we have lofty goals to go to all four parks in four days, but it’s all we have. And everyone has such definite opinions on how to do things and which parks are the best or take the longest or don’t need as much time. It’s hard to know how my family will feel and do at each park. We went ahead and got Park Hopper tickets but I can’t imagine having the time or energy to go to two places in one day! Sorry, I’m on the verge of a meltdown and you’re kind enough to listen! Thank you. :smile:

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If it’s any consolation, you’re not alone. We’re in the midst of planning our 1st ever trip to WDW so I can totally relate! Yes, it’s insanely overwhelming!!! We also booked the trip before we read The Unofficial Guide and discovered this site - and started learning how complex a WDW vacation really is. But this forum has been such a saviour. I am so appreciative of all the advice I’ve received and how much I’ve learned.

Don’t give up on the planning.
In my opinion, I think it’s all going to pay off by providing a smoother vacation while in WDW.


Don’t stress so much in the planning that it no longer is fun. I think the problem with experienced planners is that we’ve been so much that know/obsess about/plan for things that we’ve experienced and hated/loved. The problem with that is we’ve done this so much that some of the stressful stuff is old hat and doesn’t bother us anymore. Now we stress over tiny details and we pass that on to you.

I’ll give you an example. Our first family trip was 2003 with our DS18months. DW stumbled across the guide, used the info to pick parks and make ADRs. We used the pre-built Touring Plans from the book and had such an incredible time that she became hooked (I was already a believer!). Subsequent trips have slowly built to more detailed, more customized plans now that we know our way around and what our family likes.

For me, and for many, part of the beauty of Walt’s Worlds is the incredible detail. In here, we often focus on how much we get done when, in reality, there is “doing” going on just by walking down Main Street and soaking it all in, by walking through Adventureland and listening to the background sounds.

If you have ADRs and Touring Plans and you make it to Rope Drop, you will be fine. Soak it in. Find out what you family loves. NEXT time, stress a bit more because you’ll know what’s what.

Just my philosophy. If you need any help, please come back here. Hopefully we can help with the stress issues. @keppert, you will have a great time. As @brklinck said, this stress and uncertainty is worth it, in the end.


Thanks @NeedaTurkeyLeg. So question for you then… my husband and I have gone through the list of attractions and made a list of all the things we think our boys would like. Should we make a personalized plan or take one already made and just tweak it? Does it matter? I’m not sure how to schedule breaks, go ahead and put them in periodically? What if there’s a break but we don’t take it? I’ve been reading that it seems not to be a big deal if we are ahead or behind schedule, right?

Not that I have much experience with this, as it’s our 1st time, too (maybe others with more practice will chime in, too)…

We did exactly what you did: made a list of attractions we wanted to see. I tried using pre-made TPs and found it easier to do a personalized one.
So, this is what I did:

  • opened a personalized plan for the park we were going to
  • gave it a name, listed our hours we planned to be at the park
  • went through the steps in the TP program (clicking on all the attractions we wanted, entering our dining reservations, entering our mid-day breaks)
  • optimized
  • made copies of the optimized plan (so I wouldn’t lose the original optimized plan while I played with more options)
  • played around with some other options on the copied plans by moving attractions around and evaluating
  • I did this until I found a plan I was happy with
  • at 60 days, I booked our FP+ for the times recommended by the TP

Whew! I think I covered all the steps I did. Really, it’s all about playing around with the TPs. Just make sure you make a copy of any plan you think you might want; otherwise you’ll lose it when you make any changes (I learned the hard way :frowning: ). The more you play with it, the more comfortable you become with using it.
Oh, and there is a sequence of video lessons on the TP site for making personalized TPs. It was useful to watch.

Good luck! - And happy planning!


Great advice, that is exactly what I would say. I am sure others can also give ideas on how to to it an other way as well.

Thank you - this is great. I needed step by step advice. :smile:

That feeling of meltdown is coming from an idea that you need the plan to be perfect. Let that go. :smile:

There are going to be things that go wonderfully. there are going to be things that don’t. The very fact that you are creating a PLAN puts you ahead of 90% of the pack. Once you see how smoothly things are going for your family compared to everyone around you, you’ll see how your hard work paid off.

Here’s another thing…this is your learning curve trip. You are learning how to tour WDW in 2015 and with your family. So…you get to come back again and correct all your mistakes and focus on the stuff your family loves even more!

Tell DH right now about the bounce back offer. It will be in your room in a folder and lets you book at a big discount maybe even free dining, if you book before you leave! Remember, you can always cancel for free, but you can only do the BB while you are there :wink:


@Gussy30 has given you some pretty good advice here. Also, there are step-by-step PTP instructions (with videos) at Personalized Touring Plans. Finally, check out Making Optimized Personalized Touring Plans with FastPass+ for a strategy for incorporating FPP into Optimized PTPs.

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Glad I’m not the only one feeling overwhelmed! I took my sons years ago and am planning a trip with my grandson this June. What a difference! No more plan as you go. Gussy30’s suggestions are great. I’ve been doing the same thing. You can also personalize several different plans at the same park if you give them different titles. I also downloaded the TP app and have been checking the current wait times. I know it’s not as busy at the parks right now but it gives you a good idea what rides will definitely need a FP.


In 2013 we went as a large family, mix of people who go alot, some of us hadn’t gone since 1999, my ds was 5 and it was his first time. We had him in a stroller and explained we were heading to a ride quickly but would come back later to slow down and look. (main street). Take some time to slow down when needed, especially with kids. Have fun

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Thanks for posting the link. I tried to describe it as “a sequence of video lessons” in my post above but I didn’t know the link. I found it helpful when creating a TP for the 1st time, so hopefully, keppert finds it useful, too.

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