Breaking the rules

Everyone knows that (a) you need to get there for RD every day and (b) you should use Touring Plans to plan your schedule.

I’ve put insane amounts of time and thought into our upcoming trip, and a different strategy has emerged.

It’s based on the following principles.

  1. Days are long and the weather is challenging.
  2. I want to stop and “smell the roses”.
  3. I’m really only interested in the very best “A list” rides.

I have fast passes for almost every ride that is a must-do for me. I’ve scheduled them carefully in a way that makes sense to me.

This has suggested the following strategy that breaks the two golden rules.

First, arrive at the parks only as early as we need to in order to get to our first fast pass of the day. (We will RD AK for FOP, but that’s the only “necessity”.)

Second, in the time between fast passes/shows I’ve scheduled/meals I’ve booked, just enjoy being at the parks. If we see an interesting “B list” ride with a short line, join it. If we have time, go visit a resort hotel/ride the monorail/take a boat trip. Or even go back to the house we’re staying in: it’s really nice and has a pool! This is a long trip (nine nights in Orlando): I don’t want to come home exhausted. I want to relax!

Does this all sound sensible, or is it naive?


It’s your holiday, I say do what YOU want!

Who cares about the unofficial ‘rules’? Plenty of people go without a plan, I think TP say it’s something like 2% have a TP?

Doing it this way makes sure you get what you want to do done. That’s your plan.

Why not?


As for those times when we do have to wait in line, I think the attitude should be this.

First, it’s probably air-conditioned and in the shade and a chance to rest.

Second, they’re often richly themed: drink it all in. Maybe that’s the time to take photos.

Third, maybe take a Kindle and use the time to read.


I think it’s quite sensible. We will be doing a very similar sort of plan in August. Nine days is plenty of time to see everything you care about. The super-planned days are more about fitting lots of things into the day with the shortest waits. If you have a smaller must-do list, then it’s nice to go at a slower pace.


I think you’d be surprised how many liners don’t do RD, don’t use a TP, or both. For me, I want to see and do everything, and not just once, so my 2 weeks are always jam packed with RD pretty much every day and a TP for every day. But I don’t always stick to the TP.


You’re so right @missoverexcited. Lots of Liners are very relaxed about Disney.

Probably because many of them go very often! If I could go even once every 2 years I would be more relaxed about it.


This will be my second trip. My first was in 1996! This trip is so ruinously expensive that I won’t be coming again before 2030!

Part of my current problem is that I keep reading Disney blogs and thinking, “Ooh! I must visit that attraction/dine at that restauarant!”

But then I remember my rules! If we happen to walk by Carousel of Progress and the line is short, maybe we’ll give it a go!

And no more ADRs! Sorry, Coral Reef. Not this time!


There’s still time to cut out some expensive things, if you want to make it a bit less ruinously expensive. All the up-sells are nice and worth it in theory, but coming home to less debt is also nice!


My last week long trip I did RD twice. Once for my 8:00 BOG breakfast, the other time because we wanted to do Soarin one more time. My upcoming trip I will only RD Pandora. Enjoy your trip!

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Have you watched a youtube video that rides through Carousel of Progress? I won’t be near that one, even if I had 2 hours to kill! (But I get what you mean :wink:

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Your 1.2.3. Is the same as mine :grinning:
I’ve never done RD, I’ve never done a TP :astonished:
And every time i have been, it’s been so magical!
You will have a blast :+1:


I think the real rule is figure out your priorities, and do them in the way that best fits your family, using the wealth of info available. If they do not need to be rope dropped, then that’s awesome! We are rope droppers because:

We’re up early anyway
I hate waiting
We LOVE nice pools (mid-day break.)

That just makes sense for us.

I also like the planning factor because I get a sense of smugness walking right by the folks unfolding maps, or listening to the, “What should we do next?” huddles (while unfolding a map.) Everyone in my party knows exactly where we are headed to next, and if we are in a hurry, or a leisurely stroll - where we can stop and smell the roses.

Next trip should be in Nov -
Haven’t even started planning yet. We’re very laid back, and we rope drop, so I’m not worried about missing anything, and the res finder is freekin awesome, so I’m not worried about adr’s - we’d only want a few hard to gets anyway.


Since you are staying off site, I will say that you should balance your time in the house, vs the parks. I understand about not wanting to come home exhausted, but once you leave the property, sometimes it’s easier to not return. We’ve stayed off-site most times and we found that it worked better for us to RD and go until dinner time. Then we’d go home (yes, exhausted) and sit in that lovely pool until we were rejuvenated. We could have gone back, but being ‘home’, it didn’t seem like something we wanted to do.

Now, if you went in the morning and came back for the afternoon, it might be easier to return for the evening. For us, even though we were staying only 10 minutes away, the idea of finding parking and walking back into the parks to get into the touring groove wasn’t something we wanted to do.

The other thing - you say you have 9 days there. Is that 9 days in the parks or 9 days in the house? We usually rented for 8 days, but only toured for, at most, 5 days. We took breaks every other day or two and just relaxed at the house or went shopping. It was nice to break up the hard touring in that way and kept us will to get up for RD on the days we needed it.

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Although I DO make RD every day, otherwise, it sounds pretty much what I do these days. My days of following all-day TPs and trying to plan things down to the minute are long gone. Other than a few “must-dos” in each park, most of which can be managed with RD and FPPs, if I don’t get to ride something - oh well, I’ve done it before and there’s always net time…

THIS was arguably the biggest issue I kept running into when I went. Not only because of the urge to go to whatever restaurant I had read about, which made my wallet cry, but then I had to acknowledge that if I ate everywhere and everything I wanted to, I would literally explode (or put myself into such food coma that I would miss out on other things). It was actually good that some of the places were more difficult in getting ADRs…

In the end, I got to about only 50% of the places I wanted to try. But it did give me some goals for next time. :smiley:


I think that there are a few things that make a big difference

  • one is the lenth of time of the trip
  • two is how long since you have been or can go again.
    I am going with my bf & his 2 DDs (10 & 13), the girls have been when they were little, but have almost no memory of it. We have 5 park days, with a day ‘off’ in-between and planning a mid-afternoon break at the peak of the heat. End of August is the only time we can go and it is HOT :slight_smile:
    I want to see as much as possible, without waiting in long lines, so RD & TP for me are a must. I have gone on trips when I didn’t RD & one where I did - the one I did I enjoyed a lot more. Since I was able to do so much of what I wanted early I was able to take a break in the afternoon without feeling like I was missing out on things.
    I know that best case it will be two years before we can go again - more likely 3, so while I am not so rigid that I loose my mind if we don’t get to a ride when it is in my plan, I do really like to have that plan - it means I can selectivly remove things if we want to see a character with a long line, or have a strong need to spend extra time in a gift shop LOL
    Someone else mentioned the ‘smugness’ factor when walking by the map huddles of ‘what should we do now’ or ‘where should we eat’ and I admit to feeling that way too LOL
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This trip has turned into something of a “holiday of a lifetime” for me, because in a sense it is.

I live 4,269 miles from Disney World. I’m not going to come back any time soon. The use of the house is probably a one-off. The cost of the flight was very high. The opportunity to go with a friend was fortuitous.

So the total cost of the holiday started to become so large that I felt I had to make sure I made it worthwhile. And my thinking became, “don’t come home with regrets” – in the sense that I didn’t want to come home saying “I wish I’d done X”.

At that point the budget ballooned. I had previously been thinking of a major trip for my 50th birthday. Well, this trip has become that. Two years early! The opportunity arose – and I took it.

We have nine nights in Orlando and have scheduled 10 days at theme parks. Eight full days and two halves. We had talked about going home at lunch time – but it’s half an hour drive (according to Google Maps) each way. Add in the time it takes to get from parking the car to being in the park and suddenly it starts looking like a chore. Which is not to say we won’t do it. Who knows how we’ll actually feel when we’re there. But at least there’s a plan. And ADRs can always be cancelled. (Oh, but which ones! I love each of them like I’d love my own children!)

As for RD – I see the sense in it, but I’m worried about tiredness. We want to stay for park close most days to see the fireworks/closing shows. Indeed, we have two dessert parties booked. RD feels like burning the candle at both ends.

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Time of year you are going can make a difference - but I was always of the same opinion about it being a chore to go back to the hotel. I have come to the realization that it is worth it. You can see a LOT in a short amount of time if you RD & you can enjoy the nighttime events if you take a break.
Even if you don’t RD you may still find it hard to push through until close for so many days. The heat can take a lot out of you and a couple of hours out of the park at mid day, when it is very crowded anyway is more refreshing than you think!
On the other hand, since you are going so many days, RD won’t make the same kind of impact that it does for me having only 5 park days :slight_smile: I can do more in the first 1 1/2 hrs if I rope drop than in the next 2 if I don’t


About those breaks and RD. I agree with the burning candle analogy.

Worth knowing that although you can’t just hop to the Poly and swim, you can at every park hop to a resort and chill. There are lounges (bars) at both the monorail resorts & WL, AKL, and the Boardwalk resorts ( BC, YC, BW). They all have amazing lobbies too. You could go and rest quite easily for a couple of hours in an air conditioned lounge with comfy chairs and cooled drinks.

When is your trip again? Enjoy it anyway :slight_smile: