I have finished our TP for both days in MK. We have some "free" time, but of course a lot is already set. My brother keeps laughing at me, because I think in his head he just thinks he can stroll around MK and do whatever he likes with no plan without a problem.We live in Norway and have never been to MK, this will be the first time for our family. I believe (and from what I read here) that you need to have a plan if you want to do several attractions without too much wait. Those of you who have done this; are you able to follow your TP and still feel relaxed? I know myself and I am afraid that I will rush my kids to the next attraction that I think they should be on when they just want to play on Tom Sawyer Island...Of course I can just skip 7DWT if that should be the case, but I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
I didn't schedule our TP too tightly in time so that if something came up on the way to an attraction we could stop and look at things. I also tried to anticipate items of interest to my DD and schedule them into the plan. Eg. I fit in Prince Charming carousel early in the day because I knew once she saw she would want to ride it and knowing her love of fish tanks I left break time after the Seas with Nemo so we could explore the aquarium. The times we did those types of things were probably not optimizing the touring plan but having flexibility in those areas helped when we did need to rush to something as I wasn't pushing everyone all day every day.
At the end of the day you are there to have fun - if at the time you feel it will be more fun to deviate from the plan and spend more time at a given attraction, then go ahead and do it.
What I find really helps is to talk everyone through the plan in advance and show them how many things they will be able to do if they follow the plan. That way they understand that there is a method to the madness and that there are potential consequences to not following the plan. It also helps people understand why they are walking past a given attraction that they want to do - they will be doing it later, when it makes the most sense in the overall plan.
Those are some great ideas. One of the great things about having a plan, even if it's just a rough plan, with plenty of time for spontaneous activities, you don't waste time standing around, looking at the map, and trying to decide where to go next. I was surprised how much spontaneous stuff I was able to do while following my busy plan. If you set your walking speed to the slowest speed, that will help pad your TP with extra minutes. You can also add 5 minute breaks to create extra minutes in the TP, so you stay somewhat on track by the end of the day.
You can adjust your TP for walking speed, also schedule breaks, even skip things if you want. My GF (now Fiancee) and I went from 12/17 to 12/27, with taking one day off in the middle of it and we never felt rushed. This was her first visit. We also spent 12/25, Christmas in MK. Since for us it was the 3rd day that we had been to MK, we took our time and relaxed. Each day we had a TP, and we followed it but we also did make changes and picked up where we left off or just skipped what it is that we would have done. The TP is a good thing to have because if you don;t have one, you don't have really have a plan. That being said, the TP is also a guide that you can stray from.
Good luck in your planning and try to always remember this in your planning and when you are there at WDW, that is - You are at WDW, the most magical place on earth, have fun and enjoy yourself, know that things can and will probably happen ( ride breaks down, miss a bus, it rains, someone cuts in front of you, etc) but that you are at WDW. This helped Andrea out so much on her first trip there.
I had the same concern the first time I used TPs last summer. I thought there was no way you could have a relaxing trip and have it planned minute by minute. But I prepared them and used them anyway because so many people had said they make all the difference. I can tell you it was by far the most relaxing vacation we have ever had and all the adults in our group agreed. I realized two things:
1. A great deal of vacation stress comes from deciding what to do, when to do it, etc. Deciding all of that in advance removed all that stress and was glorious. Yes, we also were able to do a whole lot more than we would have otherwise and never waited in long lines because of the planning but the real blessing was relieving the constant decision-making stress from our day.
2. We set our walking speed on relaxed mostly because I had no idea what it would be like getting our group around the park. That ended up providing enough cushion that we never felt like we had to rush. We stopped and took pictures whenever we wanted, we took bathroom breaks whenever anyone needed to, and we even added in some additional things as folks wanted to. Even when rain storms came or other inevitable factors arose, we were able to quickly just adjust the plan and keep moving without it stressing us out.
I highly recommend using the TPs!
Totally agree! When people complain about how stressful it is to plan a WDW vacation, I like to remind them that what they really are doing is taking the stress of the vacation itself and spreading it out over several months before the vacation. When you are in the World, look around at the people who are not having a good time - they are the ones who are waiting in massive lines, standing around looking at maps and arguing about where to go next, and leaving restaurants in a huff when they discover that they can't just walk up an eat whenever they like.
Thank you so much for all the great advice!! I´ve now set our walking speed on relaxed.We are going to tell the kids tomorrow (so excited), and then I´ll talk them through the plan and show them different rides.