Having a plan...realistic?

Hi all! I’ve been utilizing the forums on wdwmagic.com and have loved getting tips and information. HOWEVER… When I tried to get advice on my time based schedule/plan nearly everyone says it’s not realistic and I will be setting myself up for disappointment. When I took my “plan” and made it into a plan on touring plans (after subscribing, yay!) it says it’s totally do-able. I’m started to get bummed at how many people say that I need to go without a plan other than dining and FP reservations. Advice? Thoughts? Cheer me up!

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The plans can totally work! I had a friend do them for me when I took my oldest 2 years ago (before I was a member) and we were able to do everything we wanted at MK, Epcot, AK, and HS on days rated as 10s in the summer. We were even able to readjust our FP+ while in the park a couple of times and fit in extras.

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I’m an advocate of both, depending on what you want to get out of your visit.

If your goal is “to ride as many rides as possible”, then I would say a TP is a very useful tool to help you organize the day. My “but” to this is to view it as a “plan” and not a “schedule”. Unexpected things happen that can throw you off your plan, and if you’re completely tied to it, you may have more stress than fun. I was once like this. I find detailed TPs more useful in MK and DHS (especially if you want to see most/all of the shows), and less important in AK and EP.

Now, in my middle 50s and no kids, with many WDW trips under my belt, I am more likely to take the ADR and FPP and wing it approach. I’ve done all of the rides more times than I can count, and if I have FPPs for my “must-do” attractions, I’ll hit other popular rides right at RD, and then just enjoy “being there” and hitting a few more rides later in the day if the lines are reasonable. If there are certain shows (especially the live entertainment in EP) that I want to see I’ll add those to my “skeleton TP” as well.

So as I said up front, it all depends on what you are looking to get out of your visit…


Ahhh! Perfect, thank you!

Well because this our first visit and we do have kids… I know that things won’t go perfectly but I think we would be crazy to not have a plan. We are not trying to hit all the rides but the ones that I think my kids would enjoy. I’m also focused on meeting characters so I tried to add those in as “breaks” on our touring plan. I definitely want it to be fun but I also want to be smart about what rides when and such.


Well, obviously those people are wrong! Welcome to TP forums! I like to think of my touring plans as a check point on if I am being realistic. I do not expect to be completely on time, but I expect it will tell me if I can complete these 5 attractions in less than 2 hours or not. I am almost always on point after 2, 4 or 6 hours. Enjoy!


THANK YOU!!! I agree, I don’t expect it to be spot on with time but I hope to be able to achieve the things I have in my plan! :smile:


Yes, the plans work. At least they have for us at both WDW and Disneyland, during low crowds and high crowds, year after year. I could give you tons of reasons why you should use one, but I can really sum it all up by repeating what my son said at age 9 while walking past very long lines at all the headliners in Disneyland (around lunchtime):
Mom, I feel so sorry for all these kids having to wait for these rides that we walked onto this morning. Why didn’t their parents plan like you did? :wink:


Great!! My kids will be 4.5 and 8.5 when we go in April so I think they will be able to keep up and enjoy what we have planned. :smile: I am planning rope drop to fireworks days but we have lots of sit down meals to rest throughout our day.

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Exactly! @bswan26 said it perfectly.

We took 2 trips to WDW in 2015, with a different goal each time.

In January, neither of us had been there in years, and wanted to do everything we could, so we planned every day RD to close, and got everything in, plus extra! Granted it wasn’t super busy - CL5, 6 and at most 7, but I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have gotten it all in by just winging it and doing FPP/ADR times.

In October, we had different goals… doing a lot of firsts, and doing things not in the parks. It was also considerably busier. We didn’t plan RD every day, but did plan at least one “first” each day, which dictated a lot of the time that was being spent. We found that having TPs was a HUGE help, if for nothing else than keeping track of places we HAD to be a certain times (ADR’s, FPP, HDDR, MNSSHP/F&W events). And as a result, once again we ended up WAY ahead of schedule and got to do extra things - even as crowded as it was!

Both trips we ended up doing things that we scheduled for other days, we went through the plans so fast!

Both myself (the obsessive planner) and my DBF (usually a fly by the seat of his pants guy) agree that having a plan maximizes the fun and takes a lot of the thinking out of it, so you can just enjoy. It also helps a lot when somethings take longer than expected, or, even better, you decide to do something spontaneously. That was a side effect neither of us expected, since it seems counter-intuitive to say be very planned in order to be spontaneous!

DEFINTELY add in breaks - even if you don’t take them. It gives you a cushion if wait times are off or if something unexpected (good or bad) comes up! I will also add here, that both trips we used Disney Transportation exclusively and had no problems. I can’t believe we were THAT lucky, but rather, well planned and ready in case the buses were too crowded, or the monorail was down, or the boats took too long. (In fact, we took friendship boats from HS to EP, and there was a medical emergency which delayed us about a half hour, and we STILL ended up with time to spare by the end of the day.)

No matter what, though, don’t forget the most important things: 1. Your plan will will NOT be 100% on time. Be prepared for that, and be flexible. and 2) HAVE FUN! NO. MATTER. WHAT. It is a vacation, not a work schedule!

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I found TPs to be beyond helpful when planning out my days. My kids are still young (5 and ~3) so it is my top priority to ensure that we can make the best use of our time (and money!) without backtracking or over scheduling. Making TPs for each park allowed me to visualize how much we could realistically fit into a certain timeframe.
Using MK as an example, I set our walking speed to the slowest, minimize walking, and organized each attraction in a clockwise pattern so that we weren’t criss crossing the park. I would continue to add/delete attractions and evaluate. For a Type A personality like mine, it was such a relief to “see” what we might (and might not!) get to. I was pleasantly surprised that the TP was spot on and we ended up having extra time to wander, explore, ride attractions more than once, add in a few extras that weren’t in our original TP.
I can see why people would suggest NOT having a plan but I think the best advice is to make a TP and get in the mindset that not everything always works out as planned and that going with the flow will make you enjoy your trip exponentially - all while having a TP to keep your mind organized when you get overwhelmed!


I’m going to negate your topic in order to answer your question: Not having a plan = unrealistic.

Planning is the most important thing to ensure a successful trip to WDW. If your plans go well, then that is an added bonus - if they do not go well, then everything you have learned from the planning process will help you to be flexible and adjust to the changing conditions. In my experience most people who advocate no planning are WDW veterans with a lot of trips under their belt - they may say that they are “not planning”, but what they really are doing is making plans on the fly based on all of their experience.

Ike said it best: “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”


Oh my gosh, thank you! I appreciate it so much!

Question unrelated… we are driving to WDW (and staying on site) but plan to take park transportation all days to parks except our last day to MK. We have a BBBoutique appt at Disney Springs and an ADR at 1900 Park Fare so I was thinking we could drive to MK and then leave to head to Disney Springs and then to Grand Floridian and then back to MK. After reading, most people say do NOT drive to MK out of all the parks. So…any suggestions there? I was wondering if we should pay the $25 to valet park at Grand Floridian and take the monorail to MK in the morning, then take the monorail/bus to Disney Springs for our BBB appt and then Bus back to Grand Floridian…then at MK exit just take the monorail back to Grand Floridian and then drive to AoA.

What time is your appointment at BBB and your ADR at 1900?
Going back and forth to each of those and MK seems like it would take up a LOT of time just in travel.

GO WITH A PLAN. Fortune favors the prepared!!! My wife HATES having a plan and to a certain degree I also agree with her. I think about planning ALL THE TIME - vacation is the one time I don’t want to think about planning. However - I also don’t want to wait in line for a long time either.

So now we “kind of plan” - I pull together a plan and start out using it each day and then as the day progresses - we “see what happens”

My biggest advice - PLAN but be flexible and who cares if you plan doesn’t work out.

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I was planning to leave MK at 4:00 for our 4:45 check in at BBB. Our ADR is at 7:30.

I assume there were no openings for BBB at MK that day? And its an absolute must-do?

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Agree, look for an appointment at MK. This will be a lot of extra travel.

Yes. None at MK and yes it’s a must do. They did tell me over the phone to call a few days before to see if someone had cancelled.

Here’s our potential plan…