How to keep the spontaneity

Hi! We are traveling with another family at the end of August. There will be 9 total. We are picking our FP in a couple of weeks. Then it comes time to make my touring plans ( 1st time using them). My friends are concerned about using the plans and not having any spontaneous fun. How do you make a great plan but still have time to do unplanned things? They don’t want to follow a rigid schedule. I really don’t blame them. That’s why I’ve never used one before. However, I feel we need one with the crowds and heat.

1 Like
  1. The plans are a guide. They help to structure your day so that you don’t stand around staring at the park map and trying to figure out what to do next. They help you to know what attractions have the lowest waits at which part of the day so you don’t wait 45 minutes now, when you can ride later and wait just 10.

  2. Plan to use them as a guide, and to make modifications as the group desires. Call an audible if you’re suddenly heat zapped. Wait for a character you didn’t know you needed to meet. The plans are just guides, not strict rules you must follow to the letter.

  3. Set your walk speed to as slow as possible, and also set to walk less vs wait less. By doing that you’ll keep your plans in the same general area and avoid criss crossing, and the slowest speed will build some time into your plans for things like snacking, shopping, restroom breaks, and the like.

  4. Place actual BREAKS into the plan to afford even greater flexibility while still maintaining a good sense of which attractions when and for what wait time.


Did you mean set to “walk less”? I would assume that would reduce criss-crossing.

If you could get buy-in to follow plans for the 1st 1.5 hrs of each day, that would go a long way.

1 Like

It absolutely would. The first two hours are the most crucial, up til noon for the next bit, afternoons and evenings far less so

1 Like

In my experience, people who are concerned about “spontaneous fun” usually have zero experience with WDW, and often come back from their trips having hated it and swearing to never go back. “The lines were so long - we couldn’t do anything!” “The crowds were terrible - we couldn’t move!” Etc., etc., etc.

The first time we went to WDW I read the book, thought the idea of TPs was crazy, and did not use one. The second time we followed the plans, and were amazed by the difference - we had far more experiences, and therefore far more fun, than we had without the plans.

That being said, the plans are not perfect, and sometimes you have to modify them on the fly in order to adapt to changing conditions or an opportunity to do something that can’t be missed. But all your planning will help you understand what the effects of this will be, and the personalized TPs can be re-optimized to help you continue to do all the things you want to do.

1 Like

I did. I fixed it :slight_smile: Thanks @ApolloAndy

1 Like

First time I used touring plans I was with my sister, her husband & DS (6) as well as my husband & DS (17) - I had a little resistance at first, but I had built in time for snacking, and other things as well as breaks every day and some meals outside the park (we had a condo). They ended up having a great time & said that we saw & did a ton more than if we didn’t have a plan - only thing I had trouble with was getting everyone out the door in the morning LOL.
My sister & her family have been back several times since then and ALWAYS use a plan now!

one more thing :slight_smile: build in a break & try to make your schedule so you have things throughout the day where you will be inside (country bears, tiki room, etc)
I hated the thought of ‘wasting’ time leaving, but I have been in August 3 times and the heat will really kill you if you don’t take that break.

For sure. Some way, some how, get in from the heat. Whether that is by scheduling a nice long TS lunch or attending back-to-back indoor attractions, or actually leaving the park for a few hours (most effective, IMO, even if it’s maybe not most efficient), it’s important to not subject yourselves to that midday heat.

I am the Disney park planner for everyone in my family. My favorite part of the plan is that when someone is asking me: what do we do next, I don’t have to think about it too much. That takes away a lot of the pressure.

Also, maybe you can schedule « free time », where the others that don’t want to follow the plan do what they want and you do your plans/what you want. Somebody wrote « divide and conquer » is the key to WDW and I agree.

I’m the planner for my family and friends. A few points:

  1. They love that they can say “Hey Benny, what’s next?” and I tell them.
  2. That being said, I keep the phone and/or paper list tucked away and out of sight as much as possible to preserve the illusion that it’s not so much on a rigid schedule
  3. If things aren’t going to plan, I generally give them two options (with some subtle suggesting) like:
    – We could do Figment now, but we’d have to skip Living with the Land, or
    – If we do Living with the Land now, we can then grab lunch at Sunshine Seasons and do Figment tomorrow
  4. Nothing ever breaks the plan. If we miss something, I just re-focus everyone’s attention on what a wonderful trip it is, and how glad I am to be there with them.