How to plan with "non-theme park" people?

Hey y’all! I’m really just looking for an outlet to vent… so feel free to “dismiss” this topic. I put it under DLR only because that’s where I’m planning my next Disney trip. This situation could and has happened to me at both WDW & Universal for the past decade.

My DW only “kinda” likes theme parks (She doesn’t really like going many places. She prefers to stay at home and read.) On top of this she ONLY eats 3 - 4 very basic foods. She doesn’t have much of a palette & won’t try many new things. (Unless they are a “twist” on something she already likes…Example - She’ll eat a plain steak sandwich from a new place, but only because it’s only going to be a food she enjoys served in a different way)

I’m a go-go-go theme park fan. I don’t mind taking a midday break if I need one. However, DW will only go for about 2 - 3 hours before wanting to take a 4 - 5 hour break to sit in the hotel room and read. (Which IMHO is like being locked in a cage… I can sit, relax and do nothing at home for free!)

Plus, she likes to sleep in. IMHO - We sleep in every weekend and we are paying do much to fly out & be at the parks. Why waste a moment / penny of that time??

Anyway… I’m making TPs and struggling to figure out - even after doing this for a decade - how to structure our days. In the past, our daughter was with us. She was my “ride buddy” while DW would rest. Now, we are empty-nesters! I don’t mind going solo. I even have future solo trips planned. However, this is the first trip to DLR for both of us. (possibly our once-in-a-lifetime) I want both of us to enjoy it & do everything we’d like. (When you ask her what she’d like to do you only get, “All the big stuff… I don’t really care…”)

DW knows how well our trips go because of the TPs I’ve made. I just wish she would “work with me” to say… "Ok… I know I’ll want to leave by XXX and then come back after XXX. If I don’t then it’s my fault that I still have never ridden Peter Pan or missed the only time when Space Mt. was in the plan today)

Alright… enough with the pity party. If my biggest issue is my Disney trips are a chore to plan then my life is pretty good! Thanks and if you have advice / support feel free to weigh in!!!


My situation is little different, but pre-kids DW was pretty much done with park days after 4-5 days so the last couple days I would go solo to the parks while DW would sit by the pool and read. In your situation, I would make TP’s, hand them to her, and let her know that you would love to have her with you for all the parts she is interested in (and that you are cool with her choosing to sleep in or read in the room for the rest of the trip).


Your wife and my husband sound like two peas in a pod! I tend to create my plans around what I want and then adapt them to DHs day of mood. Honestly the TPs are only good for the first part of the day at DLR. The data is not as good here as it is for WDW. I use them more as a guide. DLR is a lot easier to “wing” than many other parks. I usually make TPs because it is fun for me, but far less useful than when at WDW. So my advice is to create YOUR perfect days at DLR and then modify as needed for your wife. Or better yet create them, then show her and see if she has any input. Maybe it will give her an idea of when to duck out because she knows that she has no interest in riding the canoes :canoe: and splash mountain.


Same here

Perhaps not as extreme as your DW, mine kind of fits into the same pattern. But we both accept that we have different approaches. She understands the need to RD to be able to get on rides with shorter lines, but if she wants to sleep in, I go to the park solo and she joins me for lunch. Same thing for the afternoons; if she’s had enough, she’ll go back to the room and then we’ll meet up for dinner. This way, we’re both happy and don’t have any “melt downs”.

I don’t have your food issues, we both love all kinds of food (we frequently eat at “signature” restaurants for dinner).

I suspect that pretty much all future trips will be solo.


I share your complicated situation given my fabulous, wonderful, brilliant, angelic DH.

And so, when I go to Disney, he stays home.

And chooses to!


I would draw up plans that are a compromise. That is, a couple hours less than you want and a couple hours more than what your DW wants. Then I would show her one day’s plans at a time (preferably when she is in a great mood). Give her the explanation for your plan and mention the compromise. Wait a week, then show her another day of your plans. This should give her time in between to realize that you care about her needs too. And it would be good to not give her too much information in a short period of time.

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For the most part that’s what I do. I think my stress is coming from the notion that we may never come back out. On our last trip to Universal she stayed in the room most of the time. She overheats easily too. (Another reason we tend to travel in fall / December) That was fine because I knew I’d be back.

This time I guess I really need to emphasize… “We aren’t coming back. What are your MUST DO’s?” even though I already know the answer…:rofl: “whatever…”


My DH has some similarities to your DW but he mainly went back to the room to study while in grad school, so I couldn’t really say boo about it. I go to WDW alone a lot b/c his AP expired and I had renewed mine. The last most wonderful trip we did together was just us, no kids, at GC in Dec 2019. We took it easy, he was still a month out of a 2nd back surgery, we had lots of ADRs, breakfast/room service, ppl watched, listened to carolers in the lobby, did easy tours, played cards near the pool, got fancy drinks at the various watering holes and only did a few major rides each day. We enjoyed the park, food and each other. It was nice. You’ll make it work :wink: and it’s ok to vent. I have a friend who’s DH loves Disney the way I do and she goes along b/c that’s what we do :star_struck:


You obviously know your wife better than any of us do, even if we have friends / family who are in a similar boat (in contrast, my DW is almost as big a fanatic as I am, so I have no trouble motivating her to hit the ground running and stay in the parks till close).

However, a couple of tips that might help:

  • Make a google form with all the rides that she can easily fill out. Have categories like, “Must do,” “Nice to ride,” and “Skip.” Google forms come in an email and can be filled out either on a phone or a computer and are intuitive for all but the most Luddite users.
  • Based on past experience, map out your day assuming that maximum reasonable break. Try to schedule the important stuff for the hours DW is most likely to be with you.
  • It’s ok to be selfish. Clearly she doesn’t care as much as you do. Make sure your day fits your needs first and foremost, and only make reasonable accommodations for her requests. In particular, don’t feel like you have to take a break just because she wants one!

Good luck!


The once in a lifetime is a LOT of pressure!! But I would try to keep in mind a lot of what’s already been said. It’s SO true what @Ms.BarbsWildRide says about DLR TP’s. They are very fun to make (and give you a great starting point/couple of steps for each start), but very easy to abandon/play around with once there, especially if you’ve done all the homework that you have on DLR.

And my take on it is if DW isn’t willing to put in the input on what’s really important to her, then she probably won’t know what she’s missing and is probably really is just fine with it. And in that case, you can relax a little and as long as you’re showing her what you feel is important, she’s likely to love it.

With the heat, I would start making note of hotter areas that you want to accomplish either the first hour or so or after dark (immediately Toontown, the Pixar Pier, Avengers Campus come to mind & also the lines for Casey Jr & Storybookland Canal Boats- no shade in site for either of those). I have now 4 people in my little family that really do not cope in heat so another reason we rest when it’s getting hot and a lot of times come noon we are ducking into AC or shade).


I think I understand your situation. DH’s family never went to theme parks or amusement parks, MIL has straight up told me that she hates them, and then demonstrated as such when they came with us years ago to WDW. She will sometimes meet us at Cedar Point which is halfway between us and them, so that she can spend time with the grandkids, but she doesn’t partake in any of the available amusements. Because of this, DH grew up never going to any amusement park, ever. In contrast, I was at a theme park/amusement park almost every day of my summers as a kid. Having family in Orlando also meant several trips a year to the Florida theme parks. It’s just what we did. And my mom and dad REALLY get into it. They still go on the coasters and rides with the kids (within reason of course; I doubt my mom will be queuing up for the velocicoaster, but sure as heck she’ll be riding SDD and 7DMT with her “babies”) And so for me, theme parks are not only nostalgic, but they are also places of great joy- places that I saw even my parents, Aunt and Uncle, and grandparents having fun. He doesn’t understand that nostalgia, and would just as soon stay home. Trying to get him to take part in planning, even if it’s just “what would you like to eat?” or “What is one thing you have to do?” is like pulling teeth. He doesn’t dislike it, he just sees it as “my” thing and he’s tagging along. He would be good if we went on two rides and went back to the pools. To balance this, I try to do one day in the parks, one day of rest/resort or at least something outside of the parks that is a half day experience. I also really try not to overwhelm him with choices, or my spreadsheets. I’ll say “I need help choosing what to have for dinner, here are two choices. What do you think?” He’s usually happy to even just flip a coin sometimes to give me an answer. But also, I know he likes things like Jamaican food, so I’ve reserved a dinner at the Bob Marley restaurant in City Walk, etc. I think little things like that make it more enjoyable for him, but he is so hard to read sometimes.


Would she be against finding a nice mostly quiet place in park to sit and read? Extra time saved going back to the room could be spent doing a few more rides :blush:


First off… thanks to EVERYONE for the support! I figured I wasn’t alone in this group.

TL;DR - I’ll put all her requests & must do’s during the morning after RD. If she wants to join me for Early Entry that will be awesome. The biggest reason I picked staying on-site is just so she can come & go while staying in the bubble / DLR campus. I’m sure Harbor Blvd is fine & safe, but I’ll “feel” better with her possibly walking solo if it’s within the Disney boundaries.

I’ll plan on her being gone by lunch and not coming back until very late - like maybe we meet for dinner and see if she wants to rejoin.

FWIW - She’s been my best friend for 30 years. I absolutely love her and will have a blast going anywhere / doing anything with her. She just doesn’t like to travel or even go out much.


Thanks! Y’all are the only friends I know that love theme parks as much as I do. The people I know IRL look at me like I’m crazy or childish because I love these places. (I’m sure I’m not the only person here in this situation!)

I do have multiple solo trips planned to Orlando in the years after this trip. Originally, this was a solo trip, but somewhere along the way she got interested. I think it’s because it’s a “different” Disney park. She’s told me that she might only go back to Orlando one or two more times ever again. (She’s missed a lot of Universal & our last WDW trip was kinda a bust due to illness while there)

Now, that I think about it… those last two “meh” trips for her are another reason I’m stressed about it. I don’t want to “waste” thousands of dollars (again) for her to stay in the room and / or not have a good time. I want us BOTH to have fun.


#1 - I’d LOVE for her to do this. I’ve tried before. She won’t even look at a park map. If you were to ask her what she’d like to do she’d probably only be able to list about 3 - 4 of the most famous Magic Kingdom E-Tix rides that she’s familiar with. Forget trying to explain RotR BG’s, Avenger’s Campus or even CarsLand

#2 - This is a great idea and how I’m gonna do it. She hates any queues and waking up early. I’m going to plan her “must do’s” during the first 3 hours of park operation. (8am - 11am). If she gets up early so much the better and the things she knows about I’ll plan before it gets too busy.

#3 - I needed to hear this!!! I’ve offered to take her ANYWHERE in the world for years. She’s just a quiet homebody. So I do OFTEN feel guilty that we go to my favorite place(s) more often than anywhere else. (I’ve even offered to extend this trip to go sightseeing in California with no luck.)


This is good to know - especially if I decide to “plan” out the mornings for DW and afternoons / evenings for me, I can use the App & evaluate the plans. (Really hoping MaxPass comes back! It was going to be the thing that I hoped would make the waiting easier for DW)

THANKS! This is the kind of info that isn’t in the guide books. If you have any other first timer tips let me know!!


I was talking to my mom this weekend about my passion for theme parks. After we talked about it for a while I realized that almost ALL of my best memories - child / teen / young adult / parent take place at amusement / theme parks. This helped me understand, finally, why I’m obsessed with rides & such as an adult. I don’t know why I never put it all together before!

DW went to Disney once as a kid & like it. However, her family traveled to more cities / history trips when she was a kid. (Even then she would hide books to read while they were out sightseeing!)


This has been our “go-to” method the last few years. Her favorite place to hide at WDW is Columbia Harbor House’s upper level. At Universal it’s Knockturn Alley! I’ve felt sooo guilty just leaving her sitting somewhere, but she likes it! DD & I will often circle around just to check on her… which also means I have to abandon “the plan” to backtrack to wherever she stopped to rest. :laughing:


Just to give you an idea, here are some sample screenshots of the Google Form I used with my DBIL / DSIL before our recent trip. Neither had ever been to WDW and one hadn’t been to any Disney park.


My DH loves the place as much as I do and often is the driver on when we go next (i.e. whenever we all start missing it too much and the finances are in a good position for us to run away from reality for a minute), but once there his pace can be much different than mine, mostly when the heat is on, but sometimes if he’s just over the crowds or exhaustion from the lack of sleep by waking up for rope drop, staying up till park close for more than a couple days.

So, when he’s starting to feel any of those things and we haven’t planned to go back for a midday break at the hotel, he just needs a shady space in the parks to camp out, usually with a sleeping babe in a stroller. So I get it!! 100% Especially the feeling of having to go back and check-up on him every ride or two.

There are places like Columbia’s upper level that she can do that at DL too! I can message you (and anyone else who’s interested) some of the places we’ve come to use & frequent when we just need to sit away from crowds & out of the sun!

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DH has one ride at WDW that he likes - that is, he’ll look forward to riding it again.
He will go on a few more rides if there’s a kid with us. Otherwise he’s very much a kind of “I’ll stay in the resort watching tv” kind of guy.

I’d skip all the ride choosing stuff in favor of having her bring a book to read while you ride.
Find a bench in a good location, near a bathroom if possible, make sure she’s got a libation, and go have fun.

Check back in at the bench after 30 minutes or so. She’s your best friend, y’all compare notes. Then head out again.

Be sure to have picked out a good plain food restaurant for lunch.

Your biggest question for her is this: bring her book and join you at rope drop. Or bring her book and join you during the morning. Tip: rd provides more bench opportunities.

This plan allows you both to spend more time together while you each do what you enjoy.

For many trips we’ve successfully toured “together” once we “find DH a bench”.


Y’all rock!!! I feel so heard!

@Jeff_AZ - HOLY COW!! That’s amazing. OK… This might be an option to try. Maybe a visual & s rating is better than a park map description. (Neither of us like spoiler videos, so I “know” about everything, but I can’t always describe it either)

@lolabear_la 0

Yes, PLEASE!! Thanks!

@janamelia - This is pretty much what I’ve done in the past - which works fine. It’s my FOMO for both of us since this is probably a once-in-a-lifetime trip. It’s gonna be a great time though no matter what. I’ve just had too much time to plan this as it was supposed to be a 2020 trip that is being delayed all the way to Dec. 2022. I’m just worked up because my total countdown for this trip will have been 1163 days when it’s over… Yikes! (I still have a little more than 500 to go!)


@lolabear_la. Maybe you can share your quiet places with the group so you don’t get bombarded with a bunch of PMs? Some of us :raising_hand_woman: Want to know now but some might bookmark the ideas for a later date :nerd_face:


Here are a few of my favorite places :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: and a few where friends have been known to actually bring work and do while in park. At Disneyland: The top back of Hungry Bear restaurant is nice and quiet and over looks Rivers of America. Over on Tom Sawyer Island there are a few picnic tables that are quite lovely to sit and hang out. Rancho Del Zocalo has a big covered patio that is also a nice place to sit and work. The benchs up at the Main Street train station. The hidden bench behind the tour hut next to city hall. Launch Bay has a bunch of little hidden spots to sit inside and it has AC! Tables and chairs across from the Matterhorn right under Monorail track. Tables and chairs in the shade outside of Pizza Planet. At DCA the back patio at Flo’s restaurant is so quiet it is officially known as my BFFs office :rofl:


Inconceivable! :slight_smile: Does she go on virtual WDW trips with Liner friends?