I have made FFP selections for all parks and have my TPs all set. So what does this actually look like on the day of our visit? Do we open up the app and follow along? How will we keep track of all our FPP times? We do not have magic bands, just those credit card tickets (not sure if that matters). What happens if our kids take us off track? I don't want to rush them past something to get to an attraction "on time" since it is our first visit, but I chose to do these TPs for a reason. Can someone help me with the "nitty gritty day of" stuff please? TIA!
I'm a big fan of using a printed plan. I know a lot of hard-core TP followers prefer to optimize their plans in real time on their phones while in the parks, but that's just not my style. I like to pay attention to my family instead of my phone, and my kids responded well to having a paper plan/map to consult throughout the day. If you've entered your FP times into the plan that info will be listed on the printed plan.
I also padded our TPs with optional attractions and breaks that we could skip if things went pear-shaped. For example, I added notes like "stop for a Dole Whip if there's time" or "skip this one if behind" or "add teacups here if lunch is faster than expected." You can also set your walking speed to relaxed if you want to pad the plan a bit.
Pretty much - you can even mark things as done and re-optimize if you get off track. As @SallyEppcot says, you can go with a printout as well, and even though I use the app I always have printouts as a backup.
The My Disney Experience app allows you to track your FPP times
You hit them. No, wait, bad Dad. You show them the plans in advance, and explain that by following them they will be able to do everything they want and more. However, that's the beauty of the app - if they do take you off track, you just mark off what you have done and re-optimize
We have used personalized plans a lot, and do the same as @SallyEppcot with paper copies. I also add little notes like she does with suggestions. I evaluate (not optimize) them before we leave, print them out, and follow them pretty much to a T. They work amazingly well, especially in the first few hours of the day as long as you are there early for rope drop. I do post wait times on the app, both posted and actuals, but other than that I leave my carefully crafted plans alone. I find that we stay pretty much on track, but my kids are 11/13 now, and we don't have or need a lot of unscheduled bathroom or food breaks. Optimizing in the parks sounds like it would add stress, plus a lot of backtracking and moving around the park. But others would disagree and say this is the way to go. I think you have to find what works for you.
We use printed plans as a guide. To get around the kids going to bathroom /stopping to look at the flowers/toys/wanting a snack, I do 2 things. First add an extra 15 minute break every 2 hours, this will allow you to catch up or be ahead. Secondly I only use a TP strictly for 2/3 hours at rd then after that the kids and DH get to wander at will and choose other stuff to do. This gets the best of both worlds as they know that they will get to return to an area later on and I get the must do stuff done before it gets busy. Make a note of your fpp times somewhere even set up an alarm on your phone with them incase you get sidetracked. There is more to wdw than attempting to ride everything, I have thrown a TP in the bin at AK when DD wanted to ride Dino back to back at rd it made her happy, use your judgement sometimes a TP can cause a lot of stress although I wouldn't do MK without one as a guide. The other parks are easier to manage, if kids just want to stop for an ice cream then let them its a vacation and have FUN.
I took a printout but ended up that I loved the app to adjust on the fly - we wanted to add things or ditch things that kids didn't want to do that I thought they would. I would use the app again for sure. Plus there is just something fun about clicking things off your TP as your go.
One of the best (even though simple) tip I got from these forums was to do a screenshot of your FPP and ADRs each night/morning and make it the lock screen image for your phone every day. Then just a quick look and you are reminded vs having to open the app and drain your phone.
Others have mentioned but I can't emphasize this enough:
IT IS DISNEY WORLD. Follow the principles as best you can (RD, share the TP with kids so they're on board, etc, etc), but IF your whole TP falls apart, then just have fun. That may mean waiting three times as long as necessary because the small tyrants who rule your world HAVE to ride Buzz RIGHT NOW, or skipping 3 of your 18 "must-do" attractions altogether.
I agree with the excellent advice of our fellow liners here, BUT if at the end of the day you've all had a fun time and enjoyed it together as a family, then remember to just call it a win.
I think I am going to try the TPs for October. Printing them out so I don't have to keep looking on my phone sounds great. Also will remember to put fpp as lock screen photo. Thanks for the tips. In 2013 I didn't use TP but did look at the app for wait times.