Planners vs. Booking trips after 180 days?

Hi, we are going to Disney World the week before TSL opens. Our crowd calander numbers keep going down. I talked with someone from work who claimed to be going to DW the same time as me and hadn’t booked anything yet?!? It made me wonder as the people who are not organized early planners don’t post much on here, what % of people book trips after the 180 day mark?? Hard for me to imagine the trip without charts, graphs, and PPO breakfast reservations at this point. Is it possible bc of TSL opening the week after we go that people will book then or shift their trip?


One time I was going through the FastPass line for Peter Pan’s Flight and a guy in the standby line asked me how I got in this faster line.

Some people just don’t know any better and don’t do the research.

1 Like

I think there are a lot more people like that than there are like us. I hear often about people planning to go to WDW who haven’t done anything to date and the travel dates are, IMO, just around the corner. The difficult thing is that, especially right now with so many hotel rooms out of inventory, those people may find they have a hard time getting what they want when they finally get down to brass tacks about it.


For example, just now on Chat is a user who is wanting to know which parks to do on which days THIS WEEK with her 4yo.

This kind of thing makes my planner heart go into arrest


I often talk to people who take trips to Disney without much planning. They are the ones that usually complain that the park is too crowded, that they didn’t get to ride many rides and that they didn’t eat anywhere decent. Of course, they went without ADRs, FPPs or TPs.

I am definitely a planner, but our crazy hectic life makes it difficult to plan at the 180 day mark so we rarely get the chance to plan that far ahead. Last summer I made the impulsive decision to take a trip just 20 days out. Thanks to lots of planning in the past and the reservation finder on TP we got every ADR we wanted (even BOG) and all the FPP we wanted (except FOP–which we still ended up riding twice).

1 Like

I’m a compulsive planner. We still book trips after the 180 day mark (our upcoming April trip is one example) but as soon as we’ve booked I’m in full planning mode, stalking any ADRs which aren’t immediately available and planning our FP+ bookings with military precision.

DH’s step sister took her family to WDW for the first time last year. We see a fair bit of each other, and they obviously know we go a lot. I tried giving her as much information as possible from the moment they told us they’d booked (about18 months out), especially about ADRs and FPs. When we saw them just a few weeks before their trip she thanked me profusely for “all my help” because without it she wouldn’t have made an ADR at T-Rex. That was the only one she’d made. My DH had to pull me away at that point, before I went into full panic mode on her behalf… We met up with them again a few weeks after their trip. Our daughter (then 3yo) was asking her girls (aged 7 and 9) if they went on Na’Vi, 7 Dwarfs Mine train, Frozen… The answer every time was no, they couldn’t get Fastpasses. It was quite funny, because I don’t think it ever even occurred to our daughter that it was a possibility not to have Fastpasses for those rides, since we always have them…! :joy:


My first proper trip was last year. The idea to go to WDW came to me on 12th May (I know this because I had lunch with someone that who put the idea into my head) and I arrived at MK on 24th August. That’s 104 days. I didn’t start my countdown until 77 days.

I’m a control freak by nature, so the idea of planning the trip came fairly quickly and naturally to me, but it was only when I started reading the Ultimate Guide and when I joined this site that I realised what a big, complicated job it was.

I was greatly helped by a frequent poster to these boards who gave me 60 days access to FPPs. I booked and changed those and my ADRs probably 100 times each. But, despite the short lead time, I got everything I wanted: I got BOG, CRT, 7DMT, FOP, etc. I was very persistent, checking availability multiple times per day.

This time round the idea to return occurred to me on 3rd February, and my first day at WDW is 25th June — a lead time of 142 days. It’s taken me two weeks to come up with a plan I think I’m happy with. I’ve got (almost all of) the ADRs I want and I know what FPPs I’m shooting for when my 60 day window opens.

I am actually thinking about my next trip. In April 2019 I’ll be 50 and I want to do something special for that. I’ve got 429 days to plan that trip! Whether it will be WDW remains to be seen . . .

1 Like

I completely want to have the 180 days to plan but if given an opportunity to take a trip with less days of planning I would jump on it. With that being said those of us prefer planning know what needs to be accomplished in those shorter amount of days.

1 Like

I am a planner by nature but didn’t have a 180 window. We travel a lot and I LOVE trip planning but haven’t done a WDW trip with our 6 year old (and I haven’t been in 30 years). About 2 months ago, my husband booked a work trip to Orlando which happens to coincide with a school break. We booked the trip at 57 days out. I dove in and we are going later this week. We secured a room at AKL, have what seem to be the most in demand FPs (aside from FOP), and and have PPO dining reservations at the 3 parks we are attending (BOG, Tusker House, and Akershus). I have a couple of touring plans for each day so if crowds are bonkers we can shift to a plan with fewer to-dos. I have notes about QS restaurants where we can online order to save time. I knock on wood as I type this but I feel like we are in pretty good shape. We’ll see how things go. I’m commenting on this thread because I feel like this experience of planning a trip with less notice was probably good for my super-planner self. I don’t feel disappointed about not getting specific things and instead feel excited to have secured what I could.

But…if it sounds like I have neglected something major, I’m hoping you pros will let me know what I should scramble to do in the next few day : )


I’m also a believer in good planning and it’s definitely needed at WDW and still boggles my mind that people wing it or have very little clue on what it takes for the planning. With all the information available beyond TP it’s hard to imagine anyone would just wing it. But there are far more than you we think in this world that are just book it and go types.

One other point I would like to make too. Disney is really pushing the FPP system and making that a go to must have for many rides. We see the FPP lines growing right? Most people are aware of them or will be before long

I am planning a trip for February 2019. Although there aren’t any packages available yet I’m still working on whether I want to do base tickets or hoppers, whether I want to go to another moderate or Pop, whether we want to go to Epcot for a half day or full day, whether I want to use MVT or do it all myself! This past trip was the 1st of February and I booked it and started planning it July 2017. It’s an obsession I think but I guess there could be worse things to obsess about. I just feel like when I’m spending this much hard earned money that I want to get the most out of it. We went for 5 nights this last trips and our next one will be 7 nights, two more nights to plan.

Also, the other week at MK I had a guy ask me what my Magic Band was! You know he is waiting in some long lines lol

I also feel like people do not realize how big WDW is and how much planning is really needed! At least some planning. I couldn’t imagine showing up for a trip with no FPs or ADR scheduled and try to get them!

I’m a total crazy planner but its probably only 50% of the time that we actually book that far out. You can still have a great plan and score lots of good ADRs even with trips planned less far out. Booking less than 60 days out is way more tricky. I’ve almost always been able to get the ADRs we have wanted just by using the ADR finder and checking on my own regularly.

1 Like

According to The Unofficial Guide, only 2% of Disney goers have been exposed to their business, and less than that actually follow a plan.
We are a niche group here, and most people who visit Disney just show up expected a magical time. We know that it takes a lot of work to have fun!

You can totally do WDW on short notice. But I would never do it if there were less than 30 days… 60, if I was staying on site. Those FPPs are just too valuable.

If you want certain ADRs, yes, you have to do the 180 day thing, but most have seatings at reasonable times even within the 30 days.

All that said, I’m experienced at WDW. I know what my family likes and what needs to be added into the plan and what needs changing from last time due to park changes, so short notice doesn’t bother me. And I am familiar with the TP software and know how to get around it’s shortcomings (save, save and then copy and save if you’re planning any test changes). But if I was new to all this, I’d definitely want some time to get my bearings and do the planning that is needed for WDW.

I do remember telling one lady that she could book FPPs on line and it was within the 30 days before her trip. She shrugged and replied, ‘yeah, I guess I should get on that.’ Some people just don’t see that as important.

Been to DL 4x in last 12 years. Going to WDW for first time in April. I’ve always used ridemax and made a few ADR ahead of time to be safe. Booked resort in October and made a few ADR, but hard to know that many months ahead of time where I wanted to be and when. Started doing research/planning and by the time I knew what I really wanted (BOG), it was way too late. Kids friend went a couple years ago with little planning and warned her to have ADR or we wouldnt eat anywhere we wanted to. But I do have 2 Beaches and Cream ADR for a 6 day trip. LOL

We usually book at 190 days or so out so I am ready for ADRs at 180–we usually need two rooms and have a party of 6 for dining. The adult-only trip I am planning now was booked about 90 days out and it was stressful to think about but with only a party of two it has been pretty easy to plan. Just heard today that my SIL is taking her DH, her 3 grandkids, and their friend to Disney for two days this week–not sure which parks to go to yet on which day??? They are just walking up to the gate, buying a 2-day ticket and heading in. My heart cannot take it and I won’t even be there! But they didn’t want any advice. Eeeek. I’ve already started tentatively looking at dates and resorts for my spring 2019 trip!


BOG is one of only a few restaurants that book up quickly at the 180-day window. You honestly can get ADRs at the vast majority of WDW restaurants even 30 days out… But BOG is one that is in high demand and books up quickly.

As I mentioned in my Fast Pass lament, I actually miss the days when a WDW trip didn’t require hyper planning like it does today. We are hyper planners, but I’ve also grown to recognize that without the hyper planning required, Disney would be even more fun.

Of course, part of the fun of Disney is the planning for it…but once I arrive at the parks, I hate the undercurrent of pressure I feel at times from the FP+ system. I also feel it is unfair for those who don’t know about the importance of the FP, etc.

I do try my best to help those who are planning a trip to WDW who have never been, though. I feel it is my duty (in a sense) to educate them on preparing for the best experience possible!

I’ve always been obsessional about planning — even on regular holidays I’ve bought all the guide books and figured out what I want to see and when. But WDW takes it to a whole new level. I break down each day into 15 minute blocks.

I have mixed feelings about the process. I do gain some satisfaction from my planning. I was pretty proud of last year’s spreadsheet which was arguably the most complex thing I’ve ever project managed. And the planning certainly paid off, if only because of the deep level of knowledge it gave me.

Yet I also find it colossally stressful. My UOR days are so much simpler.

One of the best holidays I ever had was a short break to Chicago in the mid 1990s. Back then it wasn’t really a tourist destination so there were no guidebooks and I could do no planning. On the first day I took a bus from my hostel in the suburbs and got off the bus when I thought we were probably in the city centre. As it turned out I was one block across from the top of Michigan Avenue. When I turned and looked along its length I thought “wow!” I felt like I had discovered Chicago and I have really fond memories of that trip.

Incidentally, here’s the current state of play of my plan for my upcoming trip. I’m at 126 days so obviously I haven’t booked my FPPs yet.


Thanks to TP reservation finder, I just got lunch ADR for BOG at 49 days :slight_smile: