ProphetPaul’s Planning Process - Part 5 – ADRs

2019 Feb 27 - Part 4 – The Grandparent Parlay
2019 Feb 4 - Part 3 – Plan 2.0
2019 Jan 17 - Part 2 – “Perfect” Plan(s)
2019 Jan 10 - Part 1 – Proposal
2019 Jan 4 - Paul’s Dream is Renewed
2018 Oct 11 - A Dream Delayed

Quick Overview:
The Dates: Oct 26 – Nov 3 (8 nights split between Boulder Ridge and Boardwalk Villas)
The Cast: Me, DW, DS4 (DS5 on 11/12), DS3, DD1, GG/PP (DW’s parents 1st half of trip), and GM/GP (my parents 2nd half of trip)
The Stage: 3.5(ish) days MK + MNSSHP, 1.5 days EP, 1 day AK, 1 day HS
The Plot: ProphetPaul’s once-in-a-lifetime trip to celebrate DS3’s Cancer victory

ADR day really snuck up on me! Life has been exceptionally hectic for me the last few months, but I won’t bore you with the details. I just wanted to share briefly my ADR mastery.

As I scrambled to organize my plans last week, it became obvious that there were too many variables to have a single, solid plan by the time I would be booking ADRs. Will later-than-normal bedtimes be doable for DS4/DS3? Multiple or single nap routine for DD1? Will GG/PP and GM/GP tolerate very early mornings? How will SW:GE change things? And on and on. I ultimately decided that on each day of the trip, I needed a backup to give us flexibility until we decided for sure what we want to do (or at least plan to do).

There were about a dozen ADRs on my wish list:

  • Chef Mickey’s for early breakfast (7AM) to get into MK early for RD
  • HEA Dessert Party for convenience of the garden viewing area
  • Tony’s for VIP parade package
  • Be Our Guest for dinner to meet the beast; aimed for 5:55 on party night (on night we’re not going), with idea of extending our time in MK
  • Tusker House for ROL VIP package; aimed for 10:30 for breakfast/lunch switch over
  • 1900 Park Fare for breakfast, then monorail to Epcot
  • Biergarten and Via Napoli for fun Epcot meals
  • Hollywood & Vine for the Fantasmic! VIP package
  • Garden Grill breakfast to RD Soarin’
  • Artist Point for dinner; DS4/DS3 love Snow White / 7D
  • CRT for the grand finale dinner
  • Cape May Café for brunch on last day to say farewell to Minnie and co; also refueling after half marathon

What I ended up doing in most cases was booking the same thing multiple days in a row so I could swap my days around if needed. In other cases, I booked the same thing but at different times (e.g., breakfast at 0700, 0730, and 0800) to give us some wiggle room on exact timing. I know, shame on me for my ADR hoarding. I promise it won’t last long.

The process of figuring out these continencies forced me to think pretty hard about our itinerary, and I’ve come up with something that I feel pretty good about for now. So even though I initially booked a ridiculous number of ADRs (42 to be exact!), many of them will be canceled soon. I just need to discuss my ideas with family to make sure everyone’s on board. I will probably end up with 10-12 ADRs in my final plans.

Well, I don’t want to get too into the weeds about ADRs or itineraries since they will most certainly change, so I’ve just posted screenshots of everything below. Really, I just wanted to gloat about my absurd abundance of ADRs and show off my beautiful spreadsheets :laughing:. Actually, my itineraries are created in Powerpoint, which I like because it’s more of a “canvas” that I can move things around on without the constraints of rows and columns. It also gives me the option to move things “off” the page. I do this if I want to see something, but not on the actual itinerary (like alternative plans or just some general notes). For now, my “detailed itinerary” is extremely messy. It will probably make your head spin and eyes cross. Over the next few months it will get cleaned up and look more like the simple version, just with FPs and other details.

A quick note about the itinerary – I know some of you will say I’m going to run my kids ragged. You might be right. So, I’m trying for activity-packed mornings, long afternoon breaks, and flexible evenings. I have tentatively booked some late activities, like HEA dessert party and MNSSHP. I’m taking a gamble on those. I should have a better idea of what my kids can handle in the fall.

Without further ado…

ADR Mastery

"Simple" Itinerary
Explanation/Legend from a previous post

Detailed Itinerary

I’ve also included links to the files in case anyone wants them (I know they’ve been requested before). If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Files for Download

Some of the formatting looks screwy on Dropbox, so I recommend downloading the files.

ADR Spreadsheet

Simple itinerary

Detailed itinerary

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Wow , I am impressed. I am with you Marathon mornings. But with my group if I let them back to the resort they get to relaxed and don’t want to return.

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My ADR day is 5/31 and I’m pretty sure I will have a similar number. My current spreadsheet with all the back ups has 51 potential ADRs. We are there for 10 days with the DxDDP (for 3 people, shared by 5). We will end up with at least 16 ADRs. I plan to do some fine tuning and reduce that 51 by quite a bit, but it will still be a ridiculous number! I just don’t know how else to do it with so much up in the air…EMMs, DAH, Dessert Parties, SWGE. It’s a little unfair that Disney opens these reservation windows before they even have park hours posted, much less special events scheduled.

Oh wow, we should start a leader board for the biggest ADR “hoarders” :joy: Good luck to you!

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This is awesome! I really admire your organization. We want to take both sets of grandparents on our next trip at the end of 2020. They’re friends so I was planning to ask them both for the whole trip. Too hard to coordinate a 5 day trip to cover all the things they’d each want to do if they weren’t there the whole time. Did you have any issues with that?

Our parents aren’t necessarily “friends”, but they get along great for short periods of time. However, for several reasons we ultimately decided it would be best for everyone to split up the trip the way we have.

As for planning… DW’s parents just went to WDW last year with her sister and her family. So, they’ve told me to plan whatever WE want to do - they are just along for the ride. My parents (2nd half of trip) have never been, so I had originally planned to show them as much as possible in their 3-4 days without too much overlap from the first half of our trip (for our sake). The one thing they will miss is Animal Kingdom. The major repeat for us will be Fantasyland in MK, which I’m okay with. We’ve also decided to do the MNSSHP with my parents since DW’s did that last year. I’m not sure what our touring plan will look like for that, but there will probably be a lot of repeat during that time as well. So, I’ve built all our redundancy into Magic Kingdom.

Sorry for the rambling. I need my coffee…

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No, your rambling is great. And MK redundancy is the best kind! We did lots of repeats in January with our toddler. My parents took my brother and I to MK once when we were pretty young and DH’s parents have never been, so I guess our plan is to do all the things. I really want to start grilling them about their must dos already but DH won’t let me even mention the trip to his parents until we’re less than a year out. :roll_eyes:

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So, it should go without saying that the EEMH announcement changed my plans a bit. Fortunately, the ADR situation didn’t change too much. The only PPO breakfast I had was GG in Epcot on a non-EMH day, which is still a non-EMH day (at this time at least). Feels like I dodged a bullet there.

Update on ADRs and my plan below. I don’t expect anyone to read this, I’m just writing it all out in hopes of some catharsis from a personal s*storm I’m dealing with.

Oct 26 (Arrival + MK)

  • 4-5PM(ish) arrival
  • Setup/activate AP, TiW, DAS, SotMK, get “First Visit” buttons
  • Meet Mickey & Minnie
  • Casey’s and poporn cart for dinner/snacks (get popcorn buckets!)
  • First Disney rides: Carousel and IASW
  • 7:30 HEA Dessert Party

Oct 27 (MK)

  • 7AM – RD Peter Pan, Pooh, maybe something else we can fit in during EEMH; I know this will be difficult after HEA the night before, but we are all early birds and its the first park day, so I think we have a shot
  • 8AM? “Let the Magic Begin”
  • Under the Sea + Meet Ariel, Mickey’s Philharmagic, Hall of Presidents (short nap for kids?)
  • Snacks and potty break
  • RS Splash + Tom Sawyer Island (short nap for kids?)
  • 11:20 DD1’s 1st haircut @ Harmony Barber Shop + Main St. Philharmonic / Dapper Dans
  • 12:20 ADR at Tony’s w/ parade VIP package
  • Parade
  • 3-5PM Naps & Rest @ WL/BR
  • Geyser Point for dinner
  • 6PM(ish) Campfire & Smores @ WL

Oct 28 (AK)

  • 7AM – RD Na’vi River and Safari
  • FOP for adults (if FPs), Gorilla Falls then Discovery Island trails for kids, setup Wilderness Explorers
  • Snacks and potty break
  • Tough to Be a Bug, Meet Mickey/Minnie
  • 10:20 ADR at Tusker House w/ ROL dining package (hopefully get seated in time for breakfast buffet, and get the lunch buffet after)
  • FOTLK
  • 1-4PM Naps & Rest @ WL/BR
  • Nemo Musical (last show @5PM), then dinner @ Flame Tree
  • FOP/EE for adults (if FPs), and Boneyard for kids
  • 7:30 ROL (VIP seating) and TOL Awakenings

Oct 29 (MK)

  • 7AM – RD 7DMT and other Fantasyland stuff we can during EMH; this will probably get scratched if we do ROL the night before
  • Jungle Cruise, POTC, Tiki Room, Magic Carpets
  • Snacks and potty break
  • Swiss Family Treehouse, BTMRR, and Splash (if DS4 wants to ride again)
  • 11:35 ADR at Chef Mickey’s
  • 1-4 PM Naps & Rest @ WL/BR
  • Beauty & the Beast Evening: ETWB, Gaston’s Tavern, etc. then 5:50 ADR at BOG

OCT 30 (Epcot) – move from WL/BR to BWV today

  • 8:00 ADR at 1900 Park Fare
  • 10(ish) arrival @ Epcot – Nemo attractions, SSE, Meet Mickey, and Agent P Signup
  • 12:30 ADR at Biergarten
  • Walk clockwise around WS (so skipping Mexico, Norway, China) and hopefully kids nap in strollers
  • 5:50 ADR at Via Napoli; we may cancel this on-the-fly if no “stroller naps” occur and we just want to go to BWV when our room is ready

OCT 31 (HS)

  • ? 6AM visit SW:GE ? (I may do this with my dad, but not the kids)
  • 8AM(ish) Toy Story Land and Frozen sing-a-long
  • Snacks and potty break
  • Beauty and the Beast and Little Mermaid shows
  • 12:35 ADR at Hollywood & Vine w/ Fantasmic! VIP package
  • 2-6PM Naps & Rest @ BWV + Boardwalk Halloween events
  • Lightning McQueen show
  • Fantasmic! (VIP seating)

Nov 1 (Epcot & MNSSHP)

  • 8:00 ADR at Garden Grill + RD Soarin’ and LWTL
  • Finish up FW (SSE, M:S)
  • Snacks and potty break
  • Norway: FEA, Kringla Bakeri for lunch, Meet Anna and Elsa?
  • China and Mexico
  • 1-4PM Naps & Rest @ BWV
  • MNSSHP

Nov 2 (MK)

  • 9AM arrival (I’m running W&D 10k this morning, so 9AM is probably a stretch)
  • Tomorrowland & Casey’s for lunch
  • 12-4PM Naps & Rest @ BWV
  • 4:35 ADR at CRT
  • Final rides at Disney (FPs for PPF, 7DMT, iasw)
  • 7:30 HEA Dessert Party; only if DW decides to repeat this with my parents, I’ll be going back to room, running the W&D Half Marathon the following morning
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This entire thread makes me feel so under-planned. 28 days is enough time to figure it all out, right? Right?

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Don’t worry about it too much, a close friend of mine took their kids to WDW last year without planning much beyond a few ADRs and they had a great time. Planning is just a core part of my personality, and I love building out spreadsheets and analyzing things in extreme detail. In my mind, I’m striving for perfection, or at least optimization. But my plans change all the time, so I’m obviously not achieving much. :slight_smile:

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Everytime I look at my plans they change.

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It’s just part of being a Liner :slight_smile:

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What do you call yourself if you check for wait times, FP availability, and attraction closures now but you are still 75 days out. I tell my kids I am looking for patterns that might affect our trip. image

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I’d skip this on the morning on your first full day if you would like your kids to fall in love with Disney World … only 1/2 joking.

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LOL! I’ve been waiting for you to come here and tell me that I’ve packed too much into my days! I’m hoping Hall of Presidents will put my boys to sleep for a few minutes so they can make it to the parade without meltdowns. We shall see… If nothing else, HoP is a good time filler on my TP to give us some flexibility that morning.

I’ve mentioned that part enough on your other iterations that you know my feeling on it. In all seriousness, I just want you and your family to have an awesome time whether you get to everything in your plan or only half of it, and to the extent my experience from last fall with my DD3 and DS1 can help toward that goal, I was sharing what I learned. Seeing my kids at Disney World for the first time last fall was awesome … I can’t wait to go back this fall.

Also, so fun that you will get to see SW:GE with your Dad. I am a huge SW fan, but we are going to skip SW:GE this fall because of the kids. Maybe we will go to SW:GE the following year.

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This is all I really care about. I can’t wait!

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While I tend to agree with @davej’s assessment that the plans are packed, I do know that there was no way you could’ve convinced me to choose ahead of time what to abandon & what to count on.

(Who knew that my kids would fall in LOVE with play area at the exit of Mission Space & that I’d feel like the worst parent ever dragging them out of there when I felt an hour was more than sufficient so I could take them to go finish my collection of photos of them in front of the Flower & Garden Topiaries).

But even though we really only followed the plan about 50% of the time and left without doing a lot of what I had spent detailed time planning, we had a fantastic vacation & left with amazing memories & hopes & expectations already formulating for a return trip.

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inpressive. well at least our families might be able to meet on the 27th…only days/parks we overlap… i thought my 20 adrs were a lot

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Fair point. I rode the carousel many, many more times last visit than I ever planned or expected last visit.

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