Do any of you feel like it’s harder to plan for a trip after you’ve been quite a few times? The first two trips as a family with kids it was all new and I was clueless, the next couple of trips we knew what we still wanted to do and had young kids/toddlers, but now the possibilities are endless and this forum presents them ALL. We typically go every 1.5-2 years with our family for 7-9 days (7 park days). This will be our 7th trip next year and I am having a hard time planning park days and a mix of new and old favorites (rides and dining) and whether to do special events or not. And how much down time to plan as we have “done” WDW a few times and maybe don’t want to go-go-go but maybe we do. I feel like I could make 1000 different plans, most as good as the others, and I am paralyzed with the options. Anyone else? How do you decide?
Luckily after my May adults trip, I will have 9+ months to plan our spring trip. Thinking ahead but not thinking ahead.
Well, while it is in my nature to sort of hyper plan things, I have found that vacations can be ruined, or at least be less fun, by being too focused on a plan.
So, while the planning up front is still there, I prefer NOT to be tied to any kind of plan once there on site. For example, while we did pick out each FPP carefully, etc., once we were there, we did not feel obligated to use them…and once we did, we didn’t rush to get any additional even with the DME app at our fingertips. So what if we didn’t get through as many rides or had to wait longer than we necessarily could have, there was something about just letting it all unfold naturally that made the vacation more relaxing and enjoyable.
I’m still of a mixed mind about using the Touring Plans plan for our next trip because I know myself and know I’d start going, “But, the plan says we should ride Dumbo NOW,” while my wife is trying to hold my hand and just sit and relax while we people watch. (Not that I’d ride Dumbo…that’s just the first thing that came to my mind for some reason.)
So, my wife and I have vowed to keep the pre-planning of our days at the marks to an absolute minimum. A few ADRs and the FPP choices. Otherwise, we will just let things flow naturally.
Back in the good old days, before the FP was created by Disney, that’s how things were…and truthfully it was far more enjoyable back then. (Not that it isn’t still enjoyable…but I guess I mean a RELAXED enjoyable.)
This is actually one of the reasons I love going to WDW so much. I enjoy the planning almost as much (maybe secretly more? ) than the going. With all the seemingly thousands of options of things to do and see it feels like I can plan something totally different each time we go.
As to how do you decide? Even as I’m planning this trip I’m already thinking of how I’ll do the next trip differently. Lol.
No! I’m actually finding it easier. Because I know I’ll be back I feel less pressured to do everything in one trip. We always make sure to do our very favorites and we try to work in something new each time
You know, I think that kind of thought is actually what as led us to NOT do some of the things we could otherwise do. I mean, okay, we may not experience THIS time, but we’ll do it next time. But next time, we do our usual things we know we like and never make it to again.
Our 25th Anniversary trip is, for us, an intentional attempt to make sure we have some new experiences, including doing more TS eating, which we have historically neglected!
and you have to schedule time for laundry on your trip, right?
I agree that we anticipate that we will be back (God willing) so we don’t have to everything or never do it. For those that go multiple trips a year, I see scheduling down time and not doing “everything” but it is hard to decide for multiple but infrequent trips. Every time we go the kids are at different ages and stages. Do you have resort days? Spend time doing non-park activities (DS, which we enjoyed but was a huge time requirement)? Early evenings?
Interesting how you didn’t copy and respond to the second part of my post, which was that we always do our favorites and work in a few new things each time
Yep, that is where I am now with my may adults trip and my spring family trip. But how, that is the question!
Laundry always happens on resort day, and then again on departure day super early in the morning before my family gets up. I suppose it’s scheduled, but it lives in a permanent place on my spreadsheet so only kind of
Also, we don’t spend very much time at all at Disney springs. It would be nice to have the opportunity to have a full day and or evening there, but thus far it’s not a priority for our family. I expect as the kids get older that may change
That being said, I did enjoy a lovely time at Disney springs during my solo trip wherein I spent the evening with friends there
Oh, I wasn’t trying to counter your point at all…only that I’ve found that for US, that same thinking ends up resulting in us NOT doing new things. I didn’t mean, in any way, to impugn that way of thinking for YOU.
Granted I haven’t been near as many times as most around here. This trip will just be our 3rd. So, thus far it has been pretty easy to kind of have a new theme each time. Our first trip was commando style touring with no breaks, QS meals only, and was just our family of four. Second trip was similar touring but we took other friends and family with us and that made it a whole new ballgame. This time the intent of our trip is to slow down and have a nice meal each day, so we are planning all new places to eat. Next time we go we already know that we want to wait and save a little more so that we can upgrade to a moderate resort and as a result we will build in more resort time away from the parks.
I’m sure after we’ve been a dozen times there may not be as many new ways to change things up, but for now it feels new each time.
I think knowing more is super helpful! For example, I VERY rarely optimize anymore. I know most of the relative wait times and where I want to be at what times of the day so I’ll move things here and there in TPs and just evaluate. I also agree with everyone else that it helps to know what is skippable!
I feel like knowing the ins and outs of Disney is important but knowing your family is so helpful too! For instance, I took my DS1 on his first trip and we weren’t sure what time we would be able to get up and out with him in the mornings. So I built 2nd and 3rd backups into our TPs so that we wouldn’t be completely thrown off with a late start. These came in super helpful when we learned he was kind of too big for the Pack N Play and had trouble sleeping so we slept in a little bit.
So, for those of you expert planners how would you schedule a week trip–Sat arrival mid-day and Sat departure late morning. Will have 7-d tix without hoppers unless I find a specific reason to get them. We eat 1 TS dinner every day and then once (maybe twice) a breakfast TS as well. I don’t need to know what attractions to do and how to structure days, I’m just more interested in how you set up your days like Day one, arrival early dinner, bed; Day two, MK RD, afternoon break, monorail resort dinner, early night; Day 3 AK RD to close; Day 4 relax at resort, etc. I need some examples for me, DH, and kids 17, 14, 9, and 8.
We’re planning our 3rd big trip for this August. 7 nights, Thursday to Thursday. Late afternoon arrival with dinner at one of the resorts. We got 6 day park hopper plus tickets. Our kids are 12 and 14 so we’re not planning afternoon breaks. We’ll rope drop each park one day and plan to stay until the fireworks each of those days. On the other two days we are planning a slightly later start at one of the water parks and then a couple of hours at MK one day and AK the other day in the afternoon. Then a 7pm dinner and back to the resort.
We generally have TS dinner each day, hopping over to Epcot a few times to enjoy world showcase. We are also having a TS breakfast at Kona Cafe on our departure day before heading out.
Our late start days will be days 2 and 5 of the park days.
Here is how we did our recent trip, kids are 14 and 16. Trip number 6 for them in the past 7 years. 8 day non-hoppers, staying at AKL.
Day 1: arrival from West coast about 4:30pm. Up at 3:30am west coast time. Checked into AKL and then went to AK from 7-10pm. Dinner at Satu’li Canteen. In bed by midnight.
Day 2: AK, was planning to arrive by 7:45am, but the time change is hard so we are in the gates about 8:30am. Brunch at TH at 10:30. Break at hotel for a few hours mid-afternoon. Dinner at Jiko at 5:30 then bus back to AK. Saw ROL and stayed until close (10 pm). Bed by 11:30 or midnight.
Day 3: HS, arrived at 8:15am for 9am open. Mama Melrose at 11:30. Break in afternoon at AKL, back to park and dinner at Sci-Fi. fantasmic that night, back to hotel at park close.
Day 4: sleep in day. Arrived at Epcot at noon, lunch at Chefs de France, stayed until close (9pm). Bed by our usual 11:30 or midnight.
Day 5: Easter at MK. At park by 7:30am for 8am open. Lunch at LTT, afternoon break. Back to park by 5, quick service dinner and HEA dessert party. Stayed until 10 or 11pm, cannot remember for sure.
Day 6: sleep in, arrive at AK around 10am. Yak & Yeti for lunch, left park around 6. AKL for a bit then went to DS to shop and eat at Homecoming. Bed by 11:30 or midnight.
Day 7: Arrive to EP by 7:30 for 8am Garden Grill. Stayed until early afternoon, break at AKL, back to parks around 6, dinner at Via Napoli at 7. Stayed until 10:30 or 11 (EMH that night).
Day 8: Sleep in, pack up to check out. Sanaa for lunch after checkout, then to MK. Stayed until 9pm or so, then moved to Universal hotel for the next part of trip.
This trip was the perfect balance of rest for us. Many years we do not take any days to sleep in, and then we are tired. Coming from the West coast we don’t have too much trouble getting up in the morning, but it is hard to go to sleep before 11pm or so. Early nights don;t work for us, so every few days we need a sleep in day. Worked perfectly, no complaints on the days we had to get up early knowing they could sleep in every couple of days.
We just did our first trip after usually going to DL. Prob won’t get back to FL for at least 2 years, maybe 3. usually do 3-4 days at DL. we were at wdw for 7 with 6 park days. I feel like I learned so much, both about scheduling and how we like to do the parks. Can’t wait to take what we learned and tweak it for our next trip. Slightly later start each day (move FPP back by an hour or so), don’t plan so much per day, we did most of it, but were rushed, add an extra day so we have a full sleep in/resort day in the middle. Among other things…
Sounds like a good mix of relaxing and touring. We have never done mid-day breaks so something to consider but we’ve also never been in hot weather.
We started with midday breaks when our kids were little and we first went to DL. They are older but it still works for us. Since we are west coasters, the time difference is a real thing. I think parkhoppers make the breaks easier, since we’re already leaving and going back. Location matters too. We stayed at BW, so walking to 2 parks. Some days we did MK 9-2, break, Epcot for dinner, and late rides at HS
We took midday breaks when our kids were smaller. Now that they’re tween/teen age they don’t always do as well with RD and need a midday break if we go. It has been working well for us to have some later starts, too, in which case we don’t break and stay late.