How do you vacation?


As I was reading Bella’s fabulous trip report (thanks Bella for having so much fun)… I was thinking about how different her vacation was from mine.

We go the same time every year( with two kids), and then we have a plan for what parks we are going to each day (I go by the crowd schedule-so it is the same pattern each year). Once we are in that park, we try to see everything there… We have small kids, so we ride everything (fast and slow)-and we see characters as well as the dining plan- so it is a full day. We have to see parades as well as characters and street entertainment. It makes for a very full, but fun day.

oh yeah, I can almost tell you where every bathroom is in each of the 4 main parks too.

That being said, I have never been able to talk my husband into the water parks, etc… Maybe when the kids get older!

So, my question is-how do you vacation? Do you do commando/we are here so we might as well see everything here style, or are you more casual like Bella and others?

If you have any tips for how not to be commando, I would appreciate it! Thanks!


Our last trip we had more time to play with so we used the first half to be more casual then we just sort of kicked into “commando” when the trip was nearing the end (the last 5 days). I discussed what I wanted to do with DBF the night before each day in the park. This seemed to slow down DBF. I would, for example tell him that we WOULD be stopping to let DS get candy in a store or I WOULD be shopping for that watch that I really wanted, or we WOULD be stopping for the Pirate tutorial no matter how many people there seemed to be, or what ever. We both can have a tendancy to want to get to the next ride without relaxing & enjoying the little things that can make a trip all the more memorable. We really enjoyed ourselves more, but we also had the luxury of time. We went to Tom Sawyer’s island for the first time, last trip & DS really loved the “play & relax time”. It made for better memories. The key, for us anyway, was actually planning to relax!:laugh:


We’re past the commando days. We do get up early and hit the parks at rope drop (mostly because of the heat) and usually take a break in the afternoon and go back in the ealry evening.

We don’t do all the rides. We’ve done most if not all of them in the past and now we pick which rides we want to do. My family has favorites and we’ve been know to do them over and over and over. We only have one child and every year he has a favorite ride we have to do over and over. We’ve done rides like WEDWay, Buzz, and Laugh Floor many times in the same trip. There are other rides we almost never hit but we don’t worry about it.

We love the water parks and usually spend most of a day at one.

We do what we want when we want and don’t worry about what we don’t get done. My DH went to WDW as a child and his family still talks about how their dad made sure they did EVERY ride in the park. I don’t want our trips to be that way, I want to be more relaxed and let our day just happen.


The more we go the more we slow down and enjoy things other than the major attractions. We had a wonderful day on our last trip and didn’t do many rides.


We also want to see everything and have a list of “must do’s” but overwhelmingly we want (need) to relax. So what that means is, ADR’s are in place and we start with a plan focused around being in the right place at the right time for our meal, BUT it is a very fluid plan. If we sleep late, well, so be it, everyone will be happier anyway. If we linger at one place, then we may skip another for later. We tend to be pretty active but we try very hard to enjoy the place we are at right now, rather than focusing on getting to the next “on time”. Even down to really enjoying the surrounding when standing in line, we’ve been know of play little games, share snacks, just generally be a little silly.

Just can’t wait :mickey:


I’m a planner. Luckily DH is VERY laid back and lets me take the wheel. I usually book our next trip the day we check out from out last. This is easily done because we go at the same times each year…either the last week of May or the second of September. These work well for us because they are around DD and DS’s birthdays (May) and Free Dining (Sept).

DH and DD pick the places they would like to eat…DS is only 2 and would eat nothing but ketchup :blow: is given the option…and I work those into my park plans. We don’t park hop and all of our plans are very flexible until the park hours are released.

Once the hours are released we try to work our day around EMHs and finalize our dining options.

I use a program called Mouse Manager. This helps me plan out every part of our day. I start when we wake up and map out everything until we go to sleep.

I break the parks up into sections each day and we go to those areas. This allows us to see what we want each day without feeling the need to rush around and get fast passes from all over the parks. We usually break MK up into three days, EPCOT into two, HS one and AK one. I try to go to TL on the day that EPCOT has their EMH so we can ride a few favorties that night.

I pack everything the night before we check out so I can check our luggage at the express airport checkin while everyone is still sleeping. When everyone wakes up we have breakfast and head to DTD. The last day of each trip is spent at DTD and Disney Quest. DH and DD go to DQ while DS and I do some last minute shopping. Even before we had DS I didn’t go to DQ, I’m just not an arcade person.

We always try to get a late flight out so we have 8 or so hours in DTD before we head to the airport. This allows the children one last day with the full Disney experience we try to have a heavy dinner in DTD before we leave so everyone is full for the ride home.

I know this seems a bit obsessive, but I can honestly say that we have never had a Disney meltdown:crying: with our children. I know that not everything will go according to schedule, and we’re very open to a change of plans…BUT having two children that still need naps and are afraid of fireworks, a little extra planning lets us get them where they need to be so EVERYONE in our group has a wonderful relaxing trip:happy: .


I would say I’m personally the commando, go, go, go type of Disney vacationer BUT…I don’t always travel with like-minded travelers! So, I plan an itinerary for my Disney style and then make adjustments (except ADR’s) as we go based on how the party is responding to our tour plans and whether or not they need more rest time, etc. :slight_smile: I always plan an “off day” though where we sleep in, visit DTD, enjoy the resort, resort hop, etc. It worked great for my 1st anniversary trip with DH. He has said multiple times that he’ll never go again w/o me because it was so much better than he anticipated. He’s the “relaxed touring” type. His fave part was that my planning (knowing time of year to go and what to hit first, when to break) made it easy to walk on to all the attractions.


I used to be a WDW drill sergeant; I viewed every trip down to WDW as our last trip ever to WDW and wanted to see and do everything. I figured we could relax “some other time.”

Then we joined DVC, and it eventually clicked in my head that we were going to be visting the World almost every year. We didn’t have to do every rope drop, ride every ride, etc… It was actually a bit hard to let the commando trip style go and get some relaxation in, but it was very necessary.

Now, we have a small list of 4-7 must do attractions at each park on every trip which are easily accomplished; everything else is gravy. We do try to plan a morning park and an afternoon park, but we’ll zig if everyone else zags…or maybe we’ll even sleep in. One day is designated as a “down day” where we just enjoy the resort (WL) or shop or swim or explore.

I still keep some commando tendencies though. Maybe I won’t make rope drop, but when I’m ready to head to the parks… I’m READY :pirate: to head to the parks. When we get there, I’m the one that takes the Fastpasses and races to the #1 attraction of the day. On our last trip, I was getting antsy because we had lots of late mornings and early nights at the resort, and I started feeling that we weren’t doing enough.

Compared to what I used to be like, though, it’s night and day. One of my favorite memories from our last trip was the time I spent with my daughter reading (and napping) in the great VWL lobby area.



Well since I have been going since the park was open. I let ds and dh dictate where they want to go. The last couple of trips have been slow and relaxing. I kind of like that. When we need to pick up the pace we do. Ds has his must see’s and so do dh and I. This works well for our family.


What a great memory:happy: . We take a “down time” day too. Usually in the middle of the trip. It’s so nice to just sleep in late and relax at the POR fishing hole.


We always have a plan. We have a spreadsheet that has which parks we want to do in the morning and evening, along with any ADRs and their confirmation numbers. This goes to the parks with us.

Our first two trips, we were totally Commando. All day, all Disney, on the go, no breaks, etc. But this time, we’ve scheduled in time at the resort, time at DTD. I think we know that we will always be back and we can spend more time relaxing this next trip.

But, it always takes at least a week to recover from a WDW “vacation,” no matter what! :laugh:


I think our families would do well on a vacation together,we’re very much like you and your family. We used to view every WDW trip as our once in a lifetime trip but now we’re much more relaxed. If my son wants to do Laugh Floor 4 or 5 times we do it 4 or 5 times. If we only get 5 or 6 attractions done in one day I’m okay with that.

We never did early nights years ago, heck my first couple of trips we didn’t even take a break in the afternoons. I think we have found a nice balance, we find time to relax but still get a lot of park time in.


I think that we go at a time of year, that the weather is nice, and it is not too crowded yet, ao we can pretty much do any attraction that we want. While we are not DVC members, I do think that we may not go again for a while… so I tend to try to get to everything… For instance-we will ride COP a million and one times, because my daughter loves it, but also because I don’t know if it will be there next time.

Also, I am trying to soak up as much magic as possible… I study everything from other people to the architecture of the buildings… I really do have fun, and so does the entire family. I just can’t even make it to the hotel pool-I can do that at home… Help!


Except for our ADR’s, we plan on the fly now. We used to have a plan for every second we were there. Now when we get up (usually early) we decide what park to do and what attractions to do. If we do not get on ToT because the line is too long (not often), but we will bypass it for the next trip, as we know we will be back in a short time, and we have been on it recently. It is much more relaxed.


The more we go, the better we get at planning our trip and staying relaxed. We go with the list of A) the faves that we have to see/do regardless of weather or crowd; B) haven’t done and gotta do it this time; C) want to do if we have time; and D) eh, doesn’t matter one way or the other. We make ADRs for a few meals and plan a little around those. Then we just go with the mood of the day, EMH, and weather forecast and venture out. We had such a great trip this last time because we weren’t stressed about what to do or see. It all just fell into place. It also depends on how many days we’re there. 8 days is perfect for us.


We have the “there’s always next year” way of thinking. I know we will be back in at most a year, so we don’t feel the need to overbook our days. We get the kids silouette done every year in the MK, so even if we only have time for a long weekend trip we’re gonna go. I REFUSE to miss out on thier yearly pic. Janet Matthews is the best at those by the way!


We go comando. We are up early and they have to throw us out of the parks. We always treat each visit as if it was our last since we never know if it will be our last. DW would love for us to slow down more, and last trip we did go to the waterparks for 2 days. The kids have a blast and the look in their eyes when we walk into the parks are priceless.


We used to be park commandos but I had to force myself to slow down and take it easy while I’m there now. Although we would get in the park at 11am we would stay all day long then get up and do it again. One year we hit every park in the area including a water park; overload. Growing up a park commando made me feel that if we don’t hurry and get to the next ride we might miss something or we are wasting time; a “come on… come on… lets go” kinda mentality.

I still put together an overall loose itinerary for the trip but it can change at anytime depending on what the family wants to do that day. I use it more of a guide so we don’t forget something we might want to do. My DW has really helped me to appreciate that by taking our time and walking around, checking out the boardwalk, various resorts or shopping in the stores can all make for an incredible Disney experience too. I like the slow pace much better. I’m more relaxed and I really feel like I get the full Disney magical experience from everything, not just the rides or parks.


What a great discussion topic!

Similar to what others have said here - we used to be commandos, b/c I never knew when we would be going back.

I went 3 or 4 times as a kid, and then not again until I was 23 years old, in 2003. So when I went back the first time, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

We had such a blast, and I was hooked on the magic all over again, and realized how affordable going to Disney could be.

But didn’t know when we’d get back. So we crammed it all into 4 days like super-commandoes!

So when we returned in 2005, we were commandoes, again thinking it’d be years until we got back.

In 2006, we were commandoes because we went with 2 people who hadn’t been in years either.

In 2007 we were getting married there and were there for close to 2 weeks, but were still commandoes, although we did have a number of wonderfully relaxed days too. Always thinking we don’t know when we’ll get back!

And then this year we went in January with Mike’s mom, ebcause she missed so much on the wedding trip.

And then we decided to join DVC in March.

So I’m really hoping that this trip coming up in October is more relaxed! Because we’ve got 45+ years worth of trips to look forward to now! :laugh:

I will say this - we are always doing the midday break, no matter when we go, with a few exceptions.

We usually get up and hit the parks shortly after opening, do a bunch of stuff, eat lunch. Then its back to the resort for a swim and a nap in the midday.

Then we head back out at night. Because for my family, Disney at night is our favourite.

It’s so neat to see how everyone else does things.


We are commandos, also. We go-go-go!! We are naturally early risers, so we are up and at the parks for rope drop, or shortly thereafter. We don’t come back to the resort to rest midafternoon, either. We usually don’t do much in the way of tours, parades, shows. It is mostly rides for us. Yes, we have ridden Splash Mountain 895 times, but we still enjoy it. Our only break is our once a day sit down table service meal, usually dinner. Our kids love it- and do a great job keeping up with us. We have always done WDW like this, even when I was pregnant and when they were babies/toddlers. They napped in their strollers when they were sleepy, got their diaper changed as needed, got fed when they were hungry, and were otherwise very content and happy.
We are especially looking forward to this year when the youngest will hopefully be 40 inches tall, and can enjoy all of the fun rides with us, instead of one of us always having to sit out with him.
We say every year we are going to slow down a little, take our time. But we never do. Probably never will, we just can’t be still long enough!
(We could probably all use a little Ritalin!!)