Planning question


Ok, I have gotten the books, read many websites, etc. Now it is time to actually start planning my trip in March. This will be my first trip to WDW and it will be with a husband who doesn’t like to travel (strange, I know!!) and two small children. In other words, I need to have a plan for each park in place, including maps etc. that can be modified as things happen. I already have dinner reservations made for each day and have figured out which park I want to go to each day (no parkhopper). Everytime I start to plan, I get completely overwhelmed with information and end up putting it down. Any suggestions to getting started without having a panic attack?


I plan trips for people like you. I am not suppose to advertise on here and won’t, so pm me if you want details.


yea you can get easily overwhelmed with disney. lol! but I say think easy plan first were your gonna stay at. then you said you planned the parks you want to go to. well, if your staying on property then you can look up online the parks have the EMH and MMH so that you can enjoy that park more, if you are staying off-site well, then dont worry about that and just dont worry about the rest it will come to you as you go.


Start by getting the park hours for each park. Then see if that park is hosting Extra magic hours that day…if they are, change your plans. Parks that host extra magic hours get EXTREMELY busy after 11am. That is the time to hop out of that EMH park and you don’t have park hoppers, so AVOID extra magic hours like the plague. You then should pick the top 5 rides you want to do in each park. Plan them out according to location. You can get maps on and do this easily. Do your “must sees” first and everything after that is gravy. Smell the roses…see the parades and shows. The rides are not everything at WDW…there is just SO much more.


Well if you go on Disney’s website, you can view the maps of the parks and print them out! And to start planning your days in the parks, take it day by day, starting with the first day. Use the maps to plan your routes through the parks that coincide with your lunch/dinner reservations. So when it comes time to eat, you’re in the area of the restaurant, instead of running from one side of the park to the other. Hope this helps!!


Dana makes great plans.

I want to ask you why you aren’t using park hoppers? They really make you life so much easier should the park you’re at be too crowded, you can easily switch to another.
I tell you, this can be a life saver.


It can be overwhelming for sure. There is so much to see and do that you probably won’t get to do it all. Pick what you most want to see or do and plan around that.

I always put my plans down on a spreadsheet. I need to see it on paper and then I can make changes or rearrange to the point where I am happy.

But, remember to work in breaks for the children. It will make your trip, and their’s, much more enjoyable.


Well, 1st…relax. Chill - THIS IS VACATION!!!

Now, what type of person are you. B/C I read an article about planning for Disney that really helped me. Look at the 3 categories and where do you fall?

  1. I got to be at the opening and spend as many hours in the parks as possible. I have to ride every ride, take every tour, see everything before I leave (BTW, that just WILL NOT happen)

  2. I will get to the parks sometime before lunch and stay until we feel like it might start to get unpleasant due to kids being tired or spouse tired of lines…etc. But I know that on this day I want to do this, this, and this…For example - I am going to Animal Kingdom and I want to ride Kiliminjaro, take a Safari, and see the Little Nemo show. Ask your spouse the things they have to do while there and set those as your goals for the day - Everything else done before, after, or in between is BONUS - and there will be alot of BONUS.

  3. It’s vacation. We arrive when arrive - we leave when we leave and we see what what see. Lets just have a BLAST!!

Being that you are making dinner reservations and you do not have ParkHopper - you have to be somewhat planned. You will already know what park you will be in on what day. So you are either planning by 1 or 2. When I went I was a #2. We would wake up around 9:30 or 10:00 and would hit the parks. We had ParkHopper so there were many times we went to one park like AK in the day, go to hotel and rest and clean up, and then hit another one that night. All of this sounds like there wasn’t much planning involved…but there was.

  1. I planned to use our snacks for breakfast, our quickservice meals for lunch, and our table service for night.
  2. This in turn forced me take Dinner Reservations for nights.
  3. I then found out when and what parks had EMH for what nights
  4. I then made my dinner reservations for those places in parks having the EMH.

Besides this, we did not plan our quickservice meals. We ate when were hungry and what we were hungry for. We generally slept in a little. Our goal was to hit EVERY park and do at least 5 or 6 things that WE HAD to do, be at our dinner reservation on time, and then walk, ride, observe and watch some fireworks…and stay at the EMH as long as our kids were able to remain happy and controllable(which it was Disney, so they closed the parks down EVERY night).

We got to see and do EVERYTHING each one of us wanted to do and sometimes 2-5 times. And we had a blast.

The only time I got a little ticky was I made us go and find our place of dining as soon as we entered the park so we could get there quickly when the time came and would confirm reservations.

Sit your spouse down and pick out 5 or 6 MUST DO’s for each day. And go from there.


I make a spreadsheet for our family. For each day, I write down the park hours, firework times, EMH, etc. Then we pick where we are going to be and make ADR’s. I keep it all together and print to take along. Just go with the flow and have fun :slight_smile:


Just have fun!!!


If you don’t do anything else - DO THIS! As someone who’s used Dana’s planners for the last three trips - I can vouch that they are invaluable! (and I’ve been to WDW over 30 times). She has a way of laying things out, so simply, in an easy-to-read formula. Dana won’t advertise - but I’ll advertise for her!:happy:


Have fun and don’t rush to do everything. A common mistake that is made is not taking it all in and missing the little details of WDW.


My advice is to drink heavily.


My best advice to new travellers…Pick 2 things you would like to do and go to them first, then relax. You will see most of what you want. DON’T overplan, you will explode. I would add the park hopper for sure.

I make a chart like this to carry with me…Takes me about 15 minutes