Are you a planner?

Discussion in 'Disney Vacation Planning & Transportation' started by Sheila Gallant-Halloran, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. Hi there - I was just updating a client's excel spreadsheet for a trip to Walt Disney World. I customize a ss showing regular park hours, "extra magic hours" for onsite guests, parades, fireworks, and shows like Fantasmic!; and then plug in dining reservations. (It's a free perk I accord my Disney clients.) However, I'm always amazed how some folks (usually those that haven't been to Disney yet) don't like to plan - they think they're going on vacation, and don't want to be tied down to be somewhere at a certain hour. I explain how Advanced Dining Reservations work, and how if you want to eat at Chef Mickey's or Cinderella's Royal Table, you can't just show up at the podium (unless you're extrememly lucky and catch a "no show" spot) - you often would have a 2-3 hour wait at most spots. WIth hungry and tired kids in tow, that doesn't work. A little advance planning will help make your vacation more fun!

    So, fellow Disney fans, are you guys planners or seat-of-the-pants kinda folks?
  2. scratch

    scratch Member

    Planner! ; I've only once flew by the seat of my pants!

    It was a quick trip, first stay at SSR and literally thru in a pair of shorts and my toothbrush into my carryon! and off we went!LOL ; Thank goodness for the Owners' Locker! ; I can do that without having to buy anything once we get there!
  3. amw

    amw Member

    HELLO ... Look at my tag line! ; ;D
  4. highland3

    highland3 Member

    In normal, everyday life I like to ad-lib and make it up as I go along. ; Even day trips can be spontaneous.


    When it comes to WDW and other travel, I spend hours doing my research and planning. ; It drives my DW nuts!!!
  5. weemcp

    weemcp Global Moderator Staff Member

    for our honeymoon we really didn't plan much - we had concierge service and when we got there we were able to have reservations made for dinner pretty much wherever we wanted without a problem.

    Lunch, we just stopped by whatever caught our eye when we were hungry and didn't have problems; had we not been able to get in we would have gone somewhere else.

    Next time we go, we'll have our LO with us, so I will definitly use the ADR's to make sure we can get into some of the character meals.....
  6. Ham Ham

    Ham Ham Member

    I usually plan the travel and accomodations. Once at WDW the Hamettes take over. Then the only hat I wear is navigator.

  7. realfam

    realfam Member

    I'm with Hamham on this topic. ; I do all the planning to get us there and our place to stay. ; After that, I just saying,"Yes dear!" ;D ;D
  8. WestWind

    WestWind Member

    Plan plan plan ... that's what keeps me going between Disney trips.

    I have my own Excel spreadsheet for the costs and options. ; I have a detailed calendar showing what we are doing each day plus travel arrangements. ; I have lists of phone numbers we may need, list of attractions that are scheduled to be closed when we are there, list of event times and park hours, packing list, reservations details, travel details, list of attractions, park maps, ................. It all goes in a binder with a park map as a cover and I take it along on the trip!
  9. deblen4

    deblen4 Member

    Definitely a planner.

    That's part of the fun of going on a trip, particularly Disney, is all of the planning, discussions, decisions on where to eat, what to do. ; I think planning makes the trip more relaxing that we know where we're going to eat. ; We can be flexible on what we do some days by being a little more flexible on what is being scheduled, maybe just plan counter service meals those days. ; Generally we know where we'll be each day and what we'll be doing. ; Everyone knows in advance so we can ensure the 'must do's' get completed. ; We usually only make a trip once per year for a week and there is no way you can see everything in that time, so you have to plan. ; I have maps and info for hotels that we will be using for park and fly and the airport layout, restaurants, and if we'll have access to wifi. ; I think it provides a more relaxing vacation because we're not standing there going whats next, and maybe have alternate plans in place in case you are tired on travel day, etc.. ; No reason to argue or disagree when we've completed all the discussion in advance.
  10. CoryTheRaven

    CoryTheRaven Member

    I try to strike a happy medium... Not that someone would be able to tell by looking at, say, my itinerary for my trip to Japan. When I'm going somewhere for a specific reason and it involves certain time constraints, tour reservations, etc., I want to make sure things run smoothly enough so that when we get there we don't have to invest too much mental and emotional energy in figuring things out. I'd rather figure out routes, train times, etc. before when I'm not doing anything else.

    However, that said, I don't know that I would plan a Disney trip down to the minute. I would make sure to make reservations at the places I know I need to (like the Blue Bayou) or for the odd special tour. If getting a spot in front of the castle for the fireworks was a priority, then we'd factor that in. Otherwise, Disneyland is a pretty open space.
  11. The only planning I do is where to eat. That will determine what parks on what days.... I do also consult crowd calendars when picking restaurants.

    Does it help.... sometimes. Do I change my mind/plan. Often.

    I say to a certain extent go with a basic plan. Leave flexibility.
  12. seems we have a lot of planners amongst us! :)
  13. Northernmouse

    Northernmouse Member

    I plan everything to do with at trip. I usually end up going with the flow but when I need it I can refer to the spreadsheet there is nothing I hate more than not knowing what to do next.
  14. Here are a couple of sub-question.

    What part of your planning is the most critical?

    How do you deal with when you plan goes a muck (i.e. you get stuck on Splash Mountain for 2 hrs)?

    Have you ever had a day that was exactly to plan?
  15. Ham Ham

    Ham Ham Member

    What part of your planning is the most critical?

    Transportation Costs, Accommodations, ADRs, getting up early and out the dorr for rope drop.

    How do you deal with when you plan goes a muck (i.e. you get stuck on Splash Mountain for 2 hrs)?

    We usually have alternate ideas for bad weather and crowds. Allthough we often travel at the end of August and hit the popular attractions early and often.

    Have you ever had a day that was exactly to plan?

    DW planned our first trip to WDW 2ith the kids in 2005 and it worked like a charm.
  16. deblen4

    deblen4 Member

    What part of your planning is the most critical?

    The most critical for me is the travel arrangements to our destination. ; Ensuring we have appropriate accommodations for pre-flight night because we like to arrive early, airport transportation, information on connecting flights (but I do prefer flying direct) and airport info for making connections. ; Then travel arrangements for getting to Disney from the airport, although the last few times it's been simplified by using Magical Express. ; I just want to get there, and I can relax about anything else that happens.

    How do you deal with when you plan goes a muck (i.e. you get stuck on Splash Mountain for 2 hrs)?
    That would be my husband's dream come true!! ; He loves that ride, but the drop terrifies me! ; You have to adjust to unexpected situations when travelling, some can be good and sometimes it's bad. ; No point in losing it over something that is out of your control, so you have to adjust your plan. ; If a situation is really distressing, then usually a 'time out' is required and that probably involves resting by the pool, not a bad compromise at Disney. I plan out our ADR's, meals, and the parks, but we have changed plans when we found an event we wanted to attend was in another park on that particular day. ;

    Have you ever had a day that was exactly to plan?
    Yes, we have had days when everything went exactly as planned, but we've had occasions when a totally messed up day became our favourite day too. We changed last minute to see the Star Tours characters at MGM when it opened and spent some awesome time with Chewbacca. When our kids were small we ran into Minnie and Mickey in what was at that time Innoventions west, but it was in a quiet area of the building and absolutely no one else was around. ; The characters played with the kids, spent time posing with them, played hide and seek and this went on for some time until they left, not scheduled but those are often the best times at Disney. ; I would have sat there as long as they wanted to stay and play.
  17. Cdn Mickey

    Cdn Mickey Member

    We like to plan our days according to the Extra Magic hours, and ADR for suppers.

    Other than that it is as the flow goes... worked in 2005 with a group of 13.
    THis time the group of 8 should be just as easy.
  18. Northernmouse

    Northernmouse Member

    For us Dining is the most critical part of planning I work our plan around ADR's.

    When the plan goes bad we just continue from where we would have been had everything gone OK. Then if time permits go back to what was missed.

    Answer to question 3. NOPE
  19. GoofySteve

    GoofySteve Member

    No question I am a Park Commando.

    Rise early, get food while others are dressing, park of the day already picked, route to get there selected. rain alternative planned. Chop, chop. Run, run, run when the rope drops.

    The DW on the other hand hates advance planning.

    We compromise in that I get to plan out the morning (which is most critical anyway) in detail while the afternoon is a little more free form. I just smile and grind my teeth as we wander around after lunch.

    I also get to plan the evening meal, do the advance reservations and plan the transportation.

    It seems to work well for us.

    Goofy Steve

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