Friday, March 4, 2011

Destination Disney: Planning

ddbutton2_thumb[2] This week’s Destination Disney theme is planning.  I will share about the planning I did for the trip we just took.  First let me note that we are Disney World veterans.  We already know about all the parks, rides, attractions, eateries, events, accommodations, etc.   So our planning does not involve as much information seeking as someone who has not been to the resort as often as we have.  Since we have “been there done that” and will likely return again many times, we don’t have to worry about doing it all or missing out on something.  Our Disney vacation style is much more relaxed.

Dh has a fancy zippered folder he loans me to hold all our travel papers.

IMG_2451 IMG_2453

Any paperwork related to our trip goes in here.  During the trip I sit down nightly with my crew and we record on that legal pad everything we did that day.  It’s a great way to relive and record memories.  I also store any receipts in the folder and sort through them when we return home.  That is super helpful not only to see exactly where our money went during the trip, but to better plan future trips.

IMG_2455 IMG_2456 I don’t plan our days in advance, but I do print up a calendar or weekly planning page to note park hours during our vacation and days that have extra magic hours for resort guests.  We can then consult this sheet and decide which park to go to on a daily basis.  I get this information from the Disney website itself and

IMG_2457 Stapled to the calendar sheet I have a list of all the rides that are open during the extra magic hours.  This really helps us decide if the extra hours are worth it or not.  For example, this past trip we had already visited Epcot and ridden the rides that are open for extra morning hours, so we chose another park for that day.  These two sheets of paper help us keep very flexible on our vacations.

IMG_2454 Do I use many books in my planning?  Nah, like I said we’ve “been there done that,” but I do like the PassPorter series and if I have some extra Amazon money I’ll buy one for a trip.  They are more than just informational, they are actual planners that you can write in and store papers and such. 

d Here’s a fun new planning tool Disney has introduced this year.  It’s a desktop vacation planner you can download at the Disney website.  You input the pertinent information about your trip and you get customized topics that are especially helpful for your situation.  It’s also a countdown clock.  The part I liked the best?  It tells you what the weather currently is in Disney World.  Man, during this past winter it really made us excited to see sunshine and 70degrees somewhere lol.

I mentioned before and I have to say it is the #1 resource for our Disney planning.  The Debs and their crew are really on the ball and have super up-to-date information on the site and in the newsletter.  They even have menus and prices for most all the restaurants in the resort, so you can really nail down your food budget and make wise decisions for eating.  They also list any attractions that are closed and refurbishments that are going on in The World.  There is also a forum called WDWMagic that is very interesting to peruse before a trip.  You can get up-to-the minute crowd counts and weather reports from people who have visited the park recently (like that day lol.)  Plus people post trip reports, which are always fun to peruse.

There you have a glimpse of my planning strategies for Disney World trips.  While I don’t advocate making such detailed plans as to inhibit the spontaneity, magic and just plain fun of a Disney vacation, it is true that the planning process can be just as pleasurable as the trip itself (and certainly last longer lol.)  Thanks to Heidi for hosting Destination Disney.


  1. Awesome post, Julie! I wasn't aware of the desktop planning tool that Disney has introduced. I'll have to check that one out. Looks neat!

  2. OH, wow! You fit in so well with the rest of us born-planners! :) Great post!


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