While there is a lot to be said for saving money on your Disney vacation, saving time….and making the most of the time you do have…..is also important. As the saying goes “time is money” so doing some planning in advance can go a long way towards making the most of your time when you get to the parks.
Which means you want to make some sort of itinerary….what you plan to do each day. With a good itinerary, you can do a lot in one day of touring, but at the same time, you want to beware of filling your plans to the brim. Attempting to do everything will only give you a tired, cranky group of park-goers. To avoid an overload, I like to prioritize attractions for my itinerary. Here are a few tips for organizing your trip priorities:
Rank the attractions. Discuss the things you want to experience and divide them between must-do and want-to-do. Accomplish your must-dos first thing, or schedule a FastPass, and move on to your want-to-dos later. This way, you will be more focused on your must-dos and more likely to accomplish them. Also, you have some flexibility with your want-to-dos. If your plans change, or if you decide that you just have to ride one of your must-dos again, you can postpone or leave out one of your want-to-dos.
Consider the crowds. If you have popular attractions on your list, they are automatically higher priority – if you want to avoid waiting in line, that is. My sister’s all-time favorite ride is the Haunted Mansion, but it’s never first on our list of priorities because it doesn’t usually have long lines. Put the difficult-to-ride attractions at the top of your list so you can ride early, or schedule a FastPass. This could also apply to character meets or shows, because they only occur at certain times within park hours.
Do what your group wants to do. This may seem obvious, but hear me out. Guests have access to tons of reviews, opinions, and best-of and must-do lists. These can be great resources, especially for new guests. But – your priorities do not have to match any best-of list that you’ve read. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try new things or consider advice from experienced park-goers. Just don’t feel obligated to make your plan fit with what other people have told you. If you’re having fun, don’t stress over what you might be “missing”.
This especially means listening to your kids. Ideally, if they are old enough, getting their input in advance is helpful. We did this with our daughter on her first trip when she was 7: we discussed ahead of time what things were most important to her…and made sure those were at the top of the list. Her priorities may not have been ours….but having a 7 year old be happy was a priority for us.
What if this is my first trip? Obviously a first-time visitor to Walt Disney World will approach an itinerary differently than an experienced visitor, because a first-timer hasn’t experienced the attractions. If you’re planning your first trip, start with research. Find out what rides there are and what they’re like – you can prioritize some based on this information. Plan to try a reasonable variety of attractions, but make your itinerary flexible. You never know which ride will put stars in your eyes, and so make sure you have time to re-experience any newfound favorites.
How do you decide what to include in your itinerary?
I’m Elizabeth, and I’m a planner, a vacation enthusiast, and quite the nerd. Even better, I’m dedicated to helping you plan an unforgettable vacation without all the stress. I like to say that I specialize in nerd travel – to me, being a nerd has always meant being unashamedly passionate about the stories I love. This is why I love planning for my favorite destinations – these are places that can take you right into the world of your imagination and make it real. If you’re just a grown-up kid like me, you’ll love these destinations, too. Whether you’re imagining fairytale castles or adventures with wizards and dragons, I can help you make it happen! I’m putting all that I’ve learned about vacation planning and my nerdy love of fantasy to work for you, so that you can write your amazing vacation story. Visit my blogNerdTravelPro.com to learn more about how you can get help planning your next adventure, and come visit me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for even more vacation fun and tips. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to start planning.