I don’t think I need to stress the importance of thoroughly planning your Walt Disney World Vacation. I mean after all, you are here reading this so that tells me you see the benefit to a bit of Disney “research.” So many people tell me that planning a trip to Disney takes more time and thought than a trip to Europe. It is true! If you want to get the most for your time and your money, I HIGHLY recommend creating a daily itinerary. This holds true even more if you are traveling during the following “busy” Disney travel periods; summer, winter holidays, spring break and Easter.
While I know it is a good idea to create an itinerary I also know that many people sit down to create one but just do not know where on earth to begin. Here are some tips to help you get started:
The first thing you should do is order a Disney planning guidebook. My personal recommendation is The Complete Walt Disney World 2012. This book is an amazing resource for all points of Disney travel. You will not be sorry you invested in this book. I would recommend purchasing it rather than renting it from the library because this way you can mark in it, bend the pages and make it your own. After you get your book read it cover to cover, all the while taking notes in the book. Yep you can even go back to your collage days and pull out the yellow highlighter. :0)
As you are reading the guide start to create a “must-see” list be sure to include shows and attractions that you do not want to miss. Once you have done this, get your hands on the park hours during your travel dates. The park hours are released about 6 months prior to your travel dates so no worries if you are a year out and cannot find your park hours. With the park hours come what I feel is the most important step in your itinerary planning process and this is becoming a member on Touringplans.com. For a VERY small fee you can have access to their crowd calendars which are very accurate and work wonders! These calendars will tell you what parks to go to and what parks to avoid for each day of your vacation, making itinerary planning a breeze.
Now do not worry…I did not forget about your Disney Dining Reservations. Once you have park hours, and your Touring Plans information you can fit in your dining selections for each day. Again, I would recommend utilizing the Touring Plans site to help you decide where to go on each day.
Now that you are armed with the correct tools you can sit down and start to create a plan of action. Take a look at your must-see list and prioritize it. I would recommend placing the attractions that you NEED to see first in your days so that you are not disappointed if you do not make it to those attractions. Once you get those must-see attractions done you can move on to your bonus selections. Bonus selections are things that you want to do but are okay with missing if time does not permit. If you get to them…you feel super accomplished. YAY!!
- Go into this knowing that once you are there things can change. This will keep your stress level down and allow you to truly enjoy the moment.
- The attractions closest to the entrance will be the busiest at the beginning of the day. Move on to the back of the park and work your way to the front.
- Super important: Be sure to schedule time for shows, unhurried meals and rest time for later in the afternoon so that you can recharge and carry on with your day. Without these little breaks exhaustion and aggravation are sure to set in.
- Visit Nancy’s FREE Disney Vacation Planning Worksheets…they are amazing!
- Last, have a blast and create lasting memories only to come home and do it all over again.
Kelly, her husband, and three children live in the Chicagoland area. Kelly has been traveling to Walt Disney World since the age of two. She considers Walt Disney World to be her primary vacation destination. With 20 plus trips under her belt she still enjoys researching and learning new things about the most magical place on earth!