Friday, May 8, 2009

How I Plan...

Some WDW vacationers fly by the seat of their pants. They make no real reservations, have no idea where they are going on what day, and certainly have no touring plans set. These people are the complete opposite of me. I'm not saying i'm a planning Nazi. I don't have every day planned out perfectly. I don't like to do that! I like SOME spontaneity.
What I normally do is figure out first what park I plan to START the day at. Not saying we will stay there the whole day because normally we don't stay at one park the whole day. I use for crowd calendars and tips on what parks to avoid each day. The people that do the statistics for the website also write The Unofficial Guide. Without a doubt, that is the best WDW guidebook and I use that in my planning as well.

I then decide what restaurants my family and I would like to eat at. I always pick two back-ups just in case something is totally booked up when I make my Advanced Dining Reservations. I then take a look at what park i'm going to on each day and match up the ADRs by location as best as I can. Finally, I call the ADR number and set up all of my dining. Sometimes I have to adjust my daily schedule if I have to book a dining reservation on a different day than I had planned. No biggie. It all evens out in the end.
It's time to whip out the planning binder now! I LOVE my binder. I organize it the same way each and every time I go. That thing never leaves my side until we get to WDW. Then it stays safely in the room and I only take one page with me to the parks which is in a plastic page protector. Yes, nerdy... I KNOW! But, it works! The page I take with me has our starting park for each day and the times and confirmation numbers to each ADR. This is what that page looks like...

After that I then make my own "park guides" with the dates, opening times, and any special happenings like parades and fireworks going on. I sometimes also make note of what parks to avoid each day. This stays in my binder so I can easily look at it before heading out to the parks. I know you can retrieve time and event guides at the parks but this is idiot proof to me.

I wish I had a picture of my binder all finished to show you but.. I don't. These photos were actually from our honeymoon when I did a trip report for Intercot. Doing this sort of this is truly where I shine. I'm good at this. I love the research end of it all. FUN FUN!


  1. You are way more organized that I will ever be! Haha.

    Do you make ADRs for every meal? Just one meal a day? Or what?

    We made none last time. We'll probably one make 1 or 2 this time.

  2. Hahah! I LOVE being organized. I feed off of it. You'd never know it by the state of my house right now though. :)

    Yes, we make sure we have our seats secure far ahead of time. July 1st is when my 90 day window opens up. I can call on July 1st and make my dining reservations for the entire trip.

    We typically do one sit down meal a day, which is what the DDP provides us with. Most of the time when I travel with Matt, I pay OOP for Sci-Fi if he wents to go because that is a waste of a TS credit. I just order an appy and he gets a burger. I still make reservations for Sci-Fi because it is a busy place and hard to get into sometimes. Despite the fact that it is sub-par.

    What kind of restaurants are you guys interested in?

  3. Also, I forgot to mention that the reason that I am so well organized is because I am paranoid that i'll forget something important. I even have a page of just phone numbers in my binder. I make sure I have the airports number, our airlines number, the dining reservation number, and our resorts number. haha.

    Once, I forgot my binder on the plane and realized it when I went into the bathroom. I felt NAKED not holding onto it. Matt immedietly started going back up the gate and the flight attendant had it in her hand coming to find us. haha. I seriously almost peed my pants thinking that I lost it.

  4. Suddenly Jill's over planning doesn't seem so bad. You'd hate doing anything with me since I do it all be the seat of my pants. I have to plan when I go places with Jill and it's pretty tough for me.

  5. I normally just have a notebook with stuff written down. But I am really loving the Passporter. Have you ever used one?

    I just don't think I could do one table service meal a day. There aren't very many menus I've read that appeal to me. So I have a hard time spending all that money and using all of that time for something I more than likely won't like...haha.

  6. Well, Graham, I have to say that once I get to the parks i'm totally not hardcore. It's just the pre-planning that I seriously get into. haha.

    I have never used a Passporter. I've looked at one though! Pretty cool!

    If you are more 'burgers and fries' I can see how the dining plan would be kinda silly for you. There are GREAT places to get nice burgers and basic stuff but those place are lower in cost typically and you won't be getting the bang for your buck.

    Honestly, the menus SOUND weirder than they are. I've tried some pretty exotic sounding things but the taste hasn't been all that "out there." My mom is a pretty picky eater. If she sees a word she doesn't understand under the description, she won't order it. But, at WDW i've trained her to just look at key words like "steak, chicken, potato..." She's done much better at ordering and loving what she gets when she ignores other words. I just have to watch out for the word "wasabi." That has ruined a great meal for me before.