Disney World Planning – Disney Plan of Action
Hello Disney Fans! Welcome to part 3 of my Disney World Planning series. Here is part 1 and part 2 in case you missed it. This series of articles will bring you along on my journey to plan my Disney vacation this coming September. So far we have covered making resort reservations and budgeting. Today I am going to talk to you about beginning what I call a Disney Plan of Action.
My Disney Plan of Action is a constant work in process. I begin by making a spread sheet that tracks the park hours during my stay. You can check the park hours for you stay be going to http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/calendars/. Keep in mind that park hours are subject to change and therefore you should check them often. You can also use a service like Touring Plans! They are GREAT!
Once I know the park hours I can begin to plan what parks I will attend on each day. Often we only buy magic your way base tickets and concentrate our time on one park per day, but for this trip we a have park hoppers left over from a previous trip that we will use. When deciding what parks you wish to attend each day it is good to know if there are any special events or parties that are going to be happening during your stay. During our stay there are two big events that we would like to take part in. One is the Epcot Food and Wine Festival which runs from Sept 28, 2012-Nov 11, 2012. The other is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom. The Dates for the Halloween party have yet to be released, but by looking at the nights the Magic Kingdom closes at 7pm, I can guess that those are possible party nights.
Tip: It is important to note that The Epcot Food and Wine Festival is included with the price of park admission, but MNSSHP is a ticketed event which means you need to purchase a separate ticket to enjoy the party.
Once I know the park hours and have selected my parks for the day I can begin to plug this information into my spread sheet. Let me give you an example. September 28 is our first full day at Disney so I will take you through how I plan this day from start to finish.
Step 1. Make a list of park hours including which parks are having extra magic hours that day.
Sept. 28 2012
HS- 8am-9pm (AM Extra Magic)
MK- 9am-7pm (Possible MNSSHP)
Step 2. Select which parks will be the best fit for your day. For this day I am going to bank on my prediction that MNSSHP will be at the Magic Kingdom in the evening. With this information in mind I am going to select Hollywood Studios for morning extra magic hours. Many touring plans will advise you to skip any magic hour parks, but we have good luck with EMH’s especially AM hours. We will get up at 6am and eat breakfast in our room. We usually pack cereal bars and things of this nature so we save money and time. Since we are staying at Boardwalk we can take the boat, bus, or walk to Hollywood Studios. We will likely walk to be in line by 7:40 am. This will allow us to head straight for Toy Story Mania and then onto Rockin’ Roller Coaster with very little wait.
Tip: If Toy Story Midway Mania is on your to do list, do not play around (pun intended)! Head straight to Pixar Place and grab a fastpass and get in line. During the off season I have seen lines shoot to 60min very quickly and Fastpasses are gone within a few hours of park opening.
We will likely take the boat from Hollywood Studios to Epcot’s World Showcase at around 10:30am to start enjoying Food and Wine at 11am. By 2 we will walk back to Boardwalk and hang out by the pool for a little while to unwind.
I will aim to make early dinner reservations, perhaps around 5pm and then head to the Magic Kingdom for the Halloween Party.
Step 3- Dining Reservations. Now I need to plug in where we would like to eat dinner that evening. Since breakfast was in our room and lunch was sampling foods at the Food and Wine Festival, dinner is our only reservation that day. I would like an early dinner to make sure I am at the Magic Kingdom by 7 for the Halloween party. Knowing this I am going to select a restaurant that is in the Magic Kingdom area or in the park itself. I have a master list of possible restaurants which are:
Beaches & Cream
Cape May Café
Tip: Making a master list of restaurants is a great idea. I plan a few family meetings to decide what we are going to do and where we want to eat. The first meeting we have everyone chooses one restaurant they would like to try or must go back to. During this meeting we pour over menus and come up with a list of potential eateries. It’s a fun way to get everyone excited about the trip. Stay tuned for another article in this series about Family Vacation Planning Meetings!
California Grill will probably be my first choice for this particular night followed by ‘Ohana in the number two spot. Both of these restaurants are on the Monorail loop and will allow me to get to the Magic Kingdom easily. I am going to aim for an early seating. Both of these restaurants fill up fast so I need to be ready to make my reservations as soon as my window opens. By having a plan and a backup plan, it will be very easy to communicate with the reservation specialist when I call in. I am never left stumped when a reservation cannot be made.
This is what my rough draft spread sheet for the day will look like. Keep in mind I am constantly updating things! As things get confirmed I will plug in conformation numbers and reservation times.
Thanks for planning with me. How do you plan your days? Do you need any help putting a plan together? Feel free to email or comment with any questions or ideas!
Next week I will show you my complete spread sheet for my trip along with how I plan extra activities. As I plan I will also show you how I order groceries, book my flights for the lowest fares, secure child care, plan family meetings, and even how I prepare my house for going out of town! Thanks for reading!
- Disney World 4th of July Must Do’s (chipandco.com)
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