To Plan or Not To Plan – Preparing for your Disney Holiday

Disney fans often differ over whether to plan their Disney holiday or not but for me a plan is essential.

I’m not one to plan every minute of our holiday but I do like to have certain things planned before we leave and over the last week I have been busy putting our itinerary together.

I really want to make full use of the Disney Dining Plan because I don’t know if we’ll have the opportunity to stay on-site again, plus there are so many amazing restaurants to try!  As a Disney guest I was able to book restaurants for the first 10 days of our holiday 180 days before we arrive – if you are not staying on site but want to book a table at a Disney restaurant you can do this 180 days before you want to eat there.  This led me to make my itinerary.

Some people like to make an itinerary that includes details of which rides they will go on and in what order, but my plans are a lot more basic than that.

To start my plan I find out the opening hours of each park and whether any of them have Extra Magic Hours (EMH) – these are a perk of staying on site and allow you to enter a park before it is open to the public, or stay late after it has closed to the public.  I then check to see when certain shows are on – for example Wishes at the Magic Kingdom may not be shown every night so I would want to make sure I was going to be at Magic Kingdom on a day it was being shown.

The next step is to choose which restaurants we would really like to eat at during our holiday – this is not as easy as it sounds! Once we have made our choices I then try to fit them around EMH so that we are maximising our time, sometimes this is to avoid EMH rather than be there to enjoy EMH – we are going to Magic Kingdom for breakfast early on a morning that there aren’t EMH in the hope that we may get that all important photo of the castle without the crowds in front of it.

I will then review everything and make sure that we have a nice mix of parks, rather than 3 days of Epcot and no visit to Animal Kingdom, and some ‘down time’ too.  I love our holidays to WDW but it is important to remember that it is a holiday and some time to take it easy is just as important as visiting the parks, so I always ensure there’s some pool time and water park time included.

After all of this it is time to hit the phones and keep my fingers crossed that I will get all of our advanced dining reservations (ADRs).  This year I have been super lucky and have got every restaurant that we wanted and at the time we wanted yay!

The last step is to add any ‘extras’ to the itinerary and then book them.  There are so many amazing ‘extras’ to experience and I really do recommend trying some, for example Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Cirque Du Soleil, Pirates and Pals Fireworks or Wishes/Illuminations Cruises.  At the moment I have booked Pirates League in the Magic Kingdom as a surprise for the children and we are considering booking tickets to Cirque Du Soleil too.

So that is how I plan for our trip, it is flexible and we can change whichever park we are going to if we feel like it, plus so long as we do it 24 hours in advance we can cancel our ADRs, but it makes me happy to know that we have a plan.

I know that not everybody likes to have a plan and I understand that some people don’t like to choose their restaurants so far in advance as you just don’t know how you’re going to feel on the day, but for us a trip in August means ADRs as I don’t want to take the gamble of not being able to get a seat in any of the restaurants – especially new ones like Be Our Guest.

How about you – are you a planner or a ‘go with the flow’ person?

See ya real soon!

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About Family Heights

Married to the love of my life and mum to two beautiful children. Blogging about all sorts of stuff that makes me happy. A Formula One fan and a self confessed Disney Addict!
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