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Help, going in less than a month and don’t have a plan

by DR
(Carthage, Mo. )

I have been reading your site since I was told that we were being TAKEN ON A TRIP TO DISNEY WORLD!!!! It is a surprise and the kids don’t suspect a thing, yet.

Dad, my question is this, how much do I need to plan?

We will be there in 26 days…

We have the villas, we get the tickets when we get there, food is not an issue, I am printing maps, and looking into the park transportation.
So much information about Disney World! It overwhelms me. I am so visual and hands on that the information in print freaks me out. If I just go and don’t worry about itineraries and plans will I be super sorry? Everyone is 9 and up…
Please advise. I trust you.

Thank you.

Streaming lights in the Magic Kingdom at night

You might feel like you are spinning without a plan – Photo by Tom Bricker

Dad’s at least a little Answer


Wow, I’m touched. I’m glad you trust me. I’ll try not to betray that trust. So let’s get started on your plan.

Yes, I said your PLAN. You do need at least an outline of a plan. But that’s OK. Panic time is over. Dad is here and making plans is my (as the old James Bond movie says) “Spec-i-al-ity.” This is going to be fun.

Like I said, you need at least an outline. A lot of people make minute by minute plans, but that’s a bit of overkill for most people. Yes, I have a minute by minute plan (at least in my mind), but I’m a bit of a planning nut. I know that’s not for everyone.

Dad’s I spent a whole year planning mine page

For you a good outline and an basic idea of what you want to do each day is enough. The first thing you need to do is to figure out which park you are going to visit each day. (You might already have this if you have made any Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR’s). If you don’t, the best way to choose the park to be in is to go over to and look at the dates for your trip.

No, you are within 30 days so you don’t have to subscribe to get the information. Just move your mouse to “Crowd Calendar” on the top of the page and choose Disney World Crowd Calendar. You’ll be taken to a page where you can see each day for the next 30 days.

Look at the dates for your trip and map out where you want to be each day. You don’t have to go by the best park recommendations, but they are pretty good. You’ll have to subscribe to get the daily park crowd predictions. Also make sure to check out the hours (you might even want to write them down) and see what shows and parades are going on every day.

Dads’s page

One reason I do recommend is their Lines app. I think it’s the best Disney World park app on the market. We found it to be more accurate than the posted times at the lines. It’s worth the subscription price.

The next thing you’ll want to do is to have a basic plan for each day. What time to you plan to get up, what park will you go to. When and where do you plan to eat (this doesn’t have to be exact, you should have a basic idea). You also will want to decide on the parades and shows you want to see.

Next, you’ll want to plan the start of each day. The first 3 hours or so of the day are the most important. You should try to map out a plan to ride the shows that have the longest lines first and that have long waits on FASTPASS. Here’s Dad’s list –

Magic Kingdom

  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Peter Pans Flight


  • Soarin’
  • Test Track

Disney Hollywood Studios

  • Toy Story Mania
  • Toy Story Mania (no that’s not a mistake, it’s that important
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster

Animal Kingdom

  • Expedition Everest

Those are the first rides you should tackle or at least have a fast runner go get FASTPASSes for. The rest of the rides if you need to skip a line you can get FASTPASSes.

You might also want to make a general outline of how you want to attack each park. If you don’t, you might waste a lot of time rushing back and forth across the park trying to catch rides. Be methodical. We like to start at Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom and work our way around counterclockwise. In EPCOT, it’s the West Side then the East Side then World Showcase. In Disney Hollywood Studios, it’s FP for Toy Story Mania, the RnR and ToT and then work your way to the back. In Animal Kingdom it’s the Safari (after someone gets Expedition Everest FP and work our way around the park. Pretty simple.

That’s about it. Yes, you’ll need to decide if you are going back to the villa in the afternoon, but if it’s off site, I wouldn’t recommend it.

So now you have an outline of a plan. Pretty simple wasn’t it. If you want to fill in some more blanks, that’s great, but no need to tie yourself up in knots for the next few weeks. Focus on packing and getting ready to have the time of your lives.

Destinations to Travel

Dad’s Bottom Line

DR, I hope I still have your trust, and I hope you have a great trip. Of course for a small donation of $1,99.99 I’d be happy to create you a killer plan, but I think this outline will be a great start. You’re gonna have a ball.

Comments for

Apr 18, 2013 ONE MORE WEEK!!!!
by: DR

One week to go! I have an outline. I know what park to go to on which day and what rides to ride! I am member of and have found it to be AWESOME. I have Lines on my cell phone! READY TO GO!! Thanks Dad!

I always consulted with my Pop before I went on a long journey. He gave me good directions and helped me plan stops etc. He has been gone a few years now. Thank you for filling in for him. I don’t feel as lost and overwhelmed.

From Dad, you’re welcome. I look forward to your reports. Pops … oops, I mean, Dad.

Apr 06, 2013 you rock
by: nana

well, my daughter has had a really good idea(she sometimes is flighty). she found your ‘page’ and sennt it to me….thank you so much for taking the time to answer and start our planing process. as the ‘trip sponsor’ i was glad for the help.thank you again for your time…we will tell others about you!!!!

Apr 05, 2013 Touring Plans!
by: Anonymous

Okay, I subscribed to the Touring Plans page. You know what? It is starting to click. I am understanding the process and it is not so overwhelming. Thanks Dad, I knew you wouldn’t steer me wrong. This page rocks and I am getting the lines app too…

Apr 04, 2013 THANK YOU
by: DR

I am soaking it all in and getting my plan together. BTW we are staying at Old Key West. I have tried to follow the guide!
Thank you for helping me. I will be sending photos.
Thank you for being real. Thank you for ALL of your advice. I appreciate that your site is creative and informative. I like your singing too!
Real name to follow after WE TAKE THE VACATION OF OUR LIVES!!!!

Dad responds

DR, have a wonderful trip. Come back and we’ll “Celebrate good times come on! Let’s Celebrate.” Boy does Dad sing good.

Return to Ask Dad.

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