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disney - would it be stupid to do no planning and just go with the flow

(39 Posts)
pud1 Fri 14-Mar-14 11:00:55

we have a trip to Florida planned on the 28th may. myself, oh and 2 dd's ages 4 and 6. flying from Manchester with Monarch ( not sure this was the best idea) and staying in a Disney hotel. we have got a 14 day pass for wdw and universal and a one day at seaworld.

i have booked the Cinderella castle lunch but that is as far as my planning goes. we have not hired a car and plan to get taxis to universal and seaworld.

my question is do i have to plan ahead. i have been looking on the DIBB and it all looks very intense. i have been looking at fast pass+, magic bands ( i think i have managed to order these), memory maker. i have also downloaded the Disney app on my phone.

has anyone just gone with the flow and not bothered with all this in advance. i feel like it is planning a military operation. i dont want the dds to miss out on anything but i cant get my head around all the planning.

please tell me we can just turn up and decide what we are doing on a daily basis without missing out on loads of attractions as they have been booked 180 days in advance

ImASecretTwigletNibbler Sat 15-Mar-14 20:15:44

Get a free Photopass card and get all the Photopass photos taken that you can then come home and Google 'how to get Photopass pictures for free

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Sat 15-Mar-14 20:24:04

We didn't plan, it's hard/confusing to plan if you don't know what to expect. It was fine for us, but we are kind of relaxed like that and are not bothered about the big rides. The Brit guide was great when we got there and could read it the day before.
Monarch was good enough by the way and I believe immigration is quicker through Stanford.
The only area that could be a hassle was dinner. You need to book through reception if it was an 'on site' resturant or you have to wait ages - not good with little ones.

bonvivant Sat 15-Mar-14 22:40:01

You can take soft side cooler bags into Disney, Universal and Seaworld - in Florida at least. Been several times recently and taken sandwiches, drinks etc.

ImASecretTwigletNibbler Sun 16-Mar-14 10:17:00

I went last month and took food everywhere, it wasn't a problem. If you took a massive hamper you probably wouldn't be allowed but they always allow little bits of food here and there.

newfavouritething Mon 17-Mar-14 12:25:51

The Dibb is very intense and fuels the paranoia that you'll only enjoy your holiday if you plan each meal 6 months in advance and march around the parks with plans and military precision. It does have handy hints though about travel to Orlando in general (look for a sticky at the top of the Florida Trip Planning forum)
I think that the age of your children will pretty much dictate what you do on each day - if they wake up happy go to a park, if they seem tired do something else.

BiddyPop Thu 27-Mar-14 09:29:54

We planned ahead in the sense that we knew roughly what was in each park that we'd like to go on and what dd was too short to go on in advance. You can take food and drink into Disney, w didn't do universal as dd too short for too many things there yet, so will go back Ina few years.

Fireworks/light show in Epcot was great. We saw Main Street parade in magic kingdom which was ok. Spent a long morning each in the water parks and popped into a kingdom after for a couple of tides and dinner. Didn't book meals ahead but while not cheap, the places to walk. Up. We're ok.

Look out for hidden mickeys in all parks.

In animal kingdom, there's a wilderness ranger trail to follow and get stickers around the park. GET A book AT&T he bridge just after entry. Rangers like in Up.

In Epcot, grab a bear that you bring to each country to get a stamp and have a chat with people there. Duffy bear.

I think there's a trail if some sorts in magic kingdom and Hollywood studios too. But we never found them. They are all free (but some make you go into shops for some stamps or stickers, animal kingdom less so).

Bring a notebook and fat Marker for autographs.

We didn't plan a route of rides, just picked as we passed mostly. Get a map from guest services as you arrive in each park, very very useful. GET a few so kids can look too and plan. AND SPot water and food spots on them too.

Be prepared for meltdowns in all, even adults. Take breaks, be prepared to go home early some days. If you go early, head back to hotel for break, swim, nap even, and back to park in evening if you want, or just bowling in downtown Disney. Don't overload yourselves. Drink lots of water, it's very humid and you won't notice it iced water in cups is free in most food spots.


JRmumma Thu 27-Mar-14 09:45:24

Id say over planning would spoil the magic. If you are rushing around keeping to your plan you will miss loads.

DTD and boardwalk were difficult to get a meal at and it was only me and DH so booking restaurants probably a good idea with kids but i much preferred choosing each day what we were going to do. You do need to bear in mind that the fireworks etc are not every day so some planning required there too.

Can i just suggest if you are staying in Disney then maybe hire a car for the second week and do Sea World and Universal then as you probably will spend an equivalent in taxi's and it will be much less hassle and you could also visit int drive for dinner etc for cheaper and non-bookable places (and Denny's for a lumberjack slam breakfast - epic!)

If you have a military style plan and cannot keep to it due to tiredness or for example the water park is closed because its not warm enough (wasn't even cold by our standards but Disney do close them below a certain temp) then you will have to re-organise everything which just seems more hassle to me.

Saying that, we went in October so maybe the queues weren't as bad as they are at other times of the year.

Annebronte Thu 27-Mar-14 17:38:33

Have a look at It has cheat sheets that tell you which rides you need to hit early in the day and which are any timers. Also a good crowd calendar with logical explanations. Links all to the right of the main blog post.

Nesstoria11 Tue 15-Apr-14 00:10:50

Pud1 hi how did you book a meal with a Disney characters please
We are going May 1 got passes etc for 14 days but no planning at all.

couch25cakes Tue 15-Apr-14 08:11:58

If you go into the disney website and look at the dining pages, you can see a section on character dining. The most popular are Crystal Palace (Pooh and co), Cinderellas royal Table (princesses), Chef Mickeys and possibly Tusker House breakfast. These could well be full by now for May but you might get lucky. But sometimes Cape May Cafe or (I think) Garden Grill are less busy. Also there's Akershus in Epcot for princesses. Good luck!

Nesstoria11 Tue 15-Apr-14 10:00:29

Thanks couch25cakes I will take a look and see what's about.

Nesstoria11 Tue 15-Apr-14 19:53:27


Are there any free Disney Apps anyone can recommend please?

pud1 Wed 16-Apr-14 22:03:39

If I remember correctly you have to ring up to book character dinning

GrassIsSinging Sat 19-Apr-14 13:39:37

Have never planned (been many times). We dont stay in Disney resorts, go to the theme parks every day or go in high season, though, so maybe not such a necessity?

Have always picked up day or 2-day passes to the theme parks and waterparks from booth outlets in shopping malls for slight discounts. Never dined at Disney or done any of the 'add ons'. Guess it depends what you want from the holiday?

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