Posted by : Jameson Durall Wednesday, June 23, 2010
I get a lot of people asking me how I go about planning a Disney World trip...so I'm going to let you in on the biggest secret. Are you ready for this? BOOM... The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World 2011
This book, co-authored by Len Testa, is the first step in planning the perfect Disney World vacation. It gives scientific data and real world testimonies for every aspect of a trip. In the back, it even gives the incredible touring plans, but i'll give more details on that in a bit.
Once I've read this front to back...I'm ready to start my planning. For me, that means deciding when I will visit and what parks I will be visiting each day. For that, I use the Crowd Calendar at touringplans.com which tells me on a scale from 1 to 10 how busy the park and which parks i should avoid and prefer for each day. This is backed by years of research and refinement.
Once I know which parks i'll be visiting, I'm ready to start planning which dining reservations I want to make. The first place to start for any food information is The Disney Food Blog. AJ does a great job of giving restaurant reviews, tips on special food items you should try, festivals you may want to plan your trip around, etc.
Some people don't like to plan their meals in advance, but if you want to get the reservations you really like...180 day reservations are a must. They have a new online reservation system, you can call the reservations line, or even have a travel agent (Mouse Fan Travel) take care of it for you entirely for no cost.
Now i'm ready to start planning each day at the park and for this...I head back to touringplans.com. They have a touring plan for any situation and trust me...you want one. They are designed to keep you out of standing in line and they do a fantastic job of it. On our last trip we did not stand in line for more than 25 minutes the entire 7 days. The adult plans keep you moving at a brisk pace and they even have plans for young kids that include a break in the afternoon to nap. Even if you don't believe me on this one...just promise me you'll use one for ONE DAY. It will prove to you how valuable they are.
The other thing I do all year round is listen to the WDW Today Podcast. They are a fun group to listen to and give fantastic advice for literally anything you could want to know. Every Wednesday is a listener question episode so you can even get specific questions answered.
So, that's the somewhat short version of how I plan (not to mention all of my spreadsheets). Let me know if you want any other details :)
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