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Old 10-17-2003, 10:44 AM   #1
Tara O'Hara
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ABC\'s of Itinerary Building!

How do you start your itinerary? Do you pick vacation dates and build from there? Do you build your itinerary around meals or park days? Do you use a detailed planner such as PassPorter (of course ) or Tour Guide Mike? Perhaps you know of a great website such as MouseSavers.com that would help fellow travelers get started with their plans!

Share your vacation building strategies here!
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Old 10-17-2003, 08:47 PM   #2
Rae
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Re: ABC\'s of Itinerary Building!

I built our upcoming trip around the EMH days for the parks. Then we have a "Free" day to do anything we missed or want to do again.
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Old 10-17-2003, 11:03 PM   #3
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Re: ABC\'s of Itinerary Building!

I just thought of a tip to get started!

Check out weather trends for the time of year you wish to visit in terms of how it will affect what you want to do.

For example, if you know you have a good chance of getting some rain on your trip, do you plan more indoor activities? I know that we would build some flexibility into our plans and maybe fit in a movie or Disney Quest.
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Old 10-17-2003, 11:59 PM   #4
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Re: ABC's of Itinerary Building!

We start by looking a t when my wife is out of school either in the spring or fall. Summer is great at WDW but HOT, HOT, HOT. We live in the south and went to WDW in late May this year, all I can say is toasty. I have a PassPorter, old WDW maps and a couple of great programs that you can find for free on The Mouse For Less
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Old 10-18-2003, 08:20 AM   #5
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Re: ABC\'s of Itinerary Building!

I definitely would start with the dates of the vacation. As mentioned earlier, a guidebook to the Disney parks, like Passporter, will give you the pros and cons of different times of year.

Once the dates are set and the saving begins, I try to map out a general idea of what parks I will be visiting on which days. As Rae mentioned, you might want to consider Extra Magic Hours and special events going on like Star Wars weekends in Disney-MGM. Crowds tend to congregate at certain parks on certain days. The reason I plan my park strategy out is two fold. First, I want to limit my line waiting time. If I know that Saturday is the busiest day crowd-wise in the Magic Kingdom during my visit, then I know I would want to go to the Animal Kingdom, instead, for instance. Second, priority seating arrangements have generally been standardized to being able to make them 90 days out from your visit. What parks I visit determine when I will go to certain restaurants. For example, if I want to do the character breakfast at the Crystal Palace, then I'll want to do that the day I visit the Magic Kingdom. This way I save time in travelling.

While all of this may seem anal and overly planned, I like my trips to run smoothly and easily. It also depends on the time of year you are visiting, I end up having to go during a busier time of year so that necessitates more planning. Someone visiting between Thanksgiving and Christmas will have an easier time of it and requires less planning because you just don't have the problems that crowds of people present. But for me, planning the vacation builds the excitement and is part of the fun. Many of us may seem like we agonize over choices. I revel in them, because unlike a calculus test, there are NO WRONG ANSWERS! [img]graemlins/dizzy.gif[/img]
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Old 10-18-2003, 10:10 PM   #6
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Re: ABC\'s of Itinerary Building!

I agree with Douglas, start with the dates.

Next, find out what you should do on the first day. Relax by the pool, choose a fun park, or just shop and sleep? A good place to start is MGM Studios. It does not have enough to wear you out, but it still has enouch to keep you occupied.

Next, choose the times of your meals. Do you want a snack at 12 and then the big meal at 6? Or maybe a huge meal at around 3 and then snacks before and after? Anyway, it is best not to have breakfast in the parks, unless one character breakfast or one that you really wanna try.

Next, I break out the PassPorter and a trusty highlighter. I gather everyone who's going and read out the attractions and their descriptions. If majority of the family wants it, put a small dot of a highlighter next to it. If not, leave it alone. Remember, you cannot squeeze everything you wanna do into one trip! Do this for the meals too, reading the type of meals and the entertainment/price/quality.

After highlighting my PassPorter to my heart's content, I open a word processor. I type up the time, attraction, and other information. Always allow at least an hour of "dead time" to catch up or try things that aren't on the list. "The Unofficial Guide to WDW"" (book) is great for average legnth of lines. ALso, allow an extra 5 minutes at each attraction for walking/breaks.

Finally, I visit this site (click here) for maps downloaded to my Pocket PC. If you need any attraction or meal info, feel free to send me a private message or email Pyrite91@aol.com.

Good luck, fellow trip planner!
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Old 10-20-2003, 02:55 PM   #7
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Re: ABC\'s of Itinerary Building!

I start with the time of year. November is a great month. Next time I want to go during the Christmas season to see all the resort and park decorations plus Osborne Lights. So I think we'll be trying for early December. We don't want to be tied down to schedules so we're not much for priority seating although I'll do it Fantasmic and Candlelight Processional. What I problably will do is pick the days I want to do those 2 and plan around. I believe in being flexible. If it rains and that's the Epcot day then a quick change is in order. No priority seating allows for this to happen.
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Old 10-20-2003, 04:16 PM   #8
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Re: ABC\'s of Itinerary Building!

I just finished an article on itinerary planning for Rose's site, hopefully it will give planners some ideas for their own itineraries!

Planning Your Disney World Trip 401
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Old 10-26-2003, 06:41 PM   #9
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Re: ABC\'s of Itinerary Building!

<font color="blue"> Something that Pyrite said really triggered a memory of advice I've given before. There is so much to see and do that you WILL NOT and CAN NOT do EVERYTHING! Once you resign yourself to this fact and surrender, then it takes the pressure off on touring. Pyrite has the right idea. I recommend creating some kind of list where you list your top ten to fifteen things you'd like to experience, whether it be a fireworks display or the latest and greatest in attractions. That will now be your goal. Anything else you should do on your vacation will be icing on the cake! Remember, Space Mountain will still be there on a return strip. A list of 15 items is much easier to manage than trying to do every attraction, every show, every park, every resort, every restaurant. </font>
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Old 02-18-2004, 10:52 AM   #10
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Re: ABC\'s of Itinerary Building!

Since there are four of us, we each take a differenct
color highlighter and mightlight next to an attraction
in the passporter. If there are 2 or more then we focus on those. Then we leave one day where we each get to pick 2 of our single picks and we all go with the other to those, that way everybody gets to do something they really wanted to do and everyone gets exposed to something they might not have chosen on their own. This is a great learning experience for sharing and patience for children. There are somethings we can all do (I get terrible motion sickness) so if it is something that we can't all do then
we coordinate those between all of us. I compensate with a show while they do tower of terror or rock 'n roller coaster. Keep flexible time in there too...we used the passporter entirely and followed their touring plans and just skipped items that nobody really cared for, my DH said it was the best trip he ever had because he got to cover the majority of rides and did a few that he might not have personally tried and are now his favorites...example Kala River Rapids...he's not a water ride guy but he had such a great time with our DD that he is looking forward to it this year. Compromising is the key! Trips can be ruined if you have people who can't compromise and a lot of time wasted while waiting to decide. Decide before hand and leave a little flexibility for last minute changes or mishaps...most of all remember to have fun...
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Old 02-19-2004, 09:51 AM   #11
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Re: ABC\'s of Itinerary Building!

We normally set our trip dates and work from there. Since we usually stay off-site I tend to gear my plans around Early Magic Hour, and try to make the best use of our passes by avoiding busy days at the parks (Saturdays, Holidays). As off-siters, we very rarely visit a park on it's early magic day. In a nutshell, we try to go away from the crowds. No ride is worth an hour wait to my DH!

For example, on our last trip we arrived on Thanksgiving Day and left the following Saturday (9 days later). We visited Sea World on the Friday after Thanksgiving (avoiding busy Disney parks and using our AP's for SeaWorld/Busch Gardens), spent Saturday at DTD and Boardwalk, then started with the Disney parks on Sunday. We had the 5 day military tickets so we wanted to use them on days when the parks would be the least crowded, thus avoiding most of Thanksgiving weekend. Once I determine which parks we will most likely visit on which days I make PS arrangements.
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Old 02-20-2004, 07:21 PM   #12
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Re: ABC\'s of Itinerary Building!

Quote:
Check out weather trends for the time of year you wish to visit in terms of how it will affect what you want to do.
This is a great idea. I also like to check out the sun
rise sun set times so I can plan meals/breaks. I like to
be in the park after the sun sets.

Jean
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Old 02-23-2004, 07:12 AM   #13
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Re: ABC\'s of Itinerary Building!

Well,
My family usually picks dates, etc. that we can get off school, work, whatever. Then we usually choose where we want to stay, if we want to use a package, etc for where we are going. What we go to see usually depends on where we are. Going to NYC we usually just at at any informal restaurant that had what we were craving at the time. At WDW we are planning an early(sit down) lunch and a later dinner. We arent huge breakfast fans and tend to get up early so the lunch will work out great as well as dinner. The sit down character lunches/dinners we usually plan as to what either looks good or we do the MK restaurants on the day we are at MK. The rest we choose so that they are in a close distance to the park for that day.
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Old 02-23-2004, 10:22 AM   #14
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Re: ABC\'s of Itinerary Building!

What an awesome thread!
I like to
1. Pick the dates I want
2. Make my room-only reservations
3. Order my Park Hoppers
4. Make my PS
5. Spend a couple of hours a day EVERY day online, up until my trip,going over and over and over and over every detail and opportunity

Seriously, I think about Disney all year long and basically just wait until it's been a couple of months (so as not to be too selfish) since a trip to bring up wanting to go again to DH. He thinks I'm crazy...(Actually, he thinks it's kind of cute but CANNOT relate!)
I really don't care WHEN I go - I'd go every month if I could - in fact, I'd seriously consider moving to FLA but DH wouldn't go for it . I thought I'd never go during another school holiday after how packed it was over the Columbus Day holiday this past year AND Spring Break last year compared to our usual August trips BUT I have to be realistic about DD's school schedule and with the Spring Resort offer that ended Feb. 9th, I couldn't resist (Plus the weather on our last Spring Break trip was the most beautiful I've ever experienced). And DH was happy that DD would have a thrilling Spring Break. We also invited her cousin, who is a wonderful child and has never been to WDW!
Once I book my room, I begin the PS-making...
I've finally started to branch out a bit - tried a new resort (AKL) and trying different restaurants and this trip Cirque du Soleil, which I'm VERY excited about.
As Douglas and others mentioned, you can't do it all. I accepted that long ago. I also know that, God willing, I have many more trips ahead of me than behind me, so who cares if I haven't yet done it all?? That's the beauty part
I think that Knowledge is Power! I really like to know what to expect. Knowing where things are, what's offered, what is least crowded when, etc. helps me have a wonderful vacation.
I'm not going to stand in line for an hour to ride Peter Pan when I can get to the MK first thing and walk on it - or get a FastPass. I'm not going to waltz into Tony's at 1pm for lunch during Spring Break w/ no PS and wait 45 min. or more to be seated - when I can call from home and have a 5 minute wait. There's too much FUN to be had for all that...The planning is more than half the fun for me anyway!
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Old 04-02-2004, 08:42 AM   #15
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Re: ABC\'s of Itinerary Building!

1. Pick your dates, maybe you'd like to go for Star Wars Weekends, Flower &amp; Garden Show, MNSSHP? Do you pull your children out of school? (We school the boys at home so there's not really a concern about that!

2. Check air fare. Maybe you would like to do this first. Some airlines offer SUPER deals, but are only available at select times. Schedule your vacation around these.

3. Check for special deals and rates. As AP holders we will waite until the rates are released for our dates (although, if you reserve now &amp; the rate goes down you can get a refund!)

4. Schedule park days. I usually check EMH &amp; try to coincide them, but not for every day.

5. Select special meals according to where you'll be &amp; call 90 days out for PS. We usually try to get PS for MK character breakfast on a morning that MK does NOT have EMH. We get to walk down Main Street while it's virtually empty &amp; get some terrific shots of our family. If we decide for a character breakfast on an EMH morning we request the LATEST breakfast available. That way we've done most of the park &amp; head for breakfast when crowds start to peak.

6. Read up on the PassPorter boards to find out any new information on new ride openings, attraction renovations, etc.

7. Relax &amp; dream about your next Disney adventure!!
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