My Favorite Resource

Maybe it's because I'm the first-born child in my family, or I'm severely Type-A, or I like organization.....

But I love a good plan.

And my number one tip for Disney World, hands down, is to have one. A plan.

There are several schools of thought on this. Some people think that if you over-analyze, it ruins the magic. To some degree, that's true. Then again, some people think that you can casually stroll through Disney World, aimlessly, and decide spur-of-the-moment, "Oh! Let's go on this cute little ride!" then discover that there's an hour wait.

If you want a great Disney trip, you have to be balanced.

The best book resource, in my opinion, is the Unofficial Guide (and no, I'm not being compensated to say that). The layout of the book, thoroughness, and content are all great. They include honest reviews and an easy to understand star system for each ride, attraction, hotel, and restaurant. If you're new to Disney World, it takes you step-by-step. If you're a veteran, the humor and reviews from other readers keep it interesting. It's easy to read, funny, and honest. And my favorite part? They give you a PLAN!

In the back of the book, there are several options for touring plans. You follow the steps. Kurt and I used a touring plan when we went to DW last October. We tailored it to what we wanted to do, but I had an agenda printed out, which included the times and confirmation numbers of our dining reservations. This made everything SO EASY. There was a point when we wanted to change our dining situation, and so I just pulled out the printed agenda, which included all of the restaurant info (including the phone number), and I sat down in Hall of Presidents and made the change. No stress.

Especially with children, you must steer your group in the order and direction you want to go. In other words, organize the magic. Because you, as the adult, have done your research and you know that PhilarMagic is an attraction that you can save for some downtime (because it holds large crowds and is air-conditioned), but if you want to ride Toy Story Midway Mania, you need to run, not walk, to get a chance to ride that thing.

See what I mean?

Here is the Unofficial Guide's website. But it's worth every penny to buy the book. I read it like a novel. But I'm weird. You might not (probably won't) be interested in getting THAT much information, but it's so important to map out your strategy weeks in advance, rather than praying you picked the right time to go on Space Mountain.

Now, I'm going to state the obvious: a plan is not a guarantee. It's a goal. Things WILL change. There will be a diaper explosion or a hungry-baby emergency. (Random tidbit while I'm thinking about it: the Hall of Presidents lobby is wonderful for regrouping, and diaper changes that don't require a massive overhaul. It's also air-conditioned with good seating. Oh, and it's a good spot for parade-watching.) Anyway, be prepared, but flexible.

Don't bother with the other books; this is the one you want to buy!

Coming soon: I'll give my own answers to my "Disney Series" questions!


Megan said...

I have an older version of this book and I totally read it like a novel. I just love it, it is SO helpful with everything!

Leigh said...

We leave three weeks from today and I have this (and every other Disney book our library had) checked out for my plan making. I agree, the plan is totally necessary! We didn't "plan" for Toy Story Mania last time and there was no way we were able to get on that thing! We will definitely be running for fast passes as soon as the gates open this year. Thanks for sharing!!

hwork said...

Hey there!

Henry here from TouringPlans.com. Thanks so much for the kind words! We really appreciate it.

Just letting you know that just recently, we launched a mobile website that lists wait times for every attraction at WDW. Should be a nice complement to touring plans! You can check it out at http://m.touringplans.com.