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A New Way to Plan Disney: Fitting Square Pegs Into Round Holes

Seems like an odd title to a blog post on Disney but that's a pretty good description of how planning my upcoming trip went. The number one complaint I used to hear about Disney is how much planning it takes. The number two is that it's so crowded. Good planning makes the crowds more tolerable. Everyone has been making speculations on what changes Disney will make going forward since they have removed fast passes and the magical express. They have changed magic bands, advanced dining reservations and early morning magic. As predicted there have been benefits with deluxe resorts and are now doing away with free fast passes for a new paid system. Long story short, my old planning skills are now square pegs into the new system's round holes.

So how am I planning for my upcoming trip with Pat for EPCOT's Food and Wine Festival? With a great, albeit complicated tool: Touring Plans. You can google Disney touring plans and lots of sites with recommended ways to tackle each park will come up in your search. But in my opinion the best of these is a site called Touring Plans that for a fee will let you customize how you want to plan your trip. It includes vital details like crowd predictors and estimated wait times. You can also use Touring Plans to make pretty specific room requests and preview the views from those rooms. I'll report back on whether or not they secured my preferred room. In my opinion it's worth it's weight in gold regardless.

For this adult only trip, which we feel pretty bad about Scarlett having to miss since she is so high risk, we have specific parameters. Our top priority is trying all the foods and drinks on our wish list. We also want to try the fun fall and Halloween foods, have a birthday to celebrate for a local friend that we want to enjoy at the California Grill at the top of the Contemporary Resort during the Magic Kingdom fireworks. Of course we also plan on hitting some of our favorite rides. Especially the rides Scarlett doesn't like, such as Tower of Terror. As always we want to minimize wait times and walking distances. Both are features Touring Plans can take into consideration.

There is one more change Disney has made that threw a wrench in our plans. You can't park hop till 2 PM. Wanting to try lots of foods in lots of parks, paired with only wanting to ride a handful of rides, and of course the limitation of our stomachs when combining both, leaves us with a more complicated schedule than I initially thought it would. I can't rely on my old square peg planning strategies. In the past my schedule was dictated by fast passes and restaurant reservations, but now there is flexibility.

You can absolutely show up to Disney World without thinking all this through. You can definitely make a simple plan using a basic spreadsheet. But that's not my style. I want maximum fun with minimal set backs and I think planning it out allows me the stress free vacay I am looking forward to. My spreadsheet is a lot more sparse than it use to be and I know I need to not think of my touring plan as gospel. I have no doubt, even though we may have to fly by the seat of our pants sometimes, we will have a blast.

It's not too late for you to book your trip to EPCOT's Food & Wine Festival, celebrate Halloween or see the spectacular offerings the 50th Anniversary will bring starting October 1. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, or email me to have me help you plan your magical vacation.

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