How do you Plan and Organize for your Trip?
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  1. #1
    englanddg's Avatar
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    How do you Plan and Organize for your Trip?



    I searched the forums and couldn't find a thread on this topic specifically, so I thought I'd ask:

    How do you plan and organize for your trip? What tools do you use (spreadsheets, calendars, etc)? How tightly do you schedule activities?

    For me, the answer is google docs. I set up an email account in gmail as "[email protected]" (I have a google apps account with a private domain). When I make ADRs or book flights or really anything related to the trip, I send the confirmation emails to that address, that way I don't have to scour my inbox to find things.

    Then I use google calender for that account. I put in the park hours for all the parks (including EM), showtimes for parades/firewords, etc. Each park has it's own assigned color. ADRs are done in gray, so they stand out. Then as "all day events" I set which park I plan to be at that day.

    Then I connect the gmail account and calendar to my phone. Now I have all my trip information right at my fingertips whenever I want it!


      
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  3. #2
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    We are a total wing it family and thats not just at disney. Come to think of it, thats probably why we are always running around wdw on our trips. Oh well, It works for us though. One day, I do want to try and do the fine dinning which will require some ADR's. I am actually contemplating it at the moment to add to my up coming trip in November because the offer is out. If and when that time comes I am definitely going to try to pawn the planning on hubby.

    The only prep for Disney that I do or must do is leave the house clean before we go. As far as items, my travel bag is always ready to go.


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  4. #3
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    We had a similar thread a while ago but that was more about itineraries rather than full-on organization. Here's the link:

    WDW itinerary?

    The planner I use is in post 11.

    I tend to set up a specific email folder rather than a new email account. I also have a vacation drawer where I keep all the paperwork relating to that trip.


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  5. #4
    englanddg's Avatar
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    Re: How do you Plan and Organize for your Trip?

    Quote Originally Posted by Winkster View Post
    We had a similar thread a while ago but that was more about itineraries rather than full-on organization. Here's the link:

    WDW itinerary?

    The planner I use is in post 11.

    I tend to set up a specific email folder rather than a new email account. I also have a vacation drawer where I keep all the paperwork relating to that trip.
    It's interesting how each trip changes the way I plan and organize.

    In 2010, I only reserved 3 meals (Royal Table twice and Akershus). My daughter and I had no trouble getting into any other restaurant that trip (though sometimes we had to wait), with the exception of Le Cellier. I also got fantasmic preferred seating passes when we ate at Brown Derby due to someone cancelling, so that's how I learned about that perk.

    So, in 2011, I was determined to try Le Cellier, and made sure to do that and some other ADRs. I booked Brown Derby with Fantasmic, and some princess dinners. I figured we wouldn't have any trouble the first week when it was just the 2 of us (her mom and uncle came in for the second week)...but I was wrong. We had a heck of a time getting into places. Then later, we missed a reservation at Brown Derby, and I got burned on my credit card, and we almost missed La Nouba because I thought it was on Friday, but it was on Thursday. If I hadn't had a nagging feeling, we would have missed it. We even had to jump a cab just to get there on time from MK, but we still made it right as the show was starting.

    I don't like rushing around like that, so, this year, I've made a lot of ADRs. They don't "define" my day, and I may change them, but I'm a lot more organized due to my previous experiences.


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    I usually do loads of planning but I found it all to much on our last trip.

    I cancelled some ADRs, threw away the planner and we did most of the trip off the cuff - and loved it!


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    I make a new folder in my email to store trip related emails. I use trip it to store all our air, dining, hotel, and car reservations with confirmation numbers, address, and any other info. I put in there everything. What days we are going to which parks, I schedule the parks according to emh so we get extra time, so we can break for a nap during the afternoon and not feel like we are missing tons. I schedule dining according to where we are going to be that day so we don't have to purchase the park hopper option. It hen add my husband to list of travelers and he now has all the info in his hands on his phone or iPad. I pick which rides we have to ride,we do those and then it's just whatever we want. Worked really well for us two years ago. Hopefully everything goes as smoothly this year lol.

    I also write down #'s and reservation and conf #'s just in case and take them with us.



  8. #7
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    Re: How do you Plan and Organize for your Trip?

    As far as planning goes, we already have an itinerary. A great way, for beginners, to sit down and plan is to have a "Disney party" where you'd invite everyone who is tagging along in your Disney trip. This not only takes stress off the parents, but is a fun and exciting way to plan a trip.

    When it comes to packing, I'm honestly packed at least a week or two before because I get so excited! My parents procrastinate on the other hand. The pins come off my cork board and onto my lanyards months before the trip. Haha


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  9. #8
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    Re: How do you Plan and Organize for your Trip?

    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyDawg2 View Post
    A great way, for beginners, to sit down and plan is to have a "Disney party" where you'd invite everyone who is tagging along in your Disney trip.
    That's a fantastic idea! I will pass that one along when people ask me about how to plan for a Disney trip (and I get asked that all the time).


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  10. #9
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    Re: How do you Plan and Organize for your Trip?

    I'm going to chime in on this one!! Well one thing for sure is that we definitely plan ahead for our vacay, we just booked our vacation for 2013 a few days ago. And as far as planning out the details for the trip, we have found it a bit difficult to go off of an itinerary. And even if you have everything you want to do and every ride you want to go on all planned out, it still can be a bit hard to follow such a schedule due to the fact that there are so many people. So sometimes even a really well thought out plan can be unpredictable.


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  11. #10
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    I start looking what time of year we want to go and then check if free diningplan is available for that time.

    Then we check what restaurants we want to eat (well, actually we start thinking about that when we just came back from our last trip )

    Then I go to Touringplans.com to see what days we can go best to what park, depending on crowdlevels (I don't follow 100%) And better, what park to avoid.

    Then I try to fit in the restaurants and when it's ADR-time, book them

    We print out all our reservations (and have a special WDW folder in our e-mail.

    I bought a special journal for our trip and write down on what day we will be doing what park, and our ADR + time if we have one.
    I safe room so I can write down what we did that day and special memories from that day.

    I also make sheets what QS restaurants have good meals for us, 1 from each park, so I can take that with us (and we don't have to look at the menu's outside when we are there)

    I love the planning for our WDW trip, not for being organised, but just to be busy with our awesome upcoming trip

    Oh, and exept for our ADR's, we can end up doing something completely different that day ;-)


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  12. #11
    englanddg's Avatar
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    Re: How do you Plan and Organize for your Trip?

    Quote Originally Posted by MINI Mouse View Post
    I bought a special journal for our trip and write down on what day we will be doing what park, and our ADR + time if we have one. I save room so I can write down what we did that day and special memories from that day.
    What a great idea!

    Quote Originally Posted by MINI Mouse View Post
    I love the planning for our WDW trip, not for being organised, but just to be busy with our awesome upcoming trip
    Yeah, I think that's a lot of why I (and a lot of other people) like to plan too. The reality is, once we get there, we'll pretty much play it as it goes, outside of ADRs.


    Last edited by englanddg; 07-16-2012 at 04:47 AM.
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  13. #12
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    Re: How do you Plan and Organize for your Trip?

    Quote Originally Posted by englanddg View Post
    What a great idea!



    Yeah, I think that's a lot of why I (and a lot of other people) like to plan too. The reality is, once we get there, we'll pretty much play it as it goes, outside of ADRs.
    I have found that even when we have things planned,things don't necessarily happen how we had wanted them to. But you know there are some things that we just can't plan out and that's good ol' Disney family fun!! I have learned over the years to just go with the flow and enjoy.[replacer_img]


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    Re: How do you Plan and Organize for your Trip?

    I start planning with an initial Outline of the trip in Microsoft Word, then from there I add in booked reservations and other stuff that is made in stone. I change up what days to do things as necessary. I love making an Itinerary with cute pictures and text and print it all out with possible touringplans from touringplans.com and which rides to ride when. For the most part, it works out unless it rains and you go to plan B, ride what you can, see what you can see, and have fun


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    Re: How do you Plan and Organize for your Trip?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tinker Britt View Post
    I start planning with an initial Outline of the trip in Microsoft Word, then from there I add in booked reservations and other stuff that is made in stone. I change up what days to do things as necessary. I love making an Itinerary with cute pictures and text and print it all out with possible touringplans from touringplans.com and which rides to ride when. For the most part, it works out unless it rains and you go to plan B, ride what you can, see what you can see, and have fun
    Now that's a good idea and sounds fun to!! You just gave me some ideas. [replacer_img] [replacer_img]


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    Lol! The best part of waiting is planning! I have too many days to wait so planning is a sanity saver! Right now we have decided dates, whic hotel and which airline, but we haven't booked yet. We have to start getting passports and visas (not cheap!) But we already bugdeted and made our first deposit

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