Thursday, July 16, 2015

Planning: Deciding Which Park to Go to Each Day

By: Melissa

You’re going to Disney! You know what day you arrive and what day you depart. But how do you decide which park to go to on what day? Water parks? Rest day? Good questions.

Utilizing a crowd calendar is the best way to decide which park to go to each day. Jenna wrote about utilizing crowd calendars here. If you Google Disney Crowd Calendars, you’re going to find quite a few to choose from. And guess what? Not all of them say the same thing! Do yourself a favor and rely on a few tried and true crowd calendars. My favorites are from EasyWDW, Kenny the Pirate, and WDWPrepSchool. They’re the calendars I rely on when planning our park days. They let you know what kind of crowds to expect, what special events are going on at each park, park hours, and the fireworks/parade schedule.

Planning out your park days is important. It gives you a basis to go off of for the rest of your planning. It’s very difficult to make ADRs if you don’t know which park you will be in, and it’s impossible to make the best of your FP+ selections. Check out the crowd calendars, and do your best to be in the “recommended” parks for each day. If you can’t avoid being in a “non-recommended” park, you’ll still be ok – just be sure to make a good touring plan and use your FP+/FP wisely. I’d also recommend making sure you’re there before/at Rope Drop. Most importantly, keep your family’s needs in mind as you plan.

For our upcoming trip, I sat down with my husband and we laid out the schedule we thought we wanted. Then, when park hours and crowd calendars came out for our trip month, we went back and re-evaluated. Due to some of the park recommendations, we swapped two of our days. Not a big deal since we had not yet made ADRs or FP+ selections.

I personally think this is the toughest part of planning a Disney trip, mainly because where I want to be and what might be recommended aren’t always the same thing. I also like to leave a little wiggle room in our touring in case we find something new we enjoy and want to go back to. If you couldn’t already tell, I’m not a huge fan of the great unknown, so that part makes me twitch just a little. But I usually end up being glad I planned that way, even if it does drive me crazy in the beginning.

Like I’ve said before, I plan best with a pencil in my hand and a place to write things down. So I created a Trip Planner, and it’s available to download for free! I used it while planning our trip, and I liked the list format to help me remember all the details I needed for each day. We have three formats – 3-day trip, 5-day trip, and 7-day trip. You can use one or a combination to suit your needs, whether you want to use it for only your park days or your entire trip.

It’s our goal at Real Mom’s Disney to help you plan the best trip you can for your family. And we’d love to hear from you! How do you like to plan your park days?

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