WDW trip planning - the final countdown!

In a few days, I will finally get on that flight and land in WDW - and I can hardly wait! By now, all my prep has been done: I've even started packing. The lists that I've been compiling for months have come in handy and everything has gone smoothly so far. I've also continued with my daily walks (although I've missed a few due to some very rainy days) but I do wonder if I should do as marathoners do and "taper" for a few days before the big race. Give my legs a break, that sort of thing... On this trip, I will be doing a few things that I've never done in WDW before, like tour planning . I am quite curious to see how it all goes in reality if all the planning and data that I have available really does make a difference to my trip. So far, tour planning has been quite a fun activity but of course, the real test is out there, on the field as it were. I'll let you know. I'm also doing a ticketed park event for the first time and while I was very scep

WDW trip planning - tour plans and Halloween parties

Time has flown by since the last time!  I am now about two weeks away from WDW and I can’t even tell you how much I’m looking forward to it all. I’ve been busily completing the last-minute admin but also keeping up with all the latest news, closures, menus and other fun things.  One thing that I have found incredibly useful at this point of the planning is the Touring Plans app which, full disclosure, was a gift from Len Testa. However, they haven’t asked me to promote it at all and all opinions are my own. Having used both the app and the website for a few weeks now I will say that so far it is worth the money! I haven’t used it in the parks, which I guess is the true test, but so far it has been an invaluable planning tool. Touring plans in general have never really been my thing, as I’ve mentioned before . I just can’t face all the planning and lack of spontaneity that these things entail so I’ve never really been down this road before. This time though I feel so pressured for time

WDW trip planning - walking and thinking

It’s been a few months but the WDW trip planning continues with great excitement! So what have I been doing these last few months? While I am still very much not convinced about the need to pay for Genie+, I have been using the time by playing around with the WDW mobile app and learning as much as I can about touring plans. I have never been the spreadsheet-toting person that just simply has to visit everything in every single Disney park, eat all the snacks and try all the trendy restaurants. Most of my vacations include some research but I do want to HAVE a vacation so I don’t like planning things so much in advance. Things like spreadsheets and touring plans are really not my thing, even though I have seen so many cute templates online (and I DO like a notebook!). Sometimes even just reading the articles about those makes me click away immediately - too boring. When researching Genie+ I forced myself to read some of those articles and still, I remain unconvinced. I want this trip t

WDW trip planning - Genie+ (power in my corner?)

It’s been about a month since I booked my trip and I’ve sorted flights and hotel , made park reservations and reacquainted myself with the mobile app . I’ve even started to have some thoughts as to what I need to pack and especially, what shoes to wear! Additionally, the RetroMagic website has started adding details of the special guests that will attend and I am really excited! During my daily walks, I’ve also spent some time thinking about what to do about Genie+ . I’ve been doing a LOT of research, because this is the part that I’m most apprehensive about. This is an entirely new thing that I have never experienced in WDW and that has the potential to make a big difference to how I plan my days and navigate the parks, but also apparently, on how much sleep I get and how many battery packs I need to bring. Coming into this, all I knew about Genie+ was academic: I heard about it when it launched and have been following this with interest in the months (years?) since. I have read co

WDW trip planning - the mobile app

Last time I started the serious planning and allocated parks to days so that I could make reservations. It was all pretty smooth at this time, to be honest, but I hadn’t yet looked at the mobile app so this was my next step. As I alluded to before, I have had the WDW park app on my phone since at least 2016 even though I’ve not been to the parks since. I kind of felt that deleting the app would be admitting defeat, so it’s lived on my phone, unused, for seven years. I even migrated it from phone to phone as I upgraded my device over all that time. I believe it’s changed name too - at the moment I think it’s officially called My Disney Experience but I can’t see that either on the app icon or the app home page. Anyway, I clicked on the app and (after a slight update) it was ready to go. It was also pretty easy to log in and confirm my park reservations. At this point, I was still having second thoughts about which parks I’d allocated to some days so thought I’d make some changes. For v

WDW trip planning - making park reservations

Once I’d decided I was going to Disneyworld and had organized my flights plus accommodation , the next step was to procure some of those park tickets I’d heard so much about. I was getting pretty excited about this trip, so now that the more familiar admin was taken care of, I could focus on the exciting, Disney-specific elements. This was something I was looking forward to, of course, but also strangely apprehensive. A bit of context may help: as mentioned previously, I was a pretty confident WDW vacation planner and I also love the vacation planning part of any trip. At the very least I use Google Travel to record all the various elements but when things get a little more complex, I also use my own documents like spreadsheets and such. It really does depend on the trip but one of my more complicated trips was a two-week Caribbean cruise plus a stay in Texas before and after the cruise, during the latter part of the C19 pandemic. There were a lot of elements to keep track of, includ

WDW trip planning - where to start?

Pretty much all of my trip planning starts by looking at flights - and this was no exception. To be honest, I look at flights so much that Google Flights must hate me. I like to dream about travel and sometimes I’ll look at flights just because I’m bored! Other times I do have some sort of a plan but I may abandon the search because of cost, logistics or other reasons. This time the trigger was an email to let me know that RetroMagic was happening, in early October. So I did what I would automatically do and started searching for flights to Orlando and quickly realised that they were expensive. I tried various strategies for keeping costs down (stopovers, weird airlines, arriving in other airports rather than MCO, etc) and the math really wasn’t working. I looked at flying on unusual days, of staying only a few days… I even tried the incredibly unrealistic booking where I’m not allowed any sensible luggage, but even then it was coming up pricey. Especially when added to the hotel - an