Sunday, October 28, 2012

Disney Planning 101: Trip Prep

Welcome to a new series, Disney Planning 101.  As we prepare for our upcoming Walt Disney World vacation, I'll share some insight into the steps we take each time we get ready to travel to the happiest place on Earth.  I hope to detail trip prep, making a dining reservation, completing online check-in, and how to visit every park in a limited amount of time {while allowing for the maximum amount of fun}.

Organization is not a gift that the Lord saw fit to bless me with.  I manage the skill fairly well at work but when it comes to home, I'm just plain dreadful.  In the past when I've planned Disney vacations, my mother has held the reins, but this upcoming trip is different because my mom isn't going.  That makes me the most knowledgeable one in the group.  Gulp.

For the past seven months I've had Sticky Notes all over my desk and random Stickies on my computer screen and random papers shoved "where I won't forget them."  This weekend I decided to buckle down and actually get organized with our Disney trip information.  Introducing:  our Disney notebook.

Please forgive these pictures.  I had to take them without Mr. C {the resident photographer}
Is this notebook a bit overboard?  Probably.  But I'd rather stress a little bit right now and enjoy my vacation versus stressing while on vacation because I can't find a reservation number.  Let me break down how this thing works.  Also, please take a moment to really appreciate my ghetto tabs.

Tab 1:  To Do Lists
I love making lists, but that's usually about as far as it gets.  As you can see, I've made a detailed to-do list with dates.  Neurotic?  Absolutely, but it means that once we check-in to our resort, I'll be stress-free.

Tab 2:  Packing & Outfit Lists
Packing lists are my favorite kinds of lists.  First, I made an outfit list based on each day of our trip.  Then, I made a comprehensive packing list including all of the items we'll need.  I even included menial things like Tylenol and Moleskin {for blisters}.  When we pack for our trip, we'll fold each outfit together and label it with masking tape.

Words of wisdom:  Always unpack your bags at Disney World.  There is nothing worse than sleeping through your alarm and then realizing that you have to dig through a messy suitcase to find what you need.

Tab 3:  Restaurant Reservation #s
Though I am certain that Disney's Cast Members would be fairly forgiving in the case that you lose a reservation number, you probably won't eat at the time you had originally planned.  Having a list of all or your reservation numbers AND your vacation confirmation number is vital.  And if you think I'm going to post a picture of my reservation numbers, you're crazy.  Reservation number fraud ruins lives,  y'all.

Tab 4:  A Detailed Itinerary
I know what you're thinking.  Why on Earth should you have an itinerary on vacation?  Answer:  going to Disney World is not a regular vacation.  If you want to relax, go to the beach.  It's imperative that you never forget that time is money when you're at Walt Disney World.  If you're wasting time, your money is going down the tube.    Knowing what you're going to ride and when is important.  A general doesn't go into battle without a plan and neither should you.

On our itinerary, I included the restaurant reservation numbers just in case.

I chose a smaller binder that can easily fit into our backpack.  It isn't very heavy and we'll have easy access to everything we need.  I can tuck all the necessities for our trip in the pockets.

In other news, Josh and I created a care package for his cousins Audrey and Emily.  Our upcoming trip will be their first time at Walt Disney World and I cannot wait to experience the parks with a fresh perspective.

1.  Two Minnie Mouse long-sleeved shirts.  This summer I was doing a little online shopping at The Disney Store and I found these sweet little tops for $4 a pop.  Not only did I order one for each little girl...I ordered one for each of the big girls {Lanie and I}.  We're going to wear these at Disney's Hollywood Studios.  Always check The Disney Store online because when they put something on sale, they put it on sale.

2.  Disney Princess Stickers.  I happened upon this sticker book while cruising the toy aisle at our local Wal-Mart.  Josh needed some stickers for his students and this princess pack was only $1.  

3.  Lipgloss.  Don't little girls love that stuff?  I found two shiny, mostly neutral colors for .87 cents each.

4.  Glitter nail polish.  In the immortal words of my mother, "My favorite color is glitter, y'all!"  These little Bon-Bons nail polishes were only $1 each.  

The total cost of our Disney care package {including shipping} came to $19.  Though the gifts are small, I think they'll pack a lot of punch.  

We bought this book to carry into the parks.  I'm really excited about discovering Hidden Mickeys that I haven't seen before!  Click the link below to buy one for yourself.



  1. Thank you so much for this! We are going to stay at Disney hotels next year, and I am very Type A. haha. I definitely need to keep things structured and organized, and this is perfect!

  2. I have a very similar detailed iternary for the drive to disney world! Dont have for the days yet but a lot of the info is in my notes and in my head currently. So you are not the only crazy person out there! I agree you have to have a plan or you are wasting money and you will spend some much time deciding what to do and very little will happen.


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