April 22, 2012

Using a Disney Planning Chart

Time to get geeky and talk about using a Planning Chart to plan your next Disney vacation! This will save you LOTS of time and you'll know just what to do and where to go while at Disney World... never having a dull moment of "what should we do next?"

I came across a publicly shared google doc [no longer available] by Gredel S. which was a great foundation and starting point for filling out a planning chart. It includes a daily itinerary of which parks to visit and where and when to eat (include those confirmation #'s!) I revised it to include with attractions to see (abbreviated), "must sees," park hours and the suggested "best parks" (least crowded) to visit each day. That's the beauty of this chart, you may add, delete and edit it as much or as little as you like to fit to your preferences. (Click on the chart below to view a larger version.)

Having everything on ONE sheet of paper makes it easy to fold up and stick in your pocket or bag - and you can print up extras to hand out to the other members in your traveling party.

Making a planning chart 'forces' you to look at the park maps and get familiar with the layout of each park. This ends up being a very good thing, as you'll know right where to go and you won't be standing around looking at a map feeling lost (which is a large waste of time). It will also solve the problem of "Where should we eat?!"

Plan as much as you can ahead of time, but don't try to plan every single minute of your day. Give some wiggle room. There may be a wait-time for an attraction that is just too long - skip it and come back to it if time allows. Also take time to look at the details; watch the "street entertainment," search for Hidden Mickey's, talk to Cast Members... don't rush your trip ~ you might miss something!

Did we stick to our plans? Nope! If we saw a restaurant we wanted to try more than what was scheduled, we scratched our plans and went with spontaneity! We also chose different parks to visit on our last day than what we had originally planned. These are just plans after all, it's okay to make changes along the way.

Bottom Line: Know ahead of time what park you want to visit, which attractions are a "must see" for that day, and where you want to eat. Let the rest of your day just "happen"... see Characters, enjoy other attractions/shows, and pay attention to the details.

Feel free to access our version of this Disney Planning Chart via Google Docs. When using Google Docs just go to File>Make Copy, give it a new name and you'll be able to edit it to your liking. If you would like a clean start, here is a copy of a Blank Chart.

UPDATE:  Both of the Disney Itinerary Planning Charts were updated with improvements on December 4, 2012. It can now be downloaded as a Word document as well.

25 comments:

  1. this chart is amazing! thank you for sharing!!

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing this! I love how concise it is and (at the same time) how 'pretty' it is. I've been looking for this very look. Was about to make one from scratch and now I don't have to!

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  3. You are welcome! So glad you'll be able to use it. :o)

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  4. awesome i was able to download as word doc and just edit from there. wasn't letting me do it as you said..but it still worked! thanks

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  5. Downloading as a word doc and using now...thanks bunches!! :D

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  6. I love this chart. I don't have our next trip planned yet, but I'm saving this to use when I do! Thanks for sharing.

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  7. I love this chart! I'm planning my trip for Feb 2013!

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  8. Wonderful to hear! Hope you have a great trip!!

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  9. I have a chart very very similar to this. LOL I put the park hours at the top of the page along with which park has EMH's that day.
    In the Bx, Lunch, and Dinner boxes...I also include ADR confirmation #, tip or no tip, # of DDP credits if on DDP, and transporation to, bc sometimes we get a cab..othertimes take the bus. I also always write my ADR time with the check in time, for example if I had a 7:00 ADR I would have to check in at 6:40 so I would write it on my chart like this... 6:40 (7:00) that way when I look at it, I know what time I actually have to be there without thinking.
    Anyhow, it's very similar.

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  10. Thank you! I love the blank chart! I was able to customize it perfectly! I did add ADR Times and Confirm #'s. What I love - I can access it remotely, so if I lose my paperwork, I can pull it up on my phone! Thank you!

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  11. I am sooooo glad its not just me that likes to plan out trips! Our plan looks very similar to this but I love the idea of putting the best park info on there too - thank you

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  12. I love your Disney planning chart! How can you download it as a Word document? And, is there a way to make it into 2 pages? Our next trip will (hopefully) be 10 days, so I'd love to have 5 and 5. ;)

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  13. Heidi, Heidi, Heidi... so many demands! LOL... just kidding. First, open the Blank Chart in Google docs (and make a copy so you can save it as your own - File > Make Copy). Put your curser below the 'table' and hit return several times until a 2nd page appears. Highlight the 'table' from above, copy and paste it on the 2nd page. Next, go to File > Download as... and select "Microsoft Word (.docx)" You should then be able to open it up in Word and continue editing as you like.

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  14. Thanks, Terri! You ROCK! I shall work on this tomorrow, when I have 1/2 a brain (I hope).

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  15. Cute chart. Thanks for sharing. Google Docs are great, thanks for giving me a reason to play with it. I like one pagers...it is tricky to figure out what to include/exclude.

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  16. I love this chart! I have customized it for our Disney trip in May 2014. It will be very helpful. I'm going to also create daily charts I can just stick in my pocket! Thank you!

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  17. Seriously? You came up with this chart? I think you should give credit where credit is due. This chart was shared by me with you on Disboards. I don't mind people using it and sharing it to help create an amazing family vacation. But I do mind not getting any props for something that I have worked hard to create and am proud of. Share it all you want, but a quick thank you to... Would be awesome.

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  18. Grendalynn - my apologies if you are the originating template publisher. I did find this template in the google docs > Public Templates section over a year ago - no author given (perhaps someone else uploaded it?) I gave it several tweaks. I would love to see your original, and if it matches up - I'll happily give you the credit! That would be great to meet the long lost creator behind such a great chart! Feel free to email me: terri@wdwhints.com Thanks!!

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  19. http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=36976574&postcount=554. You will also see the link to the spreadsheet below my signature. :)

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  20. My golly, that's it! And we've connected! So exciting!! Check your email soon and we'll get your credentials placed on the site! ;o)

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  21. Thank you, Terri, appreciate your support. I am very proud of my work and have worked hard to create a tool that has proven to be helpful and user friendly to so many families. I genuinely love Disney and the planning part is one of the most fun parts!

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  22. Hey there! Did you get my email on Monday night? I sent it to the gmail account associated with your disqus login. If you didn't, send me a quick message (terri@wdwhints.com) and we can get things squared away. Thanks!

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  23. "Hard work" is hardly the way to describe that chart; my 9yr old made one very similar for our trip last year and it took him less than 10 minutes.

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  24. You SERIOUSLY need to GET OVER YOURSELF!

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  25. I see this post is from a long time ago. You may not even check this, but I would love the template if you don't mind sharing. I can't get the links to work. Can you send it to me as a word document? My email is jhughey59@gmail.com
    Thanks so much!

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