3 Principles of Disney World Itinerary Planning

Trip Planning Tuesday CastleFor today’s Trip Planning Tuesday article we wanted to get a little more specific on planning a Disney World Itinerary. We think there are three major principles that should be followed when it comes to planning a Disney World Itinerary that is going to be perfect for your family. These are in no particular order of importance and the different principles should support each other as an itinerary is laid out.

1. Rope Drop is Sacred – As we mentioned in our post on the Nuts and Bolts of an Itinerary, one of the most important things you can do is use the first two hours the parks are open as lines will be much shorter than the rest of the day. Rope drop, a fancy term for park opening, is a huge part of this and arriving at rope drop is a principle that should not be taken lightly. You need to be at the park in most cases 30-45 minutes before rope drop so you are in a good position to start your day. Even being just 10 minutes late to rope drop can have a domino effect on the rest of your morning, so arriving in advance is extremely important to getting your day off to the right start. Let me present you with a scenario to illustrate this:

If you are ready for a Magic Kingdom rope drop, the park usually opens about 15 minutes early, so you will be let in around 8:45. You arrive at your first step in the plan, Peter Pan’s Flight, at around 8:50 and walk on the ride. You are done with your ride by 9:00 and headed to your next attraction, Winnie the Pooh. You arrive at Pooh at 9:00 and wait about 5 minutes to ride. By 9:10 you are headed to your next attraction, Under the Sea. You arrive there by 9:20 and ride with a 5 minute wait. So by 9:30 you have done 3 attractions and can continue with your day.


Let’s say you arrive at 8:55 with the park already open, just 10 minutes late. The crowds to get through the turnstiles will now be larger, so it will be 9:10 before you arrive at Peter Pan. The line at Peter Pan is now 10-15 minutes, so you are not done until around 9:30. You will not arrive at Winnie the Pooh until 9:35, which also now has at least a 10 minute wait, which means you will arrive at Under the Sea around 9:50 at the earliest. It will have at least a 10 minute wait, meaning you won’t get off the ride until around 10:10.

So you see, arriving just 10 minutes late means just three rides into your day you are going to be 40 minutes behind where you would have been if you could have entered the park on time. This is not only affecting the next ride, but lines are going to be longer at every other ride you want to visit that day. So, be aware of the domino effect that will happen if rope drop is missed.

2. Don’t Follow a Late Night with an Early Morning – Now, all of the talk so far has been about rope drop and getting up early. We are certainly not expecting you to do that every day of your vacation, just on select ones when you want to hit headliner attractions. For every 2 rope drop days you plan we suggest 1 sleep in/restful mornings. The key to this is if you have had a late night for something such as Wishes or Fantasmic! we suggest making the next morning a sleep in day. It can be extra stressful trying to rally the troops to get to rope drop if you didn’t get in bed until midnight the day before. Just avoid that and schedule your sleep in/rest days the mornings after your late nights.

3. Plan Your Rest – One thing you must do is make sure you have planned rest time during your trip. This can be in the form of sleep in/rest mornings or in the form of the TBE touring method. Whatever type of day you are scheduling make sure it has some form of rest scheduled. Getting some rest during your vacation is, in our opinion, the best way to keep people from getting cranky and having meltdowns. You know the meltdowns we speak of! You have been in the parks and seen adults and parents alike have meltdowns, and most likely they are because they have been in the parks for 14 hours a day for the past three days and they just need some rest. So, plan your rest, and you won’t regret it.

If you have any questions on any of these topics please don’t hesitate to let us know and we’d love to help you answer them.

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