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Tips for Doing Disney without a Plan – A FastPass – or a Dining Reservation!

I probably visit Walt Disney World more often than the average person. Sometimes when I go, I plan out every detail, especially when I have my entire family with me. Sometimes when I go, I don’t plan one thing. I just go with whatever may happen!

Disney no plans fastpasses dining reservationsGoing without a plan is the way I like best. Sometimes I will just make a room reservation and buy park passes and have no idea what I will do when I get there. Visiting Walt Disney World this way means you have to be prepared to be flexible and go with the flow. Visiting this way takes me back to the days when very little planning was necessary.

I understand that many don’t get to visit as often as I do so don’t want to miss out on character meals or certain attractions, but rushing from reservation to reservation and FastPass to FastPass is not my idea of a vacation.

Which Park on What Day

I never know which park I will visit on what day. When I get up in the morning I decide where I feel like visiting. Is it a Magic Kingdom sort of day or an Epcot sort of day? Do I even want to go to Hollywood Studios this trip? Do I even want to go into a park that day or just visit Disney Springs or swim in the pool? Flexibility is key to having a relaxing visit.


I have a hard time deciding in the morning what I want for dinner that night so planning a meal 180 days out is not very appealing to me. I like to eat what I feel like eating when I feel like eating it.

I’m perfectly content eating quick service meals if I’m only there for a few days and alone so dining is never an issue. If I’m meeting a friend, we will check for available reservations in the morning and decide where to go based on what is available.

When my kids were young they couldn’t wait for the Disney days of having ice cream for dinner or a Mickey pretzel for lunch! No reservations required!

Many of the quick service options available in the parks offer full meals so dining at a quick service location for a few days does not mean eating hamburgers and hot dogs.


I do the same thing with FastPasses. If I’m alone, I don’t bother. I’ll ride an attraction if the mood strikes and don’t care how long the wait is. If I’m meeting a friend, we’ll check the app for available slots. You can do this with kids too! Now, I know that no one wants to wait in line with an impatient child for long periods of time but it is possible to ride many of the attractions without having FastPasses.

Over Planning Can Destroy a Trip

I watch with amazement on Facebook how people plan out each and every detail of their trip. I see families with spreadsheets in the parks. I realize that for some their trip is a once in a lifetime experience. They have been conditioned to believe that planning is necessary so they can see and do as much as possible. They try to cram every possible experience into five days.

If you will be visiting with children, there is no doubt that certain reservations must be made. We want our children to experience as much as possible. Character meals, character meet and greets and things like Bibbidi Bobbity Boutique all need advance reservations. I have, however, learned from experience that planning too many things in a day can cause one of those vacation “melt downs.” Kids can only take so much rushing from place to place. 

If your Walt Disney World vacation is a once in a lifetime trip or once every few years – save a little longer and go for a longer period of time. In this way you will be able to spread out your reservations.

All of this is completely possible even with kids in tow. I recently took my grandchildren to Walt Disney World for a week. I only made two dining reservations. One for breakfast at Chef Mickey’s and one for a dinner at Hollywood Studios in Sci-Fi Dine In Theater. We enjoyed quick service dining when we were hungry each day with no need to be in a certain spot at a certain time. It was really very refreshing and relaxing and we spent much less time sitting in restaurants waiting for food. I only made FastPass reservations on one day and I actually made them while we were in the Magic Kingdom and my granddaughter wanted to go on an attraction. I was able to get the FastPasses for just a few hours later.

Do you have any tips for visiting without a plan?

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