James D. (NDD#152) (8 Posts)

A happily-married father of 4 children, James is a lifelong Disney nut. Ever since he found a map of the Magic Kingdom on his aunt's refrigerator over 25 years ago, he has been obsessed with planning trips to Walt Disney World, whether those trips were for himself or for others. This obsession led to the founding of MousePlanning.com which provides concierge-level custom itineraries for people traveling to Walt Disney World.

“I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.”Walt Disney

One of the things that I hate to hear from people is “We went to Disney World once and hated it. We barely got to do anything!” My next question is something along the lines of “Really? Did you have a touring plan?” The typical response is “Not really, but [I saw the planning DVD/looked at the park map before/knew what I wanted to do/listened to my brother-in-law who has been there 3 times/etc.].” I’ve heard it from enough people that I have an excellent idea of how their first day in the Magic Kingdom typically plays out. It goes something like this:

The Average Person pulls into a parking spot at 8:50am because he knows the Magic Kingdom opens at 9:00am and he wants to get there early. By the time he gets to the turnstiles, it is 9:30am because he didn’t know that there isn’t a “Magic Kingdom Parking Lot.” He walks out onto Main Street and heads to Tomorrowland and Space Mountain. He doesn’t know how to use FastPass, so he waits 35 minutes in the standby line. By the time he exits Space Mountain, it is 10:30am, and he decides to get in the 20 minute standby line for Buzz Lightyear’s Space Range Spin. Now it’s 11:00am, and he wants to head over to Pirates of the Caribbean. After consulting the guide map to determine the best way to get there, he goes due west and runs into the crowd in the hub waiting for the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party. By the time the street party is over and he makes it to Pirates of the Caribbean, it’s past 11:30, and he exits Pirates a little after 12:00pm. He notices that it’s time for lunch and goes into a busy Pecos Bill’s along with everybody and their grandmother’s dog…

Any Neurotic Disney Person worth their Mickey Ears could have accomplished a whole lot more by lunch time than the Average Person. Does the Neurotic Disney Person have more time than the Average Person? No, they both had the same amount of time that morning. Did the Neurotic Disney Person save time on her last visit to the Magic Kingdom, put that extra time in her purse and spend it to give herself more hours that morning? No, time can’t be saved for later; once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. How is it that a Neurotic Disney Person can accomplish so much more than the Average Person?

Obviously, the answer to that question is that the Neurotic Disney Person is more effective in using the time that he has. He prepares before time. He has already prioritized the attractions he wants to see and knows which ones he is willing to sacrifice in order to keep his touring plan moving smoothly should the tide of the crowds turn against him.

Should it be any different for us when we’re not in The World? When we’re feeling like we’re drowning in the amount of things that we have to do, when we’re hating life because we don’t seem to be accomplishing all the things that we want or need to do, shouldn’t we apply the same principles that we use when we’re in The World? Is it really that simple?

Admittedly, the challenges to better utilizing our own time grow larger and larger as we take on more of life’s responsibilities and leadership roles. The challenges grow even more difficult for us when our nonDisney goals come into conflict with our Disney-Driven goals. For example, are you willing to sacrifice saving for your retirement in order to spend money to go to Disney World in the near future? Are you willing to sacrifice a Disney vacation in order to go somewhere your Disney-reluctant spouse wants to go? Is the time you put into your Disney blog worth the sacrifice of spending less time with your kids? Asking yourself these types of questions might feel like a kick in the teeth. However, if you know what your goals are and what you’re willing to sacrifice in order to reach them, all you need to do is apply your Neurotic Disney time management skills. You’ll overcome the challenges to your time and find yourself enjoying life outside of Disney World as much as you enjoy life in Disney World. (Well, almost…)

Contributed by: James D. (NDD#152). James is our resident relationship expert and creator of Mouse Planning.


  1. That is why is I like this quote by Roy E. Disney- It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.

  2. I love it! But I’m the person who is just so happy to be at WDW that I don’t care if I ride anything. I can just walk around and people watch. 🙂

  3. Great article! I just had a conversation with a neighbor who went during the holidays last year, and talked about how they couldn’t imagine anyone fighting those “horrible crowds”. Of course she didn’t realize she had gone on the busiest week of the entire year.

    Thanks for a great read!

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.