FastPass+ Itinerary for Lower-Crowd Weeks



By Dave Shute

Below is my FastPass+ based Disney World itinerary for lower crowd weeks.

It does not work all dates, and some dates that it mostly works it needs some little adjustments. Check your week here.

Disney World FastPass+ Lower-Crowd Itinerary from yourfirstvisit.net

The recommended FastPass+ that make it work are in the To-Do List, so you can book them at the 60 day window for FastPass+ sign-ups. Daily agendas are in the links:

Thanks are especially due to Josh from easyWDW. With his permission, I picked the targeted park days based on both my own practices and his daily park recommendations.

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114 comments

1 Heather { 01.14.14 at 7:52 am }

When you say that EMH are generally a bad idea, are you referring to both AM and PM? We never do AM EMH, or even go to a park that has AM EMH that day as it tends to be crowded. But we loooove PM EMH. On a related note, do you have itineraries for people who like to sleep in when on vacation? :)

2 Dave { 01.14.14 at 8:01 am }

Hiya Heather!

Both morning and evening EMH attract extra guests from the 30,000 WDW hotel rooms. Those without hoppers then have that as their park all day. MK late close nights with evening EMH on top can be fine and a hoot–e.g. from 1a to 3a–but the rest of the day park will still be busier than on other days…and they aren’t as great as they were when they were three extra hours, instead of two…

And no, I don’t have late-arrival itineraries, but FP+ makes sleeping in so much easier!! You can find late arrival itineraries on TouringPlans.com

3 Michelle { 01.14.14 at 10:51 am }

TouringPlans is paid subscribers only?

4 Lisa { 01.14.14 at 7:10 pm }

Hi Dave,
I can’t wait for Sept. park hours to come out. I’ve been working on my itinerary for Sept. 19-29. Yup 10 days. I want to put in a rest day but there is so much to see and do. How about resting in the parks? Any good tips for that? Also how would you do a 10 day itinerairy? Thank for the helpfull info. Keep up the good work. :-)

5 Dave { 01.15.14 at 7:08 am }

Michelle it has a mix of free and paid content…it’s not my money but I think it is way worth it…

6 Dave { 01.15.14 at 7:32 am }

Lisa, the old approach to a ten day itinerary would be to grab every early morning your family could take, so that you had lotsa headliners at rope drop and thus cut your overall waits, and to add to that as many full days off–without evening restaurant reservations–as you could, to keep yourself sane.

FP+ pays off the more days you can spend in the parks, and thus lets you sleep in more, because rope drop is not as big an issue if you already have a lot of big long wait stuff booked for late afternoon! So I’d aim for 5 early mornings–one at each park except 2 at MK–9 total days in the parks, and one day completely off about halfway in…

There’s a couple of rides notorious for being good settings for naps, especially at MK–but not as good a strategy as using FP+ to limit early mornings!

7 Lynn { 01.16.14 at 8:50 am }

Hi Dave! Thanks for these revised itineraries! I have two questions. We’re early risers and will be staying onsite. Would there be any advantage to catching as many morning EMHs as possible and hopping to the recommended park mid-morning? I read that is a popular strategy and I’m thinking it’d be getting more out of the $ we’ll be paying to stay on property, but we’ve got children who will be ages 8 and 6 when we visit. I’m afraid hopping will be too overwhelming for them and sticking to your itineraries’ recommendations would be helpful. I’m not sure if we’ll be taking mid-day breaks back at the resort. What is your opinion? Thanks in advance!

8 Lynn { 01.16.14 at 8:58 am }

My second question: We will likely be staying 8 nights Friday – Friday. How would you change the 8 night itinerary for a Friday arrival? Thanks!!

9 Dave { 01.16.14 at 6:28 pm }

Lynn, if you wouldn’t be leaving the park anyway, I wouldn’t EMH/hop too often with a 6yo. You just waste time walking and on transport.

But spending the full day at a morning EMH park works better under FP+ as you can book your FP+ for later morning and early afternoon, do a lot of rides from 8-10 or so and not have to wait a lot, plus keep the flexibility to collapse and get a nap mid afternoon (which is why you book the FP+ late morning/early afternoon). You just have to be careful not to book FP+ for rides you’ll see the first 90 minutes anyway.

10 Dave { 01.16.14 at 6:29 pm }

Lynn, not to be a math nazi, but Friday-Friday is seven nights! Clarify for me if 8 nights or seven, and I can help

11 Lynn { 01.16.14 at 8:19 pm }

Sorry, Dave! By Friday to Friday I meant Friday night through Friday night, check ing out Saturday morning. Thanks! And thanks also for the input on morning EMH/hopping and FP+.

12 Dave { 01.17.14 at 6:42 am }

Got it, Lynn–but I forgot to ask you, what is your arrival date?

13 Lynn { 01.17.14 at 8:24 am }

Arrival date is Friday, May 2. Thanks!

14 Dave { 01.18.14 at 9:53 am }

OK Lynn! Do “First Saturday” on your arrival Friday, noting that becasue of evening extra magic hours you’ll be able to stay at Epcot later than it indicates. Then do on your first Saturday all of what’s shown as Wednesday, plus also the evening part of Second Saturday. On Wednesday do what’s shown as Friday, and on Friday do what’s shown as Second Saturday mornings!

Note that I haven’t completed the daily details of this itinerary yet, but am targeting doing so by the end of Feb, so you’ll have the missing specifics you’ll need for e.g. the rest of your FastPass+ by your 60 day mark when you can book FastPass+…

15 Jessie { 01.19.14 at 11:10 am }

Hi Dave, thanks for all your updates- love reading them as always! We just booked our trip for May 4-8th. We’ll arrive MCO by noon and stay at Contemporary. Plan for Epcot on Monday 5/5, waterpark on 5/6, & MK on 5/7. If we want to try StarTour & TSM at DHS, should we try going on our arrival day for 1/2day, or is it better to go on Epcot day? We have hopper tickets. Thank you for your advise!

16 Dave { 01.20.14 at 6:26 am }

Jessie, you can only get FastPass+ for one par per day. To see TSM, you need ot either show up at open or use FastPass+. The same is true for a key ride or two at Epcot, though, too, so I’d do HS on your arrival day with FastPass+ for TSM and Star Tours.

17 jane { 01.21.14 at 5:51 pm }

Excited that your itineraries are out for end of August so I can start planning our WDW trip in detail! We are travelling from the UK with our boys (10 and 7 and nearly 48 inches!). Friday 15th – Friday 29th (but planning on spending 3 days in non Disney parks).

I’m exciting about the planning but also quite daunted by all the decisions that need to be made in the next few weeks so your site has been invaluable.

A couple of questions:
We get to Disney on a Friday but travelling from the UK would mean that we would not want to do anything much but sleep on our arrival day. So Saturday would be our first full day – how would you revise the itinerary to accommodate this?

Friends tell us that the jet lag means that we could be up very early on our first few days. I understand why you advise against using the early EMH as the parks get much busier but we may be up at 5 am anyway! Would this change things?

Thanks!

I’m exciting about the planning but also quite daunted.

18 Dave { 01.22.14 at 7:45 am }

Hi Jane! First, the itineraries start on Saturday (in them, “First Saturday” means “Saturday,” not “Day 1,” so you’ll be fine spending a day recovering. Second–getting you on the 5a wake ups–sure, do morning EMH. Schedule your FastPass+ for early afternoon, and plan to nap the rest of the afternoon….

19 Gregory Wallace { 01.28.14 at 8:24 pm }

I am planning on arriving Tuesday August 19band departing on Wednesday Aug 27. To complicate matters another couple is meeting us on the 20th and staying until the 24, so that may require us to alter our itinerary a bit. What do you recommend we follow for those days?

20 Dave { 01.29.14 at 8:00 am }

Gregory, are you bringing kids, and if so, what ages?

21 Gregory Wallace { 01.29.14 at 2:01 pm }

Age 2 and 7

22 Dave { 01.30.14 at 9:18 am }

Gregory, at those ages I’d thin out Epcot. To accommodate the other couple, I’d plan on two days at MK and one at each of the other three parks the 20th-24th. Do MK on the 20th and 23, HS the 21st, AK the 22nd, and Epcot the 24th. For the rest of your visit, just return to what your kids liked best from the 20th-24th!

23 Michelle { 01.30.14 at 10:17 am }

here’s another question – when i book all my FP+, it only allows me to book for Me,my husband and daughter. My son is free since he is under 2 so he isnt allowed to be checked off…. will be still be allowed on rides that are not height restricted without actually having his own FP+ reservation???

24 Dave { 01.31.14 at 6:55 am }

Yes, Michelle, he’ll be able to come along!

25 Gregory Wallace { 02.03.14 at 7:35 am }

I was looking to do fantasmic on the day we arrived Tuesday August 19th. Historically the show is on Tuesdays. Is this still true?

26 Gregory Wallace { 02.03.14 at 8:24 am }

Also am I better off seeing Illuminations from a restaurant seat?

27 Dave { 02.04.14 at 9:06 am }

Gregory, for a couple of years now Fantasmic has been back to its nightly schedule.

Maybe one night every couple of months, when HS closes at 6 for a private party, it’s off, but you can pretty much count on it any night otherwise. On 8/19 it’s scheduled for 8.30p–see this: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/DTA-Domestic/pdf/ParkHours/WDW_Operating_Calendar_aug.pdf

28 Dave { 02.04.14 at 9:07 am }

Gregory, there are very few spots from restaurants you can see it from, and all are hotly fought for. So I wouldn’t count on getting one…

29 Katherine { 02.04.14 at 2:51 pm }

We are planning to honeymoon at WDW arriving Sunday, August 31 and departing Sunday, September 7…I believe the six or seven day park hopper option would work. This is our first time to WDW. We are looking for an affordable Disney resort to stay at. We were thinking of Disney’s Caribbean Resort. What is your opinion on that? As well, what itinerary do you recommend using? In addition, we want to avoid character dining, what dining places can you recommend. We were thinking of getting deluxe dining as it’s offered as the same price right now as the basic dining package. Finally (I apologize for the lengthy message, I love your website and have so many questions) what extra honeymoon type this can you recommend and what days on the itinerary do you recommend to do them? Some sort of boat cruise with fireworks may be nice , I think maybe it’s offered with Illuminations? Anyways, your opinion is greatly appreciated!

30 Katherine { 02.04.14 at 3:03 pm }

Oh I forgot to mention, I have celiac disease and must only eat foods that are gluten free. Do all the restaurants at WDW offer good food options for me? Last question for now, promise.

31 Maria Evans { 02.04.14 at 9:49 pm }

We’ve booked our vacation 9/21-9/27 ( I know not ideal dates but airfare was a little over $200 more per person for mid-late October dates :-/) I was wondering when you’d have a September’14 itinerary?? I need to make my dreaded 180 ADR March 25 and Im at a lost fof what days I need to make what!! Plan on 1st day dtd 2nd-6th in parks MK 2xs all others 1x! Your site has helped me so much but Im still so lost!!!

32 Dave { 02.05.14 at 2:34 pm }

Oh Katherine, I’m sorry, but I don’t have much to say about honeymoons, but here’s some other thoughts:

For your hotel, I think among the moderates that Port Orleans French Quarter is the most romantic–see this http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/06/26/the-most-romantic-walt-disney-world-resorts/

For suggested dining, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-eat/dining-alternatives/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-dining/

33 Dave { 02.05.14 at 2:39 pm }

Katherine, Disney is wonderful with food issues. See this https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/special-dietary-requests/ and also check out this great site http://www.allergyfreemouse.com/

34 Dave { 02.05.14 at 2:52 pm }

Hi Maria! My September stuff will be out shortly after Disney publishes its September calendar, around the middle of this month!

35 ShannonE { 03.16.14 at 9:10 pm }

Hi Dave! I love your site. We just booked the Sept special. We are local so we are only staying for 3 nights (9/10-9/13). We are staying at the Contemporary and going to MK for 2 days (9/11 & 9/12). We are eating at California Grill night of arrival (sounds funny being a local) and Cinderella’s Royal Table on 9/11 at 7pm. That’s all the meals we have planned.
My daughter will be turning 3 and this trip is all about her and the princesses. There are no other children to please, so with that being said, what should we FP+ and when?!?! Thank you!!

36 Dave { 03.17.14 at 7:55 am }

Hi Shannon and thanks!!

I focus on kids 8 and older, so don’t have much to offer you. You’ll find suggestions aimed at younger kids here: http://www.easywdw.com/category/cheat-sheets/

37 KE { 03.17.14 at 10:27 pm }

Shannon-

We went in December with two 2yr olds and a 6 yr old…

Enchanted Tales w/ Belle, Little Mermaid ride, and Princess Meet & Greet (StoryBook Hall) are great bets for your princess! FP+ all of them and if stand-bys aren’t so bad, then do the ride/experience multiple times or switch to another FP+ choice at the kiosks.

I cannot put into words our experience at Enchanted Tales with Belle. All the adults in our group cried (even the men) watching our kids interact and become a part of the show. True Disney magic!

38 Dave { 03.18.14 at 7:18 am }

Thanks KE!!

39 Mark W { 03.18.14 at 11:59 am }

Excellent site Dave. I have our first family visit to Disney from UK this October, arriving Tuesday 7th October in the evening and leaving on Wednesday 15th October (to go to Clearwater for a few nights recovery!). Given jet lag we’ll go straight to bed on Tuesday so Wed 8th will be our first day. 3 kids – boys aged 8 and 6 and girl aged 4.5yrs. No dining plan since I found a great deal on conciege at Grand Floridian so will do breakfasts and mid-afternoon rests/snacks there and choose where I spend $$ on other dining. Have 8 day park hopper tickets including water parks (since we will do that at least once I suspect). My questions are which 2 or 3 dining experiences would you focus on securing 180 days out with this family/trip set up? Also anything to avoid planning wise (suspect we’ll do at least 2 days and possible one evening at MK, 1 day AK, 1 day HS and some time at Epcot and try and rest in afternoons so we get some evenings without the kids (and us flaking out). Much appreciated. Mark

40 Dave { 03.19.14 at 7:16 am }

Hi Mark and thanks!

With those ages I’d aim for the classics–some or all of Chef Mickeys, Crystal Palace, Hoop Dee Doo Revue, 1900 Park Fare at GF.

The key your dates is that while overall resort crowds are low, Epcot and MK can be wildly crowded on certain days. See this for why and how to avoid such crowds: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/04/30/crowds-and-walt-disney-world/

41 Stephanie { 03.22.14 at 1:28 am }

Hello Dave,
Our first visit is Oct 11-18th, kids 5&8 (boy/girl). We do plan to do the Not so scary Halloween as that is a fav holiday and we usually do a family dress up every year. I looked at your itinerary. We will swap the Tues/Thurs as you recommend, and I think we will put the Halloween party in on Monday the 13th. Do you think that is an issue to have our first time at MK at the Halloween party?
We are there 7 nights, so I have to cut a day off the itinerary as well. With the ages above what would be better the Hoop-Dee-Doo review or the Crystal Palace?
Lastly, have you updated the 7 day itinerary to FP+ yet?
Thank you for all your help in my planning of this trip, I really appreciate it!
Stephanie

42 Dave { 03.22.14 at 2:51 pm }

Hi Stephanie, it’s fine to see MK at a Party for the first time!

The 7 night FP+ itinerary is here http://yourfirstvisit.net/2014/01/16/seven-night-fastpass-lower-crowd-itinerary-saturday-arrival/

Note that as it does not have you going to Fantasmic on Thursday, there’s no need in it to swap Tues and Thurs!!

43 Lorraine { 03.29.14 at 1:16 am }

Hi Dave,
Love your site it has been very helpful in planning our very first trip to Disney world. We are planning on August 17 til 24, 2014. Your itineraries start on a Saturday but we aren’t arriving until Sunday how do you revise the itinerary to accommodate the Sunday arrival?
Thank you for advice
Lorraine

44 Dave { 03.29.14 at 6:47 am }
45 Stacey { 04.01.14 at 10:22 pm }

Hiya Dave,
We are arriving at night Oct 9th and departing Oct 19th, we have two boys ages 6 and 9. We will be doing fast pass and dining with our package. The catch is two of our days we will be at the Universal parks (Oct 14 and 15th likely when there’s no Halloween nights but not completely sure yet) so which itinerary would you suggest we follow? We will be doing MK, Epcot and HS. No AK or water parks. We would like to have one night in MK for Halloween and one night for Wishes and the parade. Thank you so much, your reviews and website are amazing!!!
Stacey

46 Dave { 04.02.14 at 8:30 am }

Hi Stacey and thanks! As you note, I don’t have anything that’s a good match. Suggest you pick your park days and then use Josh’s cheat sheets to build daily itineraries. His cheat sheets are here: http://www.easywdw.com/category/cheat-sheets/

You’ve got lots of options for your days. In general, avoid parks on EMH days, and avoid MK during the day on nights it has Wishes and the evening parade. You can see the specifics here: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_october.pdf

47 Krystal { 05.12.14 at 11:15 pm }

Hi Dave,

My family and I are arriving on Monday, November 10 and leaving Saturday, November 15th. We were planning to do a half day on the 10th and 15th with travel. We have 2 girls, 2.5 and 4.5 year old, and this is our first visit. We are booked at the Polynesian, which we were warned will be under construction. Do you have any advise on which days we should visit which parks? We are interested in the Christmas party, but I’m not sure which day would be best for that. I would appreciate any help that you can give.

48 Dave { 05.13.14 at 12:22 pm }

Hi Krystal! The 10th is good at MK and Epcot. The 11th, avoid MK and Epcot. The 12th, avoid AK–and this is the best day your dates to see the evening events at MK. Avoid MK the 13th, Epcot the 14th–a good MK day–and avoid HS the 15th. The best MVCMP date during your visit will be the 13th.

49 Krystal { 05.13.14 at 2:43 pm }

Thanks Dave! That’s very helpful. You recommend avoiding MK on the 13th, but that’s the best day fro MVMCP. We weren’t planning to purchase a hopper. Would we be able to enter MK for just the party with the party ticket and visit another park during the day?

Also, based on your recommendations I’m thinking the schedule below. Any specific character events/meals we should schedule given the girls ages and the specific parks? I’ve heard a lot about Be our guest and the Hoop dee doo, but unsure since we’ve never been before.
10th (half day) – MK
11th – AK
12th – MK
13th – HS or Epcot followed by MVMCP
14th – MK
15th – (half day) AK

50 Dave { 05.14.14 at 7:06 am }

Krystal, yes you can use a regular day ticket at another park the 13th, then go to the part yon that ticket later that day! The rest of your schedule looks great!

51 Katie { 05.17.14 at 12:07 pm }

Hi Dave, my husband and I are going to Disney Nov 9-16 (7 nights) I was looking at your schedule and I am not sure how to adjust for one less night. Any suggestions?

52 Vanessa Coleman { 05.17.14 at 1:17 pm }

Hello, We are planning to visit WDW arriving late 9/12/14 and leaving 9/20/14. We have a 4 day park hopper with water park option (military salute). What parks should we visit on which days? We have an 8 yr old and a 5yr old. Thanks!

53 Dave { 05.18.14 at 10:26 am }

Hi Katie!! USe this one, but swap Tuesday and Thursday, as there’s no Fantasmic Thursday night that week: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2014/01/16/seven-night-fastpass-lower-crowd-itinerary-sunday-arrival/

54 Dave { 05.18.14 at 10:28 am }

Hi Vanessa! Here’s parks to avoid those dates:
9/12 avoid AK
9/13 avoid HS, MK
9/14 avoid HS
9/15 avoid all but Epcot–a good water park day
9/16 Avoid Epcot
9/17 Avoid Epcot
9/18 Avoid Mk
9/19 Avoid Epcot, AK
9/20 Avoid Epcot, HS

55 Kelly { 06.04.14 at 12:43 pm }

HI Dave, Thanks for all your hard work on the itineraries! We are visiting Oct. 26th to Nov 3rd. I have mostly followed your lower crowd itinerary, however I have a concern around my 2nd sunday. Wondering what your thoughts are on this? I know weekends at Epcot can be crazy during F&W, but I really want 2 days at Epcot. So my thinking is we would do mostly F&W on the first EPCOT day and focus elsewhere on the Sunday Epcot day. My current plans are below and would like to hear your feedback.

Mon. 10/27 – Epcot
Tue. 10/28 – Blizzard Beach
Wed. 10/29 – MK
Thur. 10/30 – HS
Fri. 10/31 – Free Day – Kids do pirate cruise
Sat. 11/1 – MK
Sun. 11/2 – Epcot

Thanks!

56 Dave { 06.05.14 at 9:10 am }

Kelly, I think your approach to Epcot will work just fine. I’m more concerned about your MK days, as you have chosen a couple of really busy ones. MK will be much better Tuesday or Thursday than Weds or Sat…

57 Kelly { 06.05.14 at 11:53 am }

Thanks for the feedback. I could switch Tuesday and Wednesday no problem. I’m think at that time of year it probably won’t matter what day we hit BB. What would you suggest for Saturday if I try to move MK away from that day? Thanks again for all your help!

58 Dave { 06.06.14 at 7:40 am }

Kelly–moving one should be fine, especially since the reason these dates are busy is because they have the evening program, whihc is still worth seeing! Saturday arrive befroe open, target your FastPass+ for late morning/early afternoon, take a nap, and return for the parade and fireworks.

59 Jeff { 06.09.14 at 10:54 am }

Hey Dave!

I asked before about this, so at the risk of appearing OCD: I’m getting antsy about Sunday 9/14. I had originally planned HS, but when they switched EMH to that day I swapped HS with AK on 9/16. We have an ‘Ohana reservation on 9/16 which fits perfectly with the closing time of AK. Leaving HS early that day to get to Poly is d0-able, but less ideal than just leaving AK when it closes.

Anyway, as always I’m overthinking it, but Touring Plans is still listing a crowd level of 1 for HS on 9/14 despite the EMH, and I’m tempted to just go with it since it’s a (relatively) low attendance period anyway. What’s your experience with Touring Plans crowd levels? Is it still too far out to trust the current prediction?

As always, thanks for the advice!

60 Dave { 06.10.14 at 8:30 am }
61 Pauline { 06.18.14 at 8:28 am }

Hi Dave

Thanks so much – your website is great!

My husband and I are going to Disney January 23rd-31st. How do I adjust the Jan 24th itinerary for the Friday arrival and Saturday departure? Do I still swap the Sunday/Monday?
Thanks again for your help – love, love, love your site.

Cheers

62 Dave { 06.18.14 at 11:08 am }

Hi Pauline–first, ignore swapping Sunday and Monday, that was a mistake and I’ve taken it off! I bet you love me less now…

Do what the itin shows for first Saturday on Friday. Do what it shows for Weds as your first Saturday. Do Sunday-Tuesday as written. Wednesday do what it shows for Friday, do Thursday as written, Friday do what it shows for Second Sat, and second Sat do what it shows for Second Sunday.

63 Pauline { 06.18.14 at 2:23 pm }

Dave,

Nope, still love you!

Cheers,

Pauline

64 Kim { 06.19.14 at 3:52 pm }

Dave,
My family is going to Disney October 7 through October 12. Hoping to take advantage of the low crowds. I have a 4 year old and 7 year old. We get up no later than 6:30 am :) I really want to do the Halloween party, which is on the 9th and 10th. Would you recommend going to Magic Kingdom that whole day on the 9th? (possibly going back to the hotel at 12:30-1 for a quick nap before the party).

Here is what I thought
Tues evening: Epicot?
Wed: Animal Kingdom
Thursday: Magic Kingdom
Friday : Hollywood Studios

Thanks so much for your direction.

65 Dave { 06.20.14 at 7:49 am }

:) Pauline

66 Dave { 06.20.14 at 8:00 am }

Hi Kim! Epcot has EMH Tuesday, and MK Thursday, so I can’t recommend those parks those days–especially since there’s little at Epcot for a 4 year old anyway. Since there’s not much at HS either, I’d do HS the evening of the 7th, AK weds as you have it, the party Thursday night (you can enter with your party tix at 4p, so just take the earlier part of the day off) and MK again on Friday.

67 Melinda { 07.03.14 at 5:12 am }

Dave,
Your website is awesome! We are going September 6-13th and staying off property in a house 2.5 miles from Disney. I would love your imput on some schedule and Fast pass ideas. We are arriving mid afternoon on the 6th, so we figured the day would be off unless there is a reason to go later in the evening. I had been told that when you stay off property that you don’t get to stay as late in the parks? Our kids area 7 and 5. We have only bought the not so scary disney park pass for Tuesday, September 9th so far. Our flight leaves early on Saturday the 13th. We had considered just a 4 day pass but one of the days was going to be the not so scary Disney. So, that leaves 3 potential full days. We had decided we would probably skip Epcot and we had originally thought we might use one day for going to Cocoa beach….but it is not a definite. Being off Disney propery 2 1/2 miles away what would you recommend for the ages of our kids and time there, should we do 5 days at Disney and skip beach? Are eligible to have early morning hours if we don’t stay at Disney? So many questions I have…..anything you can advise is greatly appreciated.

68 Melinda { 07.03.14 at 5:29 am }

One more thing, my kids are girls, tall for their age and love great rides….any that they are Allowed to do including roller coasters. I think I read somewhere in all your info about taking them to be part of a show…maybe beauty and the beast???

69 Dave { 07.03.14 at 9:52 am }

Melinda, first yes you can’t go to morning or evening extra magic hours. See this for an example of how those worked last year (this year will be a little different–it’s just an example) http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/09/06/next-week-september-7-through-september-15-2013-at-walt-disney-world/

But I don’t particularly recommend these EMH , so there’s no real loss there.

The parks take 6+ days to fully see (4+ excluding Epcot, which is a fine thing to exclude at those ages…) so I would skip the beach. You can find beaches elsewhere…

You want two days at MK and one each at HS and AK. MK will be quite crowded the 7th and 10th so aim for your second day (treating the party, which you can arrive at at 4p despite your tix saying 7p) as one of your days) the 8th.

The 7th will be much better at Disney’s Hollywood Studios than at AK, so go there then. And go to AK the 10th.

70 Dave { 07.03.14 at 9:54 am }
71 Andrea { 07.04.14 at 12:07 am }

Hello Dave! I am a frequent visitor to your site for all the latest info! Much appreciated! I am a 2-time WDW visitor; once with my husband only, and then with my 2 year old son in 2011. We are planning an early 2015 trip for at least a solid week; either end of February (we were there early Feb over Valentine’s Day in 2011, and early September when it was just the two of us) or sometime in April, after the Easter weekend the 4th/5th. As they have not yet released discounts (dining or room), we are having a hard time deciding when the cheapest option would be for us. Do you suggest calling and booking a bunch of weeks, or waiting for the online booking to become available? Do you know when this should be? I like to compare and see numbers for myself. We are interested in Mod-Deluxe resorts; having stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge 1st, and Port Orleans 2nd. Don’t think we’d be happy at a Value?? Any suggestions or info would be very much appreciated! Thanks for laying it all out there!

72 Dave { 07.04.14 at 8:18 am }

Hi Andrea and thanks!!! First I don’t expect any dining deals in 2015 until August or so. Room rate deals are likely for each of your periods, but won’t be announced until much later, perhaps December. 2015 prices and on-line booking should come out soon–perhaps as soon as Weds–it came out the Weds after the 4th the last two years. So I’d wait, as you’ll get real info soon enough. Booking now will not affect your ability to try for a discount if one is announced later.

Honestly, unless you can’t stand the thought of full-sized beds or the absence of a coffee maker, I’d try a value. Since hotels are the main manageable cost in a stay, it’ll be good for you to know if such will work for you or not. If doing so seems risky to you, then do a split stay–start in a value for a couple of nights, then switch to a deluxe or mod for the second half. (Don’t reverse the order, or the value will suffer too much from comparison.)

Both your date targets are fine. The difference will be that April will likely be warmer and prettier, in the full bloom of spring…

73 Amanda { 07.10.14 at 3:41 pm }

I see this is for Sept-13 and on. But What if I arrive Spet 15-22? Please help.

74 Dave { 07.11.14 at 7:17 am }

Amanda your trip is for a day shorter and different days, so the itinerary isn’t really adaptable to that.

Instead, use this one as your starting point http://yourfirstvisit.net/2014/01/16/seven-night-fastpass-lower-crowd-itinerary-sunday-arrival/

but
1. Do what it shows for the first Sunday on Monday 9/15
2. Do Tuesday-Saturday as written
3. Do what it shows for Monday on 9/21
4. Do what it shows for the second Sunday on 9/22

75 Pauline { 07.14.14 at 9:29 am }

Good Morning Dave. I really appreciate all the work you’ve put into this fabulous website. You mentioned that the itineraries avoid EMH. For the week of Jan 24th, touringplans is showing EMH at HS on the first Sunday and MK for the second Saturday – is this correct?

Cheers,

Pauline

76 Greg { 07.14.14 at 2:30 pm }

Hi Dave,
Great website and looking for some specific advice.
We arrive in Orlando at 2pm on Friday, November 14th and fly out early morning on Monday the 24th. We have a Kidani Village 1 bedroom through DVC for 6 nights (14th through 20th) so have three nights left to book and were leaning towards using Starwood points on one of their properties such as the Swan. We are staying at the airport the night of the 23rd.
Haven’t bought park tickets yet but I can redeem AirMiles (up here in Canada) for 7 day passes for the family (5 of us total with kids ages 10, 7 and 3) and wondering if that would suffice, or if not, how we could add a couple days onto that if even possible.
I see you also recommend we swap a few days in the itinerary the week of the 15th – is that to accommodate fireworks and/or the Christmas options? I’m not sure what to do with us arriving a day earlier as well.
We are first time visitors so your guidance would be hugely appreciated!
Thanks!
Greg

77 Dave { 07.15.14 at 7:27 am }

Pauline, you are right!! Here’s the scoop: effective July 19, 2014, the routine night for MK evening EMH has shifted to Saturdays (altho there’s still some variations.) See this for more: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2014/07/10/assorted-disney-world-updates/ I’m not gonna change the itineraries, though, as I put people in MK on Saturdays in almost all my itineraries for multiple reasons!

78 Dave { 07.15.14 at 7:40 am }

Hi Greg and thanks! The swapping of days is to avoid higher crowd days becasue of changes in the “usual” operating patterns that week. Seven days is fine, although my itineraries are for longer, so that you can relax more. Because sometimes there are restrictions on tickets sold through “alternative” means, I can’t really comment on the AirMiles tix and whether you can extend them on site like you could a ticket that you bought directly from WDW.

With seven days and those ages I’d do three days at MK, two at Epcot, and one each at HS and AK. With one more day I’d split HS into two days, and with a ninth day I’d spit AK.

My itinerary isn’t really revisable inot fewer days, but you can still target the parks on the days I suggest (including the swapping) and you can find mix-and-match daily itineraries in my book The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit.

79 Allison { 07.15.14 at 3:14 pm }

Hi Dave,
Im trying to plan a visit for my family in october 2015. Ive been checking the disney site daily, but no dates for 2015 are available for booking yet and no one can give me a straight answer when i ask. Any idea when these 2015 dates will be released?

80 Dave { 07.15.14 at 6:23 pm }

Hi Allison, I keep hearing any day now…

81 Katherine Dormody { 07.24.14 at 3:33 pm }

Hi there,
We are planning to visit Disney from November 9-16, 2014. We have booked a condo a few minutes from Disney. We will be travelling with my husband, two children (1 and 3), my parents, my brother, his wife and their two kids (6 and 10). I see that there is a deal now where you can buy four days and get one for free. Should we purchase the Park Hopper or just purchase the regular tickets? Any other suggestions for our first trip? We are planning to go again when our kids are a little older, but doing this more as a family gathering.

Thanks!

82 Katherine { 07.25.14 at 10:45 am }

Just to add to my note above, we were thinking of purchasing a 5-day pass (including the free day special that’s currently on) and adding the Water Park option instead of the Park Hopper. Is the weather in mid-November still good for the water parks? We are from Canada so we are used to the cooler weather :) Do you think this would give us enough time at the parks?

83 Dave { 07.26.14 at 9:00 am }

Katherine, you can usually make a trip work fine without the extra expense of a park hopper. Five days in the parks is thin, and not a lot of what I have will help much. I’d suggest getting my book and using the itineraires in it The Easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit

84 Dave { 07.26.14 at 9:15 am }

Katherine, no. Five days in the parks is really the minimum, and weather in November can be nice or very cool. See this for November http://yourfirstvisit.net/2014/04/15/november-2014-at-walt-disney-world/ and this for how long to stay http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/how-long-to-stay/

85 Wayne { 07.28.14 at 12:19 pm }

Hi Dave,

Any advice?
My wife & I are staying @ CSR September 7th thru the 13th 2014 with the dining plan.
We have no children, and have dinner reservations each night.
Since that week in September is generally a “Slow” month for Disney,
does it make sense to even do Fast Pass for any of the rides? or to avoid any Parks on certain days?
I am just praying for a nice Disney vacation with no crowds & decent weather.

Thanks,

Wayne

86 Dave { 07.29.14 at 8:37 am }

Wayne a “slow” week at Disney is slow compared to other weeks…it’s not no-wait. It can still have 60 minute+ waits, and they can be much longer if you go to the wrong park on the wrong day. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/04/30/crowds-and-walt-disney-world/ So yes, you need to pick your park days carefully and still use FastPass+

87 Michelle { 08.04.14 at 10:23 pm }

Dave,
Unfortunately, I found your website after a number of our arrangements have been made. Also, we are going to Orlando because of another event and so have limited flexibility. This will be our first trip to WDW, although we go to Disneyland regularly. My biggest question is how to use this itinerary with our first day in the park being Monday and our last day being Saturday. We also have to be absent from the park on Thursday. Epcot is really our highest priority since Disneyland has many of the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios features. We will be staying at Pop Century and heading on to a Disney Cruise on Sunday. Thanks for any help you can give.

88 Michelle { 08.04.14 at 10:24 pm }

Also, it is a party of four adults. No kids!

89 Dave { 08.05.14 at 9:17 am }

Michelle, the itineraries don’t bend that much. Suggest you check out the park plans in our book, which are much more flexible!! The aasy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit

BTW I’d also add Animal Kingdom to your must-see list, as it too is very different than DLR!

90 Michelle { 08.05.14 at 9:18 am }

Thanks, Dave, I was planning on getting it.

91 Keith { 08.06.14 at 10:11 am }

Hi Dave
We are a family of 3, with an 8 yr old daughter. It´s our first disney trip as a family. We will be at pop century from monday sept.8 til fri. sept 19. We have the dinning plan. I used your itinerary to make our dinning reservations and day´s at the park. We got a 8 day ticket with water park. My question is as we are staying a few extra days beyond your 8 day itinerary, how would you go about the days, starting early and water park in the afternoons or waterpark in the morning and amusement parks in the afternoon? Just bought your book to support the site since I used it so much in planning our trip, but have just started reading it. Looks great.

92 Dave { 08.06.14 at 10:17 am }

Hey Keith thanks!! In my itinerary days are days–e.g. “Monday” is Monday, not day three. For longer visits just swap days for days– e.g a Monday for a Monday –to create some full days off. Lines can build quickly at the waterparks so then use one of the days you’ve thus freed to get to it before it opens up…

93 Frances { 08.07.14 at 2:38 pm }

Dave,
This site is just fantastic. So much information and advice, especially for those of us who are newbies who are planning a one-and-done trip to WDW. Thank you.
But here’s my question. We are planning a trip for late October of 2015 (largely because of your crowd calendar). We are a large-ish group – 12 people total, covering 3 generations ages 5-72 – so I am having trouble figuring out where to stay. We would like to be somewhere in the high value-to lower moderate range for pricing, and are looking for a place that can accommodate a family of five in relative value while still offering the level of comfort that the grandparents will want. Do all resorts have the option for adjoining rooms? I know they are not guaranteed, but in low season our chances are better, right?
Also, the one requirement we got from my brother is that we include a day (or half day) at a water park. What do you suggest? Is any one day better than the others? Morning vs. afternoon?
Thanks in advance for your advice. It is a year away and I’m already getting overwhelmed by all the options!

94 Dave { 08.08.14 at 10:54 am }

Hi Frances! First, low season affects much more the offsite hotels. Disney hotels are often sold out during the lower crowd periods, as that’s when savvy travelers (who prefer DIsney hotels) come…

All Disney hotels offer connecting rooms. There is right now exactly one hotel that sleeps 5, is less expensive, and offers grandparent comfort–that is the ALligator Bayou section at Port Orleans Riverside. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/11/19/review-port-orleans-riverside-alligator-bayou-rooms/

95 Megan Eden { 08.20.14 at 12:03 pm }

Dave,
We are planning a short, kind of last minute trip to Disney in October. Arrival is October 20 and departure is October 24. We have three children 4, 7, 9. Any ideas on what parks to hit? and which to avoid since we obviously can’t do everything in this short trip.

96 Dave { 08.21.14 at 8:59 am }

Megan, the two younger kids will get little out of Epcot, odds are, so I’d aim for two-three days at MK and one each at AK and HS.

Those dates, avoid MK and AK the 20th, avoid Epcot the 21st, avoid MK and Epcot the 22nd, avoid MK the 23rd, avoid AK the 24th.

97 Melissa { 08.23.14 at 11:21 pm }

We are planning on traveling to disney either the first or second week of May next year. We will have 2 two yr olds with us, so it won’t be an action packed trip. Having said that, is there anything we should absolutely get a fast pass for?
Thanks!

98 Dave { 08.24.14 at 1:20 pm }

Well, Melissa, since there isn’t anything in particular for 2 year olds, anything you do will likely be popular with other kids and families, and hence see long lines if you don’t use FP+…

99 kim { 08.25.14 at 10:08 pm }

We are going to Magic Kingdom for two days the week of September 28-Oct 5. Which two days would be best out of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday? We are avoiding the MNSSHP and don’t want to go two days in a row so we get a little rest. Thanks for your help, love the site!!

100 Dave { 08.26.14 at 7:00 am }

Kim, MK is best on the days with 7p closes. That means, though, that you miss the evening fireworks and parade. Among nights where the parade and fireworks is on, you want to look for a couple of day in a row, and pick the second. Your dates aim for Tuesday or Wednesday for the later close. I know you don’t want two days in a row, but I can’t recommend either Monday or Saturday…

101 Brian { 09.01.14 at 9:43 am }

Dave.. We just secured our vacation dates to WDW. We arrive late Sunday the 8th of Feb, and are park bound the 9th -12th, and checking out the 13th. We have the Dining Plan, No Hopper.
We are taking a 12, 11, 10,9, year olds.
We want to try 2 character meals, and the luau dinner show. We plan on visiting MK x2, AK, HS. We think we would have more fun skipping Epcot and keeping the kids in MK for an extra day. With these dates can you suggest Character dining experiences? and advice on which days to maximize our park experience and where?
Thanks

102 Dave { 09.03.14 at 8:08 am }

Yo Brian. The 9th avoid MK and HS. The 10th is good at all your targets. The 11th avoid AK. The 12th avoid MK. This puts your best MK days as the 10th and 11th, and by sophisticated algebra yields AK the 9th and HS the 12th!

I can’t really recommend the Luau, certainly not for two credits and not really for cash either. Hoop Dee Doo is a much better show. See http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/04/24/review-the-hoop-dee-doo-musical-revue/

You have three basic character meal choices: princesses, Mickey, something other than that (e.g. Pooh.) Guide me on what’s your priority and I will suggest the best!!

103 liz { 09.11.14 at 10:25 pm }

Hi Dave, we’re planning our first family trip to WDW and would love to get some ideas. We’re arriving Jan 24th and staying 7 or 8 nights. Our children will be 5, 2, and 9 months–all early risers with mid afternoon naps. We plan to stay at Shades of Green for at least the first half of the trip and possibly one of the Port Orleans resorts for the later half. We’re thinking a day off after every two days at the parks would probably be good (plus my sister just moved to Orlando!) We’re thinking MK will be the biggest hit, but can you provide any suggestions for itinerary–which parks on which days, incorporating some character meals, etc. Thank you!

104 Dave { 09.12.14 at 9:24 am }

Liz, all my stuff is for much older kids. Sorry…

105 Vickie { 09.17.14 at 1:28 pm }

Hi Dave, we are staying offsite and planning to come October 24-31 with the 24 and 31 as travel days. Which parks do you recommend to visit on those days the 25-30? We are getting 5 day base tickets and then plan to purchase the additional tickets for Mickey’s Not So Scary Party for Tuesday the 28th. Thank you in advance.

106 Dave { 09.18.14 at 6:33 am }

Hi Vickie! The 25th, avoid all but AK. The 26th avoid HS. The 27th avoid MK and AK. The 28th avoid Epcot. The 29th avoid MK and Epcot. The 30th avoid MK

107 Becs { 09.18.14 at 8:25 am }

Hi Dave,
Love your site, you are the best with all this amazing advice!
Hey just quick question we are on free dining plan at WDW in a few weeks time. We have booked all our lunches/dinners ages ago obviously. Just wanted to know re counter service meals though as have heard they are huge and too big for one. Is it true that you can split the counter service meals into two and share them? If we did this we could do breakfast and lunch at counter service each day followed by table service dinner. However, how quick is counter service breakfast when our priority is to get out quickly in the morning to the theme parks? Any recommendations?
Cheers

108 Kevin { 09.18.14 at 1:50 pm }

Dave – when you commented on Vickie’s questions with specific dates and sites to avoid, were you referencing the days or both day and night? In other words, when you say to avoid MK on 27th and 29th, do you mean avoid day and night or just day?

109 Dave { 09.19.14 at 11:33 am }

Hi Becs! Some, but not all, counter service meals are quite large. You only pay/use credits for those you get, and can then split them how you choose. Breakfast almost always works better as parties and juides in your room rather than at the resort food courts. And don’t spend credits on breakfast–lunch is almost always more expensive, so if you are paying cash for one or the other, pick breakfast for cash.

110 Dave { 09.19.14 at 11:34 am }

Kevin I mean the entire date.

111 Hope MacLeod { 10.13.14 at 9:39 pm }

Hi Dave,
We are arriving Feb. 22-27 with a 4-day park hopper for the 23-26th…and staying at the Art of Animation on the dining plan with one sit down a day. We have a 6 girl and 7 year old boy…all first time visitors except me, and I have not been there since I was in college. Since we are early risers anyway I was going to take advantage of the early park hours, but it seems like you do not recommend that. Knowing my family rest time in the early afternoons will be necessary…I was thinking of then entering back into a different park in the later afternoons like 3:00pm…Any tips you might have for us???

112 Dave { 10.14.14 at 9:14 am }

Hope–your approach works just great if a. your kids are early risers, b. you have hoppers, and c. you will be leaving the parks anyway!! I don’t recommend it only becasue most families don’t meet at least one of these criteria!

113 leanne { 11.03.14 at 5:40 am }

Hi dave,
I have planned our trip as above with only some slight changes I was wondering if it would work out better financially to get a dining plan for a family of 2 adults and 2 children. I’m not sure whether I should add it on. Many thank leanne

114 Dave { 11.03.14 at 7:32 am }

Leanne, if both your kids are three to nine and you have many character buffets on your schedule, you can save a few dollars by using the dining plan.

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