By the co-author of the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook ever -- The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit.

Now available in PDF format!—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

Basic December FastPass+ Itinerary

By Dave Shute

Note: This itinerary is just an example!  I will be revising it (if needed) after Disney World publishes its actual schedule for December 2016, likely in late May.

This Walt Disney World itinerary is designed for the three weeks following Thanksgiving.

Disney World FastPass+ Basic December Itinerary from

If you aren’t going one of those weeks, see Other Itineraries for alternatives the rest of the year, which are published about six months ahead.

You can enlarge the basic itinerary by clicking it. For a PDF, click here.

As with the other itineraries on this site, there is also a detailed page for each day of your vacation, with specific instructions for that day. Find them here:

Moreover, a detailed To-Do List covers all the steps you need to undertake–including reserving dining and booking FastPass+.


The basic itinerary was designed to meet several goals: to ensure that you

  1. See the best that Walt Disney World has to offer
  2. See the parks in the order that works best for kids (essentially Epcot first, as it is potentially the most disappointing, and the Magic Kingdom last, as it is likely to be the best loved)
  3. Avoid unnecessary waiting, by using FastPass+ and other tactics…
  4. Have as much time off, and as few early mornings, as practical
  5. Avoid unnecessary spending–for example, the basic itinerary does not require you to buy the “Park Hopper” option, saving you more than $200

If you can’t do the Basic Itinerary, see Other Itineraries for alternatives for both the December week and the rest of the year.

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1 Carrie { 06.05.14 at 12:12 pm }

hi Dave,
We will be going to Disneyworld with 12 people (ages 1 to 70), from December 6 – 13, and using your December itinerary as a basis for our own itinerary. However we have to modify it a bit. We will get to the park before it opens each day, which is not what you recommend, but works best for our young kids and their grandparents. We will not stay late, except maybe one night to see Illuminations. Our main goal is to avoid crowds and long waits. We will not do MVMCP on this visit but will return when kids are older. I’m trying to get our schedule worked out so I can make a few dinner reservations next week.

So, my questions are:
1) I have looked at your basic itinerary and the EMH for the parks. Do you see anything wrong with this itinerary?
12/6 Sat fly in and meet for dinner, no park
12/7 Sunday MK (leave by 7)
12/8 Monday HS Is it possible to see Fantasmic and then Osbourne afterwards, both on the same night?
12/9 Tuesday MK (leave by 7)
12/10 Wednesday Epcot (if we see Illuminations and leave right afterwards, will it be a nightmare with the crowds all leaving at once?)
12/11 Thursday AK
12/12 Friday MK (leave by 7)
12/13 Saturday some people fly out early, some will visit a park. You recommend MK, but won’t it be very crowded on this day?

2) You suggest visiting some of the lodge Christmas decorations in the evening, which I would like to try. Can we just drive up to the hotel and park? On our last visit in April 2013, we noticed at AoA where we stayed that they have a guard and gate and you have to say you are staying at the hotel to park there. Do they let people park and visit the hotels that are not guests just to visit and see the hotel?

We love your site!
Thanks very much!

2 Dave { 06.06.14 at 7:46 am }

Hi Carrie and thanks! First, your dates overall look fine! Second, yes you can see Osbornes after Fantasmic. And yes, MK will be busy on Saturday–all my itineraries have a compromise somewhere. Yes, Epcot departures are always a zoo right after Illuminations. There’s too ways around that: if you have two days at Epcot, use your tier 1 FP+ one day for Illuminations. The viewing area for the FP+ puts you as close to the buses as anyone. Second is to see them on EMH night–but the park is overall more crowded that day…

Whether or not you can park varies depending on how crowded the resort is…

3 Chris { 06.27.14 at 12:10 pm }

This may seem like a dumb question, but how does one adjust the provided itinerary if you are not arriving on Saturday?

We hope to arrive Monday, December 1st and depart Tuesday, December 9th.

Would I simply start our itinerary on the Monday and proceed from there (with arrival and departures adjusted accordingly). Or would I count the first Saturday as my Monday and proceed from there?


4 Dave { 06.27.14 at 12:33 pm }

Chris that’s a great question. The itineraries are tuned to exact operating patterns and offerings that vary by day of the week. So “First Saturday” in fact means “Saturday,” not “Day 1.”

Here’s how to revise:
Arrival Monday: Do First Saturday
Tuesday: Do as written
Weds: Do Monday
Thursday-Saturday: Do as written
Sunday: Do first Sunday
Second Monday: Do Wednesday
Second Tuesday: Do second Sunday

5 Ed { 08.21.14 at 9:51 pm }

We are going to Disney staying at Shades of Green. We will arrive November 29th or 30th, but the rest of our party will fly in on Dec 1st. You do not have any days on your itinerary that shows getting to the parks early. We were there in may a few years ago and it was so crowded if we arrived after 10am. Are the crowd levels so low the first two weeks in December that it is not necessary to arrive early? Additionally do you suggest the MVMCP for children that are 8 and 3 years old?

6 Dave { 08.22.14 at 11:43 am }

Ed, no it’s not that–it’s that with the use of FastPass+ over this full itinerary you can do almost everything great without the kind of early mornings that the old Fastpass system required…

7 Heather { 08.26.14 at 9:05 am }

We have no kids, flexible dates on when we can arrive but check out will be Wed. Dec. 3rd. We would like to ride all the rides and go to all the parks, can we just adjust the basic Itinerary, what should we leave out? We will be driving, brining a microwave, can we take food/snacks to the park, we’re both training for fitness shows so we can eat poorly and eat every 3 hrs! Thanks!

8 Dave { 08.27.14 at 7:52 am }

Hi Heather! This itinerary isn’t that flexible–in it days are days, so “Monday” means “Monday,” not day 3. You will be best off starting with the plans at the end of Chapter 6 of our book The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit and then adding to them the various Christmas program items.

9 Elaine { 09.03.14 at 6:24 am }

Our family (3 adults, one 9 yr old daughter) have never been to DW and here is our itinerary for 12/9-13/14. We are staying at Bay Towers at the Contemporary Resort. What do you think?
Tues, Dec 9 – arrival 12:30 – Magic Kingdom, dinner, Xmas Parade
Wed. Dec 10 – Magic Kingdom
Thurs. Dec 11 – Hollywood Studios, then Downtown Disney in evening
Fri. Dec 12 – Epcot
Sat. leaving 5:00 p.m. – leisurely morning, Disney Boardwalk before leaving

We do not want to be jammed packed and exhausted as we are sure to return….:)

10 Dave { 09.03.14 at 8:37 am }

Elaine, a couple of thoughts. First–on the 9th, you can’t see the christmas parade unless you have bought MVMCP tickets. the park closes at 7 for everyone without party tix. See this:

Second, Friday will be busy at Epcot, so I’d swap Thursday and Friday.

And third, staying for the evening show Fantasmic at HS is a much better choice than Downtown Disney

11 Elaine { 09.03.14 at 9:47 am }

Thank you Dave for your help :) Elaine

12 Hayley { 09.25.14 at 3:07 am }

Hi Dave
Firstly your site is GREAT
We are going to disney sun 13 December 2015 for a week
with our daughter who will be nearly 3 by then, my husband
and I have been before and we certainly hope to visit again
when my daughters older..
Is there anything you really recommend doing with our toddler or
anything you would avoid? Would you suggest going to a park
in the morning- leaving in the afternoon to head back to resort
and then going to a different park in the evening or
would it be better just doing one park a day but maybe arriving
at around lunch time?
We are contemplating staying at AofA as I think she
will appreciate the whole disney theme more than
the more upmarket hotels, but I’m not sure if I’m going to
regret this when me and my husband visited alone
we stayed at the Swan and Dolphin and was
Spoilt by being so close to Epcot and the Board Walk.
The other thing that makes me a little worried about
AofA is there isn’t a waiter service restaurant and
we are going to be buying the disney dining plan.
Any tips advice would be greatly received!
Thank you!!!

13 Dave { 09.25.14 at 6:40 am }

Hayley, I focus on kids much older than that, so don’t have anything in particular to help with a three year old.

I think you will be fine at AofA as your table service credits will be better spent at character buffets anyway…and there’s little for a 3 year old at Epcot…

What you want to do is aim for short 3-4 hour periods in the parks that match her daily habits. So don’t get her up at 7a to arrive at a park by 8.15 if she normally gets up at 8. FastPass+ makes this easy to schedule…

14 Hayley { 09.25.14 at 9:58 am }

Thanks for your help,
I know hoop dee doo is obviously aimed at adults/older kids
but my daughter does like music and is fine with a party kind
of loud atmosphere, would you really discourage taking
someone this young to this? Thanks

15 Dave { 09.26.14 at 6:53 am }

Hayley, I wouldn’t “really discourage” it. She may have more fun at Mickey’s Backyard Barbecue, where she won’t have to sit at a table for two hours.

16 Jill { 10.06.14 at 1:35 pm }

Your advice has been priceless so far – thanks for the great site. How do you modify this schedule? We’re arriving Thur. 12/4 and leaving Sat. 12/13 with 2 full days at Universal (still TBD).

17 Dave { 10.07.14 at 6:43 am }

Jill it doesn’t really modify that well–days in it are days and tied to Disney’s operating calendars and the differences they create between e.g. Tuesday and Wednesday.

The simplest fix is to do Universal at the front end of your trip, and then pick up this 7 night variant beginning the evening of fifth:

18 Mark { 10.07.14 at 3:52 pm }

We are at Hollywood Studios today 10/07/14). Disney world is running an experiment where they are only allowing FastPass+ holders to ride Toy Story Mania – no standby line. Fortunarely, we had a FastPass for it for late afternoon. We had planned to ride it standby first thing in the morning, then ride it later at the FastPass time. The experiment killed that plan. I don’t know how long this experiment will continue, but it might need to be factored in when picking the Tier 1 FastPass. On the bright side, there was a very short wait when our FastPass time came around.

19 Dave { 10.08.14 at 4:31 pm }

Thanks Mark, thanks for the report! This experiment is expected to end soon–tomorrow:

20 ANGELA { 11.30.14 at 10:20 pm }

Dave, hello! I forgot to check if you wrote me back. Between the 3rd and the 4th of january, which day is better to spend the day in Magic Kingdom? I was wondering if you know if there are shuttles available from the rental car agencies to the disney line cruise terminal? I’m using National rental car… Thank you!!! Last year you helped me choose my dates, we arrived in Walt Disney World mid december and it was just awesome… hope you can help me now too!!!

21 Dave { 12.01.14 at 9:49 am }

Angela, the 4th, by far. And I don’t track the cruise line, but strongly doubt it. You can get a shuttle from a WDW hotel–see this:

22 Joseph Puiszis { 12.04.14 at 10:11 pm }

Hello Dave,
We will be arriving in Orlando December 28th and leaving January 1st. My wife had this idea of just going into Disney World for one day so our 9yo daughter can see some princesses and do some princess stuff. At first I was just wondering where to enter; now I am wondering if this is even feasible. Well, is it? If so, can you gives some clues as to how? Thank you.

23 Dave { 12.05.14 at 7:46 am }

Joseph, unless you will never have another chance, I’d skip it. Early Jan 1 may be tolerable, but no day before it, and FastPass+ for the key princess items are gone…

24 Christina { 02.17.15 at 1:26 pm }

Hey Dave-

I’m wondering if you have any updates on Downtown Disney. We are staying at PO French Quarter in September 2015. Any idea if Downtown Disney will be completed? We’d love to take the ferry down one night from the hotel.

25 Dave { 02.18.15 at 10:11 am }

Christina even during the construction there’s a ton of stuff open at DTD.

26 Anil { 03.01.15 at 10:29 pm }

I am traveling to WDW arriving the night of 24 March and leaving around noon of 31 March. I have got a 6 day non-hopper ticket for me, wife and daughters aged 11 and 5. I am planning for 2 days at Magic Kingdom and 1 day each at other 3 parks. I was wondering where should I spend the 6th day. Please suggest.

27 Dave { 03.02.15 at 8:57 am }

Anil, it’ll be either MK or Epcot. For the 11 year old it could be either, but the 5 year old likely won’t enjoy two days at Epcot…so MK.

28 Anil { 03.03.15 at 12:10 pm }

Thanks Dave. I will goto Epcot on the first day and based on that day’s experience, I will decide to go another day or not. Epcot has flower festival so I will see how much time it takes.

I was also wanting to spend few hours in the afternoon of first day which is 25th, to watch the rocket launch from beach/park. Do you know how many hours before the launch we should be there to get good place? Will it be really worth to waste so many hours of Disney in watching the rocket launch?

29 Dave { 03.03.15 at 5:05 pm }

Anil, sorry, I don’t have time to keep up with anything other than Disney World…

30 Anil { 03.04.15 at 7:22 am }

Oh, OK. Thanks!

31 Dana { 03.11.15 at 8:26 pm }

Hi Dave! Great site! I’m planning to take my 5 year old daughter for the first and maybe only WDW trip. I’ve invited my parents to join for an extra set of hands. We are looking at arriving on Thanksgiving and staying the week until Wednesday. Any thoughts or suggestions regarding that time frame? I’m trying to accommodate everyone’s schedule which is why I’m planning for midweek. Also, I contacted AAA and wondered if you think it is better to go through them or a travel agent or to plan on my own through different venders? Thanks for the help!

32 Dave { 03.12.15 at 10:30 am }

Dana, I don’t have any recent experience with AAA, so have no comment on that. And let me know what you mean by ” Any thoughts or suggestions regarding that time frame?” :)

33 Alicia { 03.12.15 at 10:37 am }

I am trying to pick our FastPass+ choices and was wondering how the characters are during the FastPass+ meet and greets. Are they patient with shy children, who might need a few moments to approach them? I would hate to choose all meet and greets and then have it turn out they have a time limit or something. Thanks in advance.

34 Dave { 03.12.15 at 2:25 pm }

Alicia, the characters are amazing in how much time they spend trying to get shy children comfortable!

35 jim { 03.13.15 at 11:10 pm }

Since my cousin works at Disney and will be getting us tickets the day of park visits, how should we handle fastpasses at MK? Assuming we are there at rope drop, do we rush to get fastpasses for spacemountain and seven dwarfs, then rush over to splash/big thunder mountains? Or do we get fastpasses for splash and thunder, then rush over to spacemountain and seven dwarfs???

36 Dave { 03.14.15 at 9:59 am }

Jim, some rides (like Seven Dwarfs) will be booked out by then, and others will have very limited availability. Your pickings will be so slim that I’d use the rope drop time to get on great rides with low waits (many of which won’t be available on FP+ anyway), then book your FP+ around 10a.

37 Alicia { 03.16.15 at 3:29 pm }

Thank you very much. I came up with another question while planning our FastPass+, do any of the attractions that say ” FastPass+ Distribution Has Ended for Selected Day” open up again. For example “Meet Anna and Elsa at Princess Fairytale Hall” has ended, is there anyway to get a FastPass+ at a later time or should we head there at the recommended times found in your book? Thanks again.

38 Dave { 03.16.15 at 4:35 pm }

Alicia, it happens but it is rare and not to be counted on. Instead, head towards it right at park open, and change the FP+ for it to what the itineraries otherwise target as the park-open ride. .

39 Alicia { 03.18.15 at 8:56 pm }

I am not sure why I posted this here. I am using the Lower-Crowd Itinerary v2.

Dave, THANK YOU for your speedy replies. This trip would have been lost without you, Josh, and your wonderful book. So I switch the park-open and fastpass + target on the itineraries. Then if I want to pull this off at park opening I want to be at the Magic Kingdom entrance when the ticketing gates open, which is 75 minutes before Official Park opening. Then following advice taken from your wonderful book (on page 193), I want to be to the far left or right of the courtyard area in front of one of the entrances. When they let people in, we will all need to head straight towards the attraction (with our map in hand so we can navigate) The attraction is at the Princess Fairytale Hall. Which from the cheat sheet park map is titled Princess Meet+ found to the left of Winnie The Pooh+ Is there anything else I need to know in order to pull this off?

40 Alicia { 03.18.15 at 11:34 pm }

Dave, one more question is there any easy way to check for new fastpass+ openings? Do you have any tips for snagging ones when they open up? Besides trying to get an Elsa and Anna fastpass+ we have a group of 3 and 2 were able to snag an attraction. We are hoping to get one for the 3rd at some point. It seems like a pain to search for new fastpass+ once we have everything booked.

41 Alicia { 03.18.15 at 11:39 pm }

Dave, sorry I forgot to add this to the other post. Feel free to combine them. It is worth all the time and effort to keep checking for an Elsa and Anna fastpass+ or should we just stick with heading there first thing. I also was wondering if it might be a good idea to try and get in line when everyone is watching the Festival of Fantasy Parade, we are visiting 2 days so one day that time would be open. Thank you Thank you Thank you again.

42 Dave { 03.20.15 at 9:43 am }

Alicia so glad to help!!

You may not need to be there so early. Give me your targeted date and I can be more precise. Otherwise you have it!!

43 Dave { 03.20.15 at 9:44 am }
44 Dave { 03.20.15 at 9:45 am }

Alicia, capacity at A&E is so low that the parade does not matter.

45 Patrick { 03.21.15 at 4:15 pm }

Hi Dave, the content on this site is truly invaluable. First time visit to WDW coming up late April with two kids (9 & 6). We arrive late Wed and depart early Monday (5 nights). Trying to decide what parks on which day makes sense with 1 full day lounging at AKL hotel. My thoughts are:
Wed – arrive and relax at AKL
Thurs – MK
Friday – Epcot
Saturday – Lounge at AKL
Sunday – MK
Monday – depart :(

Any of your expert advise would be appreciated. Thank you

46 Dana { 03.21.15 at 9:56 pm }

Hi Dave! I ended up booking through Kelly B. at Destinations and she’s been fantastic!! What I mean t by my earlier question was since we are arriving on Thanksgiving day, which parks would you recommend for Thursday and Friday as crowds will be high? I was thinking animal kingdom and epcot. Thanks again. This site has been so helpful! :-)

47 Dave { 03.22.15 at 10:46 am }

Patrick, it’s best to avoid days with extra magic hours, so avoid MK on Thursday and Saturday, and avoid Epcot on Friday. Thus if you swap your first two days and do Epcot Thurs and MK Fri you’ll be OK!!

48 Dave { 03.22.15 at 10:50 am }

Dana so glad Kelly is helping!!

Thursday, AK.
Friday, any park but Epcot. Epcot has evening EMH, which draws corowds, and also kicks off its holiday program that night so avoid it.

49 Jill { 04.06.15 at 9:09 am }

Hi Dave,
Love your site! Question. We have travel window 10/2 thru 10/23. First time trip and our kids are 10 and 7 and staying at the resort. Our biggest concern is avoiding crowds. Because this includes Columbus holiday, what dates do you suggest we visit? We can stay 6 nites. Thanks so much! Jill

50 Kacie { 04.19.15 at 12:00 pm }

Hi Dave! You have been so helpful through your website and your book (I have the Kindle version!).

We are tentatively planning Dec. 12-21 for our second visit, as these dates would hit 2 of our 3 kid’s birthdays (Dec. 17th and Dec 20). Eee!

Am I correct to assume that those dates still fall in this plan template? I’m sure by the 20th and 21st, crowds will start to build significantly ahead of Christmas week. Planning on the 21st as our going home day with some morning something or other.

Because of when their actual birthdays are, we will likely need to make our own itinerary to fit their preferences for how their day is spent, and I see you have a link for how to do that.

So to sum up, Dec. 12 is indeed the 3rd most recommended week for 2015, and those add-on dates through Dec. 21 should be busy but ok, yes?

Thank you!

51 Dave { 04.21.15 at 8:04 am }

Kacie, so glad you are fining the site and book helpful!

Crowds will build the 19th and will be pretty wild by the 21st. A good plan and some early hours should get you through those last days

I have high confidence in this template–but Disney has not published December hours yet and surprises (requiring changes) are always possible. So double check it here in mid-May just to make sure

52 Kacie { 04.21.15 at 1:59 pm }

Thanks, Dave! We went ahead and booked a split stay of DVC rental points at Boardwalk, and then Wilderness Lodge. Should work well for a plan starting at Epcot-area excitement. Eee!

I think for the 19th-21st, we should have accomplished most of our must-dos, so we ought to be able to enjoy a more leisurely pace by then. Maybe some early morning park touring, then a character meal or excursion rather than deal with the crowds that showed up. Some good uses of FPP, and enjoying some attractions with traditionally low waits and such, and it’ll be a good day (we LOVE Tom Sawyer Island and could spend so much time there alone, for example! That would be great for a crowded MK day, I’m guessing).

It’ll be great.

53 Dave { 04.23.15 at 7:57 am }

Oh Kacie, this sounds great!!

54 Tammy { 04.26.15 at 10:15 pm }

Hi Dave,
I am trying to fully understand the perks of staying on site vs off in regards to transportation. I have found a good neighbor hotel that offers free shuttles to WDW parks and I know from reading your site there is also free transportation to parks for people staying on site. If we were to stay off site, would we be allowed to take bus, boat, ferry or monorail around Disney?
Thank you so much for helping plan our first visit.. I really really appreciate it.

55 Dave { 04.28.15 at 7:57 am }

Tammy, for most off-site hotels the shuttles start too late, end too early, and run too infrequently. Once you are on site, you can then use any Disney transportation.

56 Allison { 04.30.15 at 9:05 pm }

I will be going to Disney, first time trip with my husband & 2 children (8 &7) 11/30-12/8/2015.
We have plans for the 12/1 Christmas Party.
I have 3 questions:
1. How many days do you recommend buying for a park hopper tickets?
2. Using your Dec itinerary, how do I adjust it because we are arriving on a Monday & the Christmas party is already scheduled for Tuesday?
3. Do you recommend the Candlelight Processional & do you recommend the dinner package in order to get a seat, or are crowds low enough to get in that week?

This site is amazing, by the way!

57 Dave { 05.01.15 at 8:08 am }

Hi Allison and thanks!

First I don’t recommend a park hopper. Your trip is long enough that you won’t need one. You have 9 days on site, so I’d do at least 6 days on a Magic Your Way base ticket (for longer tickets extra days cost just around $11/person/day). For how tickets work see this.

Second, unfortunately, in my itineraries Monday means Monday, not “Day 3” so it does not adapt well to shifts in arrival or departure days. Once you’ve decided how many tix days to buy, ping me back in a couple of weeks (after the December calendar comes out) and I’ll advise you on best and worst days.

Finally, On the Candlelight, yes and yes, see this.

58 Allison { 05.12.15 at 1:02 pm }

Hi Dave

I think that the December schedule has been released. We are planning on arriving on 11/30 & will leave on 12/8, With kids age 8 & (turning) 7.

I have tickets to the Xmas party on 12/1 & we would like to do the Candlelight processional.

Could you please make recommendations for arranging park days & how to adjust your itinerary based in our Monday arrival day. I’m planning on a 7 day park pass. I will add another day when we are there if needed.


59 Dave { 05.14.15 at 7:54 am }

Allison, it doesn’t adjust well as it is tied to days–“Monday” means “Monday, not “Day 3.”

On 11/30, avoid MK
12/1 avoid Epcot
12/2 avoid AK and MK
12/3 avoid Epcot
12/4 avoid AK
12/5 avoid MK and HS
12/6 avoid HS
12/7 avoid MK

60 Tammy { 05.18.15 at 12:31 pm }

Hi Dave!
Do you have any advice on the fishing by take me fishing’? Looking for most convenient resort to go to. We are at Pop. The one at Caribbean is closest but looks like would have to go to MK then bus it back to Caribbean and do some walking to get there. Contemporary looks fairly easy as the marina is right off the monorail drop off. I assume they all have great fishing. I don’t see any prices in the info for 2 and 4 hr trips.

61 Dave { 05.18.15 at 5:56 pm }

Tammy, I don’t have much to offer here. Have you seen this? Agree that from Pop you should aim for the Contemporary…

62 Andreas { 05.31.15 at 11:49 am }

Hi Dave
Following your suggestion when I first read your website last year, we finally decided to go to Florida this year in December. So flights from Germany are booked, hotels are done, Disney tickets are done and next Tuesday The dining reservations will open!!
Our plan (two adults, no kids) lookalike this for the time being;
Arrival Monday Nov 30: late afternoon and fireworks MK
Dec 1: AK
Dec 2: EP
Dec 3: MK
Dec 4: HS
Dec 5: EP
Dec 6: HS
Dec 7: MK
Dec 8: leaving
We are partly following your advice and dining ideas but will not stick 100% to it.
Are there any days we should avoid in our incinerate? Any suggestion or changes we should do?

63 Dave { 06.01.15 at 5:31 pm }

Hi Andreas! With an exception or two this looks great. 11/30 and 12/7 will both be quite busy at MK, and 12/6 at HS. Moreover you may not need two days at HS. So leave the 30th as is, do MK the 6th, not the 7th, and reserve the 7th for returning to your favorite park–or relaxing at your hotel.

64 Mary { 06.15.15 at 11:28 pm }

Sorry dumb question, why would MK be busier on a Monday vs a Sunday?

65 Dave { 06.17.15 at 7:41 am }

Mary that varies by the specific week.

The itinerary on this page is designed for three December weeks when MK closes at 7p on Sundays and Tuesdays (for MVMCP) and has no evening parade those nights for regular guests. These early closes and lack of evening entertainment tend to drive people to other parks.

Mondays these three weeks it both has morning Extra Magic Hours (a big draw, which makes MK the park all day for those without hoppers) and also a late close and the full evening offering. So Mk will be just mobbed those Mondays…

66 Phil { 06.28.15 at 8:56 pm }

Dave, we’re planning our first family vacation to Disney in early June 2016! Your site has been a huge help so far. Thank you! Do you know when you will have June 2016 itineraries available? And do you have any that include Star Wars weekends?

67 Dave { 06.29.15 at 12:43 pm }

Phil, on Star Wars I don’t…I’ll have June itineraries out after Disney publishes its calendars for then, which will be about 6.5 months before.

68 Erica { 07.06.15 at 12:35 pm }

I’m so confused! We are going with a group of 11 (5 children ages 4 – 13, and 6 adults), our park days being November 22 – 25, 2015. Can I use any of your itineraries with it being such a short time at the parks? I’d love ANY advice at all! Thank you so much.

69 Dave { 07.07.15 at 7:51 am }

Erica, no, but you can find one and two day itineraries for the parks in Chapter 6 of my book.

70 monika { 07.07.15 at 11:37 am }

Hi Dave, I am planning on visiting Disney with my 9 year old twins this December. I am thinking either 12/3 – 12/9 or 12/15 – 12/21 which is the Free Dining Plan week. Will the restaurants be packed during the Free Dining Plan week? I am behind on booking my trip and dining reservations have already opened up for that time, so afraid some places may already be booked.

If I do 12/3 (Thurs) – 12/9 (Wed), thinking of the following itinerary:
Thursday Arrival – Mickey’s Xmas Party/Parade
Friday – MK
Sat – Epcot
Sun – AK
Mon – HS
Tues – MK
Wed – Downtown Disney/Departure

Are there any days that I should swap?


71 Dave { 07.07.15 at 1:57 pm }

Monika, your days look great!

The best-loved Disney restaurants always book well in advance–whether or not free dining is out…

72 Melanie { 07.29.15 at 6:45 pm }

Hi Dave,
I am planning a WDW vacation. We visited MK and AK a couple of years ago. Our kids are now 10 and 11. Which of your trip plans should I look at? I am visiting in Nov. and not Dec. (and will be staying offsite). We are renting a car. Here is my trip plan right now.
11/14 – check into an offsite hotel in the evening (Lake Buena Vista)
11/15 – MK (Space Mountain, Peter Pan, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train)
11/16 – Epcot (Test Track, Soarin, , Fantasmic (7 PM), Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights (time = ?)
11/17 – HS (Toy Story, Rock n’ Roller Coaster, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror) / MK afternoon? (leave around 6:30), Illuminations @ 9 PM
11/18 – sleep in, get some FP in the afternoon for Epcot or HS
11/19 – AK (Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids), afternoon = Epcot or HS, Boma @ 5pm
11/20 – go on rides we missed or want to revisit
11/21 – non park day -> all travel

73 Dave { 07.30.15 at 8:57 am }

Hi Melanie, the parks you are aimed at are great choices those days. None of my itineraries on this site comes even close to your plans, but you will find great advice in Chapter 6 of my book.

74 Marty { 10.02.15 at 2:08 pm }

Hi Dave… I am going to WDW with my two children, ages 8 and 9 in mid-December. We will be arriving on Tuesday, 12/22 and departing on Sunday, 12/27. We are staying at the Coronado Springs. What do you suggest to make the most out of Christmas week in Disney?
Thank you,

75 Dave { 10.03.15 at 7:40 am }

Marty, that’s a pretty horrible time to go, with the highest crowds of the year, especially later in your visit. The best approach is to put a park-hopper add-on onto your ticket and to go to parks with morning extra magic hours–arriving 30 minutes before EMH start–but scheduling your FastPass+ in a second less crowded park for later in the afternoon.

Disney’s current schedule for those dates is here. I expect many morning opens to be shifted to 8a, and more morning EMH to be added, especially to the Magic Kingdom whihc should end up with them nearly every day.

76 Jill { 10.19.15 at 1:39 pm }

I followed your advice and our trip turned out lovely. Very little waiting and my husband couldn’t believe how well all of my prep paid off. Just curious, is there a way to see what the crowd levels were during out trip on 10/2-10/9? Just wondered if the prediction charts were on target/ if us people taking advantage of FALL school break is catching on. Thanks again, Jill

77 Dave { 10.21.15 at 2:10 pm }

Jill, so glad your trip went well!

Re your question….there is not, frankly, a retrospective source I’d trust. Most of the daily crowd levels are based on non-FastPass+ waits compared to the past, and there’s WAY too much noise (more people knowing how to use FP+, more ride capacity allocated to FP+) in the data to do good comparisons..

78 Jen { 11.10.15 at 6:43 pm }

My family, consisting of 4 adults and 1 13 year old boy, are going to WDW arriving in Orlando 12/5/15 and departing 12/12/15. We are getting 7 day Park Hopper tickets and are staying off-site because my dad has a time share we traded and will be renting a car. My question is, does the Basic Itinerary apply to those staying off site or would it be different since we won’t have access to the EMHs? Any advise and insight would be greatly appreciated as this will be our first trip there. Also, any advise or tips on parking.

79 Dave { 11.12.15 at 10:21 am }

Jen, it largely does–though see your dates here for days you have to flip. It is also designed for longer tickets, and does not need hoppers. It used to send people to EMH, but no longer does, so that’s not an issue.

On parking–yes, it is expensive, but you only have to pay once per day. SO if you do choose to go to another park with your hopper, keep the receipt from your first payment.

Finally, you need to get your FP+ ASAP!!

80 Nicole { 05.04.16 at 11:19 pm }

Hi Dave! Great site! We are planning our first Disney vacation with 2 boys ages 4 and 7. We are arriving late Wednesday 11/30 (8ish) and departing Tuesday 12/6 (9pm). I researched your site and wanted to get your thoughts on the below itinerary:
Wed 11/30: arrive
Thurs 12/1: MK
Fri 12/2: HS
Sat 12/3: Epcot
Sun 12/4: MK (Tickets for Christmas Party)
Mon 12/5: AK
Tues 12/6: relax at hotel

What do you think?


81 Dave { 05.05.16 at 9:48 am }

Nicole, I won’t be able to comment until the December calendar comes out, which should be soon–a week or two

82 Nicole { 05.05.16 at 10:45 am }

Dave, understood. Would appreciate if you can keep me posted once it comes out. Thank you!

83 Brad { 05.27.16 at 11:57 am }

Dave, you have a most excellent site and it is an amazing planning resource. I’m following your guide and planning a trip for my family the week of 11/26/16 for a full 9 days. I noticed that on your late Novemeber / early December itinerary that you have the Osborne Lights listed, but didn’t Disney discontinue that event this year? Are you going to be revising the itinerary soon? I would be interested know what changes you will make for this year. Thanks so much for your hard work!

84 Dave { 05.27.16 at 1:34 pm }

Brad, see the stuff in red at the very top of the page–I will be revising all my December itineraries once the 2016 calendar comes out, which should be any day now. The first draft will include just dining and park days, and I’ll redo the daily itineraries much closer to the 60 day FastPass+ date, so that they reflect the most current info on crowd patterns, offerings (especially in the evenings, but no Osborne lights!) and such.

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