Designing Your Own Walt Disney World FastPass+ Itinerary



By Dave Shute

DISNEY WORLD ITINERARY DESIGN

This site provides 8-night itineraries here for all of the year (published about six months ahead), as well as itineraries a night or two shorter (more of these are coming…).  Beginning for June 2014 travel dates, all are based on optimizing the use of FastPass+.

If these aren’t enough, here are a few thoughts on designing your own shorter itinerary.

For a blank excel version of the itinerary spreadsheet to use for your own itinerary, click here.

How to divide up and allocate your days

  • Decide how many days you can be at the parks—include if you can time on your arrival and departure days, as the cost of tickets after four days is so low that partial days are worth it! Shoot for at least 6 days and 5 nights on site–e.g. four full days and two partial travel days. 7 days and 6 nights is much more humane, if you can do it
  • Divide your days among the parks. You have two different issues here: the overall use of your time at the four parks, and the days you can spend at each. Because you can pre-book only three FastPass+ per park, two half days–and thus six FastPass+–are more valuable than one full day.
  • For the overall use of your time, very few sources will suggest less than
    • At least a day each at the Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios
    • More than a day at Epcot
    • Around two days at the Magic Kingdom.

How to sequence your days

Work through the following five rules in order. You rarely will be able to design a perfect trip unless you have extra off times that you can move around, so do the best you can. You will need to check the Disney calendar while doing this.

It’s easier to work with the individual park calendars. To view a day–for example, to figure out if and when Fantasmic or Wishes is on that day–go to the individual park’s monthly calendar and click within the date you are curious about.

1. Avoid Extra Magic Hours unless you are starting at a morning EMH park and hopping to another park were your FastPass+ are sheduled. The higher crowds in EMH parks typically overwhelm the EMH benefits

2. Make sure that one of your Magic Kingdom evenings is a day with the fireworks show “Wishes,” and ideally one that also

3. Otherwise, avoid Magic Kingdom on days where it has the evening shows in the middle of a stretch of days where it doesn’t.

4. Make sure that Fantasmic is playing one of your Hollywood Studios days. Fantasmic is on almost–but not quite–every night.

5. Within the constraints above, try to see Epcot first, and the Magic Kingdom last

FOOD, SHOWS, AND SUCH

See this for various meal and show options ranked in order.

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17 comments

1 Andrea { 08.05.14 at 11:31 pm }

Hi Dave! Our 60 days is coming up. I have my ideal FP+ list which includes Anna & Elsa on our first day at MK. I’ve read on another blog that I should start with a date later in my trip to have a better chance at securing a FP+. So, I intend to do that.
Here is my IDEAL plan:
MK Day 1: A&E, Enchanted Tales, SDMT *1:00 reservation at CRT
MK Day 2: Splash Mtn., BTMRR, Peter Pan

If I do end up using the one later in the week, would you recommend changing ALL of my FP+ for that day or just switch out the Anna/Elsa with Peter Pan? I have two little girls, and it just seems right to start my trip in Fantasyland.

2 Dave { 08.06.14 at 10:13 am }

Hi Andrea! The typical idea is to do one or a couple of lands each day, to reduce walking–e.g Adventureland and Frontierland one day, and Fantasyland/Tomorrowland another. Arrive befroe opening and see some of the big rides before they develop long lines, and book your FP+ in the second land if you are going to two, for later in the day…

3 Jo { 08.26.14 at 2:39 pm }

Thank you so much for this site! I just had a question about your suggestion to see Epcot first and Magic Kingdom last – what’s your reasoning for this?

4 Dave { 08.27.14 at 7:59 am }

MK has such charm that it tends to spoil people for the visual look and feel of the other parks, Jo, especially Epcot.

5 Jo { 08.27.14 at 10:42 am }

That makes sense. Thank you!

6 Steve { 09.09.14 at 10:41 pm }

Your Epcot-first reasoning makes a certain amount of sense, however I’m pretty sure my wife and I would not be able to hold ourselves back from MK for that many days. :) Also, what do you think of the notion that if you’re in one park but secretly “wishing” you were in another, doesn’t that kind of spoil the moment too, by having a pre-occupied mind? My ideal plan is to schedule MK for first and last. Perfect bookends to the trip.

7 Dave { 09.10.14 at 12:48 pm }

Steve, that will work just fine!!

8 Rose { 10.07.14 at 12:48 pm }

Hi Dave! Your website is WONDERFUL-thank you so much for creating this amazing resource!

My family and I have decided to have a short visit, 5 night (4 day) visit to WDW. Since our daughter is only 2 and we plan to come back a few years later, we felt a short visit will be adequate. My question is about the timing of our visit and the availability of the attractions. We are arriving on January 30, 2015 and leaving on February 4. We plan on spending 2 days at Magic Kingdom, 1 day at Hollywood Studios and 1 day at Animal Kingdom. I tried using your links to the individual day schedules for each park to plan out what days to attend the parks but I notice that in February, none of the daily attractions that were available in January are scheduled. For example, at Magic Kingdom, none of the character meet and greets (e.g., Fairytale Hall and Ariel’s Grotto) are scheduled while they are available on January 31. At Hollywood Studios, basically all attractions and shows except Fantasmic are not on the schedule for February but are on the schedule on January 31 (e.g., Voyage of the little mermaid, Frozen sing along, beauty and the beast). I am aware that February tends to be the time when there are closures for refurbishments, etc. but it seems odd that almost all of the main attractions would be closed during the month of February. Since our daughter is so young and can’t enjoy many of the typical rides that close, we didn’t think it would affect us but seeing that all of the main attractions aren’t on the schedule is concerning.

So my question is this: are the attractions not on the schedule because they simply have not been scheduled yet but it is expected that they will eventually be on the schedule? Or is it typical for WDW to offer a very limited number of attractions during the “slow” months since February is considered to be during the off season? And as a result, should we expect to not be able to enjoy the attractions that are available in January?

Thank you for your help–your answer is going to help us make a decision on whether we should reschedule our entire trip!

9 Dave { 10.08.14 at 4:28 pm }

Hi Rose, and thanks for the kind words!!

This is a glitch. There will be a few closures then–it’s already known that Splash Mountain til the 30th, Kali River Rapids through the 2nd–basically 95% of everything will be running. Disney is either having technical difficulties or hasn’t loaded the data yet!

You will be fine those dates…

10 Bob { 11.11.14 at 4:57 pm }

Dave,

We have a trip planned during Christmas week Mon Dec 22 – Sat Dec 27. Avoiding Extra Magic Hours in the AM at Magic Kingdom is not an option, as it is available everyday per the schedule. Do you have any advice specific to Christmas week? We arrive around 11AM Mon, do you suggest we doing Epcot first or go with Magic Kingdom since crowds will still be somewhat low the 22nd and 23rd? Any help and advice you could offer would be great.

11 Dave { 11.12.14 at 7:30 am }

Bob, start with this–it’s out of date, but gives some thoughts http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/12/19/coping-with-disney-world-holiday-crowds/ and then read Joshs’s discussion of your dates towards the end of this: http://www.easywdw.com/calendar/december-2014-walt-disney-world-crowd-calendar/

12 McCoy { 11.18.14 at 12:12 pm }

Firstly, thank you for all your wonderful and timely information!
I have a few questions regarding trip planning during 10 days in end May/early June which is ranging from high crowd to, at best, moderate-plus.
1. So there is a good chance that it is worth the maybe 60 minutes spent in hopping to do the hopping to escape an EMH part after a.m. EMH? The net gain is more time (even though it may feel like loosing time in the ‘hop’ time)?
2. For a stay this long we can have a few non-WDW park days – so I assume a good tactic is do the non-WDW park days during weekends (this assumes that of all the attractions in Orlando area, WDW get the most crowded, comparatively) – do you think so?
3. Is there any point to scheduling fast-pass during a.m. EMH, or not?
4. I did read the FAQ on fast pass but still not totally sure, are these now untimed entirely, so you use them then may schedule more (as available) sort of all day long?
5. Any chance that so many people read your book and site that you are causing your own crowds and the true Judo is to do the opposite : )

13 McCoy { 11.18.14 at 1:50 pm }

Scrap question #4 above, I get it now. The other questions still remain, and here is a replacement question #4 – what is ‘teiring’ and is it important to understand for a 2015 trip?

14 Dave { 11.19.14 at 4:43 pm }

Heya McCoy!

1. If you plan an afternoon break anyway then hopping away from an am EMH park makes perfect sense, as there’s no net increase in travel time. See EMH and such til 11 or 12, back to your RV to nap/eat, then on to another park later. This works particularly well if you save your FP+ for the second park–easy to do if you start your day at AK, harder to do via morning EMH at Epcot or HS unless you have more than a day at theose parks.

2. Yes traditionally the non-Disney parks are lest busy Sat-Mon

3. You can’t

4. Don’t understand the question…

5 :) Nope! Even guidebooks that have been out for two decades don’t move the needle that much!!

15 Dave { 11.19.14 at 4:47 pm }

Tiering is in effect at Epcot and HS. There’s a group of rides from which you can only pick one, and another group from which you must pick two. The first group–Tier 1–includes some high demand stuff that builds long waits quickly–at Epcot Soarin and Test Track, and at HS Toy Story Mania and Rock N Roller Coaster. So you FP+ one (ideally Soarin at Epcot and Toy Story at HS) and see the other one at park open, having arrived well before opening time.

16 Kelly { 11.25.14 at 8:25 am }

Hi Dave! I am so overwhelmed with all the options and choices! We planned a short trip to Disney for our Children’s Christmas present. It will be their first time. They are 6, 8, 10. I need help deciding where to go each day! We are staying at Port Orleans Riverside and arriving Fri Jan 2nd. We are leaving Monday Jan 5th at night. (We live in South Florida), So we will have 3 day tickets to see MK, AK and HS on Sat, Sun and Mon. Where should we go on Monday, as it will be our shortest day. Thank you in advance for any help you can give me!!!

17 Dave { 11.25.14 at 2:43 pm }

Kelly, for sure I’d do MK on Sunday and AK (because it has no evening stuff) on Monday. Saturday is more complicated. You’ll still see spillover crowds from New Years, and HS is a bad choice that day. However most families do better with two days at MK, so I’d advise that for you, with your first MK day Sat and your second Sun.

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