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

To-Do List for Basic December FastPass+ Itinerary

By Dave Shute

This To-Do List is for the FastPass+ Basic December Itinerary.  For To-Do-Lists for other itineraries, see this.

Update 5/12/2015: Hey, you need to swap Wednesday and Thursday in this To-Do List and its associated Itinerary!

Disney World Basic December Itinerary from yourfirstvisit.netDaily instructions are here:


(Note that a good travel agent, such as Destinations in Florida, can do almost all of this for you, for free. If you use Destinations in Florida as you travel agent through a link for this site–like this one–then they share a bit of the pixie dust they get from Disney with me.)

1. Confirm your budget, planned dates, intended hotel, kids’ development and heights, and your transportation choice and its availability for your planned dates.

2. Make your plane reservations, if flying. Make any other needed transportation arrangements.

3. Create your My Disney Experience account here and add your family members to it

4. Set up your hotel and tickets. Call 407-939-7675 (preferred, because this allows you to tell the reservationist which building at your resort you wish to be in), or click here to use Disney’s online system.  (Note: if your dates are later than what the online system permits, see this.)

  • If you are following my itinerary, you want the hotel you’ve picked for 8 nights, nine day, no hopper, no “water parks and more” tickets, the Dining Plan, and Disney’s Magical Express
  • Itineraries other than mine will have different requirements here


San Angel Inn at Epcot from yourfirstvisit.net1. Login to your account, click the “Things to Do” tab at top right, under Dining hit “Make Reservations,” and practice trying to reserve restaurants (hint: use the search box at the upper right).

This may well drive you crazy, but the site works better than it used to…and is likely the only way you can get your Cindy reservations done! (as the site opens up a new reservable day at 6a, whereas the phone reservation line opens at 7a).

2. Collect your planned restaurant reservations together. You will want to do them online in order of hardest to reserve first. This is how they are listed below.


(For an 180 day calendar, see this).

1. Be on the restaurant website by at least 5:50am EST, and have your Cindy reservation all set up on the page. Keep refreshing, as you will be let in as soon as Disney’s system decides it is 6a.

2. Make as many of the following as you have patience for (try to get through at least Crystal Palace), in the exact order listed:

  • Cinderella’s Royal Table Lunch (dining plan, two credits): Friday at 11a or later if you can; earlier than 11 only if your sole option…
  • Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue (dining plan, two credits): First Sunday 6.15p show. The later time will keep you up later than you need to be, OK if all you can get. Avoid the earlier time–it’ll cut into your park time too much
  • Chef Mickey’s (dining plan, one credit) Second Saturday 6p.  Later is OK, but not a whole lot earlier as you have a late lunch this day
  • Crystal Palace (cash): Second Saturday 1p if you can; a little earlier or later OK,  but not much later
  • Akershus Banquet (dining plan): First Saturday 6.30p.  No later, but earlier is OK.
  • San Angel Inn as Candlelight Processional Dining Package (dining plan, two credits): Thursday 5.45p. Can be earlier but not later.

For those you don’t make online, make them by calling call (407) WDW-DINE (939-3463)

3. Go to the site for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and order tickets for your family for Tuesday


Liking the Name on This MagicBand1. Go to your MyDisneyExperience account as soon as a minute after midnight and set up the following FastPass+

  • First Saturday afternoon and evening at Epcot: Tier One: Soarin. Tier Two: Spaceship Earth and any third ride (which you may not even see this night, but Disney requires three FP+ reservations). Do Spaceship Earth for when you expect to be able to arrive at Epcot, then Soarin for the next, and then the third ride
  • First Sunday at Disney’s Animal Kingdom: DINOSAUR for 12.30-1.30p, Expedition Everest for 1.30 to 2.30p, and Kali River Rapids for 4p-5p.
  • Monday at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Tier One: Toy Story Midway Mania for 12.30-1.30p. Tier Two: Star Tours for 2-3p, and Frozen Sing Along right after.
  • Tuesday at the Magic Kingdom: Big Thunder Mountain 1-2p, Splash Mountain 2-3p, and Jungle Cruise 3-4p.
  • Wednesday at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Tier One: Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster for 4-5p. Tier Twos Voyage of the Little Mermaid for 12.30-1.30p, and Tower of Terror for 3-4p.
  • Thursday at Epcot: Tier One Test Track at 1-2p. Tier Twos Mission: Space (12-1p) and a third of your choice.
  • Friday at the Magic Kingdom: Design in order around your Cinderella lunch time, e.g. Peter Pan 1-2p, Enchanted Tales with Belle 2-3p, and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train 3-4p.
  • Second Saturday at the Magic Kingdom: You will revise these FastPass+ the night before based on what you wish to re-ride, but start with Splash Mountain 2-3p, Peter Pan 3.30-4.30p, and Space Mountain 4.30-5.30p.
  • Second Sunday at the Animal Kingdom: Kilimanjaro Safaris 10a-11a Festival of the Lion King 11a-noon and a third ride of your choice.

2. Do online check in, requesting as you do special location points

3. Customize your MagicBands


1. Bring your MagicBands in your carry-ons

2. If you use Disney’s Magical Express, you do not need to collect your bags at the Orlando airport unless you arrive late in the evening/at night or are an international traveler. Disney will get them for you and, eventually, deliver them directly to your room. Your bags may arrive hours after you do; so, depending on the weather forecasts, have a carry-on with an appropriate change of clothes for Orlando weather on Saturday, as you will almost certainly go to Epcot on Saturday before your checked bags arrive.

3. Follow the instructions in the Magical Express packet you will receive in the mail regarding both tagging your bags pre-departure, and where to go at the Orlando airport to find your transport to your resort.

4. Bring a copy of your room reservation, confirmation numbers and any tickets for special events you may have received in the mail.

5. Pack breakfast utensils, as they are not always available in the gift shop: bowls, spoons, napkins

6. When you arrive at the hotel, look for the special “On-line Check-in” line, and get into it.

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1 Tim { 05.22.14 at 6:58 pm }


LOVE the new itinerary!!!! Sleeping in nearly every morning is awesome! I noticed that Downtown Disney & La Nouba have been removed from this update. Just curious as to your thought process…..Thanks again for an awesome site!

2 Dave { 05.23.14 at 7:42 am }

Thanks Tim, and a great question. There’s two answers. Probably most important is the La Nouba is stunning, but so expensive and simply not to everyone’s taste. There’s nothing else like it–so I can’t say “if you like x, then be sure to see Cirque du Soleil.”

Second is that what was scarce before FP+ was early mornings. Now what’s scarce is days–as each park day gives you three more FP+. That, combined with sleeping in, puts people in the parks each day, and pushes itineraries into the evenings each day. It’s easy, for those who wish, to shift an afternoon without major evening events to the morning, and do La Nouba that night–especially on Friday.

3 Jamie { 06.12.14 at 7:24 am }

Hi…First of all…this site is AMAZING!!!! Thanks so much for providing all this info. It has helped me tremendously in planning our family’s first vacation to Disney….Nov 29, 2014…Yeah! One question…I am not that interested in Micky’s Very Special Xmas party. I do have 2 reservations for one of those evenings. One at Crystal Palace for dinner and one on the tomorrowland terrace for dessert and fireworks. Will I be forced to buy tickets to party. My reservations are at 6 and 830 (after the park closes to public.) Let me know if you have any info on that. Thanks!!!!

4 Dave { 06.13.14 at 7:04 am }

Jamie, I’m pretty sure that you will need to leave the park after your first reservation.

5 Denise Mascola { 06.18.14 at 10:24 am }

Hi Dave,
We’re going 8/22/14 – 8/31/14.
Your itinerary offers lots of days to sleep in, which sounds great on vacation. I’m wondering if in that blistering hot part of summer what you think of going early to the parks, resting in the afternoon hottest period, and then returning for hopefully slightly cooler evenings?
Is it realistic to go back to your room and rest and get back to the park time-wise?
Our group is 4 – two adults and two 6 year old boys

6 Dave { 06.18.14 at 11:10 am }

Denise, sure you can, and many recommend it, if you can get your family out of bed in time to be at the parks by 45 minutes before open!

7 Ps { 06.26.14 at 7:27 am }

Staying in a non disney resort for 5 days in dec. have 2 girls ages 6. any pointers for an itinerary?

8 Dave { 06.26.14 at 8:24 am }

Ps, all my stuff on this site is for older kids on longer visits, but you can get a lot of help for younger kids on shorter trips from my book The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit

9 Shawn { 08.08.14 at 12:41 am }

Hi Dave,

I just ran across hour site and it is just fabulous! My family and I (mom, dad and 4-year old son) have been booked since Early this year for Nov 30-Dec 5. Recently Disney sent out their late fall specials which were very appealing. The issue is that the Contemporary (hotel we originally booked) has no rooms available for the discounted rate. We could move the reservation over to the Polynesian Resort and save over $1,000!! With news of the renovation, should we do it? Our #1 reason for staying at the Contemporary is the convenience factor, partucularly walking distance to MK!

If your recommendation is to save the money (which would be great) what specifically should I ask for at the Polynesian? Thanks in advance!!


10 Dave { 08.08.14 at 11:03 am }

Thanks Shawn! Only you can value the absence of a main pool–which is the important part of the construction. On such a short visit, with pool weather highly variable in December anyway, I’d take the savings…

11 Lauren { 08.10.14 at 11:09 pm }

If I am arriving in 180 days can I make all of my dinning reservations for my trip, or do I need to login every day to make the dinning reservations, example can I make dinning reservations for day 3 of my trip which is 183 days away? Same with fastpass+ if i am arriving in 60 days can i make reservations for 60, 61 and 62 days out?

12 Dave { 08.11.14 at 8:53 am }

Lauren, if you are staying in a WDW hotel, you can book ten days out once your 180 comes. If you aren’t staying in a WDW hotel, you need to come back every day. And once your FP+ are bookable, you can book as many days out as you have tix.

13 Lauren { 08.11.14 at 6:01 pm }

Great! Thank you! Follow up question, if my reservation is for me my husband and my daughter, and my father and sister are on a different reservation can i still make the dinning reservation for 5 people 180 days out, and all other days of my trip? Or i can only make reservations for 3 people?

14 Dave { 08.12.14 at 7:56 am }

Lauren you can make it for 5!

15 Shawn { 08.14.14 at 12:43 pm }

Hi Dave,

I’m taking your advise and moving over to the Polynesian and saving exactly$1025.00! Now, what should I request at the Polynesian in terms of room location? I would like the most convenient to the monorail! I’ve never stayed at the Polynesian and have no clue!



16 Dave { 08.14.14 at 5:12 pm }

Raratonga, Shawn!

17 Kevin { 08.18.14 at 10:18 am }

Help. I can’t reconcile the Fast pass schedule above with the days that on my schedule I arrive 10/17 and leave 10/26 staying at wilderness lodge villas with 3 daughters 13,9,7. I know I switch Sunday and Tuesday days for this week. I have the itinerary and daily schedules printed. I’m trying to do 60 day fast pass times for each day. For example above says test track fast pass on thurs for Epcot and my daily says go epcot on monday and no fast pass on test track. can you point in in the right direction for fast pass times?

18 Kevin { 08.18.14 at 10:29 am }

Also forgot to ask since we arrive one day before your week itinerary, what can we do Friday night and what is time schedule for first Saturday times? Thanks again!!

19 Dave { 08.18.14 at 12:54 pm }

Kevin, that’s becasue you are looking at a To Do list designed for the three weeks following Thanksgiving. For your dates, see this:

20 Laura Annis { 10.09.14 at 1:37 pm }

Hi Dave,

We are arrving in a large (10) group August 29-September 5th so we will be arriving on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend…is this typically a busy time of year, or can we expect lower crowds? Thanks! :)

21 Dave { 10.10.14 at 7:23 am }

That’s a wonderfully low crowd time to visit, Laura!! See this:

22 Robert { 10.28.14 at 9:54 am }

Hi Dave,
My wife and I are planning on taking our 5 year old daughter to disney April 26-April 29, 2015, and this will be the first of many trips to Disney over the next several years. We are looking to book Cinderella’s Royal Table but were wondering if you would recommend doing a lunch or dinner reservation? Is there an advantage to doing one over the other? We will be spending the entire day at Magic Kingdom on the day we are doing the meal.


23 Dave { 10.29.14 at 8:08 am }

Robert, a full day at MK is tough on a five year old. becasue of that, I’d plan lunch, so that you can leave in the afternoon if it gets to be too much.

24 Ryan { 02.07.15 at 1:58 am }

SHORT VERSION: What time of the day are parks (specifically MK) typically most and least busy?

LONG VERSION: Love the site! Thank you so much. It’s help us with planning and dates and some of our initial thinking. We are planning a brief vacation in a couple weeks. Staying at the Riverside. We have a 6 year old, 4 year old, 3 year old, and infant. My parents are joining my wife and I (so four adults total). We realize this is awfully young to bring the kids, and that they’ll get tired, but we’ll probably go back in a few years, and we were already going to be vacationing in the area and my parents wanted to take them, so we’re going to be flexible and have fun as we can! We are arriving Sunday evening March 1, checking out Wednesday March 4. We probably will go to Magic Kingdom only on this trip, and go there on Monday and Wednesday (though we would consider one day at MK and one somewhere else). We heard with little kids it can be good to relax a bit for a day so we thought on Tuesday we’d spend time at the pool, go to downtown Disney, and maybe do a character breakfast (have one tentatively booked), but not do any parks. Any advice is appreciated regarding our crew and timeline.

Specifically though I have a question about the busyness of the times of days at the parks. I am wondering with our group of young kids if we’ll want to spend the morning at the park, return to the hotel for some afternoon rest, and return to the parks for a few hours in the evening. But also we are interested in taking our breaks (whether for food reservations or returning to hotel) during peak busy times if that works out. Any insights you have on the ebb and flow of people traffic is appreciated!

25 Dave { 02.07.15 at 7:29 am }

Ryan the MK is always least busy right after it opens. Peak waits are then between 11a and late afternoon/early evening, depending on crowds. Your dates, they should start to diminish by late afternoon.

Suggest arriving well before open, setting your FastPass+ up for ~10a, 11a, and noon, and then when you are done setting another FP+ for the evening.

For more on FastPass+, see this I don’t have itineraries on this site for kids that young, but you can find them at the end of Chapter 6 of my book The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit 2015.

26 josh michael { 04.03.15 at 12:35 pm }

Hey Dave, Would you mind recommending an itinerary of what parks to visit on each day if we arrive on a Tuesday afternoon and leave early Monday morning??

27 Dave { 04.05.15 at 11:01 am }

Josh, for what dates??

28 josh michael { 04.07.15 at 12:20 pm }

Hey Dave,
Our dates are Oct 20-26. Tuesday through Monday.

29 Dave { 04.08.15 at 9:03 am }


October 20 avoid Epcot
October 21 avoid AK and MK
October 22 avoid Epcot
October 23 avoid AK and Epcot
October 24 avoid all but AK
October 25 avoid HS and Epcot
October 26 avoid MK

30 Natasha { 05.11.15 at 1:59 pm }

Hi. We will be in Disney 11/15-11/20/15. Please help us with an itinerary. We will be arriving and leaving in the afternoon. This is our first trip to Disney and we definitely need help!! Thanks!

31 Natasha { 05.11.15 at 2:19 pm }

I mainly would like to know which parks you recomend for each day. Thanks!

32 Dave { 05.12.15 at 9:40 am }

11/15 avoid HS and Epcot
11/16 avoid MK
11/17 avoid Epcot
11/18 avoid MK and AK
11/19 avoid Epcot
11/20 avoid MK

33 Varghese { 05.12.15 at 12:18 pm }

Hello Dave : We are based in India and planning to visit the WDW in July. The probable dates are from the 10th of July. We have 3 kids – 11, 7 & 2. Quick questions
1. how many days do you think we should plan for?
2. Best resort to stay – given we have a 2 year old, i suspect we will need a place that is convenient to get to ?
3. What are other things we should be booking for?…meals, fast pass?
4. Any tips on how to plan which rides to go for given the kid’s ages?
Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.

34 Dave { 05.14.15 at 7:51 am }

Varghese, all these topics are addressed beginning on the home page. Work through its topics in order!

35 Laura { 05.14.15 at 11:41 pm }

Hi Dave,
We are planning WDW trip Thursday Nov 12-Thursday Nov 19. Can you suggest what parks we should visit on which days? Our children are 8 and 5. Things we don’t want to miss Wishes and Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.

36 Laura { 05.15.15 at 9:05 pm }

Hi Dave,
I think I may have found my answer in your previous advise to others. What do you think about this:
Fri Nov 13-Evening HS
Sat Nov 14 AK
Sun Nov 15 MK
Mon Nov 16 HS
Tues Nov 17 MK
Wed Nov 18 off site Seaworld
I think we will skip Epcot since our kids are only 8 & 5
Thanks in advance for all the advice!

37 Dave { 05.16.15 at 11:29 am }


10/12 avoid Epcot
10/13 avoid AK and Epcot
10/14 avoid all but AK
10/15 avoid HS and Epcot
10/16 avoid MK
10/17 avoid Epcot
10/18 avoid AK and MK
10/19 avoid Epcot

If you study the calendars you’ll note there’s no good day to see Wishes, because of the Halloween party. If you have enough ticket days, take a day mostly off then use FastPass+ for Wishes (and two other options) on one of the “avoid MK” days. Note also that the only good park the 14th is AK

38 Dave { 05.16.15 at 3:16 pm }

Hi Laura great job! I do note, though, that none of yuor MK days have the evening parade or the fireworks show Wishes (that’s why they are low crowd days). Wishes is not to be missed. The simplest fix is to add a ticket day ($10.65/person) and go to MK the evening of the 18th, after SW. The parade is at 7p and Wishes at 8p that night. Option 2 is to swap Tues and Weds. You’ll need a sharp plan for Weds to avoid long waits at MK, but it is do-able…

39 Stacey Thibodeaux { 05.27.15 at 11:21 pm }

Hi Dave

Love this site it is very helpful! Thank you so much in advance.
I need help! We are planning our first trip to Disney and need major help planning! We will have 4 adults and 3 kids ages 13,9,8. We will arrive by 3pm on January 4, 2016 and depart on January 10, 2016. We are staying at the allstar sports resort and we will have the deluxe dining plan! We want to make the most of each day can you please help me make an itinerary please!! I would greatly appreciate your help!

Thank you again!

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