Autumn-Winter-Spring Itinerary for Walt Disney World

By Dave Shute

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WALT DISNEY WORLD AUTUMN-WINTER-SPRING ITINERARY

NOTICE: With Disney World switching to FastPass+ only, the daily schedules, and necessary pre-work, for this itinerary changes a lot. See this for the specifics.

Disney-World-Autumn-Winter-Spring-Itinerary-v3-1-hspThis Autumn-Winter-Spring itinerary works, when modified as per the Notice above, for most weeks of the year other than the Easter and summer weeks.

It will not work for every week–check your arrival date on this page to make sure you access the correct itinerary for that week.

This itinerary is eight nights long– click here for shorter itineraries.

Click the graphic to enlarge it; keep clicking to make it bigger.

LINKS FOR THIS ITINERARY

ITINERARY LINKS



185 comments

1 Alex { 06.09.11 at 7:20 pm }

I noticed in your itineraries that you give a lot of time to Hollywood Studios. In the itinerary above you give more time to that park than epcot, and in the basic itinerary when you cut down time in the parks you tend to cut HS least of all (I think in one variation you even had as much time spent there than MK). I usually here this as the 3rd ranked park at Disney World. Do you disagree or have some special affinity for this park?

2 Dave { 06.10.11 at 6:24 am }

Hi Alex!

Interesting observation. When Disney limited Fantasmic showings, many of my intineraries shifted from one day at HS to a day and an evening–the extra time aimed at getting to Fantasmic in an evening without touring HS that day (as the park is typically mobbed on Fantasmic days.) The additional time at HS came from “free time” in prioir itins.

The itineraries I do that are shorter than my standard ones tend to shrink Epcot and free time, but don’t add time at other parks. The Epcot shrink comes simply from it being, on average, the least favorite park of kids. It tends to be the favorite, or second favorite, for adults, but this site is not aimed at adults.

Personally, HS is my least favorite park, and Epcot my second fave, but that’s a different issue than what I advise to families with kids on their first visit who may never return! Again, thanks for the interesting and thoughtful question!

3 Florie { 08.10.11 at 7:50 pm }

Hi Dave,
I just found this site and love it! My husband & I are planning a 7 day/8 night trip to WDW in mid October of this year. Arriving on a Monday & leaving on a Tuesday (the dates are fixed). We are 30 yrs old and have no kids. Do you have any tips or itineraries geared toward adults traveling without children? We’re planning for 2 days in Epcot.

4 Florie { 08.10.11 at 8:49 pm }

Do we need to plan extensively for the crowds that week? Everything I’ve read so far points to that week being fairly calm.
Our sample itinerary:
Monday – Arrive at hotel, go straight to Epcot
Tuesday – Epcot
Wednesday – MK
Thursday – HS
Friday – AK
Saturday – off
Sunday – not sure
Monday – not sure
Tuesday – leave
We would rather not be at Epcot on the weekend due to the crowds being there for the Food & Wine Festival (we’re not interested in the extra events offered at the festival). We won’t be attending the Halloween party so plan to avoid MK on those days.

5 Dave { 08.10.11 at 8:56 pm }

Hi Florie, and thanks!

All my itins are geared for families with 3rd grade or older children. So I skip the really little kid stuff…but don’t have anything strictly for adults.

That said…there’s a pretty strong corrleation between what 3rd graders like and 30 year olds! There’s not much in my itinerairies I’d say skip this for sure if you are over 15/18/25!

See however this http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/ and this http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/rides-at-disney-world-that-might-be-skipped/

6 Dave { 08.10.11 at 9:00 pm }

Florie I’ll comment on your which days/which parks later, but a couple of quick thoughts:

You are right, you don’t need a lot of planning during less crowded weeks.

What you do need to do is show up at each park before opening at least one day (2 at MK) and to know which are the most popular rides, so that you can knock them off on opening or FASTPASS them.

You also need ot know which nights MK is showing Wishes and HS is showing Fantasmic, as both are don’t miss and they are not on every night during lower crowd times…

7 Dave { 08.11.11 at 7:37 am }

Florie, are you arriving the 10th or the 17th?

8 Florie { 08.11.11 at 1:50 pm }

We are arriving on the 17th. Sorry I failed to mention that in my previous post!

9 Dave { 08.11.11 at 2:12 pm }

OK, Florie, here’s some thoughts…

17th: fine
18th: Epcot has morning EMH. Suggest you do AK instead. See the 21st.
19th: fine
20th: maybe… but since this is one of only two days HS has Fantasmic showing during your period and both days are PM EMH, suggest the following: taken the morning off, and book the Fantasmic Dinner Package to lower your wait time, arriving at HS late in the afternoon
21st: AK has am EMH, suggest you do Epcot instead (swapping with the 18th)
22nd: avoid HS
23rd: avoid HS
24th: HS (since you will have seen little on the 20th)

Hope this helps and let me know if you have any questions!

10 Florie { 08.11.11 at 4:56 pm }

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply! In your experience are crowd levels at Epcot on a Friday night during the F&W Festival better than EMH mornings in AK and Epcot?

11 Dave { 08.11.11 at 8:39 pm }

Florie–evening crowds at Epcot don’t matter much, as you are experiencing the environment. Rides and such you would be doing in the morning!

12 Florie { 08.11.11 at 10:18 pm }

That makes sense. I switched those days :) So EMH mornings aren’t the best route? We aren’t morning people. Even with the best of intentions we’ll be doing good to make it to park opening at 9 am. I’m sure you cover this on your site, but I’m too tired to look. My brain is mush at this point. Two weeks of non stop planning will do that to a person.

13 Stephen { 08.12.11 at 12:17 am }

Great Site just found today. As of now nothing is booked but time off from work. We are planning on arriving November 19th early AM and leaving late November 24th so we can have the weekend back home before returning to work. We are traveling with our 4yr old and 1.5yr old. What Itinerary do you suggest? As for a resort at that age which one are you fond of? Thought about the PO ones since they are centrally located to parks by bus only transportation.

14 Dave { 08.12.11 at 8:07 am }

The hour of am EMH itself, and the hour or so after, are great. However, over the course of the day that park becomes more corwded than on non-EMH days, tho, so all in if you plan to spend all day at a park it isn’t worth the loss of sleep!

15 Dave { 08.12.11 at 10:46 am }

Hi Stephen and thanks!

As you probably know, I don’t recommend that week because of the crowds–see http://yourfirstvisit.net/2009/11/20/2011-weeks-to-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-in-order/

I don’t have itineraries for kids that young, but you’ll be able to find a ton on Touringplans.com.

For my recommendations on where to stay, see http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-stay/

Hope this helps and have a great trip! Dave

16 Whitney { 09.26.11 at 4:40 pm }

Arriving on Nov17th until Nov 22. I know to expect crowds we were there the same time the year before however do you think this plan looks ok considering?

Thur nov 17th – animal Kingdom (Dinner @ yeti and yak)
Fri. Nov. 18th- Magic Kingdom ( ADR at Chef Mickey at 7pm) trying to decide between that and the MVMCP
Sat. Nov. 19th Epcot ( lunch at coral reef and dinner at Le Celliers)
Sun. Nov. 2oth HS ( lunch at 50′s Prime time)
Mon. Nov.21th Magic Kingdom ( lunch @ the Plaza)
Tues. Nov. 22th — Downtown Disney – Lunch ?? Then head home!

We will be traveling with children ages 8 and 2! Thanks for any advice!

17 Dave { 09.26.11 at 6:21 pm }

Hi Whitney, I like what you’ve done! I can’t think of a better way to go about this…

18 Joanne { 10.17.11 at 1:06 pm }

My family will be heading to WDW Sept 2012 for 7 nights. Our group includes my in-laws, husband and kids (5 & 7). I am trying to determine if the Park Hopper is the best option for us. We will arrive late on Saturday and do not plan to go to a park that evening – just do Downtown Disney as a warm up. I was thinking of doing a 6 day pass since we would have a mid-day flight on the last day (maybe do a character breakfast at a WDW resort). Would it make more sense to buy an 8 day pass and use two separate passes in one day to allow us to visit two parks. We would most likely spend 2-3 days at MK and then split days between AK, DHS and EPCOT for two days. It is $250 savings if we buy 8 passes vs 6 with Park Hopper. Your thoughts?

19 Dave { 10.17.11 at 1:56 pm }

Hi Joanne–you can’t use the same ticket to enter more than one park a day without a park hopper– so you can’t use two “days” to see two different parks on the same day. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/06/12/disney-world-2011-2012-admission-ticket-prices/

My advice is to buy six-day regular tix and to add the park hopper once you are there only if you need it.

20 Jamie { 12.13.11 at 8:57 pm }

We are planning a trip for Feb 23 – March 2 and because of my husbands work schedule we will be arriving Thursday late am and leaving Friday late afternoon. Would we still follow the schedule above or how would that work. I thought about following it starting with Thursday but not sure if any adjustments would need to be made.

21 Dave { 12.14.11 at 7:51 am }

Hi Jamie–you can’t “shift” many days because the Disney scehdule varies by day. Do the “First Saturday” itinerary on your arrival Thursday, then do the “Friday” itin on Friday, the “Second Saturday ” on Saturday, and then follow the rest of the days as is–”Sunday” on Sunday, etc.

22 James { 12.14.11 at 1:52 pm }

We will be taking our first trip to DW on 4/21/12 and leaving on 4/29/11. I have pretty much followed your scheduel for this time with a few exceptions. Please tell me your thoughts on these potential changes. Thanks.
On Sunday 4/22/12 – instead on going to HWS in the evening we will go to MK since it is an EMH night We may or may not stay to see Wishes that night.
On Monday 4/23/12 – stay for HWS EMH and see Fantasmic that night instead of on Sunday night, since Sunday is not an EMH night.

Do you see any reason why this wouldn’t be a good idea?
Thanks.

23 Dave { 12.14.11 at 2:50 pm }

James there’s a lot of merit to your approach. The only issue is that evening EMH tends to make the respective park more crowded all day, which is why I don’t have any in my itineraries.

24 Jamie { 12.14.11 at 7:31 pm }

Thanks! I was looking at that for a while yesterday and just couldn’t get it figured out. You save me a lot of stress. I was going to build our own itinerary but with so much to do I just couldn’t figure out how to sort it out. We are tailoring the things we do at each park to our circumstances as I am pregnant and can’t ride many things and my husband has a heart condition that prevents him from riding most things and both are kids are young. We still want to make sure we are in the right parks on the right days for crowds, performances, parades, etc.

This site is very helpful. I didn’t think planning a WDW trip would be so hectic since we do annual trips to DL (as that is where I am from originally and have been so many times I know the park in and out) but I am finding that there is so much more to planning a trip to WDW that I wish I had started planning the minute details earlier.

Again, you have saved this pregnant woman a lot of time and stress, THAnK YOU!

25 Dave { 12.15.11 at 11:00 am }

Hi Jamie I’m glad the site helped! And your experience at Disneyland means you aready know the critical stuff–arrive before the parks open, ride the most popular rides first, and use FASTPASS!

You’ll have fun in MK–it’s close enough to DL to be familiar, but different enough to be interesting and fun…

26 Shawn { 01.31.12 at 9:08 am }

Hi Dave, we are planning our first trip to WDW with 2 kids (6 and 4), and are looking at arriving the evening of 10/30 and leaving 11/6, so having 6 full days in the parks (10/31 – 11/5). How will the crowds be, as we would be there for Halloween and the beginning of Jersey Week? Since we are doing a Wed – Mon, which itinerary would you suggest we follow? We would be interested in the Halloween party – how will crowds be? Will there still be showings of Fantasmic, Wishes, parades, etc. this time of year? When would we expect to see the hours of operation and schedules for these types of events, for the fall? Thanks so much!!

27 Dave { 01.31.12 at 12:23 pm }

Hi Shawn! Operating hours for then won’t be out til late March for October and April for November.

In recent years Disney has had October schedules that don’t look a lot like other months, so I can’t recommend an itinerary until those hours come out.

Based on recent practice, Illuminations, Fantasmic, and Wishes will be on almost every night (Wishes some nights only during the halloween party), but the evening parade at MK may show only a few times.

Crowds will be fine before Jersey Week, and OK–not great, but not horrible–during it.

Check back with me in late April and I’ll be able to give you more specific thoughts on itineraries…

28 Wade { 03.11.12 at 11:26 am }

We are only going to be in Epcot one day during our trip and my wife wants some good seafood so the Coral Reef sounds like a good option, but I have a 7 yr old Princess who would really enjoy the Akershus Princess meal. Are there any other restaurants on the Dining Plan that have just as good of selection and quality of seafood as the Coral Reef?

29 Dave { 03.11.12 at 11:41 am }

Hi Wade, for seafood many love the Flying Fish Cafe on the BoardWalk, Narcoossees at the Grand Floridian and Artist Point at the Wilderness Lodge. All these however are “signature dining”–that is, two table service credits…

30 Marc { 03.24.12 at 1:45 am }

I booked a trip to WDW from October 4 – 14 . I didnt realize it was columbus day weekend. I did some research and get mixed reviews about crowd levels. Some say it’s fine and others say its crazy busy. I have a 2 & 4 year old, so crowds are a big concern for me. How do you think it will be. Should I move my trip to October 18 – 28 , will this week be better or pretty much the same.

31 Dave { 03.24.12 at 8:06 am }

Hi Marc, I’m more on the “fine” side, with some qualifiers.

It’s certainly not crazy busy except over the weekend itself. The days before and after the weekend are fine.

I do much prefer your later dates–they are less crowded, less expensive, and more firmly out of the peak of the hurricane season–see this http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/10/20/2012-weeks-to-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-in-order/ and also this http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/weather-and-when-to-go/chance-of-cyclonic-storm-affecting-florida/

32 Eric { 04.07.12 at 11:18 am }

Dave. Thank you so much for all the information provided. I am having trouble converting your itinerary to match our travel dates. We will arrive early afternoon on October 13 and depart October 20th. We have 6 & 9 year old boys and a 7 year old girl. Could you please provide a recommendation to adjust your October itinerary to meet our needs. Your help is more than appreciated. God Bless You. Thanks

33 Dave { 04.07.12 at 12:49 pm }

Eric, unless I am missing something, you are traveling Saturday to Saturday, and my itin is Sat-Sun. Skip the second sunday stuff, and do the Second Saturday evening stuff Thurs evening, and you should be OK…

34 Eric { 04.07.12 at 11:19 pm }

Thank you. Also, we are staying just off-site at Marriot Cypress Harbour. I assume your itinerary will still work. Any advice for off site visitors? Thanks

35 Dave { 04.08.12 at 1:02 pm }

Oh good point, Eric. The itinerary is designed for those staying on-site. The big difference is Friday night at Epcot, which you can leave as is, as the people staying on site are directed here http://yourfirstvisit.net/required-september-2012-itinerary-and-to-do-list-changes/ to move that to Weds–but again, you just go Friday to Epcot

36 Eric { 04.19.12 at 9:44 am }

I noticed that Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue will be closed in October. Do you have a suggestion for that evening to replace this Dinner event. Thanks

37 Dave { 04.19.12 at 12:23 pm }

Eric, I’m still noodling on this, but here’s my somewhat complicated answer:

1. Move Chef Mickey’s late breakfast from Thursday to Tuesday morning, and make it dining plan, not cash
2. Do Whispering Canyon for Tuesday dinner rather than Tuesday lunch, also making it cash, not dining plan
3. On Thursday, replace the moved Chef Mickey’s brunch with hotel counter (cash)

This approach saves you money and simplifies your day Thursday. While I am quite willing to suggest spending more :) , I honestly don’t believe there’s another great meal that’s worth it, so I am thinking of this simplification/expense reducing reaction instead…

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

38 Andi { 04.30.12 at 7:53 pm }

Hi Dave,
First of all this site is amazing. We are traveling to Disney 9/29 -10/5. Since we are arriving on a saturday how do I adjust your itinerary to get as much in as possible?
Thank you so much!

39 Lisa { 05.01.12 at 11:00 am }

Hi Dave – I’m just preparing our itinerary for our trip this Saturday. Are you able to advise me on the best days to visit Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure at all?? Thanks so much – you’re such a massive help. :)

40 Dave { 05.01.12 at 1:57 pm }

Hi Andi and thanks!

You can’t rally shorten it that much–you kinda have to start from scratch. Tell me the ages of your kids, and your arrival and departure times, and I’ll make some suggestions…

41 Dave { 05.01.12 at 2:03 pm }

Hi Lisa, and thanks! The best times for Universal are the busiest days at Disney–the weekend and Monday.

42 Andi { 05.01.12 at 4:43 pm }

Dave,
That would be great, thanks! My daughter is 7 and my son is 9. We arrive at 10:00 am on 9/29 and leave at 4:15 on 10/5. We are staying at the CBR. Any suggestions you can give us would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks Again,
Andi

43 Dave { 05.02.12 at 7:06 am }

Hiya Andi! Given the ages of your kids, Epcot is on the verge of skippable, but I’m gonna include a little time there in my suggestions.

9/29: Check in and Epcot in the evening
9/30: Animal Kingdom
10/1: Hollywood Studios
10/2 and 10/3: Magic Kingdom
10/4: Off
10/5 Return to your favorite in the morning

Hope this helps and have a great trip!

44 Carrie { 05.03.12 at 12:14 am }

Me again :p You say Epcot is on the verge of skippable for ages 7/9. I am bringing an almost 6 and 8 1/2 year old in Oct…should we do half day at Epcot too and just spend the rest of one of those days at a pool? We’re staying at AofA Fri late night arrival thru Fri noon departure to get to the airport in time. Thanks a bunch!

45 Dave { 05.03.12 at 7:00 am }

Carrie, that’ll work, especially if you do your Epcot half day before your off day–as that way you can decide between the two choices in WDW during your trip with full information of both how much the kids like Epcot and how much you need a break!

46 Joyce { 05.30.12 at 10:20 am }

I’ve gotten a pretty good idea of what the schedule should be, but one can never be too prepared. We’re visiting from 10-14 to 10-20 (Sun – Sat) with 6-year old twin boys and a 9 year old boy, parents and 2 grandparents. We’re staying at Poly. We have PH with Water park & more passes. Any suggestions?

47 Dave { 05.30.12 at 12:17 pm }

Hi Joyce!…lemme know a little specifically what you mean…you mean “in addition to what’s in this itinerary,” or how to reshape it for your slightly shorter visits and wide rang of ages…? Juts let me know and I’ll do what I can…

48 Nikki { 06.07.12 at 1:51 pm }

My family along with my parents are looking to go to Disney Sept 17th-21st 2012. we are concerned about the weather, in your opinion will it inpact our trip.. kids are 2 7 and will be 10 months.. thanks in advance!

49 Dave { 06.07.12 at 5:42 pm }

Hi Nikki, the odds are much against a a major problem with the weather, but one is possible…

50 Tracy { 06.20.12 at 10:47 pm }

My family (2 Adults, 4 year old boy, 2 year old girl) along with another family (2 adults, 2 girls – age 1 & 3) and one set of grandparents are planning a trip to Disney Oct 10-15. I know it is probably on the short end of your suggested itineraries, but would love some feedback on what would be a reasonable itinerary for really 4 full days at parks. My family arrives early Wednesday around 9am into Orlando, but our group will essentially have 4 days together given various arrival times. I have already made a reservation at Akerhus for Friday breakfast, but would love feedback on how much time to spend at the various parks, where to focus our time with the kids and any restaurant suggestions.

Thank you for your feedback!

51 Dave { 06.21.12 at 7:17 am }

Hi Tracy!

There’s little outside the magic kingdom for kids that young, so you could easily focus your entire trip there. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/ I don’t have anything more specific for kids that young (because of this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/how-oldtall-your-children-should-be/ )…Re dining, you can see my recs in any of my itineraries, or see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

52 Sarah { 07.11.12 at 10:36 am }

Hi Dave. We are planning a trip for October of 2013 for myself, husband and three children (ages 7, 3, and 2). We will also have grandparents traveling but likely staying elsewhere. We are thinking about doing 4 days of the parks and would like to include one day at Sea World and then going to the beach for the remainder of our trip. Good idea in your opinion? Or should we keep a “Disney” trip at that without the beach? This will be our first Disney trip as a family. Thanks!!

53 Dave { 07.11.12 at 2:49 pm }

Hi Sarah, at those ages–and this being your first rather than only visit–4 Disney days is more than enough. However–I’d skip the beach and take some time off in your hotel instead. Given the age of your kids and the distance to the beach, a day at the beach is not a “day at the beach” compared to the alternative of flexible nap times, lifeguards, avoiding the car time, etc…

54 felicia { 07.25.12 at 12:43 pm }

Hi Dave,
So happy to have found this website! We will be arriving for our first trip to Disney on 11/1/12 (Thursday) staying until the 11/7/12. Our children are 10 and 7. We are very interested in following your itinerary and were wondering what days to shift if possible.

55 Dave { 07.25.12 at 4:13 pm }

Hi Felicia!

Besides arriving the “wrong” :) day you are also a little short.

So tell me three things if you can: might this be your kids’ only trip, or could you come back in a year or two if you wished; could you give me your arrival dates/times as precisely as you can; and what hotel are you staying in?

Your answers will then tune my suggestions…

56 felicia { 07.25.12 at 6:39 pm }

Dave,
We will most likely return to Disney in the next year or two. We will arrive on 11/1 at around 11:30 am and our return flight is on 11/7 at 8:00 p.m. I must preface this with ….I found your site after I booked the trip… we are staying at the Port Orleans Riverside. We just bought tickets to the Halloween Party on the 2nd. Thank you so much!!

57 Kristine { 07.29.12 at 12:45 am }

Hi Dave,
Could you help provide any sample itineraries for our upcoming October 21st visit for 5 nights, 6 days at Movies. Early morning arrival on Day one- Late Departure on day 6. Two Children (4 and 7) park hopper – Plus Dining. Spooktacular Event on October 25. As of right now, this appears that this will be the only time we can take the kids to WDW. As a result I would like to make this trip as memorable and fun-filled one as possible. Any suggestions on restaurants or shows too, thanks so much for any assistance that you could provide.

58 Dave { 07.29.12 at 8:52 am }

Kristine, the closest I have is not a tight fit–see http://yourfirstvisit.net/2009/11/09/6-night-walt-disney-world-itinerary-sunday-arrival/ It does however include the shows and restaurants I recommend.

With the ages of your kids, you should skip Epcot entirely, and target less than a day at each of AK and HS, and target two or three mornings, one afternoon, and one evening at MK.

59 felicia { 08.02.12 at 2:09 pm }

Hey Dave,
We started planning our itinerary for 11:30am arrival 11/1 and 8:oopm departure on 11/7 with:
11/1 Arrival– epcot and Akershus dinner
11/2 Animal Kingdom until 1pm- rest- 4:30 dinner at Liberty Tree then 7pm Halloween party in evening at Magic Kingdom
11/3 Hollywood Studios /Magic Kingdom
That’s all I’ve gotten to lol! I am completely overwhelmed! We have the park hopper and Dining plan that came with our package. I had to stop myself and take a break from planning because I was getting dizzy!
I would greatly appreciate any insight/ suggestions on this half done first draft of a schedule. LOL
Thanks again!
Felicia

60 Dave { 08.02.12 at 6:02 pm }

Hi Felicia! So far I like it. One bit of advice–don’t hop if you don’t have to–e.g. on 11/2 why not MK until 1p? See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/07/16/park-hoppers-hopping-walt-disney-world/

61 felicia { 08.02.12 at 7:09 pm }

Thanks Dave!! The change you suggest makes sense. I will keep working on it!

Felicia

62 Dave { 08.02.12 at 8:13 pm }

:)

63 Michele { 08.28.12 at 12:43 am }

Hey Dave,

LOVE the site – spent many hours looking through all the info!

I am planning a trip for 2 adults and two girls ages 3 and5. Arriving ~3 pm Saturday 4/20/13 and leaving ~2 pm Sunday 4/28/13. This will be the first trip for the kids but we plan to return in two years or so. We want to stay at the Art of Animation with non-hopper tickets and the dining plan. I have looked through the suggested itineries (fall/winter/spring and summer) but have concerns about the traveling between parks and hotels multiple times per days with the girls. Minimizing travel and no hopping, here is what I was thinking could work for us:

Saturday 4/20: check-in and Epcot in the evening.
Sunday 4/21: Hollywood Studios, 50′s Prime Time Cafe, stay for Fantasmic
Monday 4/22: Magic Kingdom, dinner at Crystal Palace
Tuesday 4/23: Epcot, dinner at Akershas, stay for Illuminations
Wednesday 4/24: morning off, DTD late afternoon, Cirque at 6, dinner at Rainforest
Thursday 4/25: Magic Kingdon, lunch with Cinderella, stay for Wishes
Friday 4/26: Animal Kingdon, lunch or dinner at Yak and Yeti
Saturday 4/27: Magic Kingdom, dinner TBD, stay for evening parade and Wishes
Sunday 4/28: return to favorite park briefly or off if tired, plane leaves ~2

My girls are up early no matter how late they go to bed and the younger one will be out of the nap stage by next April. Is this plan reasonable? I will be booking the hotel in the next few days but I can move parks/dining around since I’m more than 180 days out still.

Thanks for the help!

64 Dave { 08.28.12 at 6:42 am }

Hi Michele, and thanks!

In general your approach looks great but…the itineraries on this site were built for kids 8 and older, and you’ve got some stuff that I think just won’t appeal to the girls…

1. Too much time at Epcot–unless you plan to just go for a bit in the morning on Tues and then return in the evening
3. Similar for HS–not enough there for a full day, but again you can start there, take the middle of the day off, and return
2. Cirque du Soleil and DTD not interesting to kids that age (I’d take the day off, and do Hoop Dee Doo that night instead)

See the image on this page: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

Hope this helps!

65 Michele { 08.29.12 at 12:06 am }

Dave,

Thanks! I will start at MK the evening we arrive instead of Epcot and we will probably go back to the hotel from HS Sunday afternoon for rest before the fireworks. As for the full day at Epcot on Tuesday, we will see how it goes. The flowers are supposed to be beautiful in April and the girls and I love to go to the Dallas Arboretum, so we might be OK. I have been debating Cirque vs Hoop Dee Doo Review…. leaning towards Cirque since its something that I’ve really wanted to do but never could get a sitter when they were in town. Maybe I should check out the Disney babysitting services and go with just the hubby?

66 Dave { 08.29.12 at 6:23 am }

Michele, I love the idea of getting a babysitter and doing Cirque as a couple!

67 Andrea { 09.07.12 at 7:38 pm }

We will be at DW Nov. 20-27. I noticed that starting the day after Thanksgiving there will be a special holiday Illuminations show. If we only intend to be at Epcot one night is the holiday show preferred over the regular Illuminations. Similarly, we are having dinner at ‘Ohana after being at MK all day. I really don’t want to return to MK later to view Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes because we have an early start the next day. If we plan on being at MK on Nov. 25 for MVMCP, will there be a viewing of the Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes then or is it a must see on a non-MVMCP night as well?

68 Dave { 09.08.12 at 10:50 am }

Hi Andrea! That’s not much diff in the Illumination options…about 3 minutes are added at the end for the “holiday” part, so it’s not a big deal if you miss it and see the regular one instead.

For MK, it’s the opposite The fireworks and evening parade are different at MVMCP vs a regular night, but frankly, you need to see only one of each, and the MVMCP versions of each are more fun!

69 Sharon { 09.21.12 at 9:31 am }

Dave, I am not familiar with “Jersey Week”. What and when is it?

70 Sharon { 09.21.12 at 10:04 am }

Dave, disregard last question…I looked it up myself! Thanks anyway.

71 Dave { 09.21.12 at 1:07 pm }
72 Dave { 09.21.12 at 1:07 pm }

Too late!

73 Paul { 10.04.12 at 6:36 am }

Hi
We only paid for our trip today and were looking to follow your basic itineray as we are arriving 8 Dec and leaving 14 December, however given we are only 66 days out it seems most things are booked?? Any ideas? We want to see as much as we can in the time we are there and your ideas looked great. We paid for 7-Day Magic Your Way Ticket with Park Hopper®
Magic Your Way Package Plus Dining

74 Dave { 10.04.12 at 1:02 pm }
75 Stacey Lewis { 10.21.12 at 6:28 am }

Hi David
Looking at your Itinery and trying to work out what theme parks to see in what order to do this in, we arrive on May 14th late in the afternoon about 4.30ish, so was thinking possible just tea somewhere, and are there till the morning of May 22nd we have two kids 7 and 10. We are wanting to do lego land as well on one day. opens to any suggestions that you can give us and it is very over whelming. We are also trying to incoraprate character meals as well. Do you think it is best to set up all our dining meals first and then work the itinery around that, or shpuld we do itinery then meals. Hope this all make sense, Love your sight helps alot!!!

76 Dave { 10.21.12 at 7:27 am }

Hi Stacey, you can just adapt this itinerary. Epcot is a good park for your arrival day. It’s hard to fit Legoland in too, but you can cut out the second day at EPcot. It’s generally best to do the Quaternary first, and then fit dining to it.

77 Cindie { 11.05.12 at 7:44 pm }

Arriving at Disney on Thanksgiving and leaving on Monday morning. What days do you suggest going to each park? We will have some time on Thanksgiving afternoon to see one of the parks. We do not plan on going to Epcot being we have 2 small children 5 and 2. We also are planning on going to MVMCP on Sunday evening.

78 Dave { 11.06.12 at 8:56 am }

Cindie, crowds will be massive until Sunday. Thanksgiving afternoon lines will be wildly long, and most FASTPASSES will be gone. In general you want to avoid parks on their extra magic hours days, and wiht kids that age, spend most of your time at MK. Sunday will be good at MK all day including MVMCP. Honestly, I’d just go to MK Fri am and Sat am as well, and save the other parks for another visit…

79 Stacey Lewis { 11.10.12 at 10:19 pm }

Hi Dave

Would you mind looking at the following Itenary and see what you think, happy for any advice,
Arrive tuesday the 14th May 2013 family of 4, two children girl 8, boy 10, staying at Art of animation in Lion King Suite
TUE – arrive on plane about 4.30, so thought maybe just tea at somewhere easy, any suggestions?
WED – Magic Kingdom – BREAKFAST at hotel – LUNCH Cinderalla royal table – TEA rainforest cafe
THURS – lego Land
FRI – Epcot – BREAKFAST – 1900 park fare – TEA teppan edo
SAT – Animal Kingdom – BREAKFAST chef’s mickey TEA Crystal Palace
SUN – Hollywood Studios – TEA 50′s Prime or Sci Fi Dine in (Which One is Better)
MON – NOT SURE
TUE – LEAVE ABOUT 2.00pm

Also I would like to know what you would recommend for a seafood Buffet, and also what is a good charater meal for a ten year old boy

Thanks Heaps

80 Dave { 11.11.12 at 8:06 am }

Hi Stacey! A couple of thoughts.

One is that you are over-scheduled with meals. On such a short trip, this will end up costing time that would be better spent in the parks on the rides. The worst meals are breakfasts. You need to be at the turnstiles well before a park opens, to save yourselves hours of lines later in the day, and breakfasts get much in the way of that.

Second is that not many kids the age of yours would trade a day at legoland for a day off, or a second day at the Magic Kingdom.

Third is that your meals have you running all over the place. E.g. as laid out you will waste hours of travel time on Friday and on Saturday…

Finally, avoid HS on Fri-Sun. While not formally announced yet, based on Disney’s operating schedule that will be the first “Star Wars” weekend. In recent years these weekends have become wildly crowded–and with Disney buying Lucasfilm it’ll be even more crowded this year, I’d expect

Here’s an alternative that might work much better; if you add meals, avoid breakfasts (buy fruits, pastries, and juices and eat them in your room before departure for the parks) and do any other meals only in the parks themselves that you are in, with the exceptions of your off day, and the evening of your AK day–as AK will close at 7.

5/15: MK
5/16: HS
5/17: AK
5/18: Epcot
5/19: Off, or Legoland
5/20: MK

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

81 Stacey Lewis { 11.11.12 at 2:16 pm }

Hi Dave
Thank you so much, I will be going off this. Couple other things

Do you have a fav seafood buffett?
Which would you choose 50′s prine or sci fi?
Charater meal for ten year old boy?

My boy is Lego mad that’s why we thought we head out there, but on the 21-5-13 we have a full day and the 22-5-12 we have half a day, should we just leave these open to go back somewhere that we liked.

82 Stacey Lewis { 11.11.12 at 2:21 pm }

oh and my husband is a chef, I think that’s why we have put so many meals in he is food mad, one more thing, do you even think that even id we are very early morning people that breakfast is a bad thing, and if so if we wanted to do it just one morning what would the best morning be.
Thanks again your site is great been telling all my friend about it

83 Dave { 11.11.12 at 5:54 pm }

Hi again Staci–for the 21st and 22nd your approach of holding for a return to a favorite is a good one. The evening of the 21st then becomes another good night for dinner at a resort hotel–like the 17th and your arrival day. Got you on the Legos, and I still think the 19th is the day to target Legoland.

I’d pick 50′s Prime Time both for food quality and fun. I can’t think of a seafood buffet at WDW. ANd for the ten year old biy, Hoop Dee Doo–not a character meal but fun, Crystal Palace at MK (Winnie the Pooh) or Chef Mickeys at the Contemporary on your MK day–suggest lunch to avoid the breakfast problem…

84 Dave { 11.11.12 at 6:01 pm }

The problem with breakfast is that usually the first seatings are at 8.10, which can mean you are either rushing your meal or losing valuable park time. Suggest you schedule one for your fourth park day. That way, you can cancel it if you wish after you have a more visceral sense of the value of that early morning time! Note that some have 24 hour cancellation policies–that’s why I suggest putting it your fourth day, but cancelling–or not–after your second morning.

Well if your husband is a chef then that changes things!

You should target some of your free evenings (from my earlier comment) at some very special hotel restaurants–in particular, Narcoossees at the Grand Floridian, Jiko at the Animal Kingdom Lodge (also an option for the evening of your Animal Kingdom day–the Lodge is just a short bus trip from AK) and Artist Point at the Wilderness Lodge. Within the parks themselves there’s not much of special dining interest at MK or AK, but Brown Derby at HS is special, and Epcot has a number of fun options–of which Akershus and the Restaurant Marrakesh might be the most different!

85 Stacey Lewis { 11.12.12 at 1:51 am }

Hi

Ok I hope this looks better, any suggestions

TUE 14th may TEA- Rainforest Cafe DTD
WED 15th May – Magic Kindom – LUNCH Cinderalla Royal Table
THURS 16th May – Hollywood Studios – TEA planet HollyWood, (Tea elsewhere as We think we won’t spend all day here)
FRI 17th May – Animal Kindom – TEA Espn Club
SAT 18th May – Epcot- TEA San Angel Inn
SUN 19th May – LEGO LAND
MON 20th May – Magic Kindom – TEA Toný’s Town Square (is the evening parade and wishes on this night)
TUE 21st May – FREE – BREAKFAST 1900 Park Fare – TEA Cape May Cafe (Seaffod Buffett)
WED 22nd May – BREAKFAST – Chef’s Mickey

Thanks Heaps

86 Dave { 11.12.12 at 7:18 am }

Stacey I like it–and I forgot about the seafood buffet at Cape May Cafe, which my dad is a huge fan of. Nice catch! (pun intended) And yes on May 20, Wishes is currently scheduled for 10p, and the parade for 9p.

You have some restaurants I would not have picked…but I’m sensing you know more about what your family (and husband) wants in this realm than I do!!!

87 Stacey Lewis { 11.15.12 at 2:54 pm }

Hi Dave

Booked all my meals this morning, can I check with you

Cinderalla Royal Tabel, can not book yet, do you know when this would be available to book?

I had down Rainforest Cafe for first night but after looking at flights we won’t get to the resort till late, does Arts of Animation have somewhere to have a bite to eat there, and what time would it close at night?

On our secound day of Magic Kingdom, I was looking at booking the TomorrowLand Terance Fireworks Desert Party, I had booked tea as well, but thought both together would be to much, so after looking at other places at Magic Kindom nothing really takes my fancy, so I thought We could spend the morning there then have a break, then come back later in the afternoon then for Wishes. What would be a close area to get to from Magic Kingdom to have Lunch?

Thanks Stacey

88 Dave { 11.15.12 at 3:24 pm }

Hi Stacey, Cinderella books at 180 days out just like the other restaurants. If you could not get in, it may be sold out–it’s not uncommon for it to sell out in 5 minutes when a day opens for booking. And yes, Art of Animation will feed you until 11p. The easiest place to get to to eat from the Magic Kingdom is the Contemporary resort, which has multiple dining options–including Chef Mickey’s. It’s a ten minute walk, or brief monorail ride, away…

89 Bob Harron { 12.07.12 at 4:42 pm }

Hello Dave,

This is a great site. My family and I are travelling to WDW on January 12-20. We have been to Disney several times over the years but always enjoy our trips. I am wondering if you have any recommended Inineraries for these dates. We have a 6 day pass(not hopper). Any other recommendations such as avoiding the Marathon traffic/crowds etc would be greatly appreciated. Also do you know how big the lockers are as we are staying off property and may want to bring jackets, snacks etc.

thanks

90 Dave { 12.08.12 at 12:11 pm }

Hi Bob, take a look at this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2009/11/09/6-night-walt-disney-world-itinerary-sunday-arrival/ You’ll miss the marathon if you avoid the 12th and 13th, which this itinerary mostly does. On locker sizes, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/02/20/lockers-at-the-walt-disney-world-theme-parks/

91 Anita { 01.03.13 at 7:52 pm }

Hi Dave:

We are traveling to Disney World 01/13/13 but get in very late. There are 2 adults and one 5 year old girl. Here is what I was thinking for an itinerary. What do you think?

Monday – AK
Tuesday – HS character dining breakfast at Hollywood & Vine
Wed – MK
Thursday – Epcot for the morning, breakfast at Akershus Hall, take the boat to the boardwalk for the afternoon and come back in time to watch the fireworks.
Friday – MK
Saturday – downtown Disney and shopping
Sunday – let my daughter pick which park she wants to go to
We have 6 days park hopper tickets with no dining. I haven’t booked any other meals, we aren’t big eaters and I don’t want to commit to being some where at a certain time. Will this work for us or should I be making reservations?
Monday is a day off for us because we are switching hotels to be closer to Universal. We will be there another 8 nights. 4 days at Universal, 1 day at Sea World and 2 free days.

We are staying at the Royal Plaza. Is it reasonable to assume we will or won’t come back to the hotel in the afternoons for a break? I’m not sure how long the shuttle buses will take to get back and forth from the hotel and parks.

This is our first trip to Disney but hopefully not our last. Any suggestions you can think of would be appreciated. Love your site!!!!!!

92 Dave { 01.04.13 at 7:26 am }

Hi Anita, and thanks! A couple of observations:

Monday is not a good day to be at AK, as it has morning extra magic hours and so will be already crowded when you arrive. Because of the overall extra Magic hour pattern that week, I’d do MK Monday, AK Tuesday, and HS Wednesday.

You have a lot of breakfasts…unless they are at 8a or 8.10, you run the risk of missing the first hour after opening, which is the least crowded time.

I can’t imagine what a five year old would do for more than 30 minutes on the Boardwalk, or for 4 days at Universal…

I don’t track the hotels outside of WDW so can’t comment on the shuttle at Royal Plaza. The approach of afternoons off is a great one, but you’ll need to find out the exact hotel shuttle schedule…

Hope this helps and have a great trip!

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93 Anita { 01.04.13 at 8:41 am }

Thank you Dave! Not sure what I was thinking when I said we would go to AK on Monday. I have made that switch. :)

We only have 2 breakfasts booked but they are as late in the morning as possible so will serve as lunch for us. Hopefully that will still give us an hour in the morning at both of those parks.

We may adjust the boardwalk day as well, maybe take the afternoon off instead. I thought the boardwalk looked interesting but maybe not for a little person.

4 days seems like a lot to me too for Universal, but that’s the package we got. Our hotel is right across the street so will be easier to take afternoon breaks and such. Plus one of those days was free so if we don’t use it, well so be it!

Thanks again for your help!
Much appreciated!

94 Dave { 01.04.13 at 8:47 am }

Hey Anita you are welcome! Got you on the late breakfasts–that’s perfect. On the Boardwalk, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/01/17/review-disneys-boardwalk/

95 Amber { 01.04.13 at 1:18 pm }

Hey Dave.
I am planning a trip for 4, 3 adults and 1 child age 6. We will be arriving april 20, 2013. We are focusing our trip on the child. We are following the itinerary that you have provided pretty spot on with a few exceptions, as we don’t need most of the “main attraction” rides due to the lack of ride enthusiasts in our group. We are in the same parks as the itinerary suggests. We have Tusker House breakfast at 8:00 am on Sunday before the park opens and on the Thur in MK have a reservation at 8:10 am for the Bibbity Boppity Botique before our lunch at Cinderellas Royal Table. Do you have any suggestions with early arrivals at the parks, Other than departure from the resort (we booked at the Art of Animation Nemo family suites) ? And is it safe to just adjust the time difference that you have listed as the departure time by the difference of our arrival time for us to the parks?

96 Dave { 01.05.13 at 7:31 am }

Hi Amber, there’s a special bus that gets you to the parks for the pre-opening stuff. Check with the concierge at Art of Animation the day before to see when to catch it!

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97 kim { 01.05.13 at 11:08 am }

Hi..we will be traveling with 2 adults and a 7 & 9 yr old..what would be your pick for best week between feb 2013 and the end of march…we can’t travel march 9-19th due to school testing during that time frame for our son. We are probably only spending one day @ Disney and doing Universal and Sea World, even though we are still thinking staying in Disney. We just did Disney last year. Any thoughts or suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!! Thanks

98 Dave { 01.05.13 at 1:37 pm }

Hi Kim, in February you want to avoid the week that includes Presidents Day, and in Marc every week but the first. The two best weeks are the last week of February and the first week of March–see http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/09/19/2013-weeks-to-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-in-order/

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99 brian { 01.11.13 at 5:39 pm }

hi dave,
We will be arriving noon on sat may 11th of 2013 and leaving sunday may 19th. we are 2 adults and 3 children ages 5, 8, and 10. Would you make any changes to the 9 day itinerary you have. We will be staying at Port Orleans riverside. 10 yr old is a girl and the other 2 kids are boys. They love star wars and legos as well. Didnt know if HS on friday or sat for stars wars weekend would be too crowed. Wife and I would like to do 2 special date nights at a nice restaurant or show during our stay as well. Thanks for your time. You are awesome.

100 Dave { 01.12.13 at 9:39 am }

Hi Brian and thanks!

You could swap the Epcot Friday with the HS Monday to see Star Wars. In the past year or two HS has been wildly crowded over the Start Wars weekend, and with Disney buying Lucas, it’ll likely be even worse this year. Another way to do it is to skip the full Epcot day Friday, keep the HS Monday, and do Star Wars Friday. Since you will have done the HS rides on Monday, then crowds on Friday will matter less to you…Since this itinerary requires a hopper, you can also hop away Friday evening to Epcot for the evening show Illuminations…

For the special diners with your wife, anything in the bototm right of the image on this page would do: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-eat/dining-alternatives/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-dining/ (It’s a little out of date–I will be fixing it within a few days–as “Bistro de Paris” is now “Monsieur Paul’s,” and I have to add “Be Our Guest” to it–but BOG is fully booked for May anyway, I’m told…

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101 Lew { 01.20.13 at 11:41 pm }

Thanks for the terrific website! We have a 6 year old girl and this is our first trip to Disney (3 of us total). We are planning to arrive Feb. 22 and depart Feb. 26. Based on her age and our timeframe, we are planning to stay at the Polynesian, and spend time at MK, Epcot and Animal Kingdom. Looking at your many itinerary options, which itinerary would you suggest? Also, you suggest trying to get into Cinderella’s Royal Table, Hoop Dee Doo Revue, Cirque du Soleil and the Akershus Banquet character meal. Is that possible with our visit duration? And what is your best recommendation for getting into them? Thanks!

102 Dave { 01.21.13 at 9:36 am }

Hi Lew! I don’t have itineraries for a trip that short, and with a child that age would focus on the Magic Kingdom, and skip Epcot entirely. (See this for why: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/ ) AT MK, you want two or three mornings, one late afternoon (for the parade) and an evening for the evening fireworks and evening parade. I would skip Cirque (too young) and Akershus (skip Epcot, need only one princess meal on a trip that short) but still try for Hoop and Cindy–although they may have booked up months ago, as they often do.

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103 Pete { 02.06.13 at 1:18 am }

We will arrive Fri. We have 2 boys ages 9 & 12. We are staying at the polonsian. Hopefully we will be able to fly.BTW we fly 2/8/13 what do you suggest?

104 Dave { 02.06.13 at 7:15 am }

Pete, I’m not sure what you are asking?

105 Lys { 02.16.13 at 7:59 pm }

Hi there Dave!

Thanks for your help via Facebook earlier – your fab site is obviously working now!
I visited a few months back and you were really helpful – now I am ready to get the itinerary done for our trip and would really appreciate your help again please!

4 adults and 2 kids (daughter aged 7.5, son will be 5) – arriving Thurs 18 April 2013 afternoon – staying 10 nights (Thurs through to Sat night inc – staying at Royal Plaza, Lake Buena Vista -aiming to use their shuttles as much as poss and no car) (departing the resort on Sunday 28th April for 3 nights/4 days on the Disney Cruise!).

We are v excited!… but now I’ve got a headache trying to ensure this holiday of a life-time with my parents is perfectly planned… the pressure’s on!

Am I best to base the plan on your suggested agenda for w/b 20 April? sorry to sound silly – its just that because runs from a Saturday to a Sunday I am not sure how to maneouver it to fit our days!

- Do you have other suggested itineraries for 9 full days or do I just follow this one for the majority of the days – but use Thursday twice as our day off?
- What do you suggest re Fridays as we have 2? – maybe use one of them to go to say blizzard beach or typhoon lagoon? (or not good for our age kids who swim but not v strong?)
- The first Sat on here starts half -way through the day…. If our first Sat is a whole day do we use your Second Sat itinerary (swapping it so that we do the half day Saturday itinerary the day before we cruise? ie a bit of a rest and pack up stuff?!) and therefore our first full Saturday is in MK…?
- I realise the dining options will not be the same but can we do some of the lunch/dinner ideas as a cash visitor and should/can these be booked in advance?
- Overall in 9 full days what was your suggested break down again? (2.5 MK, 2 Epc, 1 AK, 1 HS, 1 waterpark maybe?, 1 day off?) It’s the first time visit for our kids? We have already bought the 14 day for price of 7 disney park tickets – that’s why I was enquiring re the 2 water parks. Not sure whether we’ll have time to get to Sea World by car/taxi/shuttle or whatever and that will cost us on top too! Any thoughts?

I am so sorry if parts of my query are covered elsewhere on your site – but as I couldn’t view all of your site earlier my investigation came to a standstill and my parents are over sunday afternoon (your sunday morning!) for a chat about “The Plan” I’ve done!! arghgh!! Please help me hahah!

Thanks in advance and sorry for lengthy query – you ARE the Man!!!!
Look forward to hearing back from you at your earliest convenience,
Kind regards,
Lysia

106 Dave { 02.17.13 at 9:28 am }

Hi Lysia!! I’m so glad the site is now working for you. My support team could not figure out why it wasn’t.

My itineraries are day specific, and designed for people staying in WDW hotels, but can be adapted. And for visits longer than they suggest, the thing to do is to insert more off days. You can choose to use the off days for waterparks, but think of them as optional, as some of the family may be simply to worn out for another morning.

In your case, start with the Autumn Winter Spring itinerary, but change it as follows:

Your day… Do itinerary Day

Thursday… First Saturday
Friday…. First Sunday
Saturday… None–extra off day
Sunday… Friday (you aren’t eligible for the evening EMH on itinerary Friday, so need to move this day)
Monday… Monday
Tuesday… Tuesday
Wednesday… Wednesday
Thursday… Thursday
Friday… Second Saturday
Saturday… off/optional/return where you like

You can pay cash for any dining option you can reserve–but you need to do your dining NOW, as the best sell out months ahead…

107 Lys { 02.17.13 at 10:28 am }

Hi Dave! Thanks so much – wow that’s brilliant!

Thanks for getting back to me – its really helpful – some of it I had got the same but i just didn’t trust myself hahah – am really pleased how that works – esp with using the the last sat off you suggest as that’s going to work well the day before cruising!

the first sat off is not what i would have imagined but that seems to work great as we’d have travelled etc and not rested til then – GREAT plan! thanks for the heads up re our sunday being your friday – lovely….

ok parents just arrived so what fab timing!! off to do the indepth planning now!!
speak again soon i’m sure!
thanks again for your help -esp being your weekend!
Kindest regards
lysia

108 Dave { 02.17.13 at 11:12 am }

Oh Lysia how kind–especially since I made a mistake! The itinerary Monday assumes you are in a WDW resort too. So change as follows: actual Sunday do written Monday; actual Monday do written Friday!

109 Amber { 02.20.13 at 1:55 pm }

Hi Dave,
Thank you again for all the incredible information you are providing me and everyone else. You are a wonderful source to use while planning. My question for you is, We are arriving at WDW on 04/20/13 and will be following the basic itinerary for the most part so we will be heading straight to Epcot. Then Sunday the 21st AK, however in the evening we have arranged for one of the Pontoon Illumination tours at 8pm I believe we report to Beach and Yacht club for this. Also we are staying at the new Art of Animation so would you have suggestions as far as leaving AK and planning on heading straight to the Yacht club or should we head to the hotel and then to Yacht… would just love to hear your experience opinion here! Due to the ages in our group we will not be riding Dinosaur or Expidition Everest so I believe that will help us time wise as well. We will also have to plan a quick dinner if you have any suggestions I have (2 table credits available) per person to use (no expenses spared….hahaha just time!) I just need some creativity help here not knowing how long we will have in between

110 Dave { 02.21.13 at 7:54 am }

Hi Julie, and thanks for the kind words!!

The simplest way to play this is to book dinner at one of the Epcot-area resorts or the Boardwalk for say 6p, and to take the bus from AK to the Epcot hotel you are dining at–or to the Boardwalk Inn if you are dining on the BoardWalk. I’m not wild about any of the dining options this implies unless you go into Epcot itself to eat, but see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-eat/dining-alternatives/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-dining/the-comprehensive-guide-to-epcot-area-dining/

Let me know if this helps!

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111 Shane { 03.19.13 at 12:27 am }

Hi Dave,
I’ve booked a trip for me and my three sons: age 12, 9, and 9 for September 17-24, 2013. I decided to go with a Tuesday/Wednesday arrival and departure to save on flight costs. Can I just shift everything over a few days on the itinerary? In other words, can I move your Saturday itinerary to Tuesday…and Sunday to Wednesday…etc? Or are the events you’re recommending on your itinerary very specific to those particular days?
By the way, I think I’m going to follow your advice on resort choices. I booked the Port Orleans resort based on the recommendation of friends. However, I think I’m going to change that to 5 days at Art of Animation and 3 days at Polynesian. I’m going to talk to my travel agent tomorrow.
Great site.
Thank you

112 Dave { 03.19.13 at 4:52 pm }

Hi Shane, and thanks for the kind words!

Because of different operating patterns, the itineraries are what they are–e.g. “Tuesday” is “Tuesday,” not “Day 4.”

Come back after your trip and let me know what you thought!

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113 Barbee { 03.21.13 at 10:03 am }

Hi there!! Help!!

We will be arriving to Disney on 12 Apr 2013. I would love if you could do a mock itenarary to help us out. The only scheduled reservations I made was the following:

We have Tusker House buffet Animal Kingdom at 1:15. on the 14th Then we have to go downtown Disney for Isaiah and Mariah’s apt at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at 3 40pm.

Other than that I could really use some advice on how to get the best out of Disney based on your day to day stategy. We are there from the 11-15th of April.

Your site is Awesome by the way!

Aysa B

114 Dave { 03.22.13 at 7:20 am }

Hi I can help–but need to know how old your kids are! Let me know–Dave

115 Sarah { 04.03.13 at 4:05 am }

Hi there:)
We are 2 adults and one little girl age 8 arriving in Florida on the evening of 3rd September 13 for 14nights. We plan to visit: Mk x2 days, Ak, Epcot, Hs. We also want to visit universal, islands of adventure, sea world and aquatica. We have booked the bbb and cinderellas royal table for Sunday 8th sept for breakfast, (bbb is 9am beforehand) I am trying to make dinner reservations and find out when certain firework displays are on as we really don’t want to miss much! Any advice on what days to visit the parks would be great! I think we would have to visit Mk on 4th sept on our 1st day, otherwise my little one may burst!! Is this advisable? Also we do not drive but are staying onsite at Disney, do you know the cheapest, most convenient way to travel to non disney parks from here?
Any advice would be much appreciated for us first timers!
Thank you so much:)

116 Dave { 04.03.13 at 8:23 am }

Hi Sarah! To pick the best days at WDW, avoid parks on days they have morning extra magic hours, and the best days at MK will be the ones where the park closes at 7p. (Although you’ll have to go to MK one evening when it’s open later for the parade and fireworks.) Universal/Sea World will be better Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays.

And I think it’s best to do MK last–for why, and other help, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/how-long-to-stay/other-trip-lengths/designing-your-own-walt-disney-world-itinerary/designing-your-own-itinerary-continued/

For getting elsewhere without a car see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/01/10/getting-to-harry-potter-from-walt-disney-world/

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117 Lys { 04.05.13 at 8:55 pm }

hi again Dave!
hope all good with you…
snowing here in april (albeit lightly – but its sooo cold!) – can’t wait for some floridia sunshine in 2 weeks time!
anyway up all hours still working on our rides/attractions itineraries based on yours…. tweaking as staying off site, and therefore not on disney dining etc plus one of our kids is 5 etc… but getting there!…..
so one thing i wanted to ask you is that as we’re off site and using hotel shuttlebusses i’ve seen the bus times and for HS and Epcot the earliest bus leaves at 9.25am – which is fine (mk and ak leave earlier)… but does this mean that the order of rides is hugely different – eg on getting to Epcot (monday 22 april) later than your schedule would “ride Soarin” and “ride Test Track” be more difficult as we are there later…. may be not physically on ride till say 10.30… not sure…. does this mean more crowds have built up and things wont run as smooth as your itin suggests? – will we need to be fast passing more? – just didnt fancy walking back and forth too many more times with little ones!!… what are your thoughts? thanks for your expertise as always!! :)

118 Lys { 04.05.13 at 9:12 pm }

oops also meant to ask re Epcot – we have decided we won’t make it there the afternoon of our arrival – flying from UK and staying off site it will just be way too much for us!…. so doing it all in one day and seeing illuminations that night but not returning to our hotel part way through on the Monday when do you suggest doing the Innoventions and Spaceship Earth area as again don’t fancy backtracking and will def move on to canada, uk, france that arvo after the imagination building stuff….. should we do it after ellens adventure before moving round to The Seas?! so much to squeeze in! thanks again, Lys

119 Kimber { 04.06.13 at 12:09 am }

Dave, thank you so much for all the helpful information on this site.
We are planning a trip arriving 10/5 evening. My husband and I, 2 active grandmas, and 2 kids daughter – 6 and son – 4 at time of trip. This is our first family disney trip, but we will come again in the future. We already bought 10 day no expiration passes (park hopper and water park), and hope to get 2-3 vacations out of them. Since our group is bigger than standard hotel room, and we are driving, we rented a house with a pool about 10 minutes from Disney. I’m trying to put together our itinerary. We want to spend 2-3 days in the parks. We don’t have the dining plan. I hope to get Cinderella’s Royal Table reservations for 10/8.
10/6 – ?MK or AK, or MK and HS at night for fantasmic?
10/7 – off park day, maybe DTD for a bit, will probably do the Chip and Dale Campfire that night for a little non-park day “magic”
10/8 (Tuesday) MK – can i combine your morning MK tour plan (from Wednesday) with the afternoon MK touring plan from Tuesday? we will plan to spend at least one full day at MK, as i think my kids will enjoy the most there.
Then I am looking at our other best days to hit the parks that week…. Sunday 10/6 for MK? and maybe over to HS for Fantasmic that night (I would probably do the dinner reservation).
or would you recommend Wednesday 10/9 instead?
10/9 ?MK and HS for Fantasmic?
10/10 – likely another off or pool day
10/11 – travel home
Since we don’t have to worry about “use it or lose it” on the tickets we may or may not add a 3rd day and do AK. if so what day would you recommend? (i think it is 10/6). is AK worth a whole day at the park?
also, grandma really wants to take my daughter for bibbity boppity boutique. would you recommend doing this at downtown disney and not using park time for it? or is it quick and doesn’t really take up that much time.
on our non-park days, we may go to Chef Mickey’s for a character experience, and/or to catch fireworks from a non-park spot.
thanks for all your help!
kimber

120 Dave { 04.06.13 at 9:21 am }

Hi Lys I am so ready for a real spring–I live in Northeast Ohio (though I’m writing this from Mount Airy, Maryland, long story) and its been SO COLD!!

To be frank, arriving at the turnstiles before the park opens is a huge part of a lower-stress, lower wait day. If you arrive as late at Epcot and HS as the bus times imply, you’d need an entirely different strategy for the day, and will pick up a couple hours of wait time.

So frankly I’d rent a car, or take a cab, befroe I even dreamed of arriving as late as those schedules imply…

121 Dave { 04.06.13 at 9:23 am }

Hi Lys, come back to me on this after you’ve had a chance to think about the rental car/cab point…PS Here’s some stuff on renting cars tha I should have put on the other answer: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/02/28/renting-a-car-at-walt-disney-world/

122 Dave { 04.06.13 at 9:34 am }

Hi Kimber and thanks for the kind words!!

For a 3 day visit with kids that young, I’d strongly urge a pure MK focus. There’s little at Epcot for those ages, and at best a half day at AK and HS (+Fantasmic.) So I’d save the other three parks for when the kids are older and can more fully enjoy those other three parks. For a little more on the whys behind this, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/how-oldtall-your-children-should-be/ and also this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

For the reasons noted in the first link, my itineraries are designed for kids 8 or older, so you can’t really just combine them. You could either use the second link to filter them, or use a service like http://www.leaveittogenie.com/ or http://touringplans.com/magic-kingdom/touring-plans?utm_campaign=referral&utm_medium=website&utm_source=yourfirstvisit&utm_content=r1&property_id=1 to get tailored plans for kids that age.

If you do follow my MK-focused advice, I’d suggest three mornings at MK, one afternoon, and one evening…

i do love your idea of fun meals out of the parks on your non-park days!

Hope this helps, and if so…

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123 Kimber { 04.06.13 at 5:55 pm }

Thanks Dave. very helpful. what 2 or 3 days would you pick for 10/6-10/10?
Is it worth heading to HS for just Fantasmic, or are my kids too young to enjoy that? (ages 6 & 4, younger one is a boy). Otherwise, we will stick with purely MK. (maybe sneak a visit to the AK lodge to see animals)
also, what do you think about bippity boppity boutique?

124 Dave { 04.06.13 at 6:17 pm }

You bet Kimber! for the mornings, any day will do, but the best will be the 8th and 9th and 10th. The evening shows at MK are limited your dates, but are fully on the 7th, and 9th…

Fantasmsic can be scary to young ones… and if you do BBB in an afternoon, it’s great–just don’t spend prime morning time on it!

125 Amy { 04.10.13 at 9:28 am }

Hello! I just found your wonderful website and was reviewing the forum for tips. My family of 4 is traveling to Disney for our 1st visit next Thurs 4-18 for 7 nights (kids age 7 & 5), staying at Art of Animation. Would you mind reviewing my itinerary for any suggestions/ tips? Is it too much on young kids to try and see both MK fireworks and nighttime parade on same day? I’ve been a bit overwhelmed! :)

Thurs- arrive, Downtown Disney rainforest cafe 2pm
Fri – MK – Chef Mickeys dinner
Sat – Epcot,
Sun – AK 1st half day & back at hotel for pool (tusker house brkfst 1030)
Mon – Sea World (hoping we can figure out transportation!)
Tues – Hollywood Studios, Sci-fi 11:15
Wed – back to MK? Liberty Tav 5:30. ?

thank you!!

126 Dave { 04.10.13 at 3:17 pm }

Hi Amy! Your choices of which parks which day looks fine, but for the ages you need more time off, and are light on MK. I’d suggest skipping Epcot (little there for a 5 year old), doing Sea World Saturday, taking Monday off, and firming up on MK Wednesday. If they have an afternoon nap you can do the earlier (9p) parade and the fireworks!

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127 Amy { 04.10.13 at 9:48 pm }

Thank you Dave! :)

128 Joao Paulo { 05.07.13 at 2:13 pm }

Hello Dave,
Me and my family will travel to Orlando next December to ring the new year’s eve at MK.
We will stay at Pop Century Resort and intend to follow the schedule below:
30-Dec-13 Monday arrive in Orlando at 12:30h
31-Dec-13 Tuesday Magic Kingdom
01-Jan-14 Wednesday Break
02-Jan-14 Thursday Animal Kingdom
03-Jan-14 Friday Magic Kingdon
04-Jan-14 Saturday Disney Studios
05-Jan-14 Sunday Break
06-Jan-14 Monday Epcot
07-Jan-14 Tuesday Universal Studios
08-Jan-14 Wednesday Universal Island
09-Jan-14 Thursday Break
10-Jan-14 Friday Busch
11-Jan-14 Saturday Sea World
12-Jan-14 Sunday Break
13-Jan-14 Monday Leaving Orlando at 21:30h
What do you think about it?
Do you have some tips for us?
Best Regards
Joao Paulo

129 Dave { 05.07.13 at 3:00 pm }

Hi Joao! I won’t be able to comment on the specific days until Disney releases its January calendar, which it won’t do for another 6 weeks or so, so get back to me for more specifics in late June.

However, Disney World will be wildly crowded through January 4th, with peak waits of three hours per ride not uncommon. Can you shift your arrival to Jan 4 or Jan 5?

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130 Joao Paulo { 05.07.13 at 7:49 pm }

Thank you for your very fast answer Dave!
Unfortunately, I do not have the opportunity to change my vacation dates, as my boss says, it is nonnegotiable! But no problem, last time I was in Orlando was 1993, long time ago, and I was single. Now I will go with my wife and daughter (7 years old) and for sure, she will go crazy when face Mickey, Minnie and all the Princesses.
The hotel is booked, rent a car booked and flying tickets too. The only thing is missing is the parks tickets.
I will talk to you again in 6 – 7 weeks.
Once again, many thanks for your attention!
Best from Brazil!
JP

131 Danell { 05.07.13 at 11:46 pm }

Hello there!
I am enjoying your site SO MUCH! (So far, I think I have told about 998 of my closest friends about it!). I’m hoping to get your tips for my itinerary as well. We’re a family of four, our son is 7, daughter 4. It’s our first visit but we don’t foresee it being our last(!). We are scheduled for October of this year 16-22. I’ve planned the following, so far (or, I should say, this is the current plan, which I have reworked 347562 times since booking the dates):

Wed 16th: arrive, check in at Contemporary (Tower room! Park view!) Go to MK for dinner at Tonys Town Square at 6:40, ask for porch seat so we can watch Main St. Elect. Parade, get to bed as soon as possible after that.

Thur 17th: 7:00am Chef Mickey, rest of day MK-hope to catch Celebrate the Magic?

Fri 18th: Epcot, nap, 8:00 Cape May Cafe dinner, Illuinations

Sat 19th: EMH at Animal Kingdom til lunch. If done with AK, go to Hollywood Studios for a bit? Nap? Evening boat ride from Contemporary to 7:55 dinner at Whispering Canyon.

Sun 20th: Sleep in as late as possible. Husband and son are going to wing it-maybe a Water park? I’m taking daughter for 11:00 Bibbidi makeover. 2:00 Lunch for all at Cinderellas RT. Nap if possible until MNSSHP.

Mon 21st: Open to fill in wherever we fill we missed 5:30 dinner at the Wave followed by Pirates and Pals fireworks cruise for our finale.

I feel like I have missed scheduling many “must-sees” here, but on the other hand, I am not too stressed that this will be our only trip (….so OF COURSE this trip must be perfect so that we will want to go again!) I noticed you told Amy above that she was giving Epcot too much time with small kids? I thought about switching it around but I was trying to avoid Epcot on the weekend…
I’d really like to get the Tomorrowland Fireworks Dessert Party in there somewhere whenever the seats come available, but I don’t know where I’d put that…scrap the dinner and parade first night and do that instead?
Anyhow, thanks for any pointers and opinions! (I should maybe just put the schedule DOWN for a few MONTHS now…but wait, what if free dining comes out and I don’t have my ADRs exactly right?? MUST HAVE IT PERFECT NOW!)

132 Dave { 05.08.13 at 9:08 am }

Ok Joaoa! Understand that whole boss thing! …talk to you in later June…

133 Dave { 05.08.13 at 9:36 am }

Hi Danell, and I’m so glad the site is helping and that you’ve told your friends about it!!

Coupla comments…

First, at those ages I’d skip Epcot entirely and do a day at each of HS and AK. To avoid am EMH, I’d do AK the 18th (your current Epcot day) and HS the 19th.. For why I suggest these parks instead, see this: especially the bottom three items: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

Second…you’ve booked a couple of places with (relatively) limited kid appeal. E.g. Tony’s Town Square, Cape May, The Wave… if you haven’t already seen this, check it out: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-eat/dining-alternatives/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-dining/ I get your thought on Tny’s but the math is against you–there’s so many more inside tables than ones with views

Third, I doubt Celebrate the Magic will be on the 17th, with the park close at 7p, but you ca see it (and the special fireworks and parade) at MNSSHP).

The fireworks at MNSSHP also makes the dessert party less important!

Hope this helps…

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134 Danell { 05.08.13 at 10:08 pm }

Hi again and thanks for the review…dang, and I had already revised it from TWO days at Epcot to one! I’ve got a kid really into outer space and other countries, so I’m not totally ready to get rid of Epcot entirely (or maybe it’s just that I really want to see Turtle Talk). I was actually thinking those extra magic hours at Animal Kingdom on Saturday morning would be helpful in getting in more in a half day splitting it with Hollywood studios, but I see you’re saying not really so. I also see you say it’s possible to walk between Epcot and Hollywood Studios, so maybe we’ll start Friday at Epcot and if the kids are bored stiff we’ll walk over to HS. What say you?
Thanks for the heads up on Tonys…I would be really disappointed to have our first meal be a letdown! We’ve got Chef Mickeys scheduled for breakfast early the next morning…do you think dinner at Chef Mickeys the first night and then breakfast at the Crystal Palace sounds better? (OMG-so much FOOD, we’ll be waddling our way through the park!) :)

135 Dave { 05.09.13 at 8:24 am }

Hi Danell–just a reminder in case you didn’t know this–you can’t go to two different parks in one day unless you have a “park hopper” add-on to your tickets…otherwise your plan is OK…And on CM vs CP, I’d BY FAR do Chef Mickey’s for breakfast and Crystal Palace for lunch or dinner…

136 Danell { 05.09.13 at 5:58 pm }

Thanks again! :)

137 shaunda { 05.22.13 at 11:02 pm }

i have booked our trip to walt disney for sept 25- oct 1/13– we (husband and i) have the plus dining plan and have 2 children 3 girl and boy 7 and my friend is coming with her daughter age 6— we need to get ideas on planning on what parks to go to on which days as we have a 5 day MYW pass but have no idea what park to do what day — and character dining and table service dining– if u could give me some ideas that would b great!

138 Dave { 05.23.13 at 7:40 am }

Hi Shaunda! See this for dining suggestions: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-eat/

WIth kids that age and 5 days, I’d plan three at the Magic Kingdom, and one each at Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.

Your dates avoid MK the 26th, avoid AK the 27th, avoid HS the 28th and 29th, avoid AK the 30th…

Hope this helps!

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139 Jen { 05.23.13 at 2:06 pm }

Hi, I have booked a trip for Sept 19-24th. We will be heading to AK the 20th, MK 21st and 22nd, and HS the 23rd. We have the four day basic pass. We are staying on grounds at A of A, so we can take advatage of extended hours and bus transportation. This is a first visit for my daughters 2 and 4. I have seen you say to avoid the park with magic hours in the morning. Think we will be okay with our itinerary? We will be visiting AK on a day when it opens early? Thanks and you have an awesome site! Thanks for all of the great info :)

140 Jill { 05.23.13 at 8:15 pm }

Dave,
Firstly, I would like to say that your site has been extremely helpful – I only wish I had read it before I booked my trip which spans from 26/05/2013-09/06/2013. As this is classed as a busy time covering Memorial Day and Star Wars weekends, I wonder if you could give me advice on the best day to visit each park or the days to avoid a park We are a party of adults with a child aged four we have hopper passes for 14 days and will be staying off site. We also plan to visit the water parks and Universal but I understand you focus on the four main parks. Any help would be appreciated. Our first day at the Parks will be 27th of May.

141 Dave { 05.24.13 at 10:36 am }

Hi Jen, and thanks!!

You’ll face much lower crowds if you go to MK the 20th and 21st, HS the 22nd, and AK the 23rd…For why, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/04/30/crowds-and-walt-disney-world/

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142 Dave { 05.24.13 at 10:42 am }

Hi Jill and thanks!

What you want to do is avoid HS Friday-Sunday, and avoid the other Disney theme parks on days they have morning extra magic hours in particular, and as possible on days they have evening EMH as well. Beyond that, in addition avoid MK the 27th. Given that you have two weeks, you ought to be able to hit the WDW theme parks on their better days quite easily following these principles..

In addition, the best days at Universal are typically Saturday-Monday, although a. that won’t apply the 26th and 27th and b. I’m not certain what a four year old would find of appeal at Universal…

http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/04/30/crowds-and-walt-disney-world/

143 Jill { 05.24.13 at 8:36 pm }

Great thanks for information. I am off to create my plan now :-)

144 Dave { 05.25.13 at 3:02 pm }

Ok, Jill–and come back with any questions!

145 Stephanie { 06.13.13 at 11:03 pm }

Hi Dave, thank you for such amazing and helpful information!
I was wondering what you would suggest for my family’s trip to WDW January 2014. My husband and I will be taking our son for his fifth birthday. We are thinking of staying between 7-9 days. We were thinking of doing AK 1 day, HS either 1.5 or 2 days, Epcot 1.5-2 days , possible off day, & Magic Kingdom 2 or 3 days. I know my son will definitely enjoy everything in Epcot so we will definitely be doing more than 1 day there. HS I would like to go half day on a Fantasmic night so we don’t have to deal with the crowds all day. I can see us going to every show and doing child swap for the big rides. Magic Kingdom is my favorite and I know we will definitely be there a minimum of 2 days. A possible 3rd if my son chooses it as his favorite park which I believe he will. Do you recommend the park hopper for us even though we will be there plenty of days? Also, when would you recommend an off day ? My son’s birthday is January 22nd and we would like to spend the day at MK that day. When do you recommend we check in and check out? Sorry for all the questions !

146 Dave { 06.14.13 at 9:52 am }

Hi Stephanie and thanks!!

These are all great questions, but I’ll be able to answer them better after Disney World releases its January calendar–which it should do any day now…so come back in a week or two, OK?

You can copy and paste this link http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/basic-itinerary/alternative-itineraries/itineraries-for-the-rest-of-the-year/v2-of-2009-autumn-winter-spring-itinerary/#comment-398159 so that you don’t have to ask the same questions again!

In the meantime…I’d suggest a full day at HS—see this http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

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147 Stephanie { 06.14.13 at 12:10 pm }

Thanks so much Dave!

148 Dave { 06.15.13 at 8:49 am }

:)

149 Carissa { 07.15.13 at 2:31 pm }

Hi Dave,

We are taking our kids (ages 12 and 17) to WDW in November 2013/ Planning on arriving on the 17 and staying until the 23. We will have a pass for 6 days. Not sure if we will purchase the park hopper pass yet. What is your recommendation for itinerary for that time. We will be staying at the Port Orleans/Riverside resort. Thanks for your help! I really want to make the best of the time we have as it may be the last vacation we go on as a family as our oldest will be going off to college next year.

150 Dave { 07.16.13 at 7:48 am }

Hi Carissa! The closest fit I have is this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2009/11/06/seven-night-walt-disney-world-autumn-winter-spring-itinerary-v2/ though you’d need to adapt it using this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/required-september-2013-itinerary-and-to-do-list-changes/ It’s longer and needs a hopper. Adding a day or two to your tickets is not all that expensive, though the hopper is…

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151 Carissa { 07.18.13 at 4:13 pm }

Thanks!

152 Dave { 07.18.13 at 4:35 pm }

:)

153 Joao Paulo { 07.31.13 at 3:59 pm }

Hi Dave, Below you can see our calendar for the New Year’s eve week. Could you give your opinion and some tips for us in order to minimize the wildly crowds that we know we will face it?
30-Dec-13 Monday arrive in Orlando at 12:30h
31-Dec-13 Tuesday Magic Kingdom
01-Jan-14 Wednesday Break
02-Jan-14 Thursday Animal Kingdom
03-Jan-14 Friday Magic Kingdon
04-Jan-14 Saturday Disney Studios
05-Jan-14 Sunday Break
06-Jan-14 Monday Epcot
Best Regards,
Joao Paulo

154 Dave { 08.01.13 at 8:00 am }

Hi! There’s no way to avoid the crowds, but I have some tips (from last year, not re-written for this year, but the principles still apply) here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/12/04/coping-disney-world-holiday-crowds/

There’s a couple of things I’d do differently. The Studios on Saturday is not a great choice, and MK will be just crazy on 12/31. Me, I’d do AK on 12/31 and either go home when it closes or get a hopper and go to HS for its fireworks. If you must see MK New Years Eve fireworks, see them on your arrival day the 30th–as noted here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/05/16/new-years-eve-20132014-at-walt-disney-world/

So my suggestion, incorporating all this, is the 30th at MK, 31st at AK, 2nd at HS, and 4th at MK. The other days can stay as is…

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155 Joao Paulo { 08.02.13 at 10:03 am }

OK Dave, thank you!

156 Mary { 08.30.13 at 7:55 am }

What is a good itinerary for mar 23 to 28 2014. Staying at allstars sports. Wanting 2 days at magic kingdom, one at Hollywood studios, one at animal kingdom and one at Epcot. May do one day at universal

157 Dave { 08.31.13 at 10:37 am }

Mary, I don’t have detailed itineraries for trips that short. But avoid MK the 23rd, HS and AK the 24th, Epcot the 25th, AK the 26th, MK the 27th, and Epcot the 28th. Universal will be best the 23rd and 24th.

158 Meghan { 10.06.13 at 10:19 pm }

Hi Dave –
I’m planning our FIRST trip to WDW for 5/3-5/11/2014 and am following your site to a T – staying in a Cars Family Suite at Art of Animation. We’re also lucky enough to have an employee in our party (3 adults, 2 kids ages 6 & 8) so we are entitled to Cast Member privileges & discounts. So I have two questions..do we need to have a Park Hopper for Tuesday night to enter HS for Fantasmic? And do you have any other suggestions that we should take advantage of given that we have the Cast Member stuff? Thanks for producing such a great site – I’m getting ready for my 180 day mark!

159 Meghan { 10.06.13 at 10:25 pm }

oops – did not mean Tuesday; meant Sunday night!

160 Dave { 10.07.13 at 8:00 am }

Hi Meghan and thanks!

I haven’t released itineraries for May yet. I always wait til the operating calendar is out–and it’s not yet out for May. When they are released–which should be in another couple of weeks–you’ll be able to find them here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/basic-itinerary/alternative-itineraries/

So check back in a couple of weeks, OK? I’ll be able to share some thoughts then…

Was this even remotely helpful?

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161 Meghan { 10.18.13 at 1:50 pm }

Hi Dave – Any thoughts on my post from 10.6.2013 above? I saw that you’ve updated for the week we are planning.

Thx!!

162 Dave { 10.19.13 at 8:30 am }

Meghan, the itinerary in fact works those dates! See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/10/15/may-2014-at-walt-disney-world/ And yes you can skip the hopper, intending to fit Fantasmic into Monday rather than Sunday. If the day at HS becomes too exhausting, you can add a ticket day and go back to HS Thursday. (Adding a day is MUCH cheaper than adding the hopper…)

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163 elizabeth { 12.28.13 at 5:45 pm }

Hi Dave please can you advise me my daughter, 5 year old grandson and I are visiting Disney world for the first time from uk.. We arrive about 5pm 5 april 2014 for 11 nights can you advise us of a suitable itinerary we have Disney dinning plan and are staying at port Orleans French quarter. We would really appreciate any help and advice as it all seems very daunting, thank you elizabeth

164 Dave { 12.29.13 at 8:08 am }

Hi Eliziabeth, I focus on older kids (see this for why: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/how-oldtall-your-children-should-be/ ) so I don’t have anything too specific to offer. But here’s some thoughts:

1. The parks will be MUCH more crowded after April 11. So do as much in the parks as you can before then!

2. Book your meals ASAP as they do sell out! See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/12/23/first-time-visitors-and-dining-at-walt-disney-world/

3. At that age, plan for the following: at MK, 2-3 mornings, an afternoon, and an evening; at AK, a morning; at Epcot, a morning and an evening; at HS, a morning, and perhaps an evening. The evenings are for the parade (MK) and fireworks shows. The show at HS may be too much for a 5 year old…

In the earlier part of your trip, I’d do the following
4/6 HS
4/7 Epcot
4/8 MK
4/9 MK
4/10 AK
4/11 MK

Hope this helps…Dave

165 Anonymous { 12.29.13 at 12:57 pm }

Thank you so much I will get on to booking restaurants now
Thanks again

166 Dave { 12.30.13 at 7:13 am }

:)

167 Michelle { 12.30.13 at 3:43 pm }

Hi Dave -
I have tweaked some of my plans based on many of your recommendations. Can you let me know if anything on this plan stands out as something that i should seriously consider changing? Appreciate all the help and tips on the site! have told many of my friends about it! Going 2/1 – 2/8, 2 adults, 5 yr old girl, 2 yr old boy. Using DDP, and FP+. Thanks!

2/1 – arrive late morning, epcot in the afternoon, AKERSHUS Dinner
2/2- Ohana 830, Magic Kingdom, Cystal Palace Dinner 6:20
2/3 -AK (EMH) , 5:05pm Tusker House
2/4 -MK, gonna try to do BOG for lunch, 6:15 Hoop
2/5 – MK morning, BBB at DTD 12pm, Then MK that evening for Cindys at 830 – only time i can get – keep trying to get a bit earlier.
2/6 – chef mickeys 1040, HS and Fastpassed Fantasmic
2/7 – Epcot – San Angel Inn 630 and fastpassd Illuminations.
2/8 – visit to DTD, lunch at Fultons Crab House, depart 6pm.

I realize i will have to pay for some meals… and input or advice appreciated.
I am a little concerned abotut the monorail being down during the day and my next project is figuring out exactly how to get from point A to point B each day.

thank you!

Mish

168 Michelle { 12.30.13 at 3:43 pm }

oh, and staying at POFQ.

169 Dave { 12.31.13 at 6:56 am }

Michelle, honestly I think that wiht kids that age you are over-scheduled. You could skip Epcot entirely, and spend just a morning each at AK and HS. Fantasmic is a bit much for many kids that young….

170 Michelle { 12.31.13 at 10:51 am }

HI Dave – I hadnt looked too much into Fantasmic and thought it was basically a lights/fireworks type show outside. Is it inside? Could we (or one of us) easily leave if my 2 yr old got cranky? My kids both like fireworks – even with the loud noises. thank you.

171 Dave { 01.01.14 at 7:22 am }

Michelle, Fantasmic is an outdoor show that is hard (but not impossible) to leave that includes among the good guys many animations of Disney villains, plus puppets representing a 50 foot long snake, 40 foot high dragon, etc.

All dimensions are approximate, but you see where I am going!

See also this and its comments: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/10/22/kids-fear-and-walt-disney-world/

172 Michelle { 01.02.14 at 10:29 am }

Hi Dave – Thank you. I have read a little into the Fastpass+ ‘ing of Fantasmic and apparently it lets you pick a seat anywhere vs. putting you in a certain saved section… I will keep my fantasmic Fastpass+ reservationfor the 7pm show and Sit further back as some people have said this helps. We will see how it goes…. i will also let you know on this site afterwards. Thank you!

173 Dave { 01.02.14 at 11:51 am }

Oh good point. What’s really key–now that I am thinking a little better–is that you sit next to the aisle! Back is good too, but the aisle is what will let you zoom out if it is too much…

174 Rebecca { 01.28.14 at 4:37 pm }

Hello! I was wondering why you said to make a reservation for the Rainforest Café in downtown district only and NOT at Animal Kingdom. We have already made reservations for the one in Animal Kingdom so I was curious. Thanks!

175 Dave { 01.29.14 at 7:57 am }

Rebecca, only because on that day I have people being in Downtown Disney! The AK one is fine too…

176 Mike { 02.05.14 at 7:09 am }

Hi Dave,

amazing site by the way, the detail is phenomenal and has given us a massive help for our up and coming trip in April. We are arrive on the 5th April and leave on the 15th April 2014, its my wife and I plus 2 boys, 10 and 7 year olds. I have a few questions if you don’t mind giving a bit of advice? We have yet to book any dining reservations do you think we are too late? I notice that your itinerary doesn’t match up with the EMH for mornings is this intentional as we are pretty much all early risers and could be at the gates at dawn!? Linked to this do you know if there are any restuarants that offer an early morning breakfast that will tie in with any EMH? We are staying in the Wilderness Lodge (bunk bed option), is there any recommendations on where we could ask to stay within the complex? Do you know if they do the early breakfast? As you may have gathered, we do like a hearty start to the day!

Many thanks in advance and any other nuggets of information that you have will be most welcome.

Mike

177 Dave { 02.05.14 at 2:58 pm }

Hi Mike and thanks!

Yes you will be too late for some reservations. AT the Wilderness Lodge, the Whisepring Canyon Cafe starts serving at 7.30a. See https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/wilderness-lodge-resort/whispering-canyon-cafe/ Honestly, that’s a little late, since you want to be at the parks well befroe they open…and that won’t work at all with EMH. Breakfast at WDW (other than fruit and cereal in your room) works best at around 10.30, not before your day begins.

Yes I intentionally avoid EMH days. The first 90 minutes of morning EMH days are great but the rest of the day the park is more crowded than on alternative days.

For the best rooms at WL, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2014/01/07/review-disneys-wilderness-lodge-2/

Yes my itineraires intetionally avoid EMH

178 Alison { 02.27.14 at 4:15 pm }

Hey Dave,

This is all so overwhelming. We are going down April 9th at night and staying til the morning of the 13th. We have the 3 day hopper. Its me my husband and 2 nine year olds. Can you tell me some must dos for their ages. Thanks for any help.

179 Dave { 02.28.14 at 7:09 am }

Alison, with 9 years olds and three days, I think I’d spend two days at the Magic Kingdom and one at either the Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios. One of your MK days, hop to Epcot for the evening fireworks show Illuminations.

At that age they can enjoy pretty much anything. See this for the best: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

180 Maye { 03.20.14 at 3:00 pm }

First of all, I absolutely love your site – such a big help! My dad and I are taking a quick 2 day (1 day in Epcot, 1 day in MK) trip March 29-30 for my thirteenth birthday. Obviously, we would much rather take a longer trip, but that’s all our schedules allow for at the moment. :(
Is there a reason to arrive at MK in time for rope drop if you have no interest in either of the mountains and plan to tackle Fantasyland that night? We are most definitely not early risers and will have already stretched to make Epcot opening the day before. My current thought is to arrive at MK around 11 am, see characters and low-priority attractions, then make our way up to Fantasyland after 10 pm Wishes and stay till park close. However, is it better to arrive earlier to maximize our park time? We have 7:55 and 9:30 am Ohana ADRs and plan to cancel one or the other depending on what we decide. Thanks!

181 Dave { 03.21.14 at 8:28 am }

Hi Maye! Lines build quickly at MK, especially for the characters, and that will be a very busy day to start with. See page 13 of this for how waits are likely to build on the 30th: http://www.easywdw.com/cheatsheets/mk_cheat_sheet_fastpass_plus_v2.pdf

182 Maye { 03.22.14 at 12:32 am }

Thanks so much. I had completely forgotten that characters see some of the longest lines… I’ll plan on getting to the park sooner rather than later. Thanks again!

183 Dave { 03.22.14 at 2:47 pm }

Cool, Maye, and have a great trip!!

184 Crystal { 03.25.14 at 2:11 pm }

Hello! I am trying to plan my itinerary for April 7th – 11th. My biggest obstacle is the age gap in my kids: 12,11, and 5. We are taking a train and will be arriving Monday around 8AM and leaving Friday around 8PM. Which itinerary would you suggest using? I was thinking a park per day.

185 Dave { 03.26.14 at 12:01 pm }

April, I’d do Epcot the 7th, MK the 8th, HS the 9th and AK the 10th. On the 11th, return to your favorite park, or the one where you didn’t see enough–likely MK.

I don’t have itineraries for trips that short, but see Josh’s here: http://www.easywdw.com/category/cheat-sheets/

For working with kids of wildly different ages, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/how-oldtall-your-children-should-be/what-if-theyre-too-shortyoung/taking-your-too-shortyoung-kids-anyway/

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