Designing Your Own Walt Disney World Itinerary

By Dave Shute

Itineraries for the Rest of the Year      Basic December Itinerary

How Long to Stay      Other Trip Lengths      Itinerary Design Goals

OVERVIEW

This site provides

If these aren’t enough, here are a few thoughts on designing your own shorter itinerary for the rest of the year.

They focus on the Autumn-Winter-Spring itinerary as Easter-Summer visitors are more likely to be able to spend the full 8 nights that this site suggests.

AN OPTION OR TWO THAT MAY HELP

First, before you go to the trouble of designing your own itinerary from scratch, if the above shorter options don’t help, still note that the Autumn-Winter-Spring itinerary

  • Gives you Tuesday morning, and mid-day Saturday, off
  • Gives you Thursday off
  • Does not schedule you in the parks on Sunday morning

If you can arrive on Tuesday morning and depart Sunday afternoon, you can

  • Use the portion of the Autumn-Winter-Spring itinerary that covers these days as is, saving three nights of hotel and food expenses, but missing the Animal Kingdom entirely, most of the Hollywood Studios, and short changing Epcot, or (and better),
  • To keep from missing so much, you could make the following changesto the Tuesday-Sunday portion of the Autumn-Winter-Spring itinerary for your targeted week. (Some of these changes require a park-hopper add on to your tickets, costing your family another $200 or so.)
    • Instead of taking Thursday off, spend it entirely at the Hollywood Studios (recommended) or at be the Studios until late afternoon and then at Epcot (park hopper required if you see two parks in the same day).
    • Use the free time you have on Saturday to go to the Animal Kingdom, using the appropriate part of the Autumn-Winter-Spring Animal Kingdom itinerary for the part of the day you are there on Saturday (requires park hopper), and
    • Skip the Gospel Brunch on Sunday, and finish up at the Animal Kingdom first thing Sunday.

DESIGNING YOUR OWN DISNEY WORLD TRIP

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

(This guidance continues on this page.)

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316 comments

1 Dave { 09.30.09 at 3:59 am }

Thanks to HaleyB for suggesting I post a blank excel version of the itinerary spreadsheet for those who wish to use it!

Access it by clicking the link near the end of this page, just above the page 1/page 2 navigation box.

2 Jennifer { 04.18.12 at 7:58 pm }

Hi! My husband and I are taking our first trip to Disneyworld in a little over a week. We will arrive in Disneyworld on Friday, April 27th in the afternoon and depart on Friday, May 4th early in the morning. We purchased a 7 day park hopper ticket and will be going to Islands of Adventure one of the days (however we may not stay there until evening). Do you have any suggestions for us as far as an itinerary that will maximize our chances to see and do the most? From my research, the week we will be there shouldn’t be too crowded, but I would love to know what parks would be the least busy on the specific days we will be there. Also, if you know the best day of the week to visit Islands of Adventure that would be excellent. Any and all advice would be great! Thanks!

3 Dave { 04.19.12 at 8:24 am }

Hi Jennifer!

For Islands of Adventure, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/07/31/the-best-and-worst-days-of-the-week-to-see-the-wizarding-world-of-harry-potter/

Here’s my thoughts on parks to avoid during your week (which should be terrific by the way):
4/27: Avoid HS
4/28: Avoid Epcot
4/29: Avoid MK
4/30: Avoid HS and AK
5/1: Avoid Epcot
5/2: Avoid AK
5/3: Avoid MK

Hope this helps and have a great trip!

4 Marge Rudisill { 04.23.12 at 10:33 am }

Hi! I am working on a plan to take our son to Disney for the first time. He turns 6 next March 29th-Easter weekend! Was looking at arriving April 4th for four nights. I know this is shorter than you recommend- just trying to avoid missing too many school days. He also loves Legos and I believe there is a Legoland or similar nearby? Can you recommend an itinerary for this short of a trip-could plan to arrive Weds, and do 5 nights- just worried about those Easter/spring break crowds. Thanks!!!
Marge

5 Dave { 04.23.12 at 11:28 am }

Marge, crowds will be massive until April 7…I can’t recommend that week at all, and there’s no way to solve it via an itinerary. At that age, I’d for sure take him out of school! But at that age, 2 days at the Magic Kingdom (3 if you stick to these dates) and one at Legoland is also plenty…the other parks can wait until he is older…

6 Heidi { 05.01.12 at 11:57 am }

Hello,
We are planning on visiting DisneyWorld in June 2013. Unfortunately, we are only able to stay for 5 days. Do you have any suggestions for a possible itinerary? We are hoping to arrive by noon on 6/10 and depart around 4pm on 6/14. Also, please provide dining suggestions as we will be doing the dining plan (1 quick, 1 table and 1 snack). Our children will be 7 and 9 and would absolutely LOVE a character dining experience at least once. Thank you very much for your time and suggestions.

Heidi

7 Dave { 05.01.12 at 2:09 pm }

Hi Heidi! For dining suggestions, see the material that starts here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-eat/

For your itinerary, given the ages of your kids, I’d do two days at the Magic Kingdom, one day each at Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, and skip Epcot. Try to take at least one day completely off.

Get back to me when your dates are set and I’ll try to help with which parks which days…

8 Diane { 05.01.12 at 8:36 pm }

Dave,

This website is the best! We are going to Disney 11/21 – 11/26 arriving @ noon on the 21st. How should we plan since we are arriving in midweek? Won’t Saturday and Sunday be less crowded? Not crazy about Epcot. This is our second trip with the grandchildren (ages 6 – 15). First was a couple of years ago. MK is their favorite. We are staying at Polynesian. Thanks for your help.

9 Dave { 05.02.12 at 6:38 am }

Hi Diane, the 25th and 26th will be much less crowded, the 24th will be better than the days earlier, and the days before then a zoo. Suggest you do MK the 25th and 26th, and go to the other parks–skipping Epcot–on the mornings they have extra magic hours, heading back to your hotel when they get unmanageable, and taking the evenings off except for evening visits to HS and Epcot for Fantasmic and Illuminations…

10 Sara { 05.05.12 at 10:57 am }

Hi :) wow what a site. I have zero experience with WDW. We are coming up May 17-20. My son is 5. Can you help me create an itinerary? We are staying on Disney property. Thanks! I’ve already learned so much. I’m so glad I’m not going to roam around looking for things to do like I thought! Please email also.

11 Dave { 05.05.12 at 12:46 pm }

Hi Sara! Glad to help. Take a lok at this and you’ll note that there’s not much outside the Magic Kingdom for a kid that age: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

Assuming you can come back on a later trip when he’s older your best bet is a few mornings at MK, and at least an evening there for the parade and fireworks, with the rest of your time napping and swimming.

If this works for you, then the best days at MK over your dates are the 18th and 19th. The 17th and 20th are fine for the evening shows, but will be busier than the 18th and 19th…if you want to see other parks, the 17th any park but MK is fine, and the same is true the 20th

Hope this helps and have a great trip!

12 Brandie { 05.07.12 at 8:36 pm }

Wonderful, insightful help! Our family will be visiting Disney May 20, 21, & 22 and Universal May 23 and May 24th. Any suggestions for us to get the most out of our trip? We are a family of six; the kids are 17, 15, 13 and 12.

13 Kelly { 05.08.12 at 2:42 am }

We are planning a 10 day stay at a resort near Disney May 11-May21st. It will be our first time. We are a family of 5 . The kids are 21, 9 and 11. I need help knowing how many days to purchase park passes and advice on how to enjoy the resort activities as well. There are so many parks! We love the shows, fireworks and entertainment most. I’m afraid of planning a day at a park and not enjoying it and missing a great show or firework display at another park. Can you help? The resort people recommended doing Disney every other day. What would you recommend??

14 Dave { 05.08.12 at 7:10 am }

Hi Brandie! I don’t know if your park plans are flexible, but if they are, I’d reverse and do Universal the 20th and 21st and Disney the rest of the week. For why, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/07/31/the-best-and-worst-days-of-the-week-to-see-the-wizarding-world-of-harry-potter/

Which WDW parks top visit partly depends on how much your kids like thrill rides vs charming ones that some sullen adolescents think of as “for babies.” But if you are spending two days at Universal, they are probably thrill ride fans, so I’d spend one day each at MK, AK and HS…

Let me know if you can swap your dates or not, and after I’ll suggest which park which day…

15 Dave { 05.08.12 at 7:20 am }

Hi Kelly! No worries. The nightly shows–Illuminations at Epcot, Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Wishes and the Evening Parade at the Magic Kingdom are on every night during your dates, so you can’t go wrong on that front!

Given the ages of your kids, you want 6+ park days–2 at MK, 1.5 at Epcot, and 1 each at HS and AK. Take at least 2 full days off. Reserve your last morning to return to a favorite park. Note that extra days cost hardly anything after the first three days–around $8 per person per day-0-and you can add them to your ticket when you decide you need them so long as its not after your last day of paid-for use…

See this for a model which doesn’t exactly fit your dates but shows how to shape a trip: 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/

16 Brandie { 05.08.12 at 3:39 pm }

Thank you Dave. We’ll do Universal first :) Anu suggestions for WDW?

17 Dave { 05.08.12 at 4:27 pm }

Great Brandie!

For WDW: May 22 HS, May 23 MK and May 24 AK

18 Brandie { 05.08.12 at 9:24 pm }

Thank you so much for your help and your website…..both have been priceless!

19 Dave { 05.09.12 at 6:30 am }

Brandie, you are welcome! Have a great trip and let me know how it went…

20 Kelly { 05.09.12 at 8:25 pm }

Dave, thank you! Your site and timely answers are so helpful! I just order a 7 day pass. We are so excited. I’m glad I found your site. I was originally going to buy 4 days. But based on your advise, opted for more. This may be our only time in a long while getting to the real Disney World. We live near Disneyland, CA…but I’m sure this will be a lot different. Thanks again for the time to answer our questions!

21 Dave { 05.10.12 at 7:40 am }

Thanks, Kelly! Have a great trip and let me know how it goes!

22 Bill { 05.12.12 at 1:31 pm }

We are planning a visit to WDW/orlando from 5/29-6/2. Our issue is with ticket prices, and how to get the most bang for our buck. We are a family of seven, the kids are 14, 13, 10, 5 and 4. Any advice on how to do this with a $1500 budget for tickets?

23 Dave { 05.12.12 at 1:55 pm }

Bill, you won’t find much in the way of deals on tickets, and your budget looks a little low to me…check here: http://www.mousesavers.com/wdwticketprices.html

24 Grandma { 05.16.12 at 2:53 pm }

Love your site – found when I panicked and googled disney first trip. Pop Pop and I are taking our 5 yr grand daughter and 7 yr grand son to Disney on June 3 arriving around 4:30 pm and leaving (boo-hoo) June 7 at 5 pm. Staying at Yacht club because it has a neat pool. How can I make this a great memory without cramming too much in? Appreciate all the tips!

25 Dave { 05.17.12 at 9:09 am }

Hi Grandma, and what fun! Given the ages of the kids, and the length of your trip, focus on the Magic Kingdom.

Think of spending two mornings, one mid-afternoon (for the afternoon parade) and one evening (for the evening parade and fireworks) at MK.

There’s little at Epcot for kids that age, but it’s so convenient that you kinda have to check it out, especially the Seas pavilion, and in it, Turtle Talk with Crush. They likely will also enjoy the evening fireworks show Illuminations.

See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/ and also some of the example days in this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/12/06/summer-itinerary-for-walt-disney-world-v2/

26 Grandma { 05.17.12 at 9:50 am }

Much appreciated! I will let you know how the trip turns out. I think Turtle Talk looks right up our alley.

27 Dave { 05.17.12 at 10:40 am }

Turtle Talk is drop dead cute. Hints: make sure the kids have distinctive hats on–bold solid color baseballs caps or such–and sit up in the special kid area at the very front…have a great trip, and let me know how it goes!

28 MJ { 05.17.12 at 3:19 pm }

My husband and I are going to Disney (first and likely only time) Thursday May 31-June 3rd. Sunday we have all day (flight doesn’t leave until 8pm) . We do not have any children and have already been to Universal so that’s not high on our list. If you had only four adult things to do there, what would they be? If you had to recommend one upscale non chain restuarant for us to try, which would you choose?

29 Dave { 05.17.12 at 4:29 pm }

Hi MJ–I’m not sure what you mean by “four adult things…” see this and let me know if I am missing the point: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

Re dining, the best restaurants book up months in advance…see this for Zagat–the three Disney one son the list have their address beginning “Disney” http://www.zagat.com/lists/best-food-tops-orlando-restaurants and also see the adult side of this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-eat/dining-alternatives/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-dining/

30 Duane Bennett { 05.22.12 at 2:24 pm }

Dave, Going to Disney 7-14 (first day at parks is 7-15) to 7-20, thinking about Animal Kingdom and MGM, any recommendations ?

31 Dave { 05.22.12 at 2:56 pm }

Duane…I’m not sure what you are asking! Is it what to do on 7/15? Or over the whole visit…tell me the ages of your kids, too

32 Duane Bennett { 05.22.12 at 3:08 pm }

sure thing, my fault appreciate the advice. Yes it is 7-15, staying in Disney Old West. 23 and 20 are kids, so adults, four including my wife. Looking for suggestions on what is best days to visit said parks, do you have recommendations on where to eat in the two parks for dinner (will probably hop back to resort for lunch. Also, what water park is best to visit only have time for one.

Thinking about 7-15 animal kingdom, 7-16 relax at old west, 7-17 at MGM, 7-18 at water park, and 7-19 relax at old west or do a third park. May by a 2 or 3 day pass (any suggestions on discounted tickets.

Thanks again, love you site.

33 Dave { 05.22.12 at 6:55 pm }

Ok Duane got it! And thanks for the kind words about the site…Guess you are past the stroller-pushing age!

I like the Studios the 15th, because they have extra magic hours the 14th and 16th, so many WDW hotel guests will go one of those two days.

And I like AK the 17th, for the same reason–it has EMH the 16th and 18th.

I don’t have a strong opinion on which waterpark is better…personally I’d skip them both and go to the Magic Kingdom…but if you do go to one the 18th, go to Blizzard Beach, as Typhoon Lagoon has EMH the 18th.

Dinner at both parks is a hard call (it’s much easier with younger kids). But see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-eat/dining-alternatives/table-service-meals-at-the-parks-ranked-in-order/

At HS, Brown Derby is the best food, but boring and pricey. %0′s Prime Time is silly, but with average food. At AK, Yak and Yeti is more convenient and sophisticated but also interesting…Rainforest Cafe there is out of the way, fun for little kids but may annoy you guys…

34 Brent { 05.23.12 at 9:08 pm }

Going for first visit with kids…8nights wilderness club level Sunday November 4th to Monday November 12th….do you have an 8 night itinerary for Sunday arrival.
Any tips for age difference of 14 year old boy and 6 year old girl….

35 Dave { 05.24.12 at 3:16 pm }

Hi Brent, first, see this http://yourfirstvisit.net/required-september-2012-itinerary-and-to-do-list-changes/

Second, in general do the Autumn Winter Spring Itinerary on the indicated days with the changes in the link above.

However, do what it indicates as the first Saturday on your first Sunday instead, add seeing Fantasmic (from the current first Sunday evening) to Monday evening, and replace the second Sunday activities with the Animal Kingdom part of the First Sunday.

Re the 14 year old vs the 6 year old, take a look at 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/

Hope this helps, and get back to me if I’ve raised more questions than I’ve answered!

36 Sara { 06.02.12 at 5:09 pm }

Hi! So glad I found this site! Awesome info! We are planning to drive december 31st and go to parks 1-1 to 1-6 of 2013. Is this a crazy time? Itinerary suggestions? We are trying to squeeze in around school schedules.

37 Dave { 06.03.12 at 8:31 am }

Hi Sara! The first part of your visit–the 31st through the 2nd or so–will be absolutely mobbed–e.g. 3 hour peak waits for some rides, 20 minute waits for restrooms, parks closed to additional visitors…the second part should be better…there’s no itinerary that can fix this…Disney won’t release its January calendar for another 3 or 4 weeks, so if you really want to do this, get back to me then and I’ll make some suggestions…

38 Lisa { 06.03.12 at 10:21 am }

Just booked our first trip to Disney for Sept 14-19 2012. Our little girls are 2 and 5. we will be staying at the Beach Club. I plan to spend 2 days at the magic kingdom, one day at animal kingdom and one day at hollywood studios. From what I understand we will be so close to epcot that it would be worth even a short visit. Can you make any recommendations as far as itinerary so that we can maximize the time we have and make sure the girls get a truly magical experience!

39 Dave { 06.03.12 at 12:25 pm }

Hi Lisa!! Yup, there’s a few things at Epcot, especially in the Nemo/Seas pavilion, and the evening fireworks show illuminations, worth seeing for the 5 year old. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/ The same link will help with selecting other highlights to see at the other parks.

See below for worst parks by day:

9/14: AK
9/15: HS
9/16: MK
9/17: HS, AK
9/18: Epcot
9/19: Epcot

40 Ginny { 06.03.12 at 1:33 pm }

Hi! Great page you have! So excited to accompany my grandchildren and their parents to Disney World in December! We went a few time when my children were small, but have not been back for many years! Her children will be 3 yrs old and 9 mos. old. We would like to do at least one Character breakfast and maybe also a Character dinner. My granddaughter (3 yr old) is a very big Mickey Mouse Clubhouse/Disney Junior fan. We will be staying 4 nights at the Contemporary at the beginning of December. I have always wanted to see Disney World decorated for Christmas and wonder if there will be any special events during this time of year. Any suggestions for our trip?

41 Dave { 06.03.12 at 1:41 pm }

Hi Ginny and thanks!

There’s a ton of special Christmas stuff–see this page http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/05/20/christmas-2012-at-walt-disney-world/ and on it especially the link to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

There is one Disney Junior character meal, at Hollywood & Vine in the Disney’s Hollywood Studios park–see this: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/hollywood-and-vine/

For other character meals, there’s one in the Contemporary that many love for breakfast– Chef Mickeys, with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, etc…

Hope this helps, and let me know if there’s anyway else I can help!

42 Ginny { 06.04.12 at 12:49 pm }

this link shows WAY more than I thought for Christmas! Thanks SO much. Just have to pick now!! Thank you for your offer of more help, I may take you up on that! It’s possible I may tire out my traveling companions :)

43 Dave { 06.04.12 at 4:29 pm }

Ginny, you’re welcome! It’s a great time to go!

44 Sandy { 06.06.12 at 12:19 pm }

Hi, great site. Husband just sprang it on me that he is willing to go to Disneyworld from June 29 (arriving late by car) until July 3 (leaving that morning). So we would have June 30, July 1-2. Five in family, 16, 13, 11 kids. What should we plan to do? I’m not sure how to get the most bang for our buck, any tips would be much appreciated.

45 Dave { 06.07.12 at 7:02 am }

Hi Sandy, that’s likely to be the single most crowded weekend of the summer.

I’d plan on seeing MK for two days, and picking one of the other parks based on family interests. Your basic approach should be to arrive at the turnstiles an hour before park opening, see the most popular rides first, and use FASTPASSES. Plan on taking the afternoons off to nap or swim, and returning in the late afternoon early evenings.

For targeting rides to do–you won’t be able to do anything like them all in that short a visit–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

46 Giada { 06.11.12 at 11:40 am }

Hi
Great site! We are heading to Disney & arriving Sunday, June 17th through Thursday June 21st. Parents & 12 yr old daughter. Staying at Pop resort…. havent been there since daughter was 3 :( Not sure if the meal plan is affordable, thinking of heading to some restaurants outside of Disney (Olive Garden, Red Lobster, etc.) Would like to see a Disney dinner & show, not sure which one. Daughter loves rides, Mom, not so much lol. Thinking of Magic Kingdom & Epcot (want to explore the Countries). Interested in Castaway Cove but very expensive… also if you stay at a Disney resort, are you able to use ANY resort pool? Thanks so much!!!

47 Dave { 06.11.12 at 12:09 pm }

Hi Giada, and thanks!

Your plan in general sounds great, but a couple of thoughts:

–Eating offsite is definitely less expensive, but requires a car. If you are driving, no issue…but if you have to rent a car, it’ll be cheaper to eat on-site.

–The best dinner show is Hoop Dee Doo Revue. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/04/24/review-the-hoop-dee-doo-musical-revue/ If what you mean is a character meal, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-eat/dining-alternatives/character-meals-and-dinner-shows-ranked-in-order/

Re the pools, the WDW rule is that ““pools are for use only for Guests of that specific Resort hotel.” This will likely be pretty strictly enforced during your visit, as that is a very crowded time… See http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/recreation/pools/

48 Rhonda { 06.14.12 at 1:50 pm }

Hi! This is a wonderful site. I wish I had known about it before we booked, I probably would have done it differently. We are staying in a Tree house Villa at Saratoga Springs. We are an extended family of 10 arriving on 12/30/12 leaving 1/5/13. Kids ages 14, 12, 10, 6 and 18 months! My mom, brother, sis-in-law, self and husband round out the crew. I could not find an itinerary on your site for our days. I understand it will be very crowded and was hoping for your insight! Thanks so much for an amazing site with so much helpful info.

49 Rhonda { 06.14.12 at 2:53 pm }

Just saw on another page..I need to check back in late June for an itinerary.

50 Dave { 06.14.12 at 5:55 pm }

Hi Rhonda and thanks! Saw your second comment. I should have itineraries for the week beginning 12/29 out soon. However, they won’t be as short as you trip…

51 Casi usher { 06.16.12 at 5:21 pm }

Hi Dave, I have a family of five and my mother will be joining us on our trip we will be at Disney July 6th threw the 13th of this year I know it’s a busy time but my husband is active duty and this week was our only option we r staying in the cars family suite thr children’s ages are 6 3 and 1 and a half any suggestions on must see’s for the younger crowds we also planned on doing several days off from parks so the babies don’t get burnt out and we will be doing sea world one day also thanks so much in advance for your help love this site!!!!

52 Dave { 06.17.12 at 7:41 am }
53 Roseana { 06.17.12 at 11:25 am }

Hi, we are planning our first trip to Disney on August 13th.- Aug 18th We have a 10 and 12 yr old. Need help with making an itinerary .

54 Dave { 06.17.12 at 11:28 am }
55 Roseana { 06.17.12 at 11:34 am }

I forgot to mention we are staying t the wilderness lodge?

56 Helen { 06.19.12 at 9:25 am }

Hi,

This will be my family’s first trip to Disney (me, husband, two daughters (ages 7 & 11). We are going from July 24-31. We have 6 day park tickets. One park a day. We are staying at the Pop Century Resort. I am having a hard time deciding which parks to visit on which day. Can you help with my itinerary? We arrive late in the afternoon on the 24th and leave late morning on the 31st. So we do not have park tickets for these 2 days. Thank you so much. I’m so glad I found this site!!

57 Dave { 06.19.12 at 10:19 am }

Hi Helen, I’m gonna give you bad parks by day

7/25 AK
7/26 MK
7/27 Epcot, MK
7/28 HS
7/29 MK
7/30 AK, HS

Hope this helps and have a great trip!

58 Hi Dave, { 06.19.12 at 10:51 pm }

We will be taking my daughter to Disney for her 5th birthday arriving on her birthday Nov 10th for 7nights. We will also have our 16 month old We will be travelling with another couple and their 2 1/2 year old and 8 year old. We plan on staying at the new Art of Animation. Do you advise we follow you itinerary for Autumn-Winter-Spring? I’m wondering why you chose certain parks for certain days and not on the days of early hours. For example thurs am is off and that is when MK opens earlier. Just wondering your advise.

59 Dave { 06.20.12 at 6:55 am }

Hi the itinerary is designed for much older kids, but you can edit it based on this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

All my itineraries avoid EMH where they can. EMH days are great for the first several hours, but after that the park is more crowded than it would be on a non-EMH day, making the day overall not worth the loss of an hour’s sleep.

60 Hi Dave, { 06.20.12 at 7:44 am }

Hi again Dave,

Thanks for your very quick response. I love your site! I’m so glad I found it. I will be alternating your Autumn-Winter-Spring to accomodate the ages of the kids, 8, 5, 2 and infant. We will be going Nov 10/12 for 7 nights. We are still debating between the Art of Animation and the Polynesian..any advise there? Do you think there are any parks we should avoid altogether? And whick parks should we avoid on which days? i would like to work in Mickey’s very Merry Christmas into our trip. Thanks again, Laura.

61 Dave { 06.20.12 at 8:50 am }

Hi Laura! A of A family suites vs Poly is a tough call…it partly depends on how keen your kids are on the movies at A of A.

Re dates, here’s parks to avoid by day:

11/10: MK and HS
11/11: MK
11/12: HS and AK
11/13 Epcot
11/14 AK
11/15 MK
11/16 Epcot

Epcot is definitely skippable at those ages.

The xmas party is on the 12th, 15th and 16th.

62 Sara { 06.20.12 at 8:36 pm }

Hi Dave. I am so overwhelmed by all of the info on this site and mousesavers. My husband and I were thinking of going in February but decided to listen to your advice and go for April. Is there any way you can break it down for me when the best time to go would be? We will be staying 5 nights and have a 2 year old and a 5 year old. This is our first trip and probably won’t go again for at least 3 years. Thank You so Very Much!

63 Dave { 06.21.12 at 7:09 am }
64 sara { 06.21.12 at 6:50 pm }

Okay, thank you, so any of these 3 weeks are best in April?
How would you rank April versus February? Is the weather better in ApriL?

8: 4/20/13
9: 4/27/13
10: 5/4/13

65 sara { 06.21.12 at 6:52 pm }

Also, what do you recommend for an itineray for us 4 for 5 nights/6 days?
We want to have some character meals and may purchase the in room day care so my husband and I can have a fancy meal. Definitely want to see Beauty and the Beast play as well. Thank you so much, sorry I am so annoying with all these questions. I promise I really have spent at least 15 hours on this site. :) It’s amazing!~

66 Dave { 06.22.12 at 2:45 pm }

Sara you can see my week rankings for those weeks here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/09/19/2013-weeks-to-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-in-order/

I think the weather in April is typically perfect–warm enough for pools pretty much every day, but not so hot and humid as the summer. February weather is cooler on average, but highly variable–it can be very cool. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/weather-and-when-to-go/

67 Dave { 06.22.12 at 2:45 pm }

Sara I don’t have itineraries for periods that short….

68 Danny { 06.28.12 at 9:42 pm }

Hi Dave,

Thanks so much for this amazing website. My family twins 8 and 5 year are will be at Disney world 10/7 through the 14th staying at the beach club. Got the park hoppers. Can you suggest an itinerary for us. Really appreciate all the info you have provided me so far!

69 Dave { 06.29.12 at 6:51 am }

Thanks, Danny!

See this 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/ but also this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/required-september-2012-itinerary-and-to-do-list-changes/

It’s not an exact fit, but close. Note that days matter–don’t think of Saturday in the first link as Day 1, but as literally Saturday.

For kids the ages of yours, the best way to adapt it is to trim Epcot out and replace the time indicated at Epcot with what you would miss because of your slightly different arrival and departure days.

70 Maureen { 07.10.12 at 10:11 pm }

Hi. We are just starting to plan a trip to Disney in either late April or mid-October 2013. I have been to Disney however it was 10 yrs ago and I was the aunt not the parent. This trip will be a first time for my husband and 6 yr old daughter. I love your suggested itineraries. I remember from my prior visit going to Blizzard Beach. My nephews and neice seemed to have loved our day there. I notice your 8 day iterary does not include a water park day. Is it because you do not feel there is enough time for this or that it isnt worth it? What are your thoughts.

BTW, this is a great site! Thank you.

71 Maureen { 07.10.12 at 10:20 pm }

Oops….I think the water park is actually Typhoon Lagoon…not Blizzard Beach as I mentioned in my post/question above. Thanks.

72 Dave { 07.11.12 at 7:35 am }

Hi Maureen and thanks! I love the waterparks–I just can’t fit them in compared to alternative uses of time. If my itineraries were one day longer, I’d add another off day, and if they were tow days longer, I’d add a waterpark too…

73 Jill M { 07.11.12 at 5:46 pm }

Hi! This is such a great website!! We are planning a trip to Florida for August 16-25. Part of that time at Disney & part on the beach. My thought was to arrive Thurs early eve and depart Disney for the beach sometime on the 21st. Any thoughts, comments, itinerary or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!! I’m overwhelmed with information! Our first thought was to stay at the caribbean resort. After reading your info on it I’m thinking Polynesian is a better choice…Our daughter is 6. Also, really want to keep the beach portion for the latter part if our stay, to just relax. Thank you!!

74 Dave { 07.11.12 at 6:09 pm }

Hi Jill and thanks!

For your timing, I get you on principle, but the way school summer breaks work, crowds will be much lower at WDW starting the 18th…and weekends/Mondays are always busier than Tues-Fri. Suggest you noodle over this, and then get back to me with your final answer!

I’d pick Poly over CB in a heartbeat…

75 Jill M { 07.12.12 at 10:23 am }

Hi Dave!

Thank you for prompt response! So I’ve been thinking a lot about your comment, would you suggest that we spend the later part of the trip (Mon-Sat) at WDW? As long as I get some beach time to relax I guess I could do that if the crowds would be lower at WDW. Do you think it will make a significant difference? If so, could you assist in what the best itinerary would be for us? Also, I know everything in your website suggest the Poly is the best choice for first time visitors…and Pop is the best choice to keep the costs down. Is there something in the middle? I didn’t see balconies at the Poly, is that an option there?

Again, thank you!!

76 Dave { 07.12.12 at 12:15 pm }

Hi Jill, and yes, I think it will make a huge difference if you go to WDW in the later part of your dates.

Balconies at Poly is complicated–there are three newer buildings, all of which have either balconies or patios in every room, and then a bunch of older buildings, all of which have balconies on the third floor, patios on the first, and neither on the second. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/05/19/review-disneys-polynesian-resort/

I’m not keen on the “middle” options for first time visitors–see this for why: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-stay/next-best-resort-choices/where-not-to-stay/ Take a look at it, then come back with any reactions!

77 Candace { 07.13.12 at 8:59 am }

Hi Dave, We are planning a trip October 12-19, 2013. We will have 9 adults and 4 children ages 11,5,3 & 2. Wanting to stay at a result on the monorail. Which one do you suggest? Also any tips for that week? Saw its in the moderate range, but it was that week or Thansgiving so October it is!! This will be the first trip for all kids except 11yr old. Thanks for any advice in advance!

78 Dave { 07.13.12 at 9:29 am }

Hi Candace! See this on the monorail resorts: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/11/08/the-monorail-resorts-at-walt-disney-world/

One of the things for you to sort through is, given the family structures of the various families and the room capacity at all the monorail resorts of 5 people–4 on two queens and one on a daybed–if a two-bedroom villa plus a studio at Bay Lake Tower might be a better choice. See http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/09/13/review-bay-lake-tower-at-disneys-contemporary-resort/ Prices are comparable but you get more space.

79 sasha { 07.16.12 at 8:21 am }

Hi, we have our first trip to disneyworld coming up soon. We arrive on July 26th. We have an event to attend July 30-August 2 but we don’t leave til August 9th. My husband will be in an ecv because he just had surgery recently and I have a 6 year old and a 4 year old. We are staying at the Saratoga resort. I know its a really busy time of year, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We will have the 10 day Hopper pass and hope to squeeze in waterpark time maybe on event days when we end earlier in the day. :)

80 Dave { 07.16.12 at 10:10 am }

Hi Sasha, you can adapt the Summer Itinerary–see this http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/12/06/summer-itinerary-for-walt-disney-world-v2/ Given the ages of your kids, you’d want much less than it suggests at Epcot, and likely a little less at HS and HK–e.g. you can drop the second, morning only visits. Use this to narrow the rides to your kids: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

81 Deanna { 07.18.12 at 4:01 pm }

Hello, I just want to say that your site is very useful! I am still a bit overwhelmed. My husband and I along with our 15 year old son are flying into Florida on 11/16/12, leaving out 11/23/12. We are not staying in the resort, using timeshare instead. We are all first-timers. Can you give me a good idea on an iteneray that will suit our needs? We are saving one day for Universal. Also as far as dining goes, we are planning on stocking up on breakfast supplies for our room and a few snacks. Are there any restaurants you recommend aimed for our teenager and us? We are def. trying to budget as much as possible and I wasn’t sure if you needed to make reservations for every restaurant .

82 Dave { 07.18.12 at 4:30 pm }

Deanna, this one is as close as I have: 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/ It’s built for people staying on-site, so you’d want to flip the Monday and Friday, and on neither night would you be able to stay as late as indicated.

For dining, see what’s in the itinerary and also this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-eat/dining-alternatives/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-dining/

You likely want to kill from the itin the two “princess” meals–Akershus and Cinderella. You only need reservations for waiter-service meals. But that will be one of the busiest weeks of the year, so if you do want such meals–and they are expensive–you will need reservations!

83 mary hendon { 07.18.12 at 6:52 pm }

hey dave, unable to find the answer from your response. we have booked for disney november 15th and leaving out the 19th. we are not doing park hopper tickets. have a 12 and 7 year old. wondering what parks to do in what order for least crowding. epcot,mk, us, and ak. thanks.

84 mary hendon { 07.18.12 at 7:00 pm }

sorry, forgot to mention this is our first trip and we would like to see as much as possible

85 Dave { 07.19.12 at 6:35 am }
86 mary hendon { 07.20.12 at 3:28 pm }

we are driving down from alabama and plan to be at disney early morning on november 15th. and will be leaving out on the 19th, not sure if it will be early morning. we want to do epcot on 15th. mk on 16th, ak on 17th and hollywood studios on 18th. should we do mk again on 19th for a few hours before we leave. how much extra will tickets be. we have a 12 and 7 year old and 2 adults. also want to shoot for breakfast at crystal palace with winnie the pooh on 16th. is there a parade, fantasmic, or fireworks show we should consider going to. this is our first visit.

87 Dave { 07.20.12 at 4:15 pm }

Hi Mary! I’m sure you will want to add a day, as you can’t come even close to seeing all the MK in one day. For prices, see this http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/06/03/disney-world-ticket-prices-2012-to-summer-2013/ but it’ll be about $11/person. Each park has either great fireworks, great parades, or both. See this http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/09/28/parades-at-walt-disney-world/ and this http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/10/26/fireworks-at-walt-disney-world/

All the fireworks are don’t miss, and of the parades, the evening parade at MK is another don’t miss.

88 mary hendon { 07.21.12 at 1:28 am }

one more question please. noticed the magic kingdom parades and fireworks are on november 17, 18. we had planned to go to mk on the 16th to avoid thanksgiving crowds. what is best plan?

89 Dave { 07.21.12 at 8:29 am }

Mary, I can’t recommend missing the fireworks at MK! The 17th should be OK there…

90 Maureen { 07.25.12 at 9:34 pm }

Hi Dave. Given your 9 day itinerary (Spring) and using the Disney Dining Plan, what would you estimate tips to be for 2 adults and 1 small child? Or if its easier to estimate person? Thanks!

91 mary hendon { 07.26.12 at 4:19 pm }

we are coming nov 15th to 19th and, per your advice seeing mk on the 16th and 17th. we are doing the mvmcp on the 16th. i secured the crystal palace on the 17th at 935. the park opens early at 800. my husband wants to do an early breakfast before going to park. the kids are 12 and 7. is this a bad time, due to possible crowding at the park? should i attempt to book earlier, or we will be okay since we are spending all day in park on 16th? thanks so much. your site has helped so much with our trip. no slots have opened up on earlier times, as up yet.

92 Theresa { 07.26.12 at 8:11 pm }

Hi there,
Your site is full of so much info…I’m really trying to take it all in, but a thousand questions keep popping up in my head as I read more and more on your site…lol. My husband very luckily has a conference at the Hilton Buena Vista during Nov. 2012 so 4 days of our hotel will be paid for by his work. By the way we got a heck of a deal with SW…4 tickets from Austin to Orlando for $900 or so (and part of that is hubby’s ticket that we will be reimbursed for.) We will be arriving in the late afternoon/evening on Sat. Nov 10, 2012 and leaving in the late morning/noonish of Sat. Nov 17. We have an 8 year old son and a 3 1/2 year old daughter. Neither my hubby nor I have been to Disney since we were kids, so we are very limited in experience. I also imagine that we will return in 5-7 years when the kids are older. I read that our hotel is near Downtown Disney. Is there anything for our kiddos there? I have been seeing itineraries for the fall but would love a link to one that would be best for us to get started with.

Also, we weren’t so sure that we would visit Animal Kingdom…what’s your advice? Is it a must see for kids? We have been to several GREAT zoos and animal wildlife preserves in the recent past, so seeing the animals themselves wouldn’t be anything new for my kids. What is there that we would also want to do? I remember EPCOT from my visit as a teenager, but what would kids want to do/see there?

I also believe that Free Dining is available to us for the time we will be there. Our hotel is already booked so how do we go about getting the Free Dining? What are a couple of “must eat” restaurants for us to make reservations at? We really want to avoid eating burgers and chicken strips as much as possible while visiting.

Should we buy a 6 day ticket since we will be there 6 days? I read about adding onto your current ticket as long as you do it by the day your current ticket runs out. I’m also confused about what parks we get in to. If we bought a 6 day pass would that get us into all 4 parks over that 6 day period or do you have to purchase tickets for each specific park? (I told you we were inexperienced.)

From the Hilton, what might be our best choice of transportation to the parks?

I am sure I will be on your site again as the time approaches, but I think this is enough to get me started…lol.
Thanks.

93 Dave { 07.27.12 at 8:10 am }

Hi Maureen–I don’t have an estimate for tips…

94 Dave { 07.27.12 at 8:23 am }

Mary, with the 8a opening, 9.35 is fine….

95 Dave { 07.27.12 at 8:39 am }

Hi Theresa, I’ll try to answer all your questions but there’s a lot!

The tickets let you enter any one park per day (you can enter the park multiple times, just one park). To go to more than one park in a day, you need the Park Hopper add on…

Can’t tell you about Hilton transportation, as I only focus on WDW hotels.

The Hilton is not eligible for free dining–you can only get the dining plan (free or paid) if you stay in a WDW hotel.

Skip Epcot, given the ages of your kids, but do go to Animal Kingdom. It’s not a zoo…it’s a ton more fun than that!

I don’t have an itinerary that fits your arrival dates, trip length, and ages. Start here instead: 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/

96 Judy { 08.03.12 at 10:30 pm }

Hi Dave! We are planning to visit WDW first week of Nov. 2013. Family consists of 2 grandparents (never been there), 2 parents, 3 children – ages 11, 8, 5. They have all been there. What would you recommend for all of us, and when should I book it???? If I book it early and a deal comes along can I rebook to take advantage of the deal? Thank you!!

97 Dave { 08.04.12 at 5:15 pm }

Hey Judy, you need to tell me how many days on site you are contemplating. That is an OK, week, but not a great one–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/05/02/jersey-week-at-walt-disney-world/

Depending on how you choose to look at it, either the 5 year old or the 11 year old complicates things–would you be able to split up at times so that e.g. the grands were with the 5 year old? See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/ and also 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/

98 Samantha { 08.05.12 at 3:36 pm }

Hi Dave – Thank goodness I have found your site otherwise I might have given up hope! We are travelling across from the UK for Christmas 2012 and New Years eve and we could stay for two weeks, but this is probably too long to stay in Walt Disney World.. We have two children (5 and 8) and so I suppose we only need to do the Magical Kingdom? Any suggestions on how long and on which dates between 19 Dec and 2 Jan to go to WDW would be greatfully received…. Would it be better to be there for Christmas or New Years… or both?! We will then probably head to SeaWorld, but more research is needed there! Thanks in advance.. any other advice on things to do while we are in Florida would be fantastic if possible.

99 Dave { 08.06.12 at 9:55 am }

Hi Samantha, and I’m glad the site is helping!

Disney World and Seaworld will be simply mobbed from 12/22 through Jan 5, so you need to knock off as much as you can the 19th through the 21st. I’d advise given the ages of you kids two days at MK and a day each at AK and HS–skip Epcot. The best strategy is to focus on early mornings, and return in the evenings for fireworks/parades. This may mean you spend 4 mornings at MK and 2 each at HS and AK…

Can’t really advise on the rest of Florida, but do keep in mind that these are the two busiest weeks of the year, so all will take longer than you might imagine…

100 Jon { 08.06.12 at 8:16 pm }

we (wife and I) are arriving on a saturday in june, leaving six nites later on friday, which agenda would be good, our children will be boy 10, girl 11, we will have a dining plan with table service, staying at art animation, thanks. Jon

101 Dave { 08.07.12 at 7:20 am }

Hi Jon, I don’t have a six-night summer itinerary, but see this for a seven night one: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/01/16/seven-night-walt-disney-world-summer-itinerary-v2/ I won’t know for sure that it works until Disney posts its operating hours for June, which won’t be until December…

102 Theresa { 08.08.12 at 5:26 pm }

What’s your thought on the Fantasmic Dinner Package at Hollywood and Vine. I’ve heard not to do it because they seat you in the far corner, not in the middle where viewing is good. The show is at 6:30 that night so when would we need to arrive for the show if we don’t do the dinner package?

Also, do you suggest making a dinner reservation for each night we will be there (6 in our case)? I kind of hate to lock us in each and every night we are there. (Traveling Nov 10-17, 2012…staying at Pop Century now so that we can get the free dining plan…we have also upgraded it to the PLUS so that we get table service each day.)

Thanks…love the site!

103 Dave { 08.08.12 at 8:54 pm }

Hi Theresa, I’m not keen on the dinner package as the restaurants in it (except the Brown Derby) are kinda lame…Tell me your planned Fantasmic date and I’ll give you advice on what show to see.

I do not advise a dinner reservation every night. Too much structure. Instead, I’d do a two credit meal like Hoop Dee Doo or Cinderella’s Royal Table, and do a brunch or lunch at a buffet like Chef Mickey’s or Crystal Palace…

104 Holly { 08.09.12 at 2:58 am }

My husband,mother and I will be taking my 2 nieces(ages 2 yrs and 3 yrs)to WDW –arriving on October 10th(morning) and checking out on the 16th.We will be staying at the Caribe Royale(close,but not in the resort).Could you please help us plan an ininerary?Thanks for any help you can give us!

105 Dave { 08.10.12 at 12:32 am }

Holly, I’m sorry don’t have much to say for kids that young–they are so young they don’t really fit even on this page, whose vertical dimension is pitched to ~5 yo… http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/ See also this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/how-oldtall-your-children-should-be/

106 Leigh Ann { 08.13.12 at 9:13 am }

What a site and a service you provide!!

Booked our first Disney trip for February 9-14 2013 – so 5 nights and 6 days. Staying at BLT. Would love thoughts regarding an itinerary for our family – 2 adults and 2 girls – ages 7 and 4. What are your thoughts about Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios? We figure we’ll spend 2 days at MK and unsure how to schedule the rest. Also would love ideas on which days to visit which parks, and also which other resorts are worth a visit to see/walk around?

Many thanks.

107 Dave { 08.13.12 at 9:41 am }

Hi Leigh Ann, and thanks!!

At those ages, I’d skip Epcot, and think of a half day each at HS and AK (with an evening return to HS for Fantasmic).

Mk could be 2-3 mornings, one afternoon (for the afternoon parade) and one evening (for the evening parade and fireworks.) For the details behind why, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

In terms of which parks which days, the key is to avoid parks on days they have EMH. Based on that, I’d avoid the following parks by day:

2/9: avoid HS
2/10: avoid MK
2/11: avoid HS, AK
2/12: avoid Epcot
2/13: avoid AK
2/14 avoid: MK

Re resorts to see, I’d look at em all! For a more thoughtful approach, take a spin through the reviews here and see what might be fun for you to follow up on: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/04/26/walt-disney-world-resort-hotel-reviews/

Hoe this helps and have a great trip!

108 Wendy { 08.30.12 at 2:45 pm }

Hi I’m trying to make sure we don’t miss anything out. I’m taking my 3 kids 11,7,4 for the first time and we want to see everything we have 14 day passes any suggestions?

109 Wendy { 08.30.12 at 2:46 pm }

Sorry our trip is 24th September for 2 wks

110 Dave { 08.31.12 at 7:10 am }
111 Dave { 08.31.12 at 7:11 am }
112 Janet { 09.04.12 at 9:43 am }

We are arriving in Orlando Nov. 4-11 with our five (boy) and four (girl) year old grandchildren. We will probably only spend 2 days at Disney. Could you please advise me as to which days would be best, an itinerary, and which pass to purchase. Thanks.

113 Dave { 09.04.12 at 11:01 am }

Hi Janet!

At that age, going only to the Magic Kingdom for a couple of days is fine, so you need two-day tickets without any add-ons. That’s a moderately busy week, but the best days will be the 6th and the 7th. You need two mornings, and one evening (for the evening parade and fireworks).

I don’t have two day itineraries, but you can pick what to do from this page: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

To see how in general to work your days see the Magic Kingdom days linked to from here: 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/ but note that these are designed for kids 8 and older…

114 Annette Britto { 09.07.12 at 5:43 pm }

Hi Dave, we are planning to go to Florida July 2013. There is so much information we don’t know where to start! Would like to spend around 18 nights in total. Maybe do all theme parks and main attractions in the first 10 days and then relax somewhere away from Orlando for the remaining week. What kind of itenary would you suggest? Hope you can help…. Thanks Annette

115 Annette Britto { 09.07.12 at 5:45 pm }

Sorry Dave! Message got sent by mistake and I hadn’t written complete email address!

116 Dave { 09.08.12 at 10:39 am }

Hi Annette!

First July is a really lousy time to go…see this http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-to-go/next-best-dates/best-and-worst-times-to-visit/ and also this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/09/19/2013-weeks-to-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-in-order/

Second, I don;t have itineraries for July out yet–and won’t until Disney publishes its calendars for then, which it will do in December–but my basic WDW July itinerary will look something like this, modified as needed based on any changes to the typical calendar: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/12/06/summer-itinerary-for-walt-disney-world-v2/

For a longer trip, that includes the non-Disney offerings, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/02/24/the-comfortable-guide-to-how-long-to-stay-at-walt-disney-world/

If you are coming for three weeks, and including a cruise, I agree with doing the cruise last, as a way to relax and recover form the first part of your holiday!

117 Annette { 09.08.12 at 7:00 pm }

Thanks for your quick reply… I’m afraid we can’t make another date other than July :-( but we’ll definitely take your advice. We were thinking of going to Daytona beach for a couple of days before heading to Orlando and then followed by Clearwater to relax rather than an expensive cruise. What do you think.? Or will we regret not doing the cruise? We don’t really like the hustle and bustle of a cruise but enjoy the ports of call….

118 Dave { 09.09.12 at 9:07 am }

Hey Annette, here’s another thought. Temperatures will be spectacular, and humidity high, while you are at the parks…do you really want even more of that at the beach? I you follow the parks with a cruise, at least you’ll have the option to return to the air conditioning easily and quickly whenever you want…

119 Lisa { 09.11.12 at 11:09 am }

This site is fantastic! My husband, mother, in laws and my two children ages 2 and 5 will be going to WDW April 27 – May 4th. We will be staying off property and hotel has free transportation to WDW. Do you have a good itinerary for us? Thanks!

120 Dave { 09.11.12 at 11:32 am }

Hi Lisa and thanks!

I won’t formally suggest itineraries for then until both the April and May calendars are out–which won’t be for 5 weeks or so. You’ll find the suggestions then here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/basic-itinerary/alternative-itineraries/

But what I do suggest then will be pitched at kids 8 and older…so in the meantime, noodle over this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

Come back to me with your thoughts in 5 weeks or so, and I’ll be more help then!

121 carol { 09.11.12 at 4:46 pm }

We are long time Disney visitors and DVC members and now taking our grand children. This time around we are taking friends that have not been to Disney in 25 years. They will only be with us for 3 days and nights. Can you help us plan the best places to take them . They plan to spend only two days at the parks. I love this website and have sent it to our son and daughter who are both DVC members also.

122 carol { 09.11.12 at 4:48 pm }

forgot to say we are going October 20th and plan to go to the Food and Wine Festival

123 Dave { 09.12.12 at 9:34 am }

Hi Carol, if you have just two days and want to do food and wine, you should do one day at Epcot and one at MK, and they should be your first two days…in case your friends change their minds and want to add a third day :)

The best days at MK will be the 20th and 22nd, and Epcot will be a zoo the entire weekend.

I don’t have one day plans for adults, but you can find them here: http://touringplans.com/walt-disney-world/touring-plans and also check this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

Thanks for loving the site and passing it on to your kids!

124 Valerie { 09.19.12 at 3:34 pm }

Hello! I am just amazed by all the information you have! Could you possibly suggest an itenerary that would work for our large group? We will be arriving 6-8-13 and leaving on 6-15-13, we are a group of 11, 7 adults and a 13,12,10, and 6 year old. We are only planning on visiting Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios 1 day each. We are staying off-site and will be driving.

125 Dave { 09.20.12 at 7:51 am }

Hi Valerie, and thanks!

I don’t really have one day itineraries–suggest you take a look at this http://touringplans.com/walt-disney-world/touring-plans

126 Robin { 09.28.12 at 2:51 pm }

Hi! Love your site – just discovered it! My mother and I have been many times but are taking my 2 daughters (7 and 9) early part of Thanksgiving week. (arriving late night of Thurs 11/15, departing night of Tues 11/20). I’m hoping we are gone before the major crowds come. The girls have been to Magic Kingdom before and have done breakfast with the princesses and chef mickeys. Staying at the beach club. What do you suggest for an itinerary for those days? We have dining plan so would love suggestions there as well. Thank you so much in advance! !

127 Dave { 09.29.12 at 8:46 am }

Hi Robin and thanks for the kind words!

The crowds will begin piling in the 18th, so most important for you will be to do as much as you can before then. Suggest AK the 15th if you have any park time, MK the 16th and 17th, anyplace but MK the 18th, Epcot or MK the 19th, and any place but Epcot the 20th.

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

128 Meg { 10.03.12 at 11:56 am }

Hi, Love the website!!
We will be travelling (2 Adults and a 7 year old), unfortunately during jersey week. (11/2-11/8). We have a 5 day magic your way base ticket. This is what I have in mind. We are staying at the CB. Please offer suggestions. Thanks

11/3- HS
11/4-AK
11/5 and 11/6- MK
11/7- epcot.

129 Dave { 10.03.12 at 12:34 pm }

Hi Meg and thanks! I’d flip your HS and AK dates, as you are currently targeting them on days when they have morning extra magic hours, generally a mistake unless you have a hopper ticket and plan to hop away late morning. Epcot the 7th is OK, but likely will be dull for your 7yo. Your MK dates are fine!

130 Helen { 10.03.12 at 4:13 pm }

Hi. We are coming to Orlando from the UK 17th may to 3rd June 2013. My husband is a Star Wars fan, do you know the dates of the convention in Hollywood studios? Also would love an idea of itinerary. Kids are 9 and 6 but we are also taking grandparents to babysit while we go on the big stuff. I have been to WDW 8 times but not for 10 years. We have done Paris twice with the kids already so were know that they won’t go on everything.

131 Dave { 10.04.12 at 6:50 am }

Hi Helen! The Star Wars special events happen in one of the theme parks, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, typically on Friday-Sunday beginning in late May, so you should be fine for seeing them. For a rough guide to an itinerary for two weeks, see this page: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/02/24/the-comfortable-guide-to-how-long-to-stay-at-walt-disney-world/

132 Daniela { 10.06.12 at 8:21 pm }

Hi Dave!We are traveling to WDW (2 adults & 2 boys ages 4 and 8) 10/28/12 – 11/1/12 and staying at Disneys PO Riverside. We have a 5 day park hopper pass and dining plan. Can you suggest a possible itinerary for us. My youngest really likes Jake and the Pirates and my older son like Stars Wars. This is the first time we are visiting WDW. Thanks for any suggestions.

133 Dave { 10.07.12 at 3:04 pm }

Hi Daniela, I’m sorry but I don’t have itineraries for visits that short. Suggest you target two days at MK, one at HS and one at AK, and skip Epcot, given how young your youngest is. You can use this to help sort out what to do in each park: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

134 Amy { 10.17.12 at 11:06 pm }

Hi Dave,
Thanks for all your help thus far. It looks like most of your advice is to avoid the parks on the days that extra magic hours are offered. If so, what days would you recommend visiting the various parks with a 4 and 6 year old arriving Friday, April 12 and leaving Thursday, April 18. I do not want to visit the parks on the arrival or departure days. I am trying to determine what parks we will be at on which days so that I can book dining because we are right at the 180 day mark. Also, I am finding it very difficult to secure a lunch reservation at Be Our Guest and a dining reservation at T-Rex. Any advice?

135 Dave { 10.18.12 at 7:01 am }

Hi Amy!

On the restaurants, Be Our Guest does not do table service for lunch, so you can’t reserve it then (it does counter service for lunch instead) and T-Rex is not reservable over the WDW system–you have to contact them directly. Their contact info is here at the bottom under “Guest Policies” http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/t-rex/

On the days, here’s some thoughts–skipping Epcot, because of the ages of your kids

April 13 AK
April 14 HS
April 15 None of the three are great this day…
April 16 MK
April 17 MK

136 Amy { 10.18.12 at 10:21 pm }

Thank you so very much, Dave!!!!

137 Dave { 10.19.12 at 6:39 am }

You bet!

138 Troy { 10.27.12 at 8:22 pm }

Hi Dave:
My family of four (kids 10 and 12) are headed to Ft. Lauderdale for a cruise and plan to surprise the kids with three days at disney prior. Those dates are Wed 4/17, Thur 4/18, and Friday 4/19. Do you have a three day itinerary that you’d recommend? We’re park hopping, doing the Plus dining plan and hope to stay at the Polynesian.

139 Dave { 10.28.12 at 11:24 am }

Hi Troy! I don’t have a three day itinerary, but still can help a little. One thing that would help is tell me which the kids would pick if you gave them a choice: a wild roller coaster or a visit to a zoo?

140 April { 10.31.12 at 3:17 am }

Dave,
We are planning a trip from 4/27 to 5/4. Could you tell me which parks to avoid on what days?

141 Dave { 10.31.12 at 12:01 pm }

Hi April! Here’s parks to avoid by day (I’m not gonna repeat the word “avoid” each time to save on electrons…)

4/27: avoid AK, MK
4/28 MK, HS
4/29 MK, AK
4/30 Epcot
5/1 AK
5/2 MK
5/3 Epcot
5/4 HS

142 Cynthia { 11.03.12 at 11:02 pm }

Hi, my daughter (19) and I are going to WDW for the first time. December 30 to January 6 for the first time. Staying at Art of Animation. I know its busy but I have to work with her college schedule. Can you recommend which parks on which days? Also, she really wants to go to Harry Potter. Do you think we should squeeze in a day or forget it? Thank you for your website.

143 Dave { 11.04.12 at 8:27 am }

Hi Cynthia! Because of the crowds, there isn’t a ton of difference between days. Things will be better–though still not good–after the 1st. The basic message is that unless you have park hopper tickets, avoid parks on days they have extra magic hours. This is hard to forecast during your dates–Disney has a schedule up, but often adds EMH during crowded times. If you do end up doing Harry Potter, save that for the weekend….

144 Jennifer { 12.04.12 at 3:30 pm }

Dave, I saw your note about having to call T-Rex in Downtown Disney to make reservations. I was able to get dinner reservations for two in April on the Dining Plan through the Disney website when I made all my other dining arrangements. Hope this helps!

145 Dave { 12.04.12 at 6:08 pm }

Thanks, Jennifer!!!

146 Vanda { 01.01.13 at 10:05 pm }

I,my husband and grandchildren (Isabela 8 years old and Mateus 7 years old) will be arriving in the morning of Sat.April 20,2013 and leaving in the noonish of Sat. May 04.We are from Brazil and my grandchildren never staied in USA. I’ll buy a 7 day ticket. Can you help me suggesting an itinerary for us? Thanks so much (sorry, I don’t speak English very well)

147 Dave { 01.02.13 at 6:30 am }
148 scott { 01.14.13 at 3:44 pm }

Dave

Great site – highly informative

I am a first a first time visitor to WDW – planned for 7/22/2013 to 7/29/2013. Trip for myself and 2 daughters (10 & 12). We will have own transport- what is the best advice for staying in a non WDW resort (something more affordable – just outside WDW. Will your Spring -summer inteneray work?

149 Dave { 01.14.13 at 5:00 pm }

H Scott and thanks!

The Summer Itinerary (here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/12/06/summer-itinerary-for-walt-disney-world-v2/ ) won’t quite work because of your different arrival day (in it, “Monday” means Monday, not “Day 3″), your being off site (and thus being ineligible for the extra magic hours), and your one day shorter visit than it’s designed for.

But if you swap what it shows for Tuesday and Wednesday you’ll be OK on the extra magic hours point. And you can find a seven night version here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/01/16/seven-night-walt-disney-world-summer-itinerary-v2/ You then need to adapt it for arriving and leaving on a Monday…

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150 Ella { 01.16.13 at 3:24 pm }

Hello Dave,
Brilliant site! Husband and I are arriving from Europe on Thurs April 25th late in the evening with our 10 year old daughter. I have booked a 5 day park ticket (no hopper and no dining plan). What itinerary would you suggest for us. We are staying in Art of Animation Resort and have decided not to include park tickets for last two days but instead hope to relax at pool before long flights home. Thanks in advance

151 Ella { 01.16.13 at 3:25 pm }

Sorry we are leaving on Thursday May 2nd

152 Dave { 01.16.13 at 3:35 pm }

Hi Ella, and thanks!

Sadly, I don’t have any 5 day itineraries. I’d advise two days at MK, and one each at Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. You can piece daily approaches together by combining and abbreviating the items you can find beginning here: 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/

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153 Ella { 01.16.13 at 4:55 pm }

Thank you for all your help Dave. Cant wait to get there now:)

154 Dave { 01.17.13 at 7:14 am }

Have fun Ella!

155 Angel { 01.20.13 at 8:10 am }

Hello , great site. My family and I are arriving in disney on September 19th and staying until the 28th. My daughters ages 10 and 7 at the time and I visited back in 2011 but only visited magic kingdom, we are getting a 4 day park hopper this year

156 Dave { 01.20.13 at 8:42 am }

Hi Angel…not sure what you are asking?

157 Emily { 01.25.13 at 10:31 am }

Hi Dave,

I will be traveling to Florida on 4/28-5/5 with an 18 month old and my husband. I saw on a previous post the parks you had suggested avoided on certain dates. So I am thinking we will do 4/30 MK, 5/1 MK, and 5/2 Epcot. Any suggestions on traveling to disney with an 18 month old? Any help will be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

158 Dave { 01.26.13 at 8:03 am }

Hi Emily, those dates look fine to me. There’s very little for an 18 month old at Disney, other than enjoying the lights, sounds and colors, so you should really plan the trip for yourself and your husband…

159 faith { 01.26.13 at 8:27 pm }

Hi. I am planning a disney trip for myself and my 3 children
ages 3 5 & 8. We are arriving in orlando feb 14 and leaving
Feb 17. I am sooo confused as to which parks to visit as I have never
Been. We are staying at the nickelodian resort. Any help would be
greatly appeciated. Thanks!!!!

160 Dave { 01.27.13 at 5:35 am }

Faith, your 3 and 5 year old will be best at the Magic Kingdom, and your 8 year old will love that too. That’s a park that with kids that age is best seen in three mornings, one late afternoon (for the parade) and one evening (for the evening parade and fireworks.) I don’t have itineraries for kids that age for such a short trip, but see this: http://touringplans.com/magic-kingdom/touring-plans?utm_campaign=referral&utm_medium=website&utm_source=yourfirstvisit&utm_content=r1&property_id=1

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161 Beth { 01.30.13 at 4:50 pm }

We are planning a trip from 22 April to 20 April 2013, 2 adults, 3 kids, 11 Girl, 8 boy and 8 girl. We have a 6 day ticket and we are planning to go to Harry Potter and possibly Kennedy space centre. We are coming from Australia so are likely not to return to WDW for more than 10 years. I visited in 1983, so its been 30 yrs for me!
I am curious as to why you don’t recommend Epcot for kids if you have a shorter itinerary? I loved it as a kid 30 yrs ago.
We have booked Cinderellas table for dinner 23 Ap, so figure we will do MK the first day.
We have one boy so what would be a good boy special event, he loves Pirates.
What would you recommend for parks on the other days?
Why avoid parks with extra magic hours, doesn’t that mean you get more time?

Thanks

162 Dave { 01.31.13 at 7:22 am }

Hi Beth! A couple of responses

I suggest that very young kids avoid Epcot, but yours are the perfect age. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

People without park hopper tickets arrive for morning EMH and stay all day. As a result, over the full day the park has longer lines that it would have on a non-EMH day, so you see less. This is less of an issue for evening EMH, and I often recommend them for Epcot and HS as you then don’t have to leave–with 20,000 othee people–right after Illuminations or Fantasmic

MK will be great the 23rd and 24th. Suggest AK the 25th, and Epcot the 26th–with evening EMH, for the recons noted above.

Saturday and Sunday are good days for Harry Potter and Kennedy, and/or a return visit to Epcot, and Monday for HS. If you want to do Epcot the 29th or 30th, do it the 29th and HS the 30th.

There’s will be a couple of pirate oriented items in the Adventureland section of the Magic Kingdom by the time you arrive–this is operating now: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/entertainment/magic-kingdom/captain-jack-sparrow-pirate-tutorial/ and soon to open will be this: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2013-01-24/lifestyle/os-disney-adventureland-pirates-adventure-game-20130124_1_pirate-s-adventure-pirate-game-pirate-theme

Hope this helps!

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163 Anonymous { 02.01.13 at 10:55 pm }

Hi. Going to WDW for the first time Feb 25-March 1st. Arriving 10:30 AM on first day.
what do you think of this plan?
Monday-arrive go to Magic Kingdom, see parade, then fireworks outside of Chef Mickey then dinner at 8:25.
Tuesday-Hollywood Studios at 8:30am lucnh at sci fi restaurant at 1:25 then off to Magic Kingdom then do dinner at quick service place there.
Wed-Aniaml Kingdom for 8am magaic hour then Epcot for dinner and Illuminations
thursday Breakfast at Crytal palace then stay at magic Kingdom
Friday is our last day not leaving till evening so we can hit whatever we missed.
Kids are 10, 8, and 5.

164 Dave { 02.02.13 at 7:36 am }

H! Your overall approach looks great, but I worry that your are over-scheduled with meals for such a short trip. For example, I’d skip the Chef Mickey so you can see the fireworks from inside MK–there’s no real substitute for that…

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165 Spencer { 02.02.13 at 1:33 pm }

Alright, I am in dire need of help in planning for my DisneyWorld vacation. I am deployed right now and am wanting to surprise my family with a 4 day pass to Disneyworld. I was wondering if you could help me create an itinerary? I have 4 children ages 6, 5, 3, and newborn. We are planning on going in April sometime and probably from a tuesday to a friday. I have read not to do the Magical Kingdom last. We will have the park hopper 4 day passes. I have no idea what there is at DisneyWorld but I have been to disneyland.

166 Dave { 02.02.13 at 5:52 pm }

Hey Spencer, a couple of things.

First I wanted to be sure you know about the Disney discounts out now for Military folk. I’m guessing you do, but if you don’t, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/08/08/new-disney-world-armed-forces-salute-announced-fy-2013/

Second, your family size won’t fit well into any of the less expensive Disney hotel options except the Alligator Bayou section of Port Orleans Riverside–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/11/19/review-port-orleans-riverside-alligator-bayou-rooms/ You should also take alook at Shades of Green–less fun, but nicer rooms and less expensive. See for Shades: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/02/22/review-shades-of-green-resort-at-walt-disney-world/

Third, April is both a good and a bad month in 2013. The first week will be horrible, the rest of the month fine–and the later, the better.

Finally, on itineraries…I don’t have any for a trip as short with kids as young as yours. At those ages, you should target 2 or three days at Magic Kingdom, and spend the rest of your tickets on the Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, or both. You can find one and two day itineraries by park for kids that age on TouringPlans.com –e.g. here: http://touringplans.com/magic-kingdom/touring-plans?utm_campaign=referral&utm_medium=website&utm_source=yourfirstvisit&utm_content=r1&property_id=1

Hope this helps!

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167 JR { 02.02.13 at 10:09 pm }

Trip is booked. We’re staying at the Art of Animations Resort, arriving 9am on Feb.27 and departing evening of Mar.3. We have a 5 day park pass and are travelling with two girls age 3 & 5. Any tips or itineraries would be helpful. Thanks

168 Dave { 02.03.13 at 7:05 am }

Hi JR, with kids that age, a focus on the Magic Kingdom makes sense–with 2 or three mornings, and one afternoon and one evening there.

Take a look at this for ways to work it (designed for much older kids on longer trips, but you’ll get the drift): 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/ For itineraries aimed directly at kids the age of yours, see this 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/

Then use your other days at Animal Kingdom and/or Hollywood Studios. At those ages, you can skip Epcot…

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169 Jason { 02.07.13 at 2:13 am }

Hi Dave,

As many others have said, your site rocks. Thanks for the outstanding information!

We’re veterans of DL and usually travel on October breaks to escape the crowds. However, due to unavoidable work-schedule conflicts this year, we must travel to WDW on Spring Break/Easter. We arrive on 3/28 (late morning) and depart on 4/4.

I looked at your 7-day Easter itinerary and was wondering if you have any ideas for adapting it to Thursday thru Wednesday. I noted your tips on using EMH to maintain sanity. MK will be a must-see, but having seen many similar attractions at DL, not the utmost importance. AK, HS, and Epcot along with Logoland will factor in, maybe even Cape Canaveral. We have an 8 year old and will be staying at OKW resort.

Some questions based on idle thoughts:
-Is it better to avoid the EMH park-of-the-day?
-Is it better to drive the car from OKW to the parks or take the bus from OKW?
-Would it be best to see MK, etc. on the last few days of Mon-Wed vs. Fri-Sun?

Appreciate any comments/observations you have!

V/r,
Jason

170 Dave { 02.07.13 at 7:47 am }

Hi Jason, and thanks!!

Those days will all be horrible, so other than avoiding morning extra magic hour parks, there’s not much basis to choose among them.

You can use my itinerary, adapting it to start on your arrival day–noting that in it “Wednesday” means “Wednesday,” not “Day 4.” Or you can just use my itinerary as a rough guide, which given the dupes between MK and DL, is probably the better approach.

For Epcot, AK and HS, driving is faster (and more convenient and predictable) than using the WDW buses. For MK, the buses are better…

Hope this helps, and have a great trip!

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171 Katie { 02.11.13 at 11:22 am }

Me again…..I just wrote to you last night about where to stay. Now I have an itinerary question. Which itinerary would you suggest I follow for Sep 2-10. We will be arriving evening on the 2nd and leaving mid day on the 10th. Again, the kids ages will be 6, 4, 2, 2. (non of the kids really nap) I know there is probably not a ton for this age range and the twins are basically just along for the ride. Would you suggest a day at universal or islands of adventures? Thanks so much! Your site is great!

172 Katie { 02.11.13 at 11:44 am }

sorry we are going sept 3-10. Tuesday to Tuesday.

173 Dave { 02.11.13 at 2:54 pm }

Hi Katie, all my itineraries are for kids older than that, and I don’t have any out for September yet anyway (as Disney’s September calendar is not out yet.)

When my Sept itins come out, you’ll be able to find them here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/basic-itinerary/alternative-itineraries/

You can then edit them down based on this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/ or see the itineraries for younger kids you can find here: http://touringplans.com/magic-kingdom/touring-plans?utm_campaign=referral&utm_medium=website&utm_source=yourfirstvisit&utm_content=r1&property_id=1

There is next to nothing at Universal/Islands of Adventure for kids that age…

174 Erin { 02.18.13 at 2:05 am }

Hi Dave, I’m looking for your expert advice. My family of four is going to Disney World May 11th-18th. We are staying at the Pop Century. We opted not to go with a dining plan, although I’m not sure if that’s the right decision, and have one character dining reservation at Chef Mickeys. We have the 6-day park hopper tickets. Since we’re not sure if we’ll ever make it back, we’re wondering if we should fit Universal Studios in somewhere, although we’re not sure if it’s worth it or if we should just stick to Disney World. My boys are 7 and 11. Any suggestions for an itinerary would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much for your advice!

175 Dave { 02.18.13 at 6:52 am }

Hi Erin, my recommended itinerary for you is here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2009/11/02/seven-night-walt-disney-world-autumn-winter-spring-itinerary-v1/ It needs two more ticket days than you have–but longer tix only cost about $11/person/day.

Universal is great for older kids who love world-class thrill rides and wild coasters. Most kids the ages of yours–especially the 7 year old–find it too much, and not worth the money…

The value of the dining plan is purely a function of how many table service meals you would do even without it (the more, the more it has potential to save). You can easily lose money on it…it’s not nearly as good a deal as it was in the past…

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176 Laura { 02.22.13 at 3:57 pm }

Hi- We are going Monday 7/22 to Friday 7/26. We have 4 kids ages 11,9,7 & 2. We are a theme park family – with most of our vactions being to places like Cedar Point, Kings Island, Great America, etc. So we are used to all day action adn the heat, even with little kids. Besides the 3 year old they have all been on big roller coasters. I know 5 days are not ideal, but it fits our schedule and budget. We usually don’t spend a lot of relaxation time but we do want to check out the pool at the Beach Club where we are staying. What parks do you suggest for each day. We plan on hitting a park Monday night. I chose the dining plan – and made reservations for Hollywood & Vine Lunch tues. , Be Our Guest for Wed. , Cape May at our resort thurs, and Akershus on Friday for Breakfast. I can switch these if you have better ideas. I took the park hopper option – should I – or should I cancel it? Any other advice. Any tips to optimize Fast pass or baby swap with the little one?

177 Dave { 02.22.13 at 5:13 pm }

Hi Laura! Implicit in your schedule is HS Tues, MK Weds, and Epcot Fri. The only one there I don’t like is Friday–Epcot has morning extra magic hours that day, which, after a good first 90 minutes, mean the rest of the day is needlessly crowded. I’d do Epcot Thurs instead, with either AK or or a second MK day on Friday. On Friday you might even want to split up, and take the three year old back ot MK, and the older kids to AK–which has two great thrill rides, Expedition Everest and Dinosaur

I don’t think you need a hopper for such a short trip. Even during less crowded periods, MK is a 2 day park, Epcot a day and half, and AK and HS each a full day. So there’s no need to spend the extra time hopping.

Your first night, since you’ll be at the Beach Club, I’d head to Epcot, since it’s right there, and see Illuminations. This means that on your later Epcot visit you can either take the evening off, or ride rides while 25,000 people are waiting for Illuminations…

Frankly, I don’t have any great ideas on how to deal with the three year old othe rthan the not ebaove about Friday…the weak ideas I do have are here: 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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178 jeff { 02.23.13 at 11:18 am }

hey dave was just wondering on your thoughts on my schedule me and the gf arnt big on shows outside of like fantasmic and the fireworks.

SAT-arrive around 5pm probably stay at the hotel
Sun- magic kingdom 5:30pm be our guest reservations
Mon- hollywood studios 3:45pm hollywood & vine early dinner for Vip seating for Fantasmic
Tue-epcot around 11am 6:20pm Le cellier
Wed-animal kingdom till around 4pm then dtd for a 7pm reservation at fultons crab house
Thurs -universal all day
Fri- magic kingdom again for last day, see the fireworks one last time
Sat – at the airport by 10 am

all reservations have been book but im thinking about switching universal and hollywood studios days since crowds at universal are normally the highest on thurs. any thoughts?

179 Dave { 02.23.13 at 12:44 pm }

Jeff, what’s your arrival date?

180 jeff { 02.23.13 at 11:13 pm }

hey dave we arrive may 18th and leave the 25th

181 Dave { 02.24.13 at 10:29 am }

Jeff, you’ve landed pretty much entirely on Extra Magic hour days, which I don’t recommend, as while they have some benefits for an hour or so, they draw higher day-long crowds. On your first few days, I’d do Epcot Sun, MK mon, AK tues, and HS weds.

182 Sheila { 02.25.13 at 2:30 pm }

Hello,

Taking 6 year old daughter for birthday staying 5 nights arriving Wed, 4/17. We booked Akherhus for 5:15 dinner on arrival night and Breakfast with Cinderella 4/21. Would like some suggestions to help us create an itinerary focused on princesses mostly. We are staying at the Art of Animation resort.

Many thanks.

183 Dave { 02.25.13 at 2:47 pm }

Hi Sheila, I focus on older kids, and not on princess stuff, but here’s some thoughts for what they are worth!

There’s not much at either Animal Kingdom or Epcot related to princesses–you’ve got the key Epcot event with Akershus.

At the Hollywood Studios a couple of attractions (Beauty and the Beast, The Voyage of the Little Mermaid) are dead on, and Fantasmic has some elements. You can do this in a morning plus an evening (for Fantasmic)

But the heart of the Princess stuff is at MK. Lots of attractions, and lots of meet and greets. You’ll likely also want to look into Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique at the Magic Kinfdom

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184 Kimberly { 02.26.13 at 10:00 am }

Hi!
We are planning a trip for late this year or next year. Our kids are currently 3 and 5 but will be 4 and 6 (respectively) when we go (maybe even a little older if it’s 18 months away). What parks do you recommend skipping for these ages?

185 Dave { 02.26.13 at 10:24 am }

Hi Kimberly! See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/ Epcot is the most skippable at that age.

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186 Mikaella { 02.27.13 at 12:45 am }

I booked a trip for 12/02/13 to 12/6/2013. It’ll be our first time with my husband and our two kids a 3 yr old girl and 5 yr old boy.Will you please help me create an itinerary with a dining plan. I will really appreciate your help. thanks:)

187 Mikaella { 02.27.13 at 12:47 am }

One more thing, Im not sure what time will arrive since i haven’t purchase the ticket yet.I am looking between 11:00-2:00 thanks again

188 Mikaella { 02.27.13 at 12:49 am }

i forgot to mention that i also purchase park hopper.

189 Dave { 02.27.13 at 8:36 am }

Hi Mikaella, I focus on older kids (see this for why: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/how-oldtall-your-children-should-be/ ) so can’t be much help.

You will want two or three mornings, and afternoon, and an evening at MK, and morning each at HS and AK.

You can use my itinerary for this period as a starting point, including for dining, http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/basic-itinerary/ and filter it based on what you can find here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

Another-probably better–approach is to check out the plans here: http://touringplans.com/magic-kingdom/touring-plans?utm_campaign=referral&utm_medium=website&utm_source=yourfirstvisit&utm_content=r1&property_id=1

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190 Dave { 02.27.13 at 8:37 am }

Mikaella, I don’t understand this quesiton…

191 Zelaikha { 03.16.13 at 9:39 am }

goodmorning!

I see you’ve helped a lot of people figure out their itinerary. seeing as its my first time in Disney I wanted to seek your help! ill be traveling to disney 4/28/13 arriving early morning and leaving 05/02/13 leaving late at night (just two people). One of the days we are visiting island of adventures! any ideas on how we should break down our trip to get the most?

THANKS!

192 Dave { 03.16.13 at 10:59 am }

Zelaika–I can help, but first tell me if the other person is a kid, and if so how old, and also if you are staying at a Disney hotel or not!

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193 Zelaikha { 03.16.13 at 11:23 am }

Thanks! and my apologies! We are both mid-twenties and yes we are staying at a Disney resort!

194 Zelaikha { 03.16.13 at 11:32 am }

& we have 3 day base tickets for disney already.. don’t know if that helps or makes it more difficult .. as you can see this is why I seemed your expertise haha :)

195 Dave { 03.17.13 at 7:29 am }

OK got it! See Islands of Adventure the 29th–for why, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/07/31/the-best-and-worst-days-of-the-week-to-see-the-wizarding-world-of-harry-potter/ Then do the Magic Kingdom the 30th, and Epcot the 1st. On the 2nd, either return to your favorite of these two or pick a third park between AK and HS to go to!

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196 Zelaikha { 03.17.13 at 9:13 am }

Awesome! Thanks a lot Dave! Just a couple more questions.. you recommend not doing anything (parks, etc.) on the Sunday 28 when we arrive? Is that because how mentioned its the busiest time of the week? Any ideas on what to do that day? Also, we leave around 7pm on the 2nd.. that would be enough time to check out HS? Last one, what do you suggest is the best way to Island of Adventure?

Once again,
THANK YOU SOO MUCH FOR ANSWERING MY QUESTIONS AND HELPING OUT A DISNEY NEWBIE! much much much appreciated!

197 Dave { 03.18.13 at 7:22 am }

Hi again Zelaikha! Your park days will be very intense, so I would relax, rest, and play at the pool the 28th. You will miss some HS stuff the 2nd–particularly Fantasmic–but it’s still the best day. An on Islands, I don’t have a lot, but see this http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/01/11/how-to-spend-your-time-at-the-wizarding-world-of-harry-potter/

198 Ann { 03.26.13 at 12:57 pm }

Hi! My 14 year old daughter’s soccer team is in a tournament at Disney in May. We are arriving May 23 (late) and departing on May 29 (early). We do not have a schedule for our games yet but they will be on Saturday and Sunday. This is our first trip and would love to have help with which parks to go to on which days. The only day which we have definite plans is for the Wild Trek Safari on Tuesday, May 28at 8:45 so we will probably stay there that day. Any help you can give me would be appreciated. We are staying st the Port Orleans French Quarter. Thanks so much!

199 Dave { 03.26.13 at 5:07 pm }

Hi Ann!

Overall I’m not too keen on your dates starting the 26th, because of the holiday crowds. Here’s parks to avoid by day:

5/23: avoid MK
5/24: Avoid HS and Epcot
5/25: Avoid AK and HS
5/26: Avoid HS and MK
5/27: Avoid HS, MK and AK–so a good day for Epcot!
5/28: avoid Epcot–note that with all the “avoid HS” this would be a good HS day except for your trek…
5/29: Avoid HS

Hope this helps!

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200 Ann { 03.26.13 at 7:25 pm }

Ok so we should probably do the following
5/24 Magic Kingdom
5/25 Hollywood Studios Soccer Day
5/26 Downtown Disney Soccer Day
5/27 Epcot
5/28 Animal Kingdom

The only one I had to go against your advice was on 5/25. since I do not have a soccer schedule yet maybe a day at the pool and Downtown Disney would be good one day.

how do you come up with your calculations?

thanks a lot- Ann

201 Dave { 03.27.13 at 7:50 am }

Heya Ann!

The only issue is your HS day–HS has “Star Wars Weekends” on your dates, which makes it wildly crowded Friday-Sunday.

For the process by which I come up with this stuff, see this as a detailed example: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/03/14/the-common-sense-guide-to-easter-week-at-walt-disney-world/

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202 Sanjay { 03.28.13 at 1:48 am }

Hi Dave,
This is wonderful work. Thanks a lot. I have few question for you.
I have 2 kids 6 yr and 1 yr old and we are planning to visit from 5/7/2013 to 5/12/2013, is this best time to visit?. And as per your suggestion we would be staying at POP. Please advice how many days to spend in each park? considering my kids ages. Also recommend us what parks to visit.

203 Dave { 03.28.13 at 8:12 am }

Hi Sanjay and thanks! I rate the week that includes your dates the 9th best of 2013–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/09/19/2013-weeks-to-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-in-order/

Plan your trip around your six year old, and go for 2 or 3 mornings, one afternoon, and one evening at the Magic Kingdom, and about a day each at Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Your dates, MK will be best the 7th, 8th and 10th, and worst the 9th and 12th; HS is fine pretty much every day but 5/11; avoid AK on 5/8. Putting all that together suggests MK 5/7 and 5/8, HS 5/9, MK 5/10, and AK 5/11. You could also do 5/9 as an off day, and HS 5/12.

Hope this helps! And if it does…

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204 Claire { 04.01.13 at 3:51 pm }

Hi Dave

I know you’ll probably think this is a sin but myself and my boyfriend are going to Disney for 1 full day on the 27th of April 2013. We are going on a cruise the following day so I said that we should visit Disney while we are in the area. Our time is obviously extremely limited but can you recommend maybe 2/3 things to ensure we see whilst there, one being a water park. If you predict huge queues at any area then we can avoid. Take into consideration that we are both 26 yrs old.
Thanks so much
Claire
Dublin, Ireland

205 Dave { 04.02.13 at 6:53 am }

Hi Claire, I wouldn’t recommend a water park at all, as while fun, they are nothing compared to the main parks.

And there’s very little value to going to multiple places in a day–if you went to a water park and two theme parks, you would pay more than $200/person, but see much less (because of transportation time and FASTPASS return times) than if you stayed in one park. So I’d advise just one park all day, and it being at Disney either Epcot or the Magic Kingdom, or, at Universal, Islands of Adventure.

Saturdays are always busy. The least busy of the three parks I’ve recommended will be Islands of Adventure, then Epcot, and most busy the Magic Kingdom.

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206 mary { 04.02.13 at 1:24 pm }

I am purchasing a 10 day park hopper from sept 16-25th i have 2 boys ages 11 and 14 and i am having trouble figuring out the key things to plan for them at thier age. this is thier first time there. I also wondered if there were special places to eat or shows they would enjoy at thier ages? i saw alot of the post here and the character meals etc but they all seemed geared to much younger children. This is a gift from thier grandpa in memory of their grandma who passed recently and always wanted to take them but was not able to.it means everything to me that this be amazing :)

207 Dave { 04.02.13 at 2:30 pm }

Mary, the itineraries except for the meals should be just fine! Just redefine where you want to eat based on this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-eat/dining-alternatives/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-dining/

If you don’t believe me, you can get custom itineraries designed for a pretty low price per day–see this: http://www.leaveittogenie.com/

208 Morgan { 04.07.13 at 6:34 pm }

please help me! we are checking in at a hotel on disney property but not owned by disney. we are driving from va. we will check in may 4 2013 & check out may 11 2013. we are going to 4 parks and 1 water park monday,tuesday,wednesday,thursday,friday are our park days. which one do i visit on which days???? where do we eat (we are on a tight budget) I am so lost and it is so soon!! we are traveling with a 4 year old (well celebrating his 5th birthday) & 14 year old girl. any information you can give me would be great!!!

209 Dave { 04.08.13 at 7:03 am }

Hi Morgan, I don’t track the water parks, but here’s the scoop on the theme parks that week:

Best days at MK: Tuesday and Wednesday
Best Days at Epcot: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday
Best Days at AK: Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
Best Days at HS: Any but Monday

So I’d suggest Monday at Epcot, Tuesday at MK, Wednesday at HS, and Thursday at AK. Friday you could either add a ticket day (you’d have to add it Thursday to make it an OK price) and see your favorite park again–likely MK, but it may vary between the boy and the girl–or go to a water park.

It’s very hard to design the days in the park for such a short trip for kids of such wildly different ages. I have little that helps as this site is designed for kids 8 and older–but see this for some ideas: 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/

For my dining suggestions, see one of my itineraries–e.g. this one: 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/ –but many of the suggested venues are wildly popular and may have booked out months ago… If so, use this as a filter:

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

210 Sam { 04.11.13 at 8:05 pm }

Hi Dave, we are travelling to Disney on 17th October 2013. We are staying at Disney’s Old Key West Resort until Oct 27th and then we board the Disney Dream from 27th Oct til 31st Oct. We fly home in the evening on Saturday 2nd November. Can you recommend the best days for us to visit each of the Disney parks and Which Restaurants would be a ‘must’ on which days? We will be travelling with 3 children age 12, 11 and 8.

211 Dave { 04.12.13 at 8:03 am }
212 Tricia Love { 04.12.13 at 8:33 pm }

Hi Dave, We are travelling to Disney 10/9 – 15, 2013. We are spending one day at Universal. Can you recommend the best days for us to visit each of the parks and which restaurants for the day. We are travelling with 2 children 9 and 12, both want to attend bibbidi-bobbidi-boutique and a character breakfast with Cinderella. We would like to attend the Hoopdeedoo Review and Whispering Canyon as well. Do you think we should attend the Not so scary Halloween party or are the kids too old? Thanks!

213 Dave { 04.13.13 at 7:00 am }

Hi Tricia! Crowds will be lower befroe the 12th than after, so interpret what follows in that light:

10/9 Avoid Universal and Epcot
10/10 Avoid Universal
10/11 Avoid Universal and AK
10/12: Avoid HS
10/13: Avoid MK
10/14: Avoid HS and AK
10/15: Avoid Universal and Epcot

MK will be especially good the 11th and 14th. Epcot’s World showcase will be crowded Friday evening thru Sunday night with Food and Wine visitors, but this typically has little effect on the rides there.

Re the Halloween Party…if the kids are still young enough for BBB, I’d say go ahead, although it is quite expensive…the benefit is less the party than the special parade and fireworks, and being in MK during a relatively low-crowded time…

Your dining thoughts so far look great; see any of my itineraries–e.g. this one: 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/ –for additional and park-specific thoughts.

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214 Tricia Love { 04.13.13 at 9:36 am }

Hi Dave,

Thank you so much for the advise. Kids are no longer interested in BBB and walking around as a Princess so I guess that frees up some planning. Thank you so much for your help – I have been reading your advice and making plans for about a month now – I am ready to take the plunge and make my ADR today! Thank you!

215 Dave { 04.14.13 at 9:07 am }

You bet, Tricia, and good luck with the ADRs

216 Crystal { 04.29.13 at 1:47 pm }

Dave,
I am trying to figure out a trip for next spring (2014). I am going to be traveling alone and my main objective is photography – particularly the flower & garden show at Epcot. I will have an annual pass so I can jump parks. I also don’t need “Down Time” – as a 32 year old nap time is not needed. I also plan on skipping anything to do with character meet & greet which will save me time. I am staying off-site at the Wyndham Bonnet Creek – which is actually on Disney property just not ran by Disney. I have a ton of points…so number of nights is a mute point. I also plan on flying Southwest out of Midway…so I can take a late direct flight to save a vacation day and also take a late direct flight back. My constraint…Vacation Days, work gets in the way of all my fun. I only have three vacation days allocated for this trip (I work a standard M-F 8 – 4:30 PM job). What days/dates would be best to fly in / out to maximize my time, avoid crowds, and any suggesting with such a short time period on an itinerary? I am also going with family for a week Nov 30 – Dec 7, 2013 and the last week of Oct in 2014. This May trip is because I will have the annual pass / extra time share points…so flight / food are my only big cost…and I want to see the garden show.

217 Dave { 04.30.13 at 7:45 am }

Hi Crystal, with the late Easter in 2014, I’d advise a weekday visit arriving no earlier than April 27, with the earlier part of May much better than than the latter part.

I don’t have itineraries for such short trips, nor aimed at adults, but you can find help here: http://touringplans.com/magic-kingdom/touring-plans?utm_campaign=referral&utm_medium=website&utm_source=yourfirstvisit&utm_content=r1&property_id=1 and here:
http://www.leaveittogenie.com/

Hope this helps, at least a bit!

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218 Ginger { 05.05.13 at 3:21 pm }

Hi Dave,

We are thinking about planning a trip to Disney in early feb 2014. 8th-14th. Ours kids will be 7 and 4 and their first trip to Disney. In your opinion is this a good week for less crowds? One thing I am concerned about is the winter closure of rides and such. We have decided to stay at AKL and will purchase hopper passes. Thanks for any help and suggestions you can provide!

219 MickeyLuvinMama { 05.05.13 at 7:38 pm }

Hi Dave, Love the site…we are planning a trip with our 6 and then 8 year old for 7 nights, off-property from Oct 5-12. My husband only wants to do 3 days in parks. I just wondered what you recommended for the best itinerary to take full advantage of our time there?
Also questions, If we have dinner reservations for a character meal in a park for say 6:30…do we have to use one of our admissions for just that dinner?
Thanks so much. Jill

220 Dave { 05.06.13 at 12:06 pm }

Hi Ginger, that’s a great week other than ride closures!

For my suggestions…frankly start at the beginning of the home page and work your way down–you’ve already made a couple of the key decisions… http://yourfirstvisit.net/

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221 Dave { 05.06.13 at 12:22 pm }

Hi MickeyLuvinMama! With just 3 days and kids that age I’d devote two, or all three, days to the Magic Kingdom. E.g. 3 mornings, one afternoon, one evening. You could adapt the Magic Kingdom days of one of my itineraries–see e.g. this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/12/06/summer-itinerary-for-walt-disney-world-v2/ (It’s called “Summer” but the approx to the Magic Kingdom follows the three days I’d just noted…)

And yes, to do a meal in park, you have to use a ticket day for that park…

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222 Lindsay { 05.07.13 at 3:50 pm }

HI! we are looking at taking our 3 year girl and 5 year old son sometime next spring. Can you give me dates on when would be less crowded but still warm enough to go swimming? Also what would you recommend us do or avoid? We will be going down on sunday and leaving Friday evening. THANKS!!!

223 Dave { 05.08.13 at 9:04 am }

Hi Lindsay, for your direct question see this, especially the weeks ranked 5, 10 and 12: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/10/15/2014-weeks-visit-walt-disney-world-ranked-order/

None of my itineraries are for kids that young, so see this http://touringplans.com/magic-kingdom/touring-plans?utm_campaign=referral&utm_medium=website&utm_source=yourfirstvisit&utm_content=r1&property_id=1 and this for help on what to see and do http://www.leaveittogenie.com/

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224 Chad { 05.10.13 at 11:30 am }

We will be visiting Disney in a few weeks. We will be arriving on Saturday 6/1/2013 at 6:30 PM and leaving Friday 6/8/2013 at 8:20 PM and have 6 day Park Hopper tickets. Ages are 4 adults, 14, and 10. Can any of your itineraries be adapted for this? Thanks! This website is really helpful.

225 Dave { 05.10.13 at 1:45 pm }

Chad, not really–this is the closest I have, but it’s a day too long…Take a look, see what you think, give me your reactions, and then I’ll help you thin it down: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/01/16/seven-night-walt-disney-world-summer-itinerary-v2/

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226 Kat { 05.10.13 at 7:06 pm }

We may be going to WDW for 5 days mid-June, maybe July. I won’t be sure we’re going until a few days before. Have relative who is a CM, so free tickets and staying at his home. Any chance I’ll be able to get my 7 year old daughter into BBB or Askerhaus? Many thanks!

227 Dave { 05.11.13 at 8:14 am }

Kat I don’t track BBB closely enough to have an opinion on it, but everything I hear suggests to me that if you wait til you know your dates you’ll likely get shut out.

One option–a bit of a pain–is to double-check cancellation policies, then start booking BBB and Askerhus for all your potential dates. As you get increasing clarity about what’s possible and what isn’t you can then cancel the impossibles…

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228 Grandma { 05.21.13 at 10:36 am }

Hi
I’m grandma we are going to WDW with our son, daughter and son in law they have 2 children ages 11 and 18mths. Will arrive late on the 22nd and will be there thru the 26th. We have not been there since our kids were little. What are you suggestions on what not to miss and the best days to go to each park. We are not staying at WDW we are staying at a local hotel. I’m thinking we will have afternoon naps for baby and grandma for sure.

229 Dave { 05.21.13 at 4:21 pm }

Hi Grandma! The don’t misses for the 11 year old are on the right side of the graphic on this page: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

The 23rd, avoid MK; other parks should be great. HS is a good choice, as there aren’t many good HS days later in your trip
The 24th avoid MK, HS and Epcot–which makes AK the best park
The 25th will be a good day for MK, and avoid AK and HS
The 26th avoid HS and MK–so Epcot would be a good choice

Hope this helps, and have a great trip!

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230 Sunny { 05.22.13 at 1:20 pm }

Hello Dave,
I am beginning to plan our family’s first trip to Disney and wondering where to begin? Family of 3, our son is 12. We are looking at dates this year in the months of October or November. What is a good length of time to stay to avoid feeling rushed? Our son is crazy about animals so the Animal Kingdom is #1 on our list. Wondering if there is a resonable package deal for the arusha view, park hopper/water parks and meals?

231 Dave { 05.23.13 at 7:19 am }

Hi Sunny! Begin in the home page and work your way through its topics (and links) in order! That’s what this site is for… See http://yourfirstvisit.net/

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232 Julienne { 05.28.13 at 6:18 pm }

Hi, can you help me best utilize our time? My daughter has always wanted to visit Disney World. Since we have lived in the west, we have gone to Disneyland many times now we are finally visiting Disney World. I have been there but my kids have not. Our family of 4 (kids ages are 19 and 14) will arrive Sunday, 6/23 and will leave either June 28th or 29th (Friday or Sat) . We will want to spend one of those days at the beach. Can you suggest which parks we should do on these days? I have no desire to see and do it all and want to have a nice time and do what we can without leaving exhausted. Please advise if you can. I don’t think they will love Epcot…but I understand there are some rides there now. Thanks so much.

233 Julienne { 05.28.13 at 6:36 pm }

I also wanted to see if you think a hopper pass is worth it for our time there. Thanks!

234 Dave { 05.29.13 at 7:13 am }

Hi Julienne, before I respond–will you be staying in a WDW hotel? The answer will affect the hopper question and also the which parks which day issue…

235 Jane { 05.29.13 at 11:54 am }

Going July 9-23rd, taking our three kids (ages 5,5,6). This will be our third trip, bust the last 2 were so amazing, and from what I have heard – the crowds have been beyond ridiculous this year- so I’m feeling the pressure. :)
We did our first trip in July 3 years ago, so the heat and crowds is no biggie, and our second trip last March break.
We have never felt the need to take advantage of the extra magic hours, but I feel like this trip, maybe I should try (at least the morning ones). Thoughts? Worth our time? Last March, we would arrive at the MK at normal opening and we were able to ride Splash Mountain 4-5 times before a crowd started….would the extra hour make a difference? This also throws my hopes of our first park being MK because it looks like AK has the EMH on our first full day (July 10th). We have the hopper.

236 Julienne { 05.29.13 at 11:38 pm }

No, we will not be at a WDW hotel. We have some freebie hotel points and are staying about 15 mins away.

237 Dave { 05.30.13 at 7:04 am }

Hi Jane! With a hopper, EMH make much more sense–and especially for repeat visitors. The strategy is to hit the am EMH park, take the afternoon off, and then go to a non-EMH park in the evening. Now you are not required by law to do this every day! So you could still go to MNK on July 10!

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238 Julienne { 06.03.13 at 12:10 pm }

Dave, Just wanted to make sure you my question didn’t get lost in the shuffle. Thanks so much for this terrific website.

239 Dave { 06.03.13 at 4:00 pm }

Oh Julienne, I’m so sorry that you had to remind me. Things do get “lost,” especially when I make mental notes on a not-so-very-big mental notepad….

First, let me note parks to avoid by day:

6/23: avoid MK
6/24: avoid HS and AK
6/25: avoid Epcot
6/26: avoid AK
6/27: avoid MK
6/28: avoid Epcot
6/29 avoid HS

The parks with the biggest overlap to DLR are MK and HS, and Epcot and AK are the least comparable parks.

I think at those ages you will have a ball in Epcot, so would devote at least a day to it, and a day to AK. A day at MK is kinda required, and then a last day reserved either to return to your favorite among these, or to go to HS–deciding which the night before–would be how I’d suggest shaping things within these days.

Take a look at my itinerary (ie http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/12/06/summer-itinerary-for-walt-disney-world-v2/ ) and thin it based on your California experience and this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

Let me know what you think!

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240 Kristen Moonan { 06.05.13 at 4:38 pm }

Hi Dave. We are planning to visit Disney October 9th through the 14th with our two daughters ages 13 and 8. Do you have a suggested itinerary we could follow? We haven’t been to Disney in several years. We will be staying at the Wilderness Lodge. Also do you have a suggestion for any special requests for a room location? We will be staying in a Courtyard View room.

241 Dave { 06.06.13 at 7:53 am }

Hi Kristen, I’m sorry but I have only a few itineraries, and all are for much longer trips with weekend arrivals.

With kids that age, I’d suggest two days at MK and one day each at the other three parks. You can adapt one of mine for that–e.g. 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/ –using this to thin it down: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/

The Halloween Party is on your dates. It’s expensive, but on a short trip it’s a great way to add quality time at MK. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/02/21/halloween-2013-at-walt-disney-world/

Your dates, these are parks to avoid:

10/9 Avoid Epcot
10/10 Avoid MK
10/11 Avoid AK
10/12 Avoid HS
10/13 Avoid MK
10/14 Avoid HS and AK

The best courtyard views are of Bay Lake, next best of the main pool, and worst are of the Wilderness Lodge villas.

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242 Taylor { 07.03.13 at 3:43 pm }

Hello! My family and I are taking a trip to Disney World, Orlando Florida from 07-13-13 to 07-20-13. We will be staying at a resort connected to our timeshare somewhere nearby Disney. I am 16 and my brother is 19. My brother and I both enjoy basically all rides and roller coasters. My mother on the other hand does not. She will go on small things like trolley rides, marry go rounds, teacups, etc. Although she won’t be going on all the rides with us I would like her to go on some every now and then so the family can spend some quality time together. I don’t want to waste any time when we get there so do you think you could plan out an itinerary for us. We would like to visit as many parts of Disney as possible.
:)

243 Dave { 07.04.13 at 10:53 am }

Hi Taylor! I don’t do that kind of detailed custom planning, but my friend John does–see http://www.leaveittogenie.com/

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244 Coleman { 07.21.13 at 9:43 am }

Hello Dave, We are leaving for Disney world on 7/26 in the am and arriving at 12:40 pm at est. We have guick service dining plan and a 6-day park hopper water fun and more tickets. We leave on 8/1 in the evening. My wife and I have never be to Disney and we will be taking our children my daughter is 13 and my son who is 10 and is autistic. Can you help us with a itinerary.

245 Dave { 07.22.13 at 6:51 am }

Hi Coleman! None of my itineraries will work for a trip that short.

First for your son, stop in guest services and get a Guest Assistance Card and have them explain to you how to use it.

Here’s the parks I’d advise by day:

7/26 Magic Kingdom for evening parade, fireworks, and any low-wait rides you can find
7/27 Animal Kingdom
7/28 Hollywood Studios
7/29 Epcot
7/30 Magic Kingdom
7/31 Water park/off
8/1: return to your favorite park

Hope this helps! Be sure to arrive at the parks well befroe they open…

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246 Georgie { 07.30.13 at 3:48 pm }

Hi,
We’re going in spring 2014, which itinery should I look at?
Georgie

247 Dave { 07.31.13 at 8:06 am }

Hi Georgie, I won’t be recommending itineraries until DIsney publishes its calendars for the relevant months. Right now it has not even published February yet…when I do recommend itineraries, you’ll be able to find them here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/basic-itinerary/alternative-itineraries/

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248 Zakir { 08.15.13 at 2:35 pm }

Hi

We are planning a trip to Orlando from 21 September for a week. We are a couple with a 8 year old boy. Do not like roller coaster or adrenaline rides. What do you recommend? Also appreciate if you guide us about parks to visit including discount passes available if any. Thanks in advance.

249 Dave { 08.16.13 at 7:56 am }

Hi Zakir, start here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2009/11/02/seven-night-walt-disney-world-autumn-winter-spring-itinerary-v1/

…but make the following changes:

1. Swap Friday and Wednesday in both the itinerary and to-do list
2. Eliminate Expedition Everest at the Animal Kingdom, Rock N Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios, and Space Mountain at the Magic Kingdom

Note that most restaurants suggested will be already booked up. See this for alternatives: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-eat/dining-alternatives/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-dining/

Hope this helps!!

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250 Mauri { 09.02.13 at 8:14 pm }

Hi Dave,
We are first timers heading to WDW in October. How important do you think it is for us to make time for the Halloween Party? We have 3 kids, 12, 9 & 5. We will be there for 6 nights Sat-Fri. We are planning on a day at each park along with an extra day at MK and an extra night at Epcot. Just wondering if I should really push it with the party since everything will be so new for them. I feel like I have so much “planned” already. And, my big kids really want to go to a waterpark……Right now I have AK, MK, MK, HS, EP, EP scheduled. If I added the party it would be to the first MK day (a Sunday). Any advice? And, can you generally get tickets the day of the party if I just leave it as a last minute type decision?

251 Dave { 09.03.13 at 7:26 am }

Hi Mauri! If this will be your only trip ever I’d do the party, as it gives you more time in MK. If you will be able to return, I’d skip it and relax that evening instead.

The parties do sell out, especially as Halloween gets closer…

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252 Najah { 09.27.13 at 4:28 pm }

My enitre family are planning a trip to Orlando Dec 21-24 2013.. It will be myself who is 33 and my 2 girls who are 11,13. My sister and her 12yr old , My mom who is 69 and my nephew who is 20.. I am the only one who hasnt been before, we want to get as much in as we can in that time frame.. What are the best places to stay that would accomadte a large group? Also what is would be the best places to visit?

253 Dave { 09.28.13 at 10:26 am }

Hi Najah!

First, that’s a really horrible time to go–wildly expensive and even more crowded. Are there other dates you could go instead? And on what to do–since others have been, you should let them decide, but see both this http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/ and this http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/how-long-to-stay/

On where to stay, if you can afford it, I do a two-bedroom villa that sleeps 9 in three spaces. These typically sleep 2 in a king in one bedroom, 4 in two queens or a queen and fold down bed in another bedroom, and 3 in a fold down couch and chair in the living/dining room. These last three sleeping spots are the least comfortable so you’d put the three teens there. You could then put your nephew in the king, and you, your sister and your mom in the room with two beds.

Two-bedroom villas that sleep three in the living room can be found at Bay Lake Tower, Kidani Village, Old Key West, and the soon-to-open villas at the Grand Floridian. Links to reviews and floor plans for all but the last are here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/04/26/walt-disney-world-resort-hotel-reviews/

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254 najah { 10.01.13 at 2:07 pm }

okaay U gave some very good advice, we picked the 21st because the kids in Ga dont get out of school for winter break until the dec 20..what if we went after christmas like the 26th-30th? would those dates be any better? the housing info im definitly goin to look into…thank you for that

255 Dave { 10.01.13 at 4:05 pm }
256 mike { 10.29.13 at 10:52 pm }

just wondering what your thoughts are on my plans im going dec 7 to the12th my days at the park will be in order epcot mk hs mk ep andak thanx

257 Dave { 10.30.13 at 2:41 pm }

Hi Mike, I like it!

258 mike { 10.30.13 at 3:49 pm }

thanx for the help. I just wanted to double check with someone of your expertise

259 Robin { 11.14.13 at 8:52 pm }

Hi, Mike:

I am planning a surprise visit to Disney World for my two children (they’ll be 12 and 8 by the time we go) and I’m looking at going October 5 (should be a Sun.) – October 11 (Sat.?). I’ve been looking exhaustively at two different things and need your advice.
1. Staying at a Value Resort vs. Off-site?
2. Dining plan vs. paying out of pocket for meals?
If I’m not mistaken, I could get lucky and score a free dining plan, right? If so, then I might as well stay at Disney. However, money wise the most I can spend is $3,500. We’ll be driving down from Kentucky and this will also be a graduation present to myself. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

260 Dave { 11.15.13 at 7:40 am }

Hi Robin, I doubt we’ll see free dining then–tho I hope I’m wrong! And I recommend staying on site vs off. Offsite will be cheaper and give you a larger room–but you’ll have to pay for parking so you won;t save that much per night. The dining plan is probably not worth it to you…see also the stuff that starts here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/10/03/introduction-to-the-tightwads-guide-to-walt-disney-world/

261 Melonie { 12.31.13 at 10:41 am }

I’m planning a trip from April22-27 for 3 kids ages 13,13 and5. I know it will be crowded because of Easter, but can you help by telling me which days to go where to avoid elbow to elbow traffic. If this is even possible!

262 Dave { 01.01.14 at 7:19 am }

Hi Melanie! Later in the week–especially the 26th and 27th–will be much better than earlier, particularly at the Magic Kingdom. I’d target MK for the 25-27th. Earlier in the week, the 22nd avoid MK and Epcot, the 23rd avoid everything but Epcot, and the 24th avoid MK…

263 Amanda Gardner { 01.02.14 at 10:53 pm }

Hi!

Love your site, I am trying to plan a disney trip, first time for me and the kids but not my husband. We will also have extended family with us, and an array of kid ages. We dont mind splitting up since there will be a total of 7 adults and 8 kids. We have kids ranging from 11, 10, 8, 7, 5, 3,2.5 and 18 months what are the best parks to visit we are planning on arriving around 09/17-09/20 and we are staying 10-12 days. we are military so we will be utilizing space A rentals with Airforce Vacation Club so not using the dining plan unless that would really save us money in the long run. Any recommendations on what day we should arrive and what parks we should visit for each of the kids would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks

264 Dave { 01.03.14 at 8:43 am }

Hi Amanda, I won’t have any advice on which days to visit which parks until Disney’s October calendar comes out, which it won’t for another 3 months…so check back then! And you can’t use the dining plan unless you stay in a Disney owned and operated resort…

265 Kristi { 01.03.14 at 9:21 pm }

Hi Dave!
Not like you haven’t heard this before but your site IS amazing! Thank you so much for providing such helpful information!
My situation is thta I am going to use the tax return I get in mid Feb for a trip in May. My kids are 9,9, and 14 and I had planned to get to DW long before this – but life didn’t cooperate. I am trying to do as much work as possible now so we are good to go when we book. My question for you is how do I best adapt your itinerary for a late afternoon Tuesday arrival, Monday PM departure and skipping Animal Kingdom completely? My family is all in agreement we would like two days in MK, two in Epcot and 1 at HS given our interests and needs. Also given the choice between a value such as Art of A or moderate such as Caribbean does one make more sense in terms of our specifics. I can save money with a value but seems like we’d save time with a moderate… am I seeing this correct? My budget is 4500.00 and I can only get 4 personal days off of work.

266 Kristi { 01.03.14 at 9:25 pm }

Hi again Dave,
I should’ve clarified that the 4500.00 needs to include airfare as we are coming from Michigan where it is currently FREEZING! :)

267 Dave { 01.04.14 at 10:18 am }

Kristi–a couple of quick notes. First my itineraries don;t shorten all that well. I’d use Josh’s cheat sheets for such a short trip instead. See http://www.easywdw.com/cheat-sheets/disney-world-cheat-sheets-maps-touring-plans-and-wait-times/

Second, your family size is kinda a problem. No standard value resort room will fit you (the family suites fit, but are more than twice as expensive) and among the moderates, only the Alligator Bayou section of Port Orleans Riverside will fit. See http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/11/19/review-port-orleans-riverside-alligator-bayou-rooms/

You don’t save time with a moderate. With a moderate, you get a larger room, better landscaping, but less kid-appealing theming. But you don’t save time… See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-stay/next-best-resort-choices/where-not-to-stay/

268 Kristi { 01.04.14 at 10:47 am }

Thanks Dave, I appreciate your quick and helpful response. I will check out those links. My family size is actually four as it is just me and the kiddos – all girls. My kids are all small for their age and we do hotel rooms with two double beds whenever we travel. Back to the drawing board I go to reconsider value resorts… Thanks again. :)

269 Dave { 01.05.14 at 8:51 am }

Oh got it–with 4 people, pretty much anything will work for you! Among the values for transportation efficiency aim for AofA or Pop!

270 Jennifer M { 01.06.14 at 2:59 pm }

Hi Dave, question on trying to fit in some parades and fireworks. This is our schedule as things are already booked and paid for:
arrive Feb 28 (travel all day)
Mar 1 Epcot 6:30P San Angel Inn, see 9P Illuminations
Mar 2 Disney Water Park (Hubby and I will be on our own at a Basketball game)
Mar 3 hopefully Sea World
Mar 4 8:30A Chef Mickeys
Mar 5 9:40A BBB (DTD), 4:10P Cindy’s Table
Mar 6 8:30P Hoop Dee Doo
Mar 7 6:00P T-Rex (DTD)
Mar 8 5:30P Prime Time Cafe 8:30P Fantasmic
How can we fit in the electrical parade and wishes at MK? If we can’t, which one would you choose?
7 Adults, 2 children (6,8)

271 Dave { 01.07.14 at 8:18 am }

Jennifer, Wishes and the poarade are on every night during your trip (see http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/DTA-Domestic/pdf/ParkHours/WDW_Operating_Calendar_mar.pdf ) So March 5, for example, looks good.

272 Kelly { 01.21.14 at 7:30 pm }

Hello! We are visiting from Wed February 26-Tuesday March 4 with 4 adults, a six year old and two year old. We did buy the deluxe dining plan, but no park hopper. Any suggestions on which park to visit on what day? Any advice is appreciated!

273 Dave { 01.22.14 at 7:53 am }

Kelly with kids that age focus on the Magic kingdom, e.g. 2-3 mornings, an afternoon and an evening, but also consider a morning at each of Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.

Here’s parks to avoid by date:
Feb 26: Avoid AK
27: Avoid MK
28: All 3 OK
March 1: Avoid HS
March 2: Avoid MK
March 3: All 3 are rough, AK is best but has morning EMH
March 4: All 3 ok

274 Pauline { 01.26.14 at 2:46 pm }

Hi Dave,
Thanks so much for all the wonderful information – your website is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!! My family, my husband and I, children and grandchildren, were at Disney for the first time this past December (3rd – 13th). Our trip was fabulous but I sure wish I’d seen your website before we went. We’re (just the two of us) are planning a return trip for next January – currently looking at the 23rd-31st, a Friday to Saturday.
Would you recommend that we use your 8 night/9 day fall/winter/spring itinerary substituting exactly as listed even though it goes from Saturday to Sunday? Will this work out? We will have a dining package – not decided between basic or deluxe yet.
Thanks a bunch for your help.

275 Dave { 01.27.14 at 8:06 am }

Hi Pauline and thanks!

I post recommended itineraries here http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/basic-itinerary/alternative-itineraries/ about six and a half months before. That’s becasue they are tuned to Disney’s operating calendar, which it releases on that schedule.

In other words, I can’t answer your question now, and won’t be able to do so til mid-June!!

If you want my best guess, it’s this itinerary here–which replaces the Autumn-Winter-Spring Itinerary as of mid-August 2014: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2014/01/14/fastpass-itinerary-for-lower-crowd-weeks/ In it, as in all my itineraries, “First Saturday” means “Saturday,” not “Day 1,” as it is tuned to operating and crowd patterns that happen on particular days of the week.

So come back in mid-June and I’ll be able to tell you 1. the itinerary that applies, and 2. how to adapt it for your different arrival day!

276 Jake { 02.05.14 at 9:52 pm }

Hi Dave, I am very grateful for your work here. This is my first trip and I feel must better with your 8 night itinerary to use. Please answer two questions. Your itinerary starts on a Saturday. This may sound dumb, but should I just use start using the itinerary as is when I arrive on Monday. In other words, keep everything the same? I only ask this because you mentioned starting at Epcot first because it may be the most disappointing. Using your itinerary my first day will be Hollywood studios, which is fine, but I want your opinion please. I’m arriving 5/5/14 and the travel agent as me doing Hoop De Doo that day.
The other question is: Why aren’t the water parks in your schedule. My two boys are 9 and 14. Thank you so much for your help.

277 Dave { 02.06.14 at 7:05 am }

Hi Jake! Yes in my itineraries days are days–so “Monday” in them means Monday, not “Day 3.” I can help you adjust them, but need to know more about food you’ve already booked, and your departure day–that is, are you staying 8 nights…

Water parks aren’t in solely becasue they come third on the list after theme park time and off time. If the itineraries were two days longer, I’d add another off day and a water park day…

278 Jake { 02.07.14 at 9:24 am }

Greetings Dave, thank you so much for your assistance. I arrive around lunch time via Amtrak on Monday 5/5/14, and yes, I’m following your suggestion of 8 nights. Here’s what the travel agent’s reservations for table service: (we did purchase the meal plan)
5/5-Hoop Dee Doo 6:15pm
5/6-Chef Mickey 5:20pm
5/7-Prime Time-5:15pm
5/8-Day off
5/9-Crystal Palace-5:35pm
5/10-Mama Rosa-4:35 (she combined this with some show later on. I’m a little confused at this point. Was it Fantasmic at 9pm?)
5/11-Rain Forest- time?
5/12-Liberty Tree Tavern-5:25pm

She also made arrangements for a car service to pick us up at the Rail station.
Thanks again, your site is a real blessing,
Jake

279 Jake { 02.12.14 at 3:13 pm }

Hi Dave, I was wondering if I somehow missed your response to my last inquiry? So excited about your advice. Thanks again

280 Dave { 02.13.14 at 10:07 am }

Jake I messed up, sorry you had to remind me. I’ll get a response later today or tomorrow…

281 pastorjim@minister.com { 02.13.14 at 3:11 pm }

Messed up? Not at all! You’re a life saver. Whenever you can, thank you lots!

282 Dave { 02.13.14 at 4:09 pm }

Ok, Jake here’s my initial thoughts: based on the dining you have booked, you have tow days at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and none at Epcot. Partly because of that, and partly because of FastPass+, my itinerary does not line up well with your dates. (See this for needed changes due to FastPass+: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2014/01/12/converting-the-autumn-winter-spring-itinerary-to-fastpass/) My comments related to this and the rest of your days are in bold below. Let me know what you think in particular about HS vs Epcot, then I’ll be able to help some more.

Greetings Dave, thank you so much for your assistance. I arrive around lunch time via Amtrak on Monday 5/5/14, and yes, I’m following your suggestion of 8 nights. Here’s what the travel agent’s reservations for table service: (we did purchase the meal plan)

5/5-Hoop Dee Doo 6:15pm. You could spend this afternoon at any park, and go from there to Fort Wilderness for Hoop. Because your itinerary seem to be missing Epcot, I’d do Epcot, and FastPass+ Soarin, Mission Space Orange, and Spaceship Earth for the afternoon.

5/6-Chef Mickey 5:20pm Chef Mickey’s is easiest if you are in MK today, as it is within walking distance of that park—this is a good day at MK

5/7-Prime Time-5:15pm This is one of two days you have dining at Hollywood Studios. (The other is 5/10.) For many, that’s too much time at HS—and even with the suggested afternoon at Epcot Monday, you don’t have enough Epcot time. Suggest cancelling this and doing Epcot instead. If you do, for dining I’d try San Angel Inn, although there’s lots of good options at Epcot

5/8-Day off

5/9-Crystal Palace-5:35pm In MK, a good MK day.

5/10-Mama Rosa-4:35 (she combined this with some show later on. I’m a little confused at this point. Was it Fantasmic at 9pm?) This is likely the “Fantasmic Dinner Package.” As noted above, one day–this day–at HS should be enough. This is morning extra magic hours day, so–assuming you are staying at a WDW resort—you can get in an hour early.

5/11-Rain Forest- time? This is likely the Rain Forest Cafe at the Animal Kingdom (there’s two at WDW, the other is in Downtown Disney), and thus an AK day. This is a good AK day

5/12-Liberty Tree Tavern-5:25pm This is in MK. It’s a crowded day at MK, but since it’s your third day, and you will have already seen a lot, you should be fine.

She also made arrangements for a car service to pick us up at the Rail station.
Thanks again, your site is a real blessing,
Jake

283 Jake { 02.15.14 at 2:29 pm }

Thank you so much Dave. Before we continue, I forgot to mention that I sat down with the travel agent and did try to reserve restaurants according to your itinerary which I think is outstanding. Of course the times and days couldn’t be matched up with your times and days. So, should I sit down with the agent again and try again. I’m thinking that if Monday is my first day and your itinerary has me at HS. Should I just try to book any restaurant that I can get at HS? Thanks in advance

284 Jake { 02.15.14 at 2:30 pm }

In other words, is the problem that the restaurants that I picked are at a different resort then the one where I am that day? BTW, I’m staying at Pop Century. Thank you

285 Jake { 02.15.14 at 2:34 pm }

I don’t know if I’m making sense. Let me try again. On 5/12 I’m eating at Liberty Tree. It’s at MK. So do I have to spend the day at MK? I’ve never been to Disney. So I probably don’t “get it”. Can I spend the day at Epcot, but still eat at MK?

286 Dave { 02.16.14 at 8:05 am }

Jake: yes, it is wildly complicated, which is why I wrote this site!!!

Some restaurants are in parks, others in hotels. Disney calls hotels “resorts.”

Restaurants in parks require park tickets, so if you don’t have hopper tickets, you want to be in that park that day. Either way you need to get to the location, which depending on where else you are that day can take a while.

So if you are eating in a park, it’s easier to be in that park that day–and if you don’t have a hopper, it’s necessary.

So the first question is do you have the park hopper add-on? If not, I wouldn’t add it, but I would make the changes re HS and Epcot already noted…

287 Jake { 02.16.14 at 9:16 pm }

Hi Dave, thanks for replying. The answer to your question is Yes, we paid for the park hopper.

288 Dave { 02.17.14 at 10:38 am }

OK Jake…now remind me what the question is then lol. Most specifically, do you in fact want to target a day and a half or so at Epcot, and just one at HS? If so, then I will suggest how to do so while keeping as many of your dining reservations as possible!

289 Jake { 02.17.14 at 1:04 pm }

Hi Dave, my question is (I think): Should I try to have the travel agent change the reservations so that they match your itinerary? I know it’s late in the game for dining reservations, but I’d rather have your itinerary intact. That’s more important to me. And yes, I absolutely want Epcot. Thank you for your patience and help.

290 Dave { 02.18.14 at 3:43 pm }

OK Jake, here we go.

First, I think I told you about this, but to have everything in one place–you need to modify the Autumn-Winter-Spring itinerary (which is what we are chnaging together) for FastPass+ based on this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2014/01/12/converting-the-autumn-winter-spring-itinerary-to-fastpass/

Mon 5/5: Cancel Hoop (re-book it for the 6.15 show on 5/11–I checked a couple of hours ago and there was availability). Spend the afternoon and evening at Epcot, following the “First Saturday” itinerary. Book San Angel Inn as your dining–not Akershus

Tues 5/6: Follow the “Tuesday” itinerary, but keep Chef Mickey’s for dinner

Weds 5/7: Spend the whole day at HS. Try to get a Fantasmic Dinner package if you can–Mama Melrose is the best choice. Not a big problem if you can’t get the package. Combine most of what is shown for Monday with the evening HS portion of what’s shown as First Sunday.. .

Thurs 5/8: off. Keep as off, but you may wish to return to HS in the late afternoon or evening if you missed something Weds. If you need them, extra ticket days cost about $12/person for a ticket like yours

Fri 5/9: do what’s written for Wednesday, except skip the dining shown there and Cirque. Keep your Crystal Palace.

Sat 5/10: Epcot all day, following the Friday itin except dining, and note that you won’t be able to stay as late as you could have on Friday (that’s OK). I don’t have a great idea for dining, perhaps the Biergarten? think you have no females on your trip, so Akershus may be too princessy? Altho some would call it “girl-watching…”

Sun 5/11: AK all day, but cancel Rainforest and instead go from AK to Hoop Dee Doo as noted on 5/5. Follow the First Sunday itin until it’s time to leave AK for Hoop.

Monday 5/12. Keep Liberty Tree, but otherwise follow the Second Saturday itin…

Ok I’m exhausted now…

291 Jake { 02.20.14 at 8:38 am }

Awesome task on your part. Can’t thank you enough. I’ll let you know what happens.

292 Jake { 02.20.14 at 8:49 am }

Hi Dave, so I’m scratching Prime Time? Not a big deal?

293 Dave { 02.20.14 at 10:39 am }

Yup and yup!

294 Jake { 02.20.14 at 3:12 pm }

thank you and thank you

295 charlotte { 02.20.14 at 10:36 pm }

Hi Dave, me again, worrying about the weather it looks like thunderstorms predicted every night we are there.Feb. 24th to March 3rd. Do they do the parades and fireworks in the rain? I couldn’t be more upset. We have been planning this trip for a year!

296 Dave { 02.21.14 at 7:59 am }

Charlotte, Disney World has scattered thunderstorms all summer long, and still manages to do pretty much everything…settle down!

297 Mary-Lynn { 03.10.14 at 8:49 pm }

Hi!
My 8yo son and I are going to wdw on may 5-12…its both of our first trip, and I am feeling pretty overwhelmed! we are flying in on the 5th, arriving at 530, so that day im guessing will be a write off (resort/dtd evening?) 6th- AK, 7th-HS, 8th-EP, 9th- off…water park maybe? 10th-MK, and finally 11th- MK, the 12th is a travel day, so again thinking no parks. I have a 6 day park hopper with water park option… does this all sound ok? Ps. Love the site, and have been reading for a while trying to figure it out on my own, but would love some direction!
Thanks!

298 Dave { 03.11.14 at 7:53 am }

Hi Mary-Lynn, and thanks! I like your overall schedule a lot!

299 Mary-Lynn { 03.11.14 at 4:43 pm }

Hey!
Thanks! I’ll relax a bit now, lol.
:-)

300 Deb { 03.16.14 at 8:16 am }

I am taking my grandson, age 16 to wdw this Friday the 21st. We will arrive in Orlando at 10:20, so we will have most of Friday, Sat the 22nd and Sun the 23rd. We have 3 day park passes and are staying on site. I also purchased park hopper. Then we are going to Universal and staying for 3 nights. I do not know what we should do, where to go and what a 16 yr old would enjoy. I am overwhelmed after searching on line and reading for hours about all this. Can you please help me, please? This is both our first times to wdw.

301 Dave { 03.17.14 at 7:29 am }

Hi Deb! It’s hard to edit a WDW trip into two and a half days, as so much has to be skipped and different personalities will like different things. For a 16yo boy, I’d suggest the Magic Kingdom on Friday, Epcot Saturday, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios Sunday. You will wan to get your FastPass+ as soon as possible. See this for some ideas on how to spend one day in each park, and which FP+ to target: http://www.easywdw.com/category/cheat-sheets/

302 Maria Evans { 03.17.14 at 11:40 pm }

Hi Dave ! First of all thank you so much for all your help so far. We couldnt manage the best or next to best dates but are going to make the best of our week!! We are staying in AoA little mermaid room. Dates September 21-26 ,2014 . Arriving Sunday the 21st. Expected arrival time 1:22 p m at mco. . 6pm rsv dtd T.Rex Mon .22 MK BKF rsv CRT Lun. BOG. Tues 23. AK. BKF hotel room flamming T ree BBQ diner Yak and Yeti . Weds 24. HS bkf Hotel room Lunch Holleywood and vine (planning on F antasmic! Dinne r Package if its a good idea?) Thurs.25 BKF Chef Mickeys Lunch either BOG or pecos bills Fri. 26 Epcot. Bkf Akershus lunch san angelos inn saturday 4:30 departure from mco so plans are have fun at hotel until the sad time arrives! I am debating MNSSHP but prefer to make my MK days full days and maybe go to the party tuesday night on our Animal kingdom day! Please let me know your thoughts. My 180 day is Tuesday the 25 so final plans have to be set soon!!! Thank you!!!

303 Dave { 03.18.14 at 7:24 am }

Hi Maria, this is a little tough for me to read and interpret, but if I have it right, MK will be wildly busy on 9/22 and 9/25 and I can’t possibly advise going then.

MK days 1. without the early party close and 2. with EMH and 3. with the full suite of evening shows at MK, draw tens of thousands of extra people and waits can be as bad as during the summer.

A much better strategy in party season is to go to MK on nights with a 7p close, and then to see evening stuff at MK either by going to a party, or by hopping there after you’ve been to a less busy park during the day.

304 Maria Evans { 03.18.14 at 9:42 am }

Sorry I wrote it while on break at work so it wasnt as detailed and spaced as needed to be! But yes you got it right! So my MK days are planned awful :-/!! Just really wasnt sure on wanting to purchase MNSSHP tickets with 2 toddlers who will probably be asleep before the fun startsbut looks like that will be my best bet . Thank you.

305 Heather { 03.18.14 at 11:33 pm }

Hey Dave!

We, for the most part, will be following your Autumn-Winter-Spring itinerary for our upcoming trip in May with a few deviations (no scheduled day off as I plan to adjust accordingly to my daughter’s specific needs; no Cirque de Soleil; some different restaurants based on recommendations most suitable to our special dietary needs which will require some park hopping; an extra day in the MK) but I still have a few questions for you.

Our trip basics–some of these details will probably be totally irrelevant, but I figure why not go ahead and lay them all out there and give you the total picture :) 2 people–myself and my 8 year-old daughter; staying at POP 5/3-5/11 with a 9-day pass including Park Hopper and Water Park, etc. We fly into MCO at 1:45pm then out at 6:45pm and will be taking the Magic Express to and from the airport. Dinner reservations include: Saturday-Akershus; Sunday-BOG; M-counter service at Epcot; T-Sanaa @ AKL; W-counter service @ MK; TH-50s Primetime; F-Ohana; S-SciFi.

First, the Saturday we arrive I reserved a table at Akershus for 5:30 which was the only time available. Do you think it would be an unrealistic expectation for us to make it to Norway on time for this reservation? Also, I’d like to take the monorail from Epcot to the MK after dinner and have reserved FPes for rides beginning 2 hours after dinner. Do you feel this plan is even possible? (I’m aiming for a “magical” first evening for my daughter and not to so much to accomplish anything more than dinner, a few rides, and fireworks.

Second, my daughter suffers from migraines though her headaches have been kept under control with the help of a daily prophylactic medication. My question is do many of the attractions throughout all the parks warn against people like her [with a history of headaches] from riding as in the case of Mission:Space? If there are any resources you could direct me to that might be helpful in addressing such an issue (or in the event she did suffer a debilitating headache while in one of the parks), that assistance would be much appreciated too.

Third, which water park do you prefer, when is then best time to visit one (or perhaps it would be better to ask where in your itinerary would you suggest fitting one in, and how much time would you recommend spending at one?

I’m pretty sure that’s all [for now at least]–sorry for such lengthy post! Thanks for your help and the WEALTH of information included at yourfirstvisit.net. What a treasure!

306 Dave { 03.19.14 at 7:02 am }

Maria, with two toddlers you could just skip the evening shows….

307 Dave { 03.19.14 at 12:06 pm }

Heather, on Akershus, the rule of thumb is 2-3 hours for Magical Express–it can be much better than that, but don’t count on it. Then you’d need to check in, load your room, get to Epcot and back to Akershus. So I find the timing unlikely. If, however, you take a cab to Pop from the airport you can do it–and taking the monorail after dinner to MK works as well.

The attractions don’t warn about migraines, that I recall, and I don’t have any great resources to direct you on migraines, but see e.g. the results of this: https://www.google.com/search?q=disney+world+and+migrains&rlz=1C1LENP_enUS492US492&oq=disney+world+and+migrains&aqs=chrome..69i57.6752j0j4&sourceid=chrome&espv=210&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8#q=disney+world+and+migraines&spell=1

I don’t see strong preferences for waterparks. Blizzard Beach is a little more thrilling, Typhoon Lagoon a little more laid back. I’m not aware of good crowd calendars for them, but the general rule is to show up when they open if you plan to do the slides.

Hope this helps!

308 Heather { 03.20.14 at 9:56 am }

Thanks, Dave! You are helpful as always! I know your tips will help us have a magical experience! Thank you so much!

309 Dave { 03.21.14 at 8:19 am }

:) Heather

310 Ronda { 03.25.14 at 11:43 pm }

Thank you for your informative sight…it is amazing!!! We are planning a Disney trip for December 2nd-10th (based on your recommendation for time of year and length of trip). How should I adapt your Saturday through Sunday itinerary to a Tuesday through Wednesday trip?Our group includes myself, my husband and our 5 1/2 year old daughter (at the time of the trip). Thank you for any information you can give me. I would also like to include Be Our Guest and Mickey’s Backyard BBQ if possible.

311 Andrea { 04.01.14 at 2:36 pm }

You’ve already helped me with some other questions, now I want to run my itinerary by you and see if you see any major flaws. We’re staying at Pop and hopefully will be getting free DDP (w/ upgrade to table service). I’ve looked at crowd calendars to help me pick park days. Also, we’re going during MNSSHP, but we’re not going to attend. We will have park hopper tickets. We are FL residents, but only do Disney every 3-4 years. This is our 5 year old’s second trip, and first for our 2 yr. old (both girls). Our dates are Oct. 25-30. We’ll be spending 4 days in parks (10/26-10/29).
-Sunday: Magic Kingdom, Cinderella’s RT 6:45ish (Disney Dining said we need reservations BEFORE 7 b/c of park closing)
*OPTION: stay near MK to watch HalloWishes OR take monorail to EPCOT for Illuminations?
-Mon: Animal Kingdom all day, then Epcot
-Tues: MK, Lunch at Crystal Palace; head to HS for Fantasmic! (what time would you recommend leaving MK?)
-Wed. Spend the day at HS, then dinner at Chef Mickey’s (can you suggest a time be done in time for wishes?) and monorail to MK for Wishes to finish off our trip.
Whew! This is all done knowing FULL well that I am traveling with 2 tiny humans who may not be able to hang in the parks full time. We’ll adjust as needed, but I’d at least like to have a “best case scenario” worked out ahead of time and all our reservations planned out. Thank you for all that you do with this great website!!!!!

312 Dave { 04.02.14 at 8:20 am }

Hiya Andrea! I like this overall–note that Monday AK has morning EMH. On Sunday, seeing Illuminations is the right call. Fantasmic Tuesday is currently scheduled for 7.30p–another show may be added, but unlikely. Be at the HS bus stop at MK around 5.30. Wishes Weds is at 10p, so a 7.30p at Chef Mickey’s gives you plenty of time. If you want to see the parade as well–at 9p–move it up til 7p.

313 Andrea { 04.02.14 at 9:17 am }

Thanks for the tips, Dave! Will a 6:45 reservation give us plenty of time to make it to Illuminations on Sunday, or should we make it earlier? I’m just not sure how long that dinner usually takes. We will definitely want to stick around for all of the princesses to make their rounds.
For Tuesday, should we eat before we leave MK, or do you think there will be time for us to grab a quick meal at HS? Thanks again!

314 Dave { 04.03.14 at 7:14 am }

Earlier than 6.45 would be better, and on Tuesday, eat at MK just in case…

315 Andrea { 04.09.14 at 9:35 pm }

Do you think I should try for as early as 6:00? I’ll have a 2 year old and 5 year old, so we may possibly go back to the room to rest before dinner. So, I really want to have it as late as you think is reasonable to give us plenty of time to recharge our batteries and get back to the park.

316 Dave { 04.10.14 at 11:30 am }

Andrea, I think 6 ish is fine…

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