By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

Designing Your Own Walt Disney World FastPass+ Itinerary

By Dave Shute


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

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

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

How to divide up and allocate your days

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

How to sequence your days

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

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

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

2. Make sure that one of your Magic Kingdom evenings is a day with the evening fireworks show Happily Ever After, and ideally one that also does not close right after the fireworks

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

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

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


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

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1 Andrea { 08.05.14 at 11:31 pm }

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

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

2 Dave { 08.06.14 at 10:13 am }

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

3 Jo { 08.26.14 at 2:39 pm }

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

4 Dave { 08.27.14 at 7:59 am }

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

5 Jo { 08.27.14 at 10:42 am }

That makes sense. Thank you!

6 Steve { 09.09.14 at 10:41 pm }

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

7 Dave { 09.10.14 at 12:48 pm }

Steve, that will work just fine!!

8 Rose { 10.07.14 at 12:48 pm }

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

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

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

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

9 Dave { 10.08.14 at 4:28 pm }

Hi Rose, and thanks for the kind words!!

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

You will be fine those dates…

10 Bob { 11.11.14 at 4:57 pm }


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

11 Dave { 11.12.14 at 7:30 am }

Bob, start with this–it’s out of date, but gives some thoughts and then read Joshs’s discussion of your dates towards the end of this:

12 McCoy { 11.18.14 at 12:12 pm }

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

13 McCoy { 11.18.14 at 1:50 pm }

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

14 Dave { 11.19.14 at 4:43 pm }

Heya McCoy!

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

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

3. You can’t

4. Don’t understand the question…

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

15 Dave { 11.19.14 at 4:47 pm }

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

16 Kelly { 11.25.14 at 8:25 am }

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

17 Dave { 11.25.14 at 2:43 pm }

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

18 Camille { 12.02.14 at 9:57 pm }

Hi Dave, Amazing site! We are planning a stay of 8 nights, but we are trying to make our own itinerary. Why do you suggest to go to MK on a day with extended evening hours after seeing the Wishes fireworks? Thanks, Camille

19 Dave { 12.03.14 at 8:16 am }

Camille, the short answer is that 50 or 51 out of 52 Saturdays (50 in years with a Saturday Halloween, like 2015) have the evening parade and Wishes, and that cannot be said of any other day of the week.

20 Meredith henderson { 01.16.15 at 4:06 pm }

This will be our first family trip to Walt Disney. We are going with a 13, 9, and 7 year old. We had planned on doing three days at parks. But after reading a lot of this I see that maybe we need to stay a little longer. Problem is we just don’t know if we can afford it. So with that being said, if you had to choose parks to not visit which ones would you say? I just need to figure out which ones are really worth going and which ones are the ones you would really want to go to if you couldn’t do all of them. Please help!!!!
Thank you Meredith.

21 Kelly B - Agent with Destinations to Explore { 01.16.15 at 7:26 pm }

Hi Meredith (I’m Kelly. The dedicated Destinations in Florida agent for

I few recommendations for you. The first would be to consider adding a park hopper option to you ticket. This would allow you to go to more than one park per day with your 3-day ticket. The second would be to add a 4th day to your ticket (actually the more economical choice of the two. It’s only about $22 per person to add the extra day to tickets).

If time and budget don’t allow, and you have to choose. I would say to visit Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Kids love the animals, shows and rides. Epcot can be a hit or miss depending on the child and is so big you’ll never get to all of it in one day.

I would love to help you plan your vacation. (My services are free.) Everything from booking your vacation to dining reservations, FastPass+ selection. You can reach me at or 980-241-7066

22 Dave { 01.17.15 at 9:06 am }

Meredith, on a longer trip the expenses that go up proportionately are hotels and food. The 4th and further days of tickets are much cheaper than the per-day cost of the first three days, and of course your transport costs are the same. So I’d aim for a longer trip–and focusing on the least expensive hotels to make it work. For a family of 5, the least expensive WDW options are Caribbean Beach and the Alligator Bayou section of Port Orleans Riverside. The next best choice for you will be off site. (For more on these two hotels, see this: )

Note also that your hotel costs vary profoundly depending on when you go–see this and also this

Any trip ought to include at least two days at MK. After that, given the ages of your kids, Id ‘recommend a day at HS, then a day at AK, then a day at Epcot, in that order.

23 Roshanda { 01.19.15 at 1:29 pm }

Hi Dave,
I am looking for a sample itnerary for a 5.5 days at WDW. I say 5.5 days because we are staying five nights but our flight on day 6 is in the early evening. I am taking my daughter who will be 4.5 at the time of our trip, April 25 through April 30. This will be her first time there but definitely won’t be her last. She’s into all things Frozen and Disney Princess. Also, anything that deals with dressing up and putting on make-up. I am having a hard time finding a short 5-day itinerary for a pre-school aged child for this time of the year.

24 Dave { 01.20.15 at 9:08 am }

Roshanada, at that age I’d plan 2-3 days at Magic Kingdom, and one each at the Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. I don’t have itineraries for kids that age on this site, but you can find them at the end of Chapter 6 of my book: The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit 2015

25 Roshanda { 01.20.15 at 10:39 am }

Hi Dave, thanks so much for the information. I am ordering your book!

26 Dave { 01.20.15 at 5:14 pm }


27 Sue { 01.23.15 at 10:16 am }

Hi Dave!
First off, your website is AMAZING! I have used it for the last 2 trips we have taken, and I am currently using it again for our upcoming trip in August 2015! Every time someone tells me they are planning their trip, your site is the first thing I tell them to go look at!

I was wondering if you had a PDF version of your blank itinerary with the fast pass+. When I click on the link you have, it downloads it and opens up to a cryptic page of nonsense for me! Thanks so much for whatever you can do!

28 Dave { 01.23.15 at 1:25 pm }

Sue you are so sweet and thanks! Great idea on the PDF, I just made one and put a link to it right after the excel link.

29 Andrea { 02.17.15 at 2:38 pm }

Our 60 days is coming up on 2/24. My 5 y.o. is ALMOST 44 inches. I’m worried that she won’t quite be tall enough for Space Mtn. Should I just skip booking a Space Mtn. FP+ and get something else? Then, shoot for hitting it up first thing in the morning? Are there typically Space Mtn. FP+ available to use as a 4th?

30 Emily { 02.17.15 at 2:59 pm }

Hi Dave,
We’re planning our first disney trip with our kids to arrive Nov 8th 2015. I was trying to figure out our itinerary so I can make our dining reservations 180 days in advance. Reading on your site I see you say that it is very important this time of year to go to the right park on the right day. But how do I figure this out since Disney only releases their calendar 6 months in advance? Do you have park suggestions for each day of the week? Also, it is my daughter’s birthday on Mon 11/9/15 and she really wants to go to the animal kingdom. From the itineraries I’ve seen on your site you don’t seem to recommend this. What do you think? I was thinking about breakfast with Donald at Tusker house at AK but had no ideas for dinner. Any ideas for an animal lover on her birthday? We are staying at AK lodge. Thanks so much!
Also, why do you recommend Cinderella’s royal table for lunch instead of dinner? Is it possible to time it at CRT to see the fireworks too?

31 Dave { 02.18.15 at 10:13 am }

Andrea, I guess it depends on what else you’d spend the FP+ on. Me, I’d book Space, as it will be easier to change it to another great ride than to get a 4th FP+ for it.

32 Dave { 02.18.15 at 10:18 am }

Emily, the operating calendars come out about 6.5 to 6.75 months before so you can pick your parks before 180 days. Not sure what you mean in your AK question. Consider Sanaa at AKL-Kidani for dinner, some seats have views of the animals. CRT is at lunch or late breakfast in most of my itineraries because a. early breakfasts in the parks are a bad idea and b. lots of great offerings are available only in the evenings, so not doing it for dinner frees time for those. If you want it for dinner, go for it!

33 Kelly B - Agent with Destinations in Florida { 02.18.15 at 11:51 am }

Emily – Breakfast at Tusker House would be a great way to start your daughter’s day. You could do a quick service meal in AK for lunch or snack and then plan your dinner. RainForest Cafe is right there at AK (It can be a bit loud, but my kids just loved it). You could plan any of the resort restaurants for dinner, or you have the Park Hopper option any place on property. If you haven’t already booked your vacation I would love to help you plan. You can contact me at When you book with Destinations in Florida you will get Itinerary Planning, Dining Services, Future Discount Search, FastPass+ planning all for FREE.

34 Megan { 02.24.15 at 3:58 pm }

We are planning a trip to Disney in May of 2016, specifically the week of May 8th, 2016. My daughter will be spending her 7th birthday (5-11-16) at the park. If you had to choose ONE thing that would totally blow her mind on this day, what would it be? Maybe throw in a 2nd & 3rd for fun! Is there anything at all we can reserve/arrange for this far in the future? Next, with her birthday being on a Wednesday in 2016, I’m assuming the best place to spend that day is MK. What other suggestions, as far as itinerary, do you have leading up to that day and following that day?
Looking forward to your response,

35 Dave { 02.25.15 at 1:16 pm }

Megan, I own;t have any itinerary thoughts–or even confirmation that MK is the best place–until Disney publishes its operating calendar for then, which it won’t do until around November. In terms of “blowing her mind”–it depends so much on what she likes! Lunch with Cinderella at Cinderella’s Royal Table? A do at Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boutique? The special fireworks desert party?

36 TeriLoman386 { 03.24.15 at 6:24 am }

Great article.

37 Crystal { 04.16.15 at 2:21 pm }

I’m a little confused … at the beginning of this page you said

“Divide your days among the parks. You have two different issues here: the overall use of your time at the four parks, and the days you can spend at each. Because you can pre-book only three FastPass+ per park, two half days–and thus six FastPass+–are more valuable than one full day.”

Does this mean I will get 6 fastpass+ if I’m planning 2 parks/day?

38 Dave { 04.17.15 at 8:35 am }

Crystal, what I mean is something like “do a half day Wednesday, and a half day Thursday, rather than taking Wednesday off and going all day Thursday, and you’ll get the same time off but 6 FP+ instead of 3.”

39 Jessica { 04.19.15 at 10:17 pm }

Hi Dave! Your site has been very helpful in planning our first trip to Disney World. We are going in October and so far plan on arriving midday on Friday (my daughters 6th birthday) and leaving evening time Wednesday. So 5 nights and 6 days. Do you think one day (arrival day) in downtown disney, two days and one evening(after animal kingdom closes for the day) in magic kingdom and one day in each of the the other three parks are sufficient. Or should we aim to cut our time short somewhere else and spend a half day more in Epcot?

40 Kelly B - Agent with Destinations in Florida { 04.20.15 at 8:43 am }

Jessica- I know that Dave is busy in Disney today, so I’ll try to help out. I think your plan is great. With your daughters age, one day in Epcot should be plenty. Make sure to get your FastPass+ scheduled. Epcot can be a child’s favorite (like mine), but the vast majority would rather ride the TeaCups than stroll through World Showcase. From your plans, it looks like you have the park hopper option. So remember heading somewhere else is always an option. You may find you don’t need a full day at Hollywood Studios, and can always explore Epcot that night too.

41 Lisa Chandler { 04.23.15 at 11:30 pm }

Hello Dave,
We are planning on a trip from Dec. 11-19th. this year. I took a look at your basic itinerary for Dec. and I was wondering why you jump from park to park, instead of doing two days in one park back to back? We will be attending the Christmas party so I am trying to figure out which park to do the day after because it will be a late night for our two children. We have planned on two days for MK, two for Epcot, one for HS, one for AK and one day for the Christmas party.

42 Dave { 04.24.15 at 8:09 am }

Lisa, the parks have very different crowding patterns by day, so the days in the itinerary are set to reflect this. Also note that the December calendar is not yet out–it should be out in a couple of weeks–so the itinerary may change.

43 Lisa Chandler { 04.24.15 at 1:23 pm }

Thank you for your response. I will keep an eye out for the December calendar. We are planning our first trip to Disney with our children and your website has been a great help!

44 Jo { 04.28.15 at 2:48 pm }

Hi Dave,

I was reading somewhere else that Friday and Saturday tend to be the busiest days at MK but notice your itineraries often have you at MK on those days. Do you disagree that Fridays and Saturdays tend to be busiest or is there some other factor that still makes them the best days to visit MK?

Thanks and love your site! Appreciate all your work!

45 Dave { 04.28.15 at 7:41 pm }

Jo, great question.

The busiest MK days are Sat-Mon, esp Sun and Mon, and also any day it has EMH, most commonly two or three each 9 day period of Sat, Sun, Mon, Weds, or Thurs.

So perhaps you can see the problem this creates for me!

Typically my itins have at least one MK day of low crowds (commonly Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday) and one late-in-the-week Saturday–because Saturday is the day over the course of the year that you can most commonly count on Wishes and the evening parade–which are on 51 or 50 Saturdays a year, and are not nearly as predictable the other days of the week over the year. Then there’s almost always a third day too.

Frankly you can do MK in two days with a good plan, early arrival, and FastPass+ almost any week of the year. By stretching it over three, I both deal with the crowding issues you note and also give some sleep-in days…

Fitting the parks in over nine days of a “week off of work” always leads to a compromise or three somewhere. So, in other words, I compromise on MK and add extra time to make up for it…

46 Irene from New Zealand { 04.29.15 at 5:46 am }

Hi Dave
Just been looking through your wonderful site. Very informative and helpful.
As a group of four adults we will be visiting Disneyworld on 6/24/15 to 7/1/15. We will have 6 full days available for parks although we want to keep one day for shopping. We would like to visit MK, Animal K, Hollywood S, Epcot & Universal but we realise we may have to miss out something due to lack of time. We have booked into a resort not far from Disney and will be using shuttlebuses although we would be keen to hear any advice on taxi fares. Wondered what your top tips would be for visiting at this time.
Also, would you say our best option for buying tickets would be Undercover Tourist ? We live in New Zealand.

47 Irene { 04.29.15 at 5:47 am }

Sorry forgot to add my name ! I’m the one from New Zealand 🙂

48 Dave { 04.29.15 at 9:08 am }

I added it for you 🙂

49 Dave { 04.29.15 at 9:16 am }

Irene on tix, check the pricing direct from Disney, from Undercover Tourist, and also from The Official Ticket Center.

The common best advice you’ll get is to spend at Disney two days at MK, 1.5 at Epcot, and one each at AK and HS. At Universal, each of the two parks is worth at least a day if you are both a Harry Potter and a thrill ride fan.

So you will need to compromise somewhere…

Here’s parks to avoid at Disney by day:

6/24 Avoid HS and AK
6/25 Avoid HS and MK
6/26 Avoid Epcot
6/27 avoid HS and MK
6/28 avoid AK and MK
6/29 avoid MK and HS
6/30 Avoid Epcot
7/11 Avoid MK

50 Anonymous { 04.29.15 at 7:35 pm }

Sorry forgot to add my name ! I’m the one from New Zealand 🙂

51 Barbara { 05.13.15 at 9:51 am }

Hi! We went to the Halloween party last year, where our daughter got engaged, and are planning our first full trip. It will the newlyweds honeymoon, with the rest of the family tagging along. I was hoping you might give your feedback on our plans. We were lucky and got free dining, and will upgrade from the quick serve dining plan to the standard plan.

10/26 arrive in Florida, check in at Pop Century, dinner at Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disney, dessert (bread pudding) and drinks at Raglan Road

10/27 Epcot quick serve or food cart (whatever looks good) for lunch, Biergarten for dinner, watch IllumiNations

10/28 Hollywood Studios lunch at 50’s Prime Time Cafe, dinner at Bill & Min’s maybe, Fantasmic

10/29 Animal Kingdom Tusker House for lunch, Hoop Dee Doo Revue for dinner

10/30 Epcot newlyweds have tea at Grand Floridian, others lunch at Sunshine Seasons or Les Halles Boulangerie, dinner quick serve or food carts, hopefully play miniature golf that night

10/31 Magic Kingdom lunch at Be Our Guest, depart park by 7 as we will not be attending the Halloween party

I have a couple of questions – our reservation for Hoop Dee Doo Revue is at 8:30, what time do you think we should leave the park to arrive in time? And is it true you can see Wishes from there? If not, should we try to get an earlier reservation for Hoop Dee Doo and take advantage of the Park Hopper we had to buy to get free dining and go back to see Wishes? Or is that too ambitious? I would really like to see Wishes.

I have your book – it is covered in sticky notes! Thanks for any feedback you might give me!

52 Dave { 05.14.15 at 8:11 am }

Hi Barbara! I’m not keen on Epcot the 27th and would swap the 27th and 28th.

On Hoop and Wishes, well you can see bits of Wishes from the FW beach, but I would never see that as a substitute for Wishes from inside MK, as it is quite different. The beach is a fine option if you’ve already seen Wishes in the park, but not a substitute. So I would pick the earlier Hoop option and hop to MK.

From AK you take a bus to FW, then another bus in FW to the Hoop area. They want you to arrive 30 minutes early. Best case your waiting and transport is complete in 30 minutes. Worst case (if you just miss a bus; buses are late; lines are long) transport is more than an hour. So I’d be at the FW bus stop at AK 90 minutes to 2 hours befroe your meal is scheduled

So glad you love the book!!!

53 Barbara { 05.14.15 at 10:41 am }

Thanks so much! Dining reservations are made; should I try to switch them for the 27th and 28th? Not sure if I will be able to – would Epcot on the 27th be awful? Can you tell me what it’s got going against it on that day?

I think my agonizing about Wishes after Hoop Dee Doo Revue was for nothing. It looks like there is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party on the 29th, so no Wishes on that day anyway. Maybe we could go back to MK on the 30th, our second Epcot day, but then I’m not sure where to fit in miniature golf, which we really want to do. Any suggestions there? Maybe on our arrival day, the 26th? Not sure though, that seems like a lot. So overwhelming! Thanks again for your help and suggestions.

54 Courtney { 05.15.15 at 1:39 pm }

We are travelling to WDW as a family of 3 (husband, myself, 2 year old daughter) in December. Our park days will be Dec 28-31. We are planning 2 days at MK, and 1 each at HS and Epcot. I know this time is the worst, but as we’re both teachers and can’t take extended breaks without sacrificing pay, it’s the only time we can go. What would you recommend? For dining, we want Chef Mickey’s our arrival evening (12/27), would like BOG lunch and Crystal Palace breakfast for MK days, Hollywood & Vine lunch for HS, and Akershus for breakfast at Epcot. Rides will probably be restricted to Fantasyland for MK and Toy Story for HS- we also want to meet Anna & Elsa.

55 Dave { 05.16.15 at 11:11 am }

Yes, Barbara, I would swap dining. The presence of morning extra magic hours at Epcot the 27th, combined with the early closure for the party at MK., means that people will be repelled from MK and drawn to Epcot. Hence crowds will be higher than on other days.

I would put seeing Wishes from within MK as a hundred times the priority of mini-golf, whihc you can do anywhere…

56 Dave { 05.16.15 at 3:03 pm }

Courtney there are no good days, and in particular the 31st will be lousy everywhere but AK, which is not on your list. (You will have an easier trip if you swap Epcot for AK and do AK the 31st. Epcot is of remarkably little interest to a 2 year old.)

Sticking with your preferred parks, though, I’d do MK the 28th and 29th, Epcot the 30th, and HS the 31st.

57 Jen { 05.17.15 at 9:18 pm }

Thanks for all of the great info on your site! I check it all the time and use it when planning each part of my trip. While my fast pass reservations are still a way out I was trying to figure them out. We will be traveling during the free dining period and have a park hopper. we were going to go to MK morning of Sept 25th as soon as it opens till 1:00 ish, take a break then head to Epcot. We will be using our fast passes in AM, I will try and get more once at Epcot. Are there certain attractions less busy in evening? Shows? Do u still need to visit a kiosk to obtain more fast passes? Thanks in advance for the help!

58 Courtney { 05.18.15 at 8:38 am }

I posted a reply- but it ended up on another post. Here it is again: Thanks for your response! Epcot is mainly for my husband and me. Our daughter loves Nemo so we figured we would do a 1/2 day at Epcot with the Princess breakfast, the Seas with Nemo and Friends, and the Chase card member Meet & Greet. Does MK show their NYE fireworks on the 30th? I had read somewhere that they did so we were planning MK on the 28th and 30th, HS the 29th and Epcot the 31st since we weren’t planning to do a whole day.

59 Courtney { 05.18.15 at 10:28 am }

OK, now that I think about it- we could just watch the MK fireworks on the 30th from a resort, correct? That way we wouldn’t have to be in the park that day.

60 Dave { 05.18.15 at 5:47 pm }

Hi Jen, and thanks!!

Yes you will need to use a kiosk at Epcot. There likely won’t be much if any FP+ left for Soarin, Test Track or Illuminations. Future World tends to slow a bit starting between 4 and 5p as people shift over to World Showcase.

61 Dave { 05.18.15 at 5:50 pm }

Courtney, see this.

62 Dave { 05.18.15 at 5:53 pm }

They are SO much better from inside the park, Courtney, that it’s like two different experiences…

63 Barbara { 05.19.15 at 9:15 am }

Thanks so much for the advice! I switched the 27th and 28, got lunch reservations for the 27 at 50’s Prime Time like we had before, and a late lunch (1:50 PM) at Biergarten on the 28th. They didn’t have any dinner availability. I can keep checking but I don’t think that will matter too much. Which brings me to another question, and then I will stop! I think we will go to Magic Kingdom on one of the Epcot days (since we can do that now that we have Park Hopper tickets) to see Wishes. You’re right about the miniature golf, we would like to do that but it isn’t a must. Do you think there’s a better day to do this, since Wishes will be offered both the 28th and 30th? Maybe a nice end to our first day? Also, it looks like almost all our table service meals are going to be for lunch. There are no real pros and cons there, are there? Thanks again for all your help!

64 Dave { 05.19.15 at 1:50 pm }

Great Barbara! The 28th will be much more crowded than the 30th at MK, so I’d hop the 30th. The only thing you should never do on the dining plan is use it for table service breakfast…

65 Barbara { 05.19.15 at 2:59 pm }

Okay, I just changed Biergarten reservations from the 30th to 28th, and we’ll do Wishes on the 30th. I had reservations for the 30th at 7:30, but I thought that might be cutting things to close to get to the MK in time for Wishes. I think I’m done now! Thank you so much!

66 Dave { 05.19.15 at 6:18 pm }

Great, Barbara, and have the best trip ever…and come back here and tell me how it went!

67 Barbara { 05.20.15 at 2:47 pm }

Thanks again for all your help! I’m sure it will be wonderful! I guess the next challenge will be the Fast Passes – I’m kind of glad I don’t have to worry about that quite yet!

68 MIKE { 05.29.15 at 6:12 pm }

ok Dave lets get complicated. We will attend the MVMCP on Nov. 8th. We have bought tickets to go and are Not going to use our 6 day hopper tickets. We plan on entering the park about 6pm. It is our first day and we are staying on property. Can we get fastpasses for the MVMCP which will not effect our regular 6 day hopper tickets? When can we make our FP choices? Thanks

69 Dave { 05.31.15 at 7:29 am }

Mike, not complicated. No FastPass+ for MVMCP.

70 Barbara { 06.03.15 at 9:48 am }

Another question – sorry! What do you think of the dessert parties for Wishes or IllumiNations? My daughter wants to try to get reservations for the Wishes one. Also, we wanted our last day to be at the Magic Kingdom, but have to leave by 7 because of the Halloween Party. Any ideas for a memorable “last thing” to do? Thank you so much as always!

71 Dave { 06.05.15 at 7:54 am }

Barbara, I find the dessert parties overpriced. My favorite “last thing” is Wishes, which is not an option for you. Perhaps meeting Mickey?

72 Kim { 07.12.15 at 12:07 pm }

Hi Dave!
I am greatly appreciative of the info you’ve gathered and plan to order the book to bring with us on the trip. We are a family of 4: 2 adults and a 8 & 11 yo. We are surprising kids with an early Christmas present (we’re going in early December when you recommend). I have been to WDW world before but that was in 1981 with my parents. I am sure the park has changed a bit over the past 30+ years – not to mention my faulty memory from a child’s point of view.

I am wondering about one of the tips you have:
“5. Within the constraints above, try to see Epcot first, and the Magic Kingdom last”
Seems like there is no better way to start a Disney vacation than MK on the first day.

Also, I’m really struggling with the meals. One of the adults has a very different eating pattern (no breakfast, lunch more between 2-3pm and a late supper). We are struggling with coming up with a dining arrangement that will accommodate the children and the adults. I love the breakfast in the room and will definitely do that so we are only talking lunch, supper, and snacks. Do you have any thoughts on how to balance/compromise with this?

Thank you in advance. We value your opinion with this complex trip to plan.

73 Kelly B - Agent with Destinations in Florida { 07.12.15 at 12:53 pm }


I often recommend, when my clients have children, to visit Epcot first. Ep and MK offer two completely different experiences. If you bring the children to MK first, and then EP, they often expect the parks to be the same. Rides, characters, sounds, etc. It’s more of a build up. Once a child has been to MK, that is what they measure everything else by. And Epcot may leave them disappointed.

As for meals, breakfast in the room as what my family does. We then do our big meal (table service) for lunch. And QS for dinner. This allows for a few things. FastPass must all be scheduled in the same park. We pick our park and make our reservation for lunch. (Usually more availability and gives us a break mid day. We eat at about 1). Then we are free to stay in that park, head back to the resort, or use our park hopper for another park. It also allows everyone to do their own thing and split up if need be. You can grab quick service in the parks or at your resort and eat when you are hungry. That one adult could eat a bit early and maybe you a bit later, but really will accommodate everyone’s eating style and allow for you to make your reservations/plans.

74 Dave { 07.13.15 at 9:22 am }

Kim, I second what Kelly said!!

75 Brian { 07.15.15 at 10:06 pm }

Hello Dave,

We are making our first trip to Disney August 9-16 with a 13- and 9-year-old boy and 6-year-old girl.

We are at Port Orleans Riverside, and our overall plan for the trip is to do parks in the morning/early afternoon, come back to the room after lunch to rest from about 2-5 pm, and then head back for the evening/night.

I’m good with following your overall recommendations for park order, but we did do all our big meal reservations for dinners with the exception of one, and our Monday dinner is in the Magic Kingdom. I’m just looking for some help filling in the blanks.

This is what we have reserved at this point:
Aug. 9 – arrive 2pm, Chef Mickey’s 7:45 pm
Aug. 10 – Crystal Palace, 7:30 PM
Aug. 11 – Akershus breakfast, 8:00 AM
Aug. 12 – O’Hana 7:30 PM
Aug. 13 – Boutique for our 6-year-old 5:30 PM, Be Our Guest 7:20 PM
Aug. 14 – Hoop De Doo 6:15 PM
Aug. 15 – nothing set at this point

None of our kids are up for big huge roller-coaster-type rides, but I’m trying to find a balance for which rides would be attractive to all of them and where we might want to split up so the older boys can do something maybe our daughter can’t.

Appreciate any thoughts you might have.

76 Dave { 07.16.15 at 7:33 am }

Brian are you asking what rides you should be doing? If so, it’s critical to book yuor FastPass+ now. See this for how FastPass+ works. I don’t have itinerary on this site that exclude the big rides, but you can find them in Chapter 6 of my book.

77 Brian { 07.16.15 at 7:46 am }

Hi Dave,

I guess what I’m asking are what you think are some of the best rides that would be of interest to all three in that age group – 1st grade through 7th grade. I did make some fast pass selections last night and I was able to get everything I saw that looked like it would fit their interests. One thing I wondered was which rides would be easier to accomplish without FastPass.

I’m also wondering if you could answer one question about the evening displays (Illuminations, Electric Parade, etc.)… the last time I was at Disney myself was 18 years ago, and at the time those were just things that you watched from wherever you are in the park. But now I see people using FastPass for them. What does using FastPass for those accomplish (special viewing area, something else?), and is it necessary to do so?

Thanks for your help.

78 Dave { 07.17.15 at 2:57 pm }

Brian, the FP+ for the fireworks usually give better spots, but there’s still great spots elsewhere, and using them prevents you form getting 4th/5th FP+.

I don’t have the detailed which FP+ to aim for and which not on this site, especially for such a wide age range and without aiming for the big rides, –as I cover that in my itineraries–but there is a little here. So here too the book is the best place to find them.

79 Ashley { 07.24.15 at 11:30 am }


I will be taking a trip to WDW October 15-21st. We will be attending the NSSHP on October 18th.

We are staying off site (Buena Vista Palace) so we will be avoiding the parks with EMH.

So far I am thinking:
10/15 – Arrive in Orlando at 10:00am, Spend afternoon in HS
10/16- Magic Kingdom at rope drop, closes for NSSHP at 7pm
10/17- Epcot late morning arrival, wine and food fest will entertain our entire day
10/18- Character breakfast at hotel, afternoon at hotel. Arrive to NSSHP at 4pm
10/19- Animal Kingdom late morning arrival, break for dinner, hop to wishes at MK
10/20- ???, Depart for Airport at 5pm

There will be 10 of us traveling ages 17-60 (my parents and brother, brother’s girlfriend, my significant other, my aunt and uncle, my cousin and her boyfriend)

Does this sound like we would get a good feel for the parks. I seem to be the most interested in actually going to the parks, the rest of my family seems more interested in relaxing by the pool.

80 Dave { 07.25.15 at 7:21 am }

Hi Ashley! Overall this looks good. I wonder, though, about hopping the 19th. If this is your only use of the hopper ticket, you are in effect paying hundreds of dollars to see Wishes. Since you will be seeing even better fireworks at MNSSHP the 18th, you might consider not buying the hoppers and skipping MK that evening.

81 Ashley { 07.26.15 at 6:10 pm }

We were thinking of getting the hopper *in case* someone in our party has different plans and we would like to meet for a meal or something. So I threw the wishes in just because. But yeah, I guess we are seeing an even better show at the NSSHP! Thanks for your reply!

82 Dave { 07.28.15 at 8:41 am }

Ashley, on the hoppers–you can buy them as add-ons to your tix when you are in WDW, after you discover you need them, and only for the folk who need them, at the same price as adding them on now.

83 Diane { 08.04.15 at 8:33 am }

Hi Dave. I just found your site and I wish I had found it much sooner! Lots of great info. My family of 4 is going from August 23-30 with the first and last day checking in and out, so I am planning for parks Monday-Saturday. We are all first timers and I am very overwhelmed, trying to keep it simple. My boys are 8 and 12. I know you are recommending not to go during the EMH but my plan is to visit parks early am until early afternoon and spend the rest of the afternoon at our resort pool. I am also planning one park a day plus the two water parks. What order would you suggest to visit the parks based on my plan?

84 Augie Gonsalez { 08.04.15 at 7:41 pm }

My family and I are going for the 1st time Dec. 2nd (arriving 2pm) and leaving Dec. 9th. We are staying at Port Orleans Riverside with the 2015 dining plan. We have the following reservations already. 3rd – Coral Reef 1:20, 4th- Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical (4pm), 5th- Sci Fi Dine In (2:30), 6th – Teppan Edo 4:20pm, 8th – Ohana (10:35am) and on the 8th going to Mickey’s Christmas that evening. How should we plan the rest of the days there? Is the park hopper worth it?

85 Dave { 08.05.15 at 8:08 am }

Diane, I am not quite following you–are you planning on spending only mornings in the parks? You will miss a lot if you do, as the parks take 6 full days–2 at MK, 2 at Epcot, and one each at HS and AK.

86 Dave { 08.05.15 at 8:12 am }

Augie, the 3rd is a bad day at Epcot, the 5th is a bad day at HS. You don’t need a hopper. I don’t really have anything on this site to help you plan the rest of your days–everything here is integrated–but you’ll find daily plans in Chapter 6 of my book.

87 Diane { 08.05.15 at 9:29 am }

Yes Dave, I know it seems strange but we don’t want to get too overwhelmed by trying to do it ALL in one week. We are planning for a few rides /attractions each day (the most recommended) and anything beyond that will be a bonus. We only have tickets for one park a day, so there will be no park hopping. We are planning to stay longer at MK and Epcot or return in the evening for the fireworks. Based on your knowledge of the parks, what would be the best order to visit them in this manner?

88 Dave { 08.06.15 at 8:25 am }

OK Diane,
The 22nd avoid MK and HS
The 23rd avoid AK and MK
The 24th avoid MK and HS
The 25th avoid Epcot
The 26th avoid HS and AK
The 27th avoid HS and MK
The 28th avoid Epcot
The 29th avoid Mk and HS

You’ll note there’s only a couple of good MK days here, so pick those first, then fill in around them.

I don’t track water parks, but would never recommend seeing two when you are so short on them park time–while fine, they aren’t remotely as good as the theme parks.

You also need to book your FastPass+ as soon as you can as otherwise your will see long waits

89 Diane { 08.06.15 at 8:51 am }

Thanks Dave! I appreciate your advice:)

90 Leigh { 08.15.15 at 12:15 am }

Hi Dave!
Thanks for the excel itinerary template – fabulous!

Can I kindly request you do that nifty thing you do and share with me what parks to avoid during our upcoming Feb 2016 trip? We’re staying Wed Feb 17-Friday Feb 26. Since our trip doesn’t go weekend to weekend, I’ve been doing the best I can to figure out the “right” itinerary.

Thanks so much in advance!!

91 Dave { 08.15.15 at 7:43 am }


The 17th avoid MK
The 18th avoid Epcot
The 19th avoid MK and HS
The 20th avoid AK
The 21st avoid HS
The 22nd avoid AK
The 23rd avoid Epcot
The 24th avoid MK
The 25th avoid Epcot
The 26th avoid MK and HS

92 Leigh { 08.15.15 at 1:42 pm }

Thanks, Dave! I’m very appreciative. I have a week to get this sorted before the 180, and have the added complication of planning around the Princess Half events. No pressure. 🙂

Curious…do you design itineraries for a fee? Because I would take advantage of that service if you do. Seriously!

93 Emily { 08.19.15 at 9:23 pm }

Hi Dave – Since my family is all Harry Potter fanatics we are going to be taking out a day for Universal. I’m trying to schedule it so it’s in the middle to kind of break it up and wanted to get your take on my itinerary. We’re going on our second trip Feb. 20-27 next year, and decided on the Polynesian (i’ve asked you about this on another thread. 🙂 so I can start making my ADRs on Monday and want to get it nailed down.

-Saturday – arrive btw 2 & 3 pm. My kids are 8 and 11 — when we went 2 years ago they were so wiped out at dinner we’re not going to try a park this day, and not sure about dinner yet. T-Rex, Hoop de Doo and O’hana’s are all dinners we definitely want to do, just not sure about timing.
-Sunday – Magic Kingdom and Chef Mickeys
-Monday – Animal Kingdom
-Tuesday – Universal
-Wednesday – Epcot
-Thursday – Magic Kingdom and Crystal Palace and Wishes etc.
-Friday – Hollywood Studios/50s diner.

My kids didn’t love Epcot last time – so maybe it would be better to stick that between MK and Universal…we did stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge last time and they are disappointed we’re not staying there again so I know they’ll want to spend a lot of time at the park to see the animals.

Would love to get your thoughts…

94 Dave { 08.20.15 at 8:20 am }

Yo Emily. I wouldn’t go to AK the 21st or HS the 25th, but rather would swap these dates!

Harry Potter is best done by double booking a Universal room–e.g. at Cabana Bay. This enables early entry on the day of check in and check out. Four rides at the two Harry Potter venues build long lines quickly (Gringotts, Forbidden Journey, Ollivanders, Hogwarts Express).

Via early entry see Gringotts/Forbidden Journey (depending on which park is open to early entry) then do Ollivanders (its at each park) then get in line right away for the Hogwarts Express, then at the other park see Gringotts or Forbidden Journey. Then spend the rest of your visit more leisurely exploring the two Wizarding Worlds. This will require a park-to-park ticket, and assumes none of the rides opens late because of a breakdown!!

See this for more on Harry Potter

95 EmIly { 08.20.15 at 9:40 am }

Dave, why swap those two days? Is that for crowd-size reasons or trip flow?

Also given this tentative schedule which would be the best night for Hoop de Doo or going to Downtown Disney for T-Rex?

96 Dave { 08.21.15 at 12:01 pm }

Emily, those are both more crowded days at the respective parks, because they are EMH days.

Your AK day is a good one for an evening event, as right now there are no evening programs there. Ditto for your Universal day–Universal does have evening shows, but not related to Harry Potter.

97 Cameron { 08.25.15 at 11:24 pm }

Hi Dave,
We have a trip to WDW planned for 25th March 2016 – 6th April 2016 staying at the Yacht Club with a 10 day pass. I’m thinking we could probably manage an afternoon/evening at Epcot the day after arrival from Australia on 25th March, continuing Epcot the next day (26th March) with two each days at MK & HS (27-30 March) then Universal for 2 days (31 March – 1st April) AK for one day (2nd April) then whatever we’ve missed/favourites for next 3 days (3-5 April). Does this sound like a reasonable plan and do you have any suggestions for best order to include Wishes, Illuminations and Fantasmic!?
Kind Regards,

98 Dave { 08.26.15 at 12:30 pm }

Cameron, the first part of your visit will be wildly crowded, but things will settle down quite a bit beginning April 2 or 3.

During such wildly crowded times, you want to aim for morning EMH parks, arriving 30 minutes before EMH begins, pre-booking 60 days ahead your FastPass+ for 9/10/11a, then add FP+ for the evening after you’ve used your third, figuring on taking afternoons off. It’s common for AM EMH to be added (especially at MK and AK) during such crowded dates, making it a little harder to pick parks now. Moreover the April calendar is not yet out (it should be by mid-Sept) making helping you even harder. So check back in mid-Sept, OK??

Universal will be wildly crowded as well. Consider double-booking a room there for one night–see this for why.

99 Cameron { 08.30.15 at 9:15 pm }

Thanks Dave. Great advice about staying at Universal..Overnight stay with unlimited express and early entry included worked out cheaper than buying just theme park tickets separately! Also rescheduled our Universal days to 3rd – 4th April and saved on accommodation costs.

100 Dave { 08.31.15 at 7:43 am }

Great, Cameron!!

101 Ali { 09.27.15 at 8:52 am }

Hi Dave,
Thank you so much for your wonderful website, I am working through it slowly! Are you able to help? We are a couple in our thirties who have decided recently to go to WDW for 2 days as part of our US trip, as we’ve never been. We will be there 8-9 Dec, which I see per your website is a low+ crowd period, score! Of course we have missed the 180 day booking deadline for the ADRs (everything is gone), but just in time for the 60 day fastpasses! I realise that 8 Dec is the date of the Christmas party, but the 9 Dec is a full MK day (8am-12am). My other half is not keen to attend the party due to extra costs, so I am thinking on 8 Dec do DHS/Epcot, and on 9th do AK/MK with the EMHs. However, I am wondering do the Epcot/DHS crowd levels skyrocket on the 8th when the party is on, as all non-party ticketholders transfer over to the other parks that night (in which case I might fork out the $)? Also any tips on how to structure the time spent in each park per those days would be greatly appreciated. Interested in seeing all the parades, fireworks (thinking we will miss Fantasmic due to Illuminations being too tightly scheduled against it), and the Osborne lights.

102 Dave { 09.27.15 at 9:54 am }

Ali, I would go to only two parks, not try to see all four. MK is a two day park, Epcot a day and a half, and HS and AK can each take a day. Moreover, the Xmas party is about the same price as the park hopper ticket add-on you’d have to have to see more than a park a day. If you do decide to see just two parks, there’s one day itineraries in Chapter 6 of my book.

103 Ali { 09.27.15 at 11:04 am }

Hi Dave – thanks so much for this, much appreciated. Will take a look

104 Carla { 10.01.15 at 6:10 am }

Hi. I am finding your site so useful, thank you! I am trying to devise an itinerary for our visit 7th April to 17th April 2016. I notice on your basic itinerary for that period that you schedule Magic Kingdom for a Friday but it looks like that is an EMH day on the park schedule? Should I follow that or avoid MK on a Friday? Many thanks

105 Carla { 10.01.15 at 6:16 am }

Following on from last question….if we are only planning to go to a park for the morning, do we still need to avoid going on a EMH day? Or would it make sense if the extra hours are in the morning to make use of them?

106 Dave { 10.01.15 at 1:45 pm }

Carla, my suggested itineraries by week are here, along with their suggested changes. As much as I try to avoid EMH dayssome always slip in. Dinsye has now settled–perhaps for another month, perhaps for longer–on a new EMH pattern, so I’ll be revising my itineraries to match it.

107 Kate { 10.03.15 at 3:15 am }

We Arrive late on 24th March and leave mid afternoon on 6th April. If I follow your itinerary, what’s best to substitute for your travel days? Also are we beat to not go straight to Mk on day 1 even though we will have 2 young excited children. I want to book a dining meal at the castle. Am thinking of doing this for our last day.

108 Dave { 10.03.15 at 7:49 am }
109 Becca { 10.04.15 at 6:54 pm }

Thanks for your site! I’ve gleaned quite a bit for our last minute trip to WDW Oct. 17-27 with my 16, 13, and 5 year old boys. Trying to balance teens and little man. Here’s our itinerary. I love ending with MK, but I’m up in the air about whether to do MK on either the 23rd or 25th in hopes of lighter crowds. Any thoughts/changes/recommendations?
17th-late arrival (11pm)
18th-pool at resort, grocery shopping, Downtown Disney
22st-Typhoon Lagoon
24th-afternoon arrival MK
25th-afternoon arrival HS
26th-afternoon arrival MK

110 Dave { 10.05.15 at 7:46 am }

Hi Becca! The 21st will be mobbed at MK, as will the 25th at HS and 26th at MK. Judicious use of FastPass+ would help, but if you have not booked them already you may have left that a little late. I’d swap the 21st and 25th for sure…

111 Becca { 10.05.15 at 8:01 am }

Thanks for your response. So you would recommend a full day at MK on the 24th over the 21st? I guess those EMH on the 21st play a bigger role than a weekend date. I just want to try and find the least crowded date for our day at MK with the evening shows. I do have FastPass+ for all my dates right now

112 Lindsey-Anne Higgins { 10.25.15 at 4:12 pm }

Hi Dave.
Great site. I’ve booked to come to WDW on Monday 5th April 2016 – Friday 15th April 2016. I will be travelling on my own with my two children 10 & 11. It’s our first holiday together. We will be staying at the Saratoga hotel. We would love to see everything especially Harry Potter at universals. Please, please please can you help us plan our trip. I would love to see fireworks and all Disney has to offer. We have open tickets to all WDW parks. Also any good counter service restaurants you can recommend? We have got the regular Disney dining plan. Thank you so much. This is a surprise trip which I have booked for their birthday and Christmas trip and I’ve been saving for years. I Would love as much help as you can give me to organise and create an itinerary to follow so we don’t miss out on nothing and maximise our time. Thank you so much thanks again and warmest regards Lindsey-Anne (UK)

113 Dave { 10.26.15 at 8:11 am }

Lindsey-Anne, none of my itineraries really suit the days you have. Suggest that you use the material in Chapter 6 of my book, instead. The book also covers counter service!

On Universal and Harry Potter, start here.

114 Lindsey-anne Higgins { 10.26.15 at 10:30 am }

Hi Dave,

Thanks for your reply, I have managed to make a fantastic itinerary with the help of your website. Thanks again

115 Dave { 10.27.15 at 9:28 am }

Great, Lindsey-Anne!!

116 Elizabeth { 12.19.15 at 5:10 pm }

I need your help! We’re arriving after 8pm Sun 01/10/15 and departing the following Sunday at 3pm. We’re staying at Give Kids The World with a 2-yr old and 17-yr old. The only thing locked in on our schedule is brunch with Chef Mickey on Tues at 10am and a meet with Buzz and Woody. Please suggest the best use of our 3-day Disney pass with the Give Kids The World access. The open days we plan to use our 2-day passes to Universal and 1-day to Sea World. We would also like to check out the boardwalk a couple nightsmall for dinner, unless dinner in one of the parks would be more enjoyable. Most importantly are minions, Toy Story, a fireworks show and wishes. Please please help. Our trip is around the corner and we were just granted this gift from Make A Wish this week.

117 Elizabeth { 12.19.15 at 5:13 pm }

Sorry. I meant a 3.5 yrs old son and 17 yrs old daughter. My son is more interested in characters and interactive stuff and my daughter is interested in rides.

118 Dave { 12.21.15 at 8:30 am }

Hi Elizabeth! Dinner in the parks or hotels is a much better choice than the BoardWalk, which is largely not much different than you can find at home.

I’d advise two days at MK, and your third Disney day varying depending on whihc of the other parks you find most interesting. Scanning Chapter 6 of my book might help your with that choice. You’ll also find in that same place plans for each park.

Your dates, the best days for MK are Tuesday and Thursday.

You need to make your FastPass+ and dining reservations ASAP!

119 TrevorBarnes3 { 12.26.15 at 1:28 pm }

I was very pleased to uncover this great site. I want to to thank you for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely really liked every bit of it and I have you saved as a favorite to check out new stuff in your web site.

120 Kate { 12.27.15 at 5:01 pm }

Hi, we’re at Disney over Easter with a 5 & 7 year old. Where’s the best place to spend Easter Sunday in terms of Easter events/ activities for the children and balancing it with crowds?

121 Dave { 12.29.15 at 8:55 am }

There’s not much in the way of Easter activities, Kate. I’d pick AK or MK, and avoid HS.

122 Dennis { 01.08.16 at 4:04 am }

Hi Dave, I read that Soarin is scheduled to be closed for renovation until the summer, have you seen that yet? I also read that while this is happening Mission Space will move to tier 1 for FP+. My family plans to arrive on the date of August 6. Any idea if Soarin will be back up and running by then and how the tiers will change?

123 Dave { 01.08.16 at 7:37 am }

Dennis, yeah the news on this has been out a while. There’s no official re-open date, but I do expect Soarin will be back by then and will be Tier 1.

124 Dennis { 01.08.16 at 8:41 am }

Thanks, do you know if I will be able to book Soarin at the 60 day mark? Maybe they will have an official opening date by then I suppose, but I am kind of worried that the whole system might be confused because of Mission Space changing tiers while Soarin is being renovated. If they don’t have an opening date planned by 60 days prior to August 6, and Mission Space is still tier one, and then lets say Soarin opens closer to like 30 days prior, how easy is it to make changes in FP+ without losing the others?

I also want to know about the new frozen ride coming to norway as well. I predict it will be tier 1 but since I have very little disney experience I really am not sure if this is a good prediction or not. In fact is the frozen ride supposed to be up and running in that time? I don’t think that has an official opening date either.

I am trying to make decisions on FP+ for 2 days at epcot. And the plan is that we will arrive to Disney World around 11am on the 6th of august, check in, and head to epcot, while the second day is a full day from rope drop. I am kind of lost here on which rides to choose for FP+.

I was thinking maybe like this:

Day 1: FP+ for Frozen Ride, Mission Space, and Spaceship Earth.
Day 2: FP+ for Soarin, Figment, and Turtle Talk with Crush. Ride Test Track right after rope drop, and then living with the land before anything else.

But again I am not sure if this will work properly with the tiers and everything.

Do you have any suggestions or recommendations?


125 Dave { 01.10.16 at 8:16 am }

Dennis, no one knows when FP+ will be open or if it will be 60 days before. The general approach to the two Epcot days you have laid out looks fine given what I expect of FP+ tiers, except there’s no payoff to hitting Living with the Land after Test Track. I would book TT as my FP+ on day 2, and if Soarin is open hit it at park opening. That way you aren’t hostage to Soarin FP+ availability or timing.

126 Eric { 01.19.16 at 9:32 am }

I’m currently planning a visit at WDW for the last week of Feb 2016. I have been there when I was young 2 times, now it’s time to bring my kids (8 & 12). What would be the best itinerary? We’ll be arriving late on Saturday, staying in a condo near Disney. Planning on taking it cool on Sunday to do shopping for our meals of the week. Then first day at Disney on Monday, last on Friday. (5 days tickets).

Let me know! Thanks!

127 Dave { 01.19.16 at 6:01 pm }

Eric, I don’t have an itinerary for such a short trip on this site, but you can find one and two day park touring plans in Chapter 6 of my book.

Monday, avoid AK and MK
Tuesday avoid Epcot
Wednesday avoid MK
Thursday avoid Epcot
Friday avoid MK and HS

You also need to book your FastPass+ soon!

128 Abby { 01.23.16 at 8:55 pm }

Hi there! We are planning trip for December 2016. My husband is military, so we will be using the military salute rate on the 4 day pass. We have 3 kids, ages at visit will be 10 yrs, almost 4 years & 1 yr old. We are thinking 3 in MK and 1 at AK. That will allow us time since we had two smaller kids. However, my husband & oldest want to do just a couple things at Epcot. Is it work doing a day there with two other small children? Or should we perhaps split up half a day? Do you recommend 3 at MK due to the ages, or still go to Hollywood a day?

129 Dave { 01.25.16 at 9:09 am }

Hi Abby, in your shoes I’d do together 2 days at MK and one at either HS or AK–depending on which seems more attractive, read the ride reviews in my book to help decide. The 4th day then as you suggest split the family, with some at Epcot and the younger ones with you back at MK.

130 Kelly { 02.01.16 at 1:33 pm }

Hey Dave!!!
Your site has been an amazing tool for me! We are planning our first visit to Disney World for 10 days! We will arrive Wed, November 30th 2016 and stay until December 9th 2016. We don’t plan on visiting parks the first or last day. There will be three of us, my husband, myself and our 5 year old daughter and we are staying at Old Key West. Could you help with an itinerary plan by any chance? We also are planning on relaxing/napping most days for 3-4 hours midday. I have a tentative itinerary, but not knowing what it’s really like in the parks makes me want a second opinion!

131 Dave { 02.02.16 at 7:23 am }

Kelly, I can, but not until Disney releases its calendar for then, which will likely be in later May…so come back then OK?

132 Heleana { 02.14.16 at 11:52 am }

We are thinking of travelling 28th May for two weeks. What are the best days to visit certain parks please and any particular days to avoid certain ones? We are also hoping to visit the two Universal Parks and Discovery Cove. Many thanks.

133 Dave { 02.15.16 at 9:28 am }

Heleana, see this for May and this for June

134 Melissa { 02.19.16 at 2:49 pm }

Hello! My kiddos and I just booked our first trip to Disney for 4/19-4/26 this year. I am so overwhelmed trying to figure out itinerary for us as I do not know the rides we should get our fast passes for. We are staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge so I figured we would start out there the first day to immerse the kids immediately rather than have them wait to bus elsewhere. All the sample itinerary’s are for Sunday to Sunday, can you help me with one for these dates? Thanks in advance for any help at all!!

135 Dave { 02.20.16 at 10:14 am }

Melissa, there are one and two day plans including recommended FastPass+ for each park in Chapter 6 of my book.

Those dates,
4/19 avoid Epcot
4/20 avoid MK
4/21 avoid Epcot
4/22 avoid HS and MK
4/23 avoid AK and MK
4/24 avoid HS
4/25 avoid AK and MK
4/16 avoid Epcot

136 Julie { 03.16.16 at 12:18 pm }

Planning a trip October 2016. Trying to sequence days in the park so that I will be ready to make dining reservations when they open 180 days before. Since I need the park schedules and it appears they are only out 189 days in advance, this means I have only 9 days to sequence our days in the park and choose where to dine, I guess? Is there any way to get a good idea of what park schedules might be based on past years? Or do they vary greatly year to year?

137 Dave { 03.16.16 at 12:55 pm }

Julie, the October calendar should be out within a week.

138 Kelly Barnes { 03.17.16 at 5:29 pm }

Julie – I would suggest planning where you want to dine each day without the date being specific. So say plan your day at Epcot. Then when the dates open you just take your day for Epcot and plop it into the date with the best crowds. Then you can just move the parks around, but your plans for the day will already be set.

139 Cindy P. { 03.18.16 at 9:05 am }

OMG…I love you! The excel planner…I’m just dying right now I’m so much in love with you! Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of this help!!! I’ve been overwhelmed trying to plan and work and everything else and you are breaking this down and making it so much easier! I will recommend your book and website to anyone who is planning their first (or next) trip to Disney World!

140 Dave { 03.18.16 at 1:53 pm }

Cindy I am blushing…

141 Eric { 05.05.16 at 11:04 am }

Aside from the hotel reviews and rankings, this page is so crucial. Most people would think to go to the parks on EMH days, so reverse is a great plan. THANKS!

142 Dave { 05.07.16 at 6:00 am }

Thanks Eric!!

143 Chris { 05.07.16 at 6:26 am }

Great info!

Two questions;

1 – We have a limited amount of time (one full day) and have set in mind doing EPCOT first and MK after lunch (to take in Wishes and other attractions.)
Any suggestions of what to see and do at each with a limited time line?

2 – with us staying at the Disney Caribbean Beach Resort – and from what I have researched with a few other blogs – would it be better to drive to EPCOT – park – do EPCOT and take the monorail to MK? (and would the pick up of the car after closing at MK and monorail transport time be a problem in picking up the car at the end of the evening?) From what I understand the bus system is a bit hectic.

Any suggestions are appreciated!

144 Dave { 05.07.16 at 7:15 am }

Hi Chris, to be most helpful, I’d need to know the ages of any kids involved and the exact date you are visiting these parks.

145 Chris { 05.07.16 at 7:24 am }

hi Dave – apologies forgot to mention that.

2 adults – my wife and I (her first trip to MK and EPCOT).

July 19th only.

146 Chris { 05.07.16 at 8:44 am }

hi Dave – apologies forgot to mention that.

2 adults – my wife and I (her first trip to MK and EPCOT).

July 19th only.

147 Dave { 05.08.16 at 9:28 am }

OK Chris. The way to do this is show up early (e.g. at turnstiles at least 45 minute before open) at Epcot, and save your 3 FastPass+ for MK. AT Epcot open immediately do Soarin, then the single rider line at Test Track.

What to do next at Epcot, and how to use your 3 FastPass+ at MK, has way too many variable given how many options there are and how short your time is. E.g. for MK you might want to show her via FP+ a varied selection of the best on offer–Pirates or Jungle Cruise, Big Thunder Mountain or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan or Splash Mountain. Best is to read the ride reviews in my book (and the associated FastPass+ prioities) and pick from there.

On transport, if driving, you want your car to be at your last park. Given how early you need to be up anyway, I’d do the bus to Epcot, monorail to MK, and a bus back to your hotel. You will face crowds on the way home, but you’d also face them on the attempt to get back to Epcot, which may not even be running that late…overall this is simplest…

148 Janelle { 08.27.16 at 9:29 am }

Hello! My family and I are going to Disney in July 2017 for 2 weeks. We will arrive on a Sunday around 3:30pm and will leave 2 weeks later on Saturday. I know July is a crowded and busy time so keeping that in mind we did not want to rush every where so we planned for 2 weeks. We only bought 8 days worth of tickets because we want rest days in between. We don’t wont to get burnt out going to park after park. We have a 7 year old and we will want to TRY to get breakfast at Crystal Palace, and we want to TRY and get the night time Dessert on the Terrace at MK. What do you think would be a good way to plan this. I am overwhelmed with all there is at Disney and what days to visit the parks. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thank you so much!!!!

149 Kelly B - Destinations In Florida { 08.28.16 at 9:51 pm }

Hi Janelle,

Planning your trip can get a bit overwhelming. But just take it one step at a time. Take a look at crowd calendars and park hours. You’ll spend most of your time in Magic Kingdom. It’s a great part to start and end your trip at. For the most crowded days, Epcot is a great choice (it always feels less crowded there). Least crowded days – definitely MK.

If you have any questions or need more help planning, contact me at I’ve got a Fairy Godmother planning package that might be just what you need.

150 Dave { 08.30.16 at 5:55 pm }

Hi Janelle, I won’t be able to comment on July until Disney publishes its calendar for then, which it will likely do in about 3.5 months. For a sense, see this: If operating patterns remain the same (they might not, which is why I have to wait for the calendar) you would follwo it, but insert your off days. However, “Tuesday” means “Tuesday,” not “Day 4,” so if you take your first Tuesday off, you’d do what it shows for that Tuesday on the Tuesday of the second week.

151 CelestaVol { 10.08.16 at 1:34 pm }

Have you ever considered creating an e-book or guest authoring on other sites? I have a blog based on the same ideas you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my subscribers would value your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to send me an email.

152 Dave { 10.10.16 at 6:53 am }

Hi Celesta, I’m the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017. There’s an e-book version of it available on Gumroad here. An affiliate program for the e-book is noted here. The paperback available on Amazon here, and the Kindle version available on Amazon here
Although I’ve been on Len Testa’s old podcast, John Panda’s video series, the Orlando NPR station WFME a couple of times, in the Orlando Sentinel a couple of times, and have a featured monthly column for first-timers in WDW Magazine, I haven’t done any guest posts for a while.  I’m not opposed to it–I just have a hard time fitting it in…

153 Mary Beth { 11.17.16 at 7:30 pm }

Is Thursday 12/7/16 at Epcot with extra magic hours, or Friday 12/8 at Epcot likely to be less crowded. I know days with EMH are typically a no no, but the EMH are in the early morning. And I was not sure if Thursdays in general, are less crowded than Fridays

154 Mary Beth { 11.17.16 at 7:53 pm }

addendum to above. This is not our first visit but our second, and our first visit without kids. Another choice would be MVMCP on Thursday 12/8( vs Tuesday 12/13) OR Going to Magic Kingdom Monday 12/12 from 11:00 through Wishes. We cannot do both. How does getting to MVMCP after 6 compare to going to Magic Kingdom with Wishes from 11-11:00

155 Dave { 11.18.16 at 11:23 am }

Mary Beth, because of the early close at MK the 8th, both days will be about the same at Epcot–but only do Thursday if you can arrive 30 mins before EMH start.

156 Dave { 11.18.16 at 11:23 am }

Mary Beth, MK will be mobbed Monday.

157 Jamie { 01.24.17 at 1:18 am }

We will be arriving in Orlando late (10pm) on March 23 and are spending the 24 and 25 at Disney. We are staying at the Polynesian. It is my wife and I and our 7 and 5 year old. Would you mind suggesting an itinerary? Thanks for the great site!

158 Dave { 01.24.17 at 6:41 am }

Sorry, Jamie, all the itineraries on this site are for much longer visits and older kids. On such a short trip with kids that age I’d just focus on the Magic Kingdom. You cna find two day itineraries for Magic Kingdom for kids in Chapter Six of my book.

159 Elise { 08.11.17 at 4:45 pm }

Hi Dave –
When we visited in 2014, we used the app to plan our itinerary. Are you still affiliated with them? Or do you have other recommendations – just the mydisneyexperience?

160 Dave { 08.12.17 at 8:12 am }

Hi Elise, I’d advise the itineraries in my book–but wait a week or so for the 2018 edition.

161 Elise { 08.13.17 at 6:48 am }

Sorry I should’ve been more clear! We use your itineraries, but touringplans had an app that you can use inside the park that updates wait times, etc. Last time I just designed my own off of your recommendations – which worked perfectly btw, thank you – and put it into that app whilst actually in the parks. Didn’t know if this was something you still recommended.

Am anxiously awaiting next book – we’re going in April. Thanks very much!

162 Dave { 08.13.17 at 8:19 am }

Hi Elise, got you. I have not used it recently enough to have an opinion.

The 2018 version of the book–fingers crossed–should be available this week!!

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