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By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2018, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

Available on Amazon here.

Disney World Lower Crowd Itinerary

By Dave Shute

Below is my FastPass+ based Disney World itinerary for lower crowd weeks.

Updated in April 2018, it includes guidance for the new Avatar: World of Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and an alternate set of instructions for the to-open on June 30 Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

  1. Toy Story Land will be opening at the Studios June 30.  Unusual operating patterns from then through the week beginning 8/18 mean the following:
    • For visits when your Studios days are before June 30, use the itinerary and To-do List as written
    • For visits when your Studios days are between June 30 and and August 25, use the updated FastPass+ instructions and touring plans for the two Studios days you will find on this page.
    • For Studios days after 8/25, I’ll be publishing an appropriate set of FastPass+ and touring plans shortly

On its first Animal Kingdom day, it uses a Rivers of Light Dining Package to save a FastPass+. Note that this package is available sometimes only 3-4 months ahead, rather than the 180 days ahead that most dining is available.

It is designed for lower-crowd weeks and does not work all dates after than.  Check your week here.

As always on this site, click the image to enlarge it.

The recommended dining and FastPass+ that make it work are in its To-Do List, so you can book them at the appropriate 180 day window for dining (although, so far, Rivers of Light dining has been opening up just a couple of months ahead) and 60 day window for FastPass+ sign-ups. Daily agendas are in the links:

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1 Justin { 08.21.17 at 8:16 pm }

Since the Halloween party will be happening on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, the week of October 1-7, would you still recommend Magic Kingdom touring on those days, when the park closes at 7pm?

2 Dave { 08.22.17 at 6:31 am }

Justin, that is exactly why I recommend the Magic Kingdom those days–the early close and lack of fireworks makes the park unattractive and hence much less busy.

3 Rita M Talackine { 10.03.17 at 12:39 am }

I am looking to go to animal kindom week of oct 15,-19. My son uses wheel chair. Any reco.madation, best place to buy tickets

4 Dave { 10.03.17 at 7:56 am }

Rita, buying direct from Disney is your best choice with your visit so soon. After you get your tickets, you need to dset up your FastPass+ ASAP. See this for the scoop. Those dates AK will be best Sunday and Tuesday.

5 Mike { 11.06.17 at 11:49 am }

Hey Dave,

My daughters and I will be enjoying WDW on a long weekend in January. After Hours on the 19th, and then we want to split AK/Epcot on the 20th. We are staying on-site, and will utilize the EMH at AK on the 20th.

Our FP’s are going to be reserved for Epcot. The 9-year-old is riding Frozen. She informs me this in non-negotiable. This leaves me without a FP for AK, and we want to ride both Exp. Everest and Flight of Passage. I know this is going to leave me with at least one line!

My question is, when utilizing the 8AM EMH at AK, which should be my rope drop ride, and for which one should I bite the bullet and wait…..wait time being the criterion?

6 Dave { 11.06.17 at 1:57 pm }

Hey Mike, arrive at EMH early (e.g. 30 mins before the posted start)and head straight to Flight of Passage, then do Everest after that. 95% of the folk at EMH go straight to Pandora, and 90% of them go straight to FOP. Waits at Everest will be fine until 10ish.

7 Ashley Kenyon { 01.08.18 at 8:54 pm }

Hi, we’re planning to make a trip with a large group 5/12 – 5/19. We’ll have 5 day park hopper tickets. Because we plan to join in on some group meals, we have some days we will definitely need to use a park day, but I’m am trying to figure out if we should stay in the park we’re in or maybe hit some of the big rides before they get crazy and then hop over to another park.
Current Plans (that I can’t change):
5/13 Dinner at HDD @6:15p
5/15 Illuminations Dessert Party
5/16 Grad Party @ Typhoon Lagoon (we haven’t been given all details for this so don’t know time)
5/17 Sci-Fi Dine In & Toy Story Mania (7:30a-9:00a)
5/18 Livin Seas & Soarin (7:30a-9:00a)

We’ll also have an educational program in Epcot before noon either the 14th or 15th. Since we haven’t been given our times yet, I have keep those times open or at least make plans that can easily be changed while still planning to use one of our park days.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated as we normally spend 10 days in the parks and I don’t even know where to start with such a small amount of time + activities that have been already scheduled for the group.

8 Dave { 01.09.18 at 6:00 am }

Hi Ashley, this sure will be a different trip for you! So you’ve already got days set at Epcot and HS. For HS the key is that Toy Story Mania will be running at either reduced capacity or actually closed (as a transition to the new Toy Story Land) so you may not actually get to it in the am of 5/17, so if it’s a priority I would FastPass+ it too.

The you need to pick your AK and MK days. Those dates MK will be best 5/15 and 5/17, although it won’t be very bad the other days. Given the time you already have dedicated to Epcot, you may want to spend 5/15 at MK then hop over for the party. If you have not been to AK since all the changes there, then that will be a real treat! Sundays tend to be best at AK. Flight of Passage is the priority, and getting FP+ for it can be a real challenge. It builds waits very fast after rope drop, so if you can’t get a FP+ and plan to see it first thing, arrive 75 minutes early on a regular day and 45 minutes early on an EMH day.

9 Ashley Kenyon { 01.08.18 at 8:55 pm }

I don’t know how to edit, but I meant to say 5 day park hopper tickets.

10 Dave { 01.09.18 at 6:00 am }

I edited it for you Ashley!

11 Jamie { 04.19.18 at 5:12 pm }

Hi, thank you for all of the info and help in planning my upcoming trip to Disney! I am wondering about the credits from the dining plan. I have booked my trip from Oct. 27-Nov 4 and have been reviewing your itinerary plans. It seems if I’m reading things right that I would be dining 10x @ quick service locations not counting breakfast and using 7 credits of table service (hoop dee do costing 2 credits). If I am there for 9 days do these itineraries not utilize the other two table service credits? Or are these used towards the quick service overage? Any help figuring this out is greatly appreciated!

12 Dave { 04.20.18 at 6:51 am }

Hi Jamie, credits come by hotel night, not day, so you get 8 of each credit, not 9.

Cinderella is also a two credit meal, so there are 8 uses of dining credits. The itinerary has a total of ten counter service meals, but two are italicized, indicating “Cash, not Dining PLan” so the net is that you use all your credits and pay cash for two more quick service.

13 Jamie { 04.24.18 at 9:44 am }

Thank you for the explanation for my last question. I have one more…My trip is from Oct. 27-Nov. 4th and I am hoping to use one of your itineraries. I need to book my dining by April 30th and am wondering if it is safe to use the lower crowd plans you already have listed? They all seem to be very similar in regards to day of week and where to eat.

14 Dave { 04.25.18 at 8:23 am }

Hi Jamie, yes that is an OK place to start!

15 Gretchen { 04.27.18 at 3:12 pm }

Hi. I planned my trip Oct 12-16. I am getting conflicting info on crowds. I’m hearing that October is now more crowded than ever. True?? I’m starting to get nervous that I may have picked a bad time. It’s not my first visit, but I try to plan during low crowds because why spend all this money if you can’t hear yourself think lol. We’re flying in on the 12th about 5pm so all we have planned that evening is Hoop Dee Doo at 830pm. I did MNSSHP on Oct 14th because I heard it’s awesome. It was a little difficult to get dining reservations (scary) and I got them done in the first week that it opened up for me to do it… Any tips? Advice for park days (I have the annual pass) etc? Thanks!!

16 Dave { 04.28.18 at 10:25 am }

Hi Gretchen, yes, October–especially the weeks before and after Columbus Day–is getting increasingly bad, and its reputation has been further sullied by people making bad park choices. I have your week marked as moderate crowds.

Ignoring, for the moment, your ability to hop with your pass–let me know if you are eligible for morning EMH and I might have slightly different thoughts–

10/12 avoid EPcot and MK
10/13 avoid all but HS
10/14 avoid HS
10/15 avoid MK and AK
10/16 avoid Epcot

17 Arlene { 04.28.18 at 11:50 pm }

Hi Dave,
We have our first summer trip booked. We are arriving on Sunday, August 12th and leaving on Wednesday, August 22nd. That week starting the 12th is missing from your itineraries. Which itinerary should we following, high or low season? Also with the opening of Toy Story how will this affect us…what are your recommendations. We have a park hopper with water parks included. Love your site and the advice you gave us 5 years ago for our trip.


18 Dave { 04.30.18 at 1:10 pm }

Hi Arlene, it;s there, but listed as beginning 8/11. My itineraires don’t adapt to different arrival dates as they are based on actual crowd patterns–ie.e Monday means Monday, not Day 3. For the impact of Toy Story, see this.

If you tell me the ages of your kids (if any) I can advise you on parks to avoid by day–and I’m so glad the site helped you before!

19 Arlene { 04.30.18 at 8:07 pm }

Hi Dave,
Thanks for your reply. Sorry but I am a little confused….one place notes the high crowd itinerary ends on August 11th and another spot has it ending on the August 18th. Our visit is right in between. Our kids are 12 and 10 yrs old. We are not a family that does thrill rides unless they are really mild. We are booked in All Star Sports….any room recommendations?

Thanks again for all your help…..I have told a lot of people about your site, believe it or not a Disney Store employee as well who was unaware of free dining!!!

20 Dave { 05.02.18 at 1:38 pm }

Arlene, there are two places I can think of here I recommend an itinerary for the week beginning 8/11 (all my references are to the beginning of a week), here and here, and both mark the high crowd itinerary for that week. Please let me know where you found the error as I want to fix it!

In my review of All-Star Sports, if you don’t have a “preferred” booking I suggets that “a third floor room in buildings 2 or 5 (best) or 3 or 4 (next best) is the best place to stay.”

For your itinerary, I’d suggest you use this as a start:

However, because of your longer stay, replace what it has as Monday with the Monday from this: , take Wednseady off, and do the Wednesday form this as your second Monday

21 Sangeetha Selvaraj { 05.09.18 at 10:51 am }


When will the itineraries for Nov 10 departure be published, May 14th is the date we need to make reservations 🙂 Thanks in advance

22 Dave { 05.10.18 at 8:40 am }

Sangeetha, the calendar has been coming out literally 180 days ahead, and I post itineraries after the last day of the affected week is up. So I’ll be posting the itinerary for that arrival date on 5/22. I realize that’s awkward, so I can guess at it if you’d like!

23 Sharee { 06.11.18 at 2:07 am }

Hi Dave,

We are staying onsite arriving am on the 13th Sept and departing 19th September 2018 with our two older boys aged 20 and 17. What do you think of this itinerary?

12th afternoon at Hollywood Studios

13th Magic Kingdom

14th Epcot

15th Magic Kingdom

16th Animal Kingdom

17th Epcot

18th Animal Kingdom

As this is our first time we are still not sure if we should buy a 7 day pass or a 7 day hopper pass.

Would this itinerary suit my older boys? They are into to Star Wars, Pandora and in general most rides.

We are would more than likely have 1 or 2 of these days as half days to chill for a bit.

Prior to arriving at WDW we will be spending 3 nights (2.5 days) at Universal. I love Harry Potter!!



24 Dave { 06.11.18 at 9:49 am }

Hi Sharee, rather than address specific day issues let me note the following:

9/12 avoid MK
9/13 avoid Epcot
9/14 avoid Epcot and MK
9/15 avoid all but HS
9/16 avoid HS
9/17 avoid MK and AK
9/18 avoid Epcot

So most of your days work nicely, but not all.

You are short on HS time, and long (by half a day) on both Epcot and AK. So you could 1. add a hopper, and then 2. take a half day or two from these and put them towards HS.

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