By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2019, 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 July 2018, it includes guidance for the new Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

  1. Toy Story Land opened 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 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, use the itinerary and To-do List as written

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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40 comments

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.

Thanks….

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: https://yourfirstvisit.net/2017/08/16/disney-world-higher-crowd-itinerary-seven-night-variant/

However, because of your longer stay, replace what it has as Monday with the Monday from this: https://yourfirstvisit.net/2018/04/25/itinerary-revisions-for-summer-visits-to-disney-world/ , take Wednseady off, and do the Wednesday form this https://yourfirstvisit.net/2018/04/25/itinerary-revisions-for-summer-visits-to-disney-world/ as your second Monday

21 Sangeetha Selvaraj { 05.09.18 at 10:51 am }

Hi

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!!

Thanks

Sharee

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.

25 Michelle Bragg { 06.25.18 at 5:44 pm }

hi Dave,
I have booked my families very first trip to Disney. We will be arriving 9/26 around 930-10ish and are staying til 10/1 til roughly 4pm. We have tickets to mickey’s not so scary halloween for friday the 28th. So far I have planned for Epcot thurs, MK fri, AK sat, and HS sunday. would you suggest any changes or half days at a park the day we arrive and depart. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We have Be Our guest reservations for weds at 9am and sun trex for dinner at 630. Please help

26 Dave { 06.26.18 at 12:29 pm }

Michelle, are you bringing kids, and if so, what ages?

27 Dave { 06.27.18 at 7:41 am }

Michelle, you have picked days with morning Extra Magic Hours. While that can work well if you are eligible, early risers and can be at the turnstiles by 30 minutes before open, it tends to lead to a long day. Moreover, commonly the park with Extra Magic Hours is often more crowded later in the day than it would be on other days–as on the order of other people are also eligible for those periods.

Do you have a park hopper ticket or a standard ticket?

28 Michelle Bragg { 06.26.18 at 4:39 pm }

dave,
sorry my son will be 10 and is currently 5 feet talk so no worries about height

29 Michelle Bragg { 06.27.18 at 5:31 pm }

dave,
I have a park hopper for our whole trip. Im open to changing any and all days to best utilize our time. This and fast passes are stressing me out. ive read 4 books. Your was the last to better help me with my itinary.

30 Dave { 06.30.18 at 3:07 pm }

Michelle, are you early risers? Could you imagine being up in time to be at the parks at say 7.30a?

31 Michelle Bragg { 06.30.18 at 5:48 pm }

dave,
I could but my husband not so much. Im up for any changes that can help us thru this process. I guess we should rethink about our whole schedule. Any additional feedback would be greatly appreciated. Im sorry we seem to be playing tag, but i dont get home til 530 from work.

32 Dave { 07.01.18 at 9:59 am }

No worries, Michelle–my day job–and my current visit to WDW–have gotten me behind as well.

You have a short trip, and the parks take 2+ to 1+ days each to see. So using half days on travel days is a good idea–among other things, it lets you book three more FastPass+ for those day. Adding ticket days (once you’ve bought four) is–for Disney–relatively inexpensive. See this.

You can also see a lot of MK rides at the halloween party, as the redies will have low waits. See this for a plan–it’s from 2017, but should be close.

Beyond that, you can divide your time in the parks, and pick your priority FastPass+, based on the material on this page. Some FastPass+ will be quite hard to get at this late date–Slinky DOg Dash, Flight of Passage, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

9a is a terrible time to dine, as it takes you out of the park just when crowds are lowest. If it were me, I would cancel Be Our Guest. Similarly, T-Rex will cost you the ability to see an evening show, so I would skip that as well if it were me.

9/26 avoid MK
9/27 avoid Epcot
9/28 avoid MK (the party is fine, just don;t have MK be your park the rest of the day) and EPcot
9/29 avoid AK and Epcot
9/30 avoid HS
10/1 avoid MK and AK

I don;t have any itineraires on this site that will work. However there are one and two day touring plans for each park in my book.

33 Candi Shaw { 08.08.18 at 3:44 am }

Hi Dave! My family is going to take their first ever Disney World trip in either January or February of 2019. Our 3 choices are from 01/01-01/05, 01/27-02/01, or 02/10-02/15. First off out of these weeks which do you believe will be the least crowded? Also we plan to only do 2-3 days at the Disney parks so we can do other things while in Orlando. I have 3 children, ages 14, 13, and 4. My 13 year old son is autistic. Plus myself and husband. We would prefer not to do the parks on the first or last days of our trip. Which park on which day would be our best bet for lowest crowds and wait times? Also if you have any must see/do tips it would be greatly appreciated! I am over whelmed with all the information! Thank you so much for your help!

34 Dave { 08.08.18 at 6:33 am }

Hi Candi!! Of your arrival dates the best choice by far is 1/27, and the worst is 1/1.

Take a look at this to pick the parks you want to do, and let me know–I can give you more guidance after that.

With such widely different ages, and the spectrum son, you may be best off spending two days at MK, and a third at either HS or AK–Epcot will hold little of interest to your 4 year old.

BTW also take a look at DIsney’s approach to such kids here.

35 Candi Shaw { 08.08.18 at 5:21 pm }

Thank you for getting back to me so quickly! I think we will just do the 2 days in MK. This park seems to have the most to offer our wide age group. Plus if we stay in the same park we only have to go GS and set a cognitive disability pass once. (If I am understanding the rules correctly?) I will definitely take your advice on the dates and schedule for the last week in January. So 01/27/19–02/01/19. We would love to get reservations at Chef Mickey for one of the days. Do you have a recommendation for the other day? What do you think are our best days in the park to see and do the most? Thank you again for all your advice and help!

36 Dave { 08.09.18 at 1:11 pm }

Candi, I would aim for Tuesday and Thursday. Crystal Place is a good choice for the other day!

37 Jennifer { 09.15.18 at 1:50 pm }

Hi Dave,
Could you please critique my Disney itinerary?
I am going with my mom, and two sons ages 4 and 1 1/2. We are staying at the Grand Floridian.
My sister and her 4 year old daughter will join us half way thru the trip.
We are looking for a fun but relaxed trip. We hate lines and my children really have no patience and my mom gets tired easily. My son does not really like rides any big rides. Peter Pan and little mermaid are right up his ally…
10/1/18 Epcot (we probably won’t get to the park til 1pm) Fast pass frozen 5:45
I see that the wine and food festival is every night this week. I thought it used to be just certain nights? Think it will not be too crazy since it’s a Monday?
10/2/18 Magic kingdompark opens at 9…I have a 9am Be our Guest reservation. I know it’s bad timing but I really want to see the castle. My plan is to try to be at park by 8:15 and try to be sat early. Fast passes- enchanted tales with belle 9:50
Jungle cruise 11:15
Peter Pan 12:20
We will leave the park at 4:30 to go to mickeys back yard bbq…short day but hoping it’s quiet because there is a Halloween party that night.

Wednesday- Hollywood studios. We will wait for my sister and her daughter to arrive so we will not get to the park until 12:30ish…fast passes- star tours 1pm. Frozen 3pm. Toy story 5.

Thursday- grand Floridian pool morning
MNSSHP plan to arrive to park at 3:30

Friday- no park

38 Dave { 09.16.18 at 12:18 pm }

Hi Jennifer, this looks great–and Food & Wine has been on every nite for forever…

39 Rachel { 12.05.18 at 6:12 pm }

Hi Dave! Can you provide some guidance with which parks we should do which days? We arrive on 2/28/19 – flights lands at 1:30pm. We depart the morning of 3/5/19. It will be my husband, myself and 4 year old son. Staying at All Star Movies. Help?! Short trip because of husband’s work schedule but will probably be back in a couple of years.

40 Dave { 12.06.18 at 7:25 am }

Hiya Rachel. With a 4 year old it would be just fine to focus on Magic Kingdom, planning several half-days there. A four year od would probably enjoy a half day at either or both of AK and HS; there’s not so much at Epcot for most kids that age.

2/28 avoid Epcot
3/1 avoid MK
3/2 avoid MK and AK
3/3 avoid HS
3/4 avoid AK

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