14 Day Itinerary tips

Hi, we have just booked our first trip to Disney for next Summer, travelling from Scotland with a 5 and an 8 year old. I am trying to figure how many days “off” we will need and when we’ll need them (bearing in mind there will be a bit of jet lag for the kids at least). I like the touring plans for how to do each park etc., but I am not sure how to break down the 14 days by park(s) etc., which means I don’t know where/when to book restaurants etc. We have the standard dining plan. In the Unofficial guide I think it recommended doing Epcot first, then Animal Kindgom, HS and then MK. But we can probably do (some of) 2 days at each, and water parks too, so what order or breakdown would you recommend?
Thanks!

Tough one. You will have to figure out what days you want to go to a specific park. You will get opinions all over the place, just do what is best for you and your family. You have plenty of time to see everything at least once, so the order can be whatever you want it to be. When my kids were younger, the first time we took them we did the UG order. After that, my kids knew what was where- and it never worked again.

We usually go for 10 days- and a minimum of three of those days there is no park planned- no exceptions- and those non-park days occur every two-to-three days. You will be ‘gaining time’- so jet lag won’t be as much of an issue until you go home. Because you are gaining time- I would plan to be at rope drop every park touring day- and do 3-4 hours of touring using the two day touring plans (where appropriate)- then take a long break. Go back later to some parks to see the fireworks and parades once in each park- then your other days you won’t even have to go back at night unless you want to. DHS requires only one full day- so that day if you want to see Fantasmic you will probably be in the park all day, so plan a rest day near it, but all of the other parks can be broken into multiple mornings for touring. The evening entertainment at AK may be available by the time you go- so plan accordingly.

Cut your touring very short the morning of the afternoon parade in the MK- or go later that day just for the parades and fireworks and do limited touring with some FP+s in the afternoon/evening. We are doing this our next trip- and made an ADR for dinner at BoG that day since it isn’t an ‘attraction intensive’ day. Restaurants aren’t just in the parks- and most of the better ones are outside the parks in the resorts. Don’t let ADR’s ‘tie you down’. Get your park plan together, revamp it a couple of times before your ADR window comes up- then start with the ADR’s that are hardest to get. There will be plenty of availability at most EPCOT and resort restaurants except for character meals and O’hana- so lock down the hard-to-get ones, then go from there. We don’t do the dining plan- ‘having’ to get your meals in ‘controls’ where you are and what you do too much for our liking- but everyone is different. Good luck with your planning.

3 Likes

Thanks very much for this advice! The dining plan came free with the booking so it wasn’t a choice so much. Which takes the pressure off using it optimally I think. What’s O’hana? I seem to have missed that!
Thanks,
Claire

This is a problem that I always struggle with! The advice from Happy_2_B is spot-on, particularly about not being tied down by ADRs.
Jet-lag will mean you are waking up super early for the first few days so it can be better to plan early days rather than late nights (leave the fireworks for the second week!). Looking back on what we did for the last few years (with DD now age 7) what works for us is 3 busy days followed by a quiet day. We generally go to a park from rope drop to late afternoon on a busy day, but still leave time for a swim and relaxed dinner. One or two days we tour later and do evening shows.
Everybody is different, but for us the right balance would be something like HS 1day, AK 2 days, E 3 days, MK 3 days, water parks 2 days.

1 Like

It is a family style meal in the Poly that is quite popular, cousin. There are links to all the restaurants, with descriptions and ratings, on this site and in the UG. I would take some time to read through them since this is your first trip. Takes a while to ‘ramp up’ and learn the ‘basics’ of what you should know so you don’t wind up in an overpriced low quality restaurant. Food is edible in almost all WDW restaurants- but some are much better and some are much worse than ‘average’.

1 Like

The longest trip that I have ever had was 6 full days with a travel day on each end. I typically do not do a park on either arrival or departure day. Although I can manage going to the parks every day, DW cannot, so I planned 4 park days and 2 non-park days (although I had an AP at the time, so I did go into the parks for a few hours on the “off” days and let DW relax at AKL). If I was going to be there for 14 days, I would probably go to the parks for 2 or 3 days, take a day off, go another 2 or 3 days, take a day off, etc. That would give you 9 or 10 park days and 4 or 5 non-park days. The other option would be to do more half days; RD until lunch, and then come back to the resort (with the possibility of going back later in the afternoon/evening). Realistically, 3 full days at the MK, 2 at EP, and a full day at DHS and AK will allow you to see at least MOST of what each park has to offer. This doesn’t take into account the water parks.

But this is really all very subjective. As I implied earlier, my touring approach when solo is VERY different than it is when DW comes with me. Only you really know how much stamina your family has, what kind of mid-day breaks you might need, can you stay for Wishes or F! and still make RD the next morning, etc.

1 Like

This might help the restaurant research
http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/the-best-restaurants-series/

1 Like

we did a trip this big Summer this year. We had 10 day park tickets plus water parks.
We split the parks, one park in the morning, one park in the evening. I created plans for all, but ended up dropping quite a few mornings so we could hang by the pool, and so the kids could sleep in.

It’s very easy to change plans on the fly when you are there with the app, so don’t sweat on it too much if you change your mind when you get there. Pick a few key days to book the ‘must do’ fp and ADRS on your list, and book in the rest based on what you think you’ll like and be prepared to change it if the family decides otherwise on the day :smile:

With a 5 year old and 8 year old I’d think most of your days would be spent at MK as they have the most rides/attractions suited to this age group.

Mornings will be good for low waits, but you’ll also need long day breaks because of the heat. We are Australian, so we are used to hot summers, but florida heat combined with the humidity is another thing entirely - think midday to 5, or even 6/7pm. (depending on how late the kids are capable of staying out. We quite liked the evenings as it was a little cooler and comfortable to walk around.

I ended up shifting quite a few of my ADRs to later as it felt like such a rush to get back out the door to the parks.

The 10 day tickets were great - we felt like we saw and did everything we wanted to do, and didn’t feel bad if we decided to miss a morning or evening to relax. On our off days we did the waterparks. Again, these were best in the morning, all the slides were walk on first thing and they got crowded by lunch time.

You’ll have a blast!

We travel from England and normally spend about 15 days at WDW. We’ve been many times and found the following works well for us.

  1. We do 3 days of parks etc and then have a scheduled down day. This means no planned parks and no alarms set in the morning. This allows us to pace the holiday well. We do not always go back to a park - we either let the kids enjoy the pool or we have an evening ADR before one of our non park days.
  2. On park days we always (try) to make rope drop - you get so much more done in the first 2 hours.
  3. We usually book a table restaurant for lunch in the parks - this gets us out of the heat (we go mid summer). Also stops us being tied down by ADRs in the evening.
  4. As stated above we save the fireworks for the second week and have a reasonable bed-time in the first - this allows us to really use the jet lag to our advantage. We schedule the fireworks before a non park day so the family isn’t too tired.
  5. All kids are different, but at the age of yours I would have thoght you would want to spend 3 days in MK, 2 in AK and 1 in epcot and 1 in DHS. Add 2 days for each water park and 3 break days and that’s 12 days. On your last day you could try to do 4 parks in one day and do your favourite rides in each park
  6. The dining plan is great value for character meals - we used to do CRystal palace as a pre RD ADR on the fist morning and then Chef Mickeys as a late breakfast on our of our rest days
  7. Do not underestimate the amount of time you kids will want to spend on the hotel pool. They will, probably, enjoy that just as much as the parks. Build in time for this and set expectations before you go.

Have a great trip - come back and ask as many questions as you need

Hi Mark,

Just read your tips on what to do. I am also going for 14 nights with my 7 year old son,2nd week in February,arrive 17.25.
First of all,what is,ADR? We are staying at the CBR as of yet,not chosen a village. I just want to maximize the fast-pass and also the dining,we have quick dining.

We are also going to universal,seaworld and also Kennedy space centre, and I also would like to spend,just a few hours on the coast.

I am also going to hire a car,but not sure on the one week or two,my head says maybe two?

He is a bit of a star wars fan as well.

Thanks

Mike

Hi Mike

an ADR is an advance dining reservation - basically a booking at a table service restaurant. Lots of these book up at WDW so need advance reservations. May not be such an issue for you if you are using the quick dining plan.

Sounds like a great plan and 7 is a really good age for a trip to Florida. Make sue you take advantage of all the star wars activities at DHS (you can now meet and greet with Chewie and Darth Vader).

If you are doing that many non disney day trips I would hire a car for the 2 weeks. We usually do universal and discovery cove so only have a car for one week. We use Disney transport for Disney parks as we find it less stressful than driving all the time.

Hope you have a great time - come back with any questions and file a trip report on here when you get back.

Mark

One thing I haven’t seen mentioned yet - the reason ADRs can “tie you down” is because you will be charged a $10 pp fee if you cancel with less than 24 hours notice. If even one person in your party shows up, you will not be charged, but this limits the ability to make changes “on the fly.” When we went in 2012, prior to this policy being in effect, there were 2 or 3 times when we were still too full from lunch or the kids were too tired to go back out, so we called and let the restaurant know we would not be coming a few hours prior to our ADR – no problem. This year, we are thinking very carefully about leaving many hours between meals (we usually do a “pre-RD” breakfast and a fireworks-related dinner, with snacks in between) and arranging logistics to minimize the risk that we will have to “late cancel” an ADR. Of course, in an emergency I’m sure Disney would be understanding, but I have heard from folks who did not understand the policy and ended up with large bills (we are a party of 9, so a $90 fee would be horrifying). All that having been said, you will have a fantastic time! Good luck and enjoy the planning.

1 Like

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the reply, ( when I found it!) did not know where to look. Where did you hire your car from and who with?

Also we depart at LGW at 11.45 and arrive at MCO at 21.32. then when we depart our flight is at 18.25. We have a 14 day ultimate ticket,but I take it when we arrive it would be late to do anything? and the last day,seems we also have a bit of time to spare.

Think thats it.

Mike

Mike. We usually hire our car from the rental desk in swan hotel (we use alamo, but think they do enterprise as well). They are not the absolutely cheapest, but we find it convenient because

A) we can use the magical express from the airport - allows me to have a drink on the plane and means I don’t have to do a stressful drive after a 9 hour flight

B) we can pick the car up when we need it, limiting the cost. We use disney transport for the parks so only need the car when we are going outside the bubble

C) We can combine collecting the car with our days in DHS or Epcot - you can gat a boat from DHS to the swan or walk to the swan from Epcot if you leave by the exit in the world showcase between UK and France. We then drive back to the hotel. This means we do not have to miss park time to wait for a shuttle etc.

In terms of the tickets, if we don’t have enough days then we just spend the first evening unpacking and going to the pool. We don’t stay up to late as we can use the jet lag and the fact that we will all wake up by 5 the next morning to make sure we get to our first park by rope drop. Our last day is usually spent by the pool if we have run out of park days.