8 day vacation with 6 days in park - Help!

Hi all
We are first timers heading to Disney with our kids (6 year old girls) and my parents in April. We have an 8 day trip planned with 6 days in park and 2 rest days (day 3 and 6). I’m working on getting my TPs organized. Before I put more work into this I’m hoping you experts can comment on how much time to spend in each park. My current plan is:

Day 1 - MK for BBB at 8:40 and then rest of the day at Epcot (arrive ~10:30am???) - mainly rides, some time in world showcase.
Day 2 - MK - all day including electric parade and wishes with a 2 hour break for dinner and a bit of a rest
Day 3 - rest (hopefully kids will sleep in after a late night at the park)
Day 4 - MK - 8:10 reservation for CRT and then leave park around 4pm - hubby and I have a date night planned this night in Epcot for Illuminations and World showcase.
Day 5 - HS - rope drop, leave park at lunch and spend 3 hours back at hotel and then back to HS for dinner, a few rides and fantasmic
Day 6 - rest day
Day 7 - AK - rope drop and then leave park around 4pm
Day 8 - MK - rope drop, leave park around 2-3pm to get to airport for an 8pm flight home.

My questions:

  1. Is 2.5 days in MK enough to ride everything, meet princesses and do a few favorites over again? When I do my TPs it seems like everything in MK takes forever.
  2. How entertaining is the World Showcase for kids?
  3. How realistic is it to get to the park for rope drop with kids?
  4. What time would we have to leave the park for an 8pm flight home?
  5. Is two rest days enough? Too much?
  6. Should we go to a waterpark on one of our off days?


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It’s up to you, but I have had great success with roughly noon to 4:30ish breaks with young children. Sounds like you might be cranmming a lot in each day.

I 100% agree with nickt. We had our first trip this past summer with our 4 and 6 year old, and our days mostly looked like your planned HS day - rope drop, break at or after lunch, then a few hours rest and back to the parks at dinner. That was partly due to the heat, but I know even the adults in the crowd needed the break. And we weren’t slowed down by the 4 year old so much; the 6 year old still naps as much as she can on the weekends, and really enjoyed the double stroller we rented though she hasn’t been in a stroller in years. We had an excellent time and are planning to build in even more breaks for our next trip, including some days morning only in the parks and relaxing the rest of the day. I never believed it when I heard that other kids had said it before, but the six year old actually told me she wants to spend more time at the pool next time instead of the parks! The Poly pool was pretty awesome.

So, here is an answer to your questions…

  1. Yes, it should be enough time with smart touring plans. But, just be prepared that even though it should be enough time, you will likely change things on the fly and may not see absolutely everything in the park. We did exactly the same, 2.5 days, and ended up not seeing a few things. I had left Dumbo and a few other things until the final night, and then with a thunderstorm we missed out. The kids were disappointed. Lesson learned.
  2. Realistically, not very. That was why that was the night we scheduled for our date night. It might have been interesting to walk around and see things or do the kid stations in each country, but we didn’t even try it. But you know your own kids. Our six year old probably could’ve handled it, our four year old would not have handled it at all well.
  3. Depends on you and your kids. We did a lot of early ADRs which put us in the park even earlier than rope drop, but our kids are early risers anyway…like 5-6 AM daily…so that was not an issue for the most part.
  4. No experience with this as we drove.
  5. I feel like two rest days is good. I especially like your setup of having the night before be a late night, and then you have the rest day to recover. Great planning! Didn’t do this as much this past trip and ended up having to adjust because we couldn’t cut it.
  6. If you want to, sure! We probably will. Just make sure not to schedule a ton of ADRs on that day as well or it will be as hectic as a park day.

Thanks so much @nickt and @kjmollypup. Those are some of my thoughts too. Wondering if you wouldn’t mind commenting on my thought process behind this. I realize our first day at MK is probably too much and I will likely revise this quite a bit (i.e. take a longer break out of park mid afternoon and then go to dinner and back to the park for the rest of the day - making it more like our HS day). My thought behind doing days where we are there at rope drop but leave by 4pm or so was because our kids aren’t ones to have down time during the day, but they are really good at going to bed at night. So if we went back to the hotel they would be at the pool being very active the whole time. I planned breaks out of the park on the days where we were going to be at the park late for evening fireworks, but scheduled continuous days in the parks on the other days so that we could get back to the hotel earlier, have dinner and get them to bed at their normal time. I’m also concerned about the length of time it takes to get from the park to the hotel (we are staying at Carribean Beach and I’ve heard that getting to and from the park can take a long time). I’ve never been to Disney so I don’t know how crazy a 9 - 4pm day would be and I don’t know what to expect heat wise for April (norms are 60-80). Does this make any sense?

My only suggestion is to continue to be mindful of the kids. We were so silly sometimes “STOP HAVING FUN HERE - WE ARE LATE FOR FUN OVER THERE!!!” So as a first timer it is a big mistake to think you will see everything - you won’t - but that is what makes it fun to go back to. So I LOVE that you have planned things (so many don’t and then wonder why they wait in lines all day). But if the kids are good - stay. If they are tired - go. You know better than anyone how the kids will hold up. So continue to plan but BE FLEXIBLE

My only other suggestion may be to not park hop. There is plenty to do in a single park and you can save $$. Its fine / fun to park hop - but you don’t have to.

As a rule - Get to the part as soon as you can in the morning. Take a break - then come back later. Depending on where you are staying it will be easier than other places.

2.5 days will be more than enough in MK

Just continue to remember “we are here to have fun as a family and if we miss something that is ok” (its hard to keep that in mind when you are spending so much $$ though - HA)

It DOES take a bit of time to get from park to park and around the world - especially if you are using disney transportation.

OH - a fun (Very cheezy though - but fun) place to go is HOOP DE DOO REVIEW in Fort Wilderness. The BAD seats are still very good.

Sounds like you all will have a great time - just don’t OVER plan and be flexible.

We are actually going to be there around the same time. I only have a few restaurants picked out this time and we are going to to just “wing it” a bit. We have been there several times so trying to be a bit more relaxed - but I have used EXCEL many a time in planning on going to WDW

Our family typically does not do mid-day breaks, but I know some people have less heat tolerance, and we usually go in October, so the highest temps we usually get are in the mid 80s. This has been the case for us even with kids in the 4-8 range. I could not justify the travel time it takes to go to and from the parks, and our kids stopped napping when they were 4. But I do think it really depends on the kids…you really don’t want to be dragging tired kids through a park and having to deal with meltdowns. The keys to this working well for us: 1) We arrive at RD and make good touring plans so we’re not waiting in long lines, so kids are happy and occupied. 2) We take breaks as needed, and set our touring plans based on slowest pace walking. 3) We usually take 2 strategically placed days off for break days to spend sleeping in and lounging at the pool (also the resorts have fun pool activities for the kids every day). 4)We don’t do late nights unless the next day is a break day, and we get the kids to bed by 9 or 10 PM 5) We do at least one table service meal each day so we can sit and relax for a while. So based on what my family could handle, I think your plan is great!

To answer your questions:

  1. I think 2.5 days is enough. We usually do it in 2 days, but we don’t meet all the princesses, and we don’t take midday breaks.
  2. I love it, but my kids are not very into World Showcase. Others may disagree, but I think for most kids in the 4-8 range, this pales in comparison to the appeal of most of the other attractions at WDW.
  3. I think it’s very realistic, depending on your kids. Get everything ready the night before…clothes and shoes in order, wake them up, have an easy in room breakfast, and you’re on your way. I have one super slow morning kid, but he’s motivated when we’re at WDW! We love having easy breakfast options in our room (granola bars, apples, oatmeal, cereal, PB sandwiches, etc. - it’s cheap and easy!)
  4. If you are taking the Magical Express from your resort, they usually pick you up about 3 to 3 1/2 hours prior to your scheduled departure. You will need to figure in travel time from your park to your resort and add that in as well.
  5. I think your rest days are perfect, and well placed.
  6. I have never done the waterparks, and would personally not recommend trying to fit that in. I’m sure they’re awesome because they’re Disney, but the resort pools are usually pretty fun for 6 year olds, and a lot more relaxing for adults. We have great waterpark options at home, so that factors in for me as well. And seriously, the poolside activities led by cast members are amazingly fun for the kiddos. Grab one of those tasty adult beverages, and watch your kids have a blast!

One thing I would contemplate about your plan…Day 1, you have BBB in MK, then are leaving for Epcot. This is the first time your kids are seeing MK, so I would worry it might be hard to convince your princesses to leave without doing any of the rides. You may have to plan a little more time so they can experience one or two attractions. Just a thought. Unless you have Akershus scheduled for that day and can lure them away to dine with princesses?

I love the date night idea!!

In response to some of the comments above…

You know your kids best; quitting early may work fine when compared to a mid-day break. However, most folks advocate a mid-day break.

Re. how much time to allocate in each park, I suggest building your touring plans to see if you’re hitting all the attractions you want to see in each park. I agree that Epcot WS doesn’t hold much appeal for kids, except for the new Frozen ride. With Soarin’ closed there is not much for kids at Epcot; we’re budgeting just a half day.

I love Hoop de Doo - just made reservations for our trip with the grandkids in June.

We are planning two days in the water parks, and, since they don’t open till 10:00, we’ll get to sleep in. The Disney pools are great, however.

Thanks everyone. This is such great info. I was wondering about how long to plan for Epcot. I think it’s going to depend on when Frozen Ever After opens. Rumors say May 1st - I’m hoping it’ll open earlier since we are there in mid April. If 1/2 day at Epcot is enough then we could do BBB iin MK and the morning there and then head to Epcot for the afternoon and for our Akershus dinner reservation.

Here’s my take:

  1. 2.5 days sounds great to me. It’s more than we’ve ever had. I would prioritize what’s most important to you, and then have a list of what you’d really like to do if time allows.
  2. We spent a few hours walking around the World Showcase and it went well. With kids you can’t do what you might want to on your own, but you can still get a flavor of it. The boat ride in Mexico is good. and my kids liked seeing the Chinese acrobats. Plus there are plenty of princesses to meet. and we had some success with Agent P’s adventure, though it caused fighting over sharing the hand-held device. I’d ask for a 2nd one next time.
  3. depends on your kids :slight_smile: I have no trouble getting my kids out because they are very excited to go. The hold up is my husband :slight_smile:
  4. 5pm?
  5. two rest days sounds good. By our 3rd day, I was dropping, so I think 2 days in parks and then 1 rest is a good plan. but you have so many days that I’d worry that you’ll all be tired by the end anyway with so many early mornings, unless you are naturally early risers. Depending on what you want to do at AK, that could be a good choice for a later arrival after sleeping in. or maybe you have so many MK days that 1 of them could be later arrival.
  6. depends how much you like waterparks, but I wouldn’t count it as a rest day. We found that the hotel pools with slides were quite adequate for our kids and avoided the hassle of a crowded waterpark.

We are planning our second trip for February. Went last year for our daughter’s third birthday. So my experience is coming from that. This year we are going with our now 4 year old and a 10 month old. These are my thoughts:

  1. I think 2.5 days is enough but I wouldn’t do less than that with being there for 6 days in the park.

  2. I can’t comment on this from the past but we are planning some time in World Showcase this time around. We plan to do the ride in Mexico and meet some characters while walking around. I think it is also how much you engage your children and get them excited about things.

  3. We had no problem getting our three year old out the door-most mornings we even had 8 am breakfast reservations. But…we are all early risers.

  4. I don’t have experience with this so I Can’t comment.

  5. I think two rest days are okay-I don’t know if you only have 6-day tickets but you can just play it by ear. Our last trip was 6 days and it was perfect! WE didn’t have any rest days built in but went back to the resort for a few hours-in the end we felt like those rest days were always so rushed to get back for our dinner ADRs at 5:30. Our most relaxings days were the ones where our daughter napped in the stroller and my husband hit up the rides our daughter couldn’t go on and I was pregnant so I couldn’t do them either. It just seemed less hectic than catching the bus back trying get her down for a nap and then having to wake her up for dinner. We allowed four hours for the afternoon break.

Just be flexible and going in with that attitude will make a huge difference in your trip. As long as you have your park days set and Faspasses set for your must sees than you should be fine :slight_smile:

My kids actually LOVE Epcot. I would give it at least 1 day.

I think the “there’s not much in EP for kids” concept is not really accurate. I don’t have kids, and I never went to EP as a kid (my first WDW trip was in '75 and I was 16), but I went to the NY World’s Fair when I was 5 and 6, and Expo 67 when I was 8, and there are similarities. I loved walking around and seeing all of the cool international buildings. I saw my first Circlevision film at Expo 67 and thought it was the coolest thing I ever saw (China and Canada bot have these). A number of princesses have M&Gs in EP (and nowhere else). Grand Fiesta in Mexico is definitely kid-appropriate. And they might also enjoy some of the live performances (the Chinese acrobats and Serveur Amusement in France come to mind). Also, all of the countries have the Kidcot stations. In FW, the ride in Living Seas as well as Turtle Talk are both “kid-friendly”. I’m sure they would enjoy Journey into Your Imagination, and possibly the Pixar short films they will be showing in the Magic Eye Theater. I went on rides “similar to” SE at that age and really liked them, and the interactive “vacation to the future” at the end would be a lot of fun.

Also, don’t short-change yourself at AK. All three shows are excellent, and it can take a bit of planning to get them all in on a partial day. And I know at their age, I would have wanted to ride KS more than once, and I’ve heard kids can spend hours in the boneyard…

But you know your kids better than I do, and it’s a different world. When I was their age, TVs were in B&W, home computers and video games didn’t exist; I was an only child who spent my time looking at books, doing arts and crafts, and playing with tinker toys and Legos…

I think others have answered you questions very well; I just had to get on my “EP is boring for kids” soapbox.


My two daughters really enjoyed Epcot World Showcase on our trip last year (12 and 4 at the time). We had autograph books for our trip that included space for them to collect stamps and autographs from each of the countries. They has these filled in by CM’s at the kidcot stations. They were awesome at engaging the kids and writing messages native to each of their countries. They loved seeing what each new message was going to be and getting the stamp. Just something to keep in mind to get the kids a little more engaged so the adults can enjoy their time a little more. :smile:

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I’ll speak to the question about leaving on the last day.

I don’t see where you say where your staying. If you’re on property and using magical express, plan to make your journey out of the park around 3 o’clock. It’s much more important to be where you need to be in order to get your assigned shuttle to the airport, than squeezing in one more ride. You don’t want to end your vacation stressing out about getting home.

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Hi @disney1974 - definitely agree re: not stressing on way home. We are staying at Carribean Beach Resort. 3pm is definitely doable and later than I had actually thought we’d be able to stay at the park.

My biggest advise is plan - but be flexible and LOWER expectations. PLAN so you aren’t overwhelmed and have “backup” - but then just go with it. If the kids LOVE epcot or other park - do it more. If the kids don’t care for a park - do it less. If people are good - keep going. If people are tired - take a nap. Just be flexible (as much as you can be). I know I had to get over the “dilly dally” of the kids - but then I realized that is what they want. So I would just grab a coffee (decaf) and sit and watch them knowing I can play that memory back in my head later on when they hate me as teenagers

I think everyone made the same recommendations and I’ll agree. If your girls like pools, they will want to spend a good amount of time at your wonderfully themed resort pool. This is a great rest time for you and them even if they never stop moving. I would plan to head back to the resort every afternoon except after BBB. I would try to get a few rides or character visits in the MK before heading to EPCOT. My DDs LOVED EPCOT at that age. The non-theme park element of the WS is what makes it kid and adult friendly. Get the times map and try to arrange to catch any princesses when they are in their own country. Those are the best encounters.

Thanks all. These are very good tips. I’m very much a planner, but do realize that day-to-day things will change. This trip is all about the kids and so we will go with what they are feeling whether it’s staying in the park or heading back to the hotel. I fully anticipate that despite all my planning things will change on the regular. I guess the key is to plan the things they want to do most early on in the day and make sure we hit them and then whatever extra things we get done is just a bonus. Thanks again. I really appreciate all your expertise. This is a first to Disney for my husband and I too and so we are feeling a bit overwhelmed at times.