Advice on an extra day

We will be travelling this July for our first family trip to Disney. My wife has never been and I was last there in 1991 - so a lot has changed. We are a family of 5 with kids 9, 7 and 6. We are staying off resort in Windsor Hills and have 8 day park hoppers.

The daily plan as of now is to eat breakfast at the townhouse, rope drop most days, bring snacks, PB&J into the parks, and take mid day breaks for 3-4 hours.

We have scheduled a table service dinner for each of our evenings - this is our splurge for the trip. We love to eat and we are using our savings from discounted Canadian tickets and a great deal on accommodation to allow us to enjoy some Disney dining. (Thank-you to the posters in my previous dining post back in January who got me started with great suggestions).

Below is our agenda for the week. I developed this using the crowd tracker and avoiding EMH etc. as recommended. At this point I would like to avoid moving days completely (due to the ADRs) but need some help filling in some gaps.

7/6-7/7 - Travelling to Disney from Ontario
7/8 - Rest day - explore resort, groceries, Disney Springs to pick-up tickets and explore
7/9 - Magic Kingdom - Dinner - Liberty Tree Tavern
7/10 - Epcot - (FW focus) - Dinner - Akershus - Leaving before Illuminations
7/11 - Animal Kingdom - Dinner - Tusker House ROL
7/12 - Hollywood Studios - Dinner - Mama Melrose - Fantasmic
7/13 - Magic Kingdom - Dinner - Crystal Palace
7/14 - Open Day - Help - see below
7/15 - Epcot - Touring starting in afternoon (World Showcase focus + things they want to experience a second time) - Dinner - Biergarten - staying for Illuminations.
7/16 - Magic Kingdom - Dinner - Be Our Guest
7/17 - Start the trek home

Where I am looking for help is on our open day - we curently have nothing scheduled. We are okay with a more laid back day (I think we’ll need it), however this happens to also be our sons 6th birthday. We can’t be “at” Disney and not go into a park on his birthday (although we will make sure he wears the button all week).

I had two ideas for this day. First, going back to HS and do Jedi Training that day so we aren’t playing with our first HS day touring plan to include this unpredictable attraction. I was also considering the Star Wars Desert Party. I am not confident from what I have read that we can do Star Wars and Fantasmic on HS Day one. The only draw back with this plan is that I wonder about entertaining everyone in HS for a second full day, even if we take a longer break - which we might need. Our son likes Star Wars, has seen the movies, but is still young to REALLY like it as his father does :smile:

The second consideration was the Pirates and Pals cruise that evening. I have heard only great reviews of this, but I am concerned that this might not be as good with the new night show at MK. Many bloggers and pod casters are predicting less mortar count on the fireworks vs the projections in the park, obviously we won’t know until the middle of May, but I wonder if this will take away from this adventure.

Do you think we will need another dip into AK for part of a day to make sure we capture it all with the expected increased crowds and opening of Pandora?

I am open to other suggestions for this extra day as well as adding some extra magic to our entire week and a bit in Orlando.

I appreciate your suggestions to enhance our trip.

I’m going for the same amount of days, my plan looks pretty identical to yours, but on my open day i’m visiting animal kingdom again.

Hi! Fellow Canadian here, and super-impressed that you are driving down! Taking that first rest day is a great idea!
This is what I would do with your son’s birthday-day:

I have kids in the same age range (but both boys), and I am dying for them to do this.
Then, I would leave the day open, with birthday boy’s choice. Up to this point I see you have experienced every park, so you can really give him the choice, after the cruise, of where he wants to go (will also allow some spontaneity in the trip!). We went last winter for the first time as a family (I have been maaaaany time before, but never all 4 of us together), and after my guys were in the parks, they TOTALLY knew what they wanted to do again. If you think the older kids will kick up a fuss about the little guy getting to choose, maybe in the following days you can let them be the guide for a couple of attractions…
Your plan looks great, I love that you are starting and ending with MK- I love to do that. I love going out with a bang and as you are planning BOG on the last night, I would do MK fireworks then too.
You have a lot of evening shows, and (just my experience with kids those ages) it will be too much, so you may want to have a “fun” birthday dinner (at DS?), rather than a park dinner?
Just my few cents!
Looks like so much fun!! Enjoy.

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Love this idea. I appreciate that another early night after a couple of late nights is needed.

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Do you have the Park Hopper? If so and this were me, I would dump the Liberty Tree and Crystal Palace dinner reservations and replace them with Epcot ones. I’d add in another Magic Kingdom day and do World Showcase in pieces each night after dinner. World Showcase is cool, but with little ones they’re going to get bored after a couple countries. Via Napoli is an awesome dining option. The kids will love it.

DS4 really couldn’t handle a full day in Epcot when we tried it on our first Trip. It was a tough day for us with a lot of whining.

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You could go to DHS for Jedi training and a couple of others e.g.: TSMM and star tours say. Take time to watch the March of the first order from along Hollywood blvd and chill a bit.

Then you could take the friendship boat back to the Beach Club and go to Beaches and Cream for lunch, with the “kitchen sink” in lieu of a cake! Maybe head back for a swim or something, before going back for either Fantasmic or the Star Wars fireworks.

Another suggestion is instead, maybe do a morning in MK doing Sorcerers of the MK, and maybe just a couple of rides, before a swim and back to DHS for the Fantasmic / fireworks .

My other suggestion for Epcot, is to split it down the middle, do some of FW plus half of WS one day, then do the other half of WS and the rest of FW another. That mixes it up and avoids the rides vs countries split in case the kids get a bit cranky! Include the agent P for a couple of countries, one each day maybe. Some kids love WS, but trying to do all of it an afternoon might be a bit overkill without any rides, FEA excepted if you are planning to do it.

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Thank-you for the Epcot suggestions. We’ll have a look at the dining, and for sure have a look at splitting WS and FW over both days. That is a new way to look at my Epcot touring plans I had never considered. FEA likely a double visit if possible as our other two are daughters and Frozen fans.

It’s an awesome ride. The whole fam will be happy to ride it twice with them.

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I would leave the open day open. I’m exhausted just reading your itin! Looks like great fun but our family always needs a down day in the middle somewhere. To me the down day is a perfect day to do something like HDDR. Spend the morning sleeping in/relaxing, the afternoon at the pool, maybe some minigolf or something low key like that, and HDDR. Maybe see MK fireworks from a spot outside the park.