Best Park for a Late Start

Hey folks…wanted to get your opinion on the best park for a late morning start. I’m afraid of burning out my family by trying to make rope drop each day. I am looking to plan a late start day and am leaning toward Animal Kingdom on December 31. Thoughts? Another park you would do a delay start for? We have park hopper passes and here is my initial park attendance plan:

December 29 - arrival day @ Magic Kingdom from 2:00pm - 10:00pm
December 30 - rope drop Hollywood Studios (not using PM EMH)
December 31 - late start for Animal Kingdom (not using AM EMH)
January 1 - rope drop Magic Kingdom
January 2 - rope drop Epcot
January 3 - departure day

Now that I type that out…I’m wondering if it would be better to do Epcot as the late morning? I appreciate your thoughts!

I would take advantage of any morning EMH’s you can, since you will be there during the absolute busiest time of the year. Those AM EMH’s will be the best hour of touring you will get all day long, followed closely by the next hour. With such a short trip, I would not be able to miss any early morning EMH or rope drops, I guess we would rather be tired than in long lines. :wink:
If you still want to have a late morning, I would look at what rides are most important to you, and how you will fit them in. If you want to do Soarin, Test Track, and the new Frozen ride, you will have to be at Epcot at RD as you can only have a FPP for one. At Animal Kingdom, again it depends on what rides you want to do. My tween and teen want to ride Expedition Everest over and over, so being there early is the only way to do it, for us. In your case, I would keep your plans as is with a late arrival to AK mainly because you can FPP 3 decent rides there. At Epcot you can only FPP one headliner, so the other (if only considering Soarin and Test Track) will need to be done at RD.


I’d keep AK as your possible late start park, you can fit the highlights in during half a day. Though considering CL I would keep it flexible, and go early if you can.

That is a very busy week no matter how you slice it…so if you have to do a late start day I’d say AK too since you can fit in the highlights in a half day. Just make sure your FPs are in order so you can do what you want.

I also think HS is a decent choice for a late start unless you must do Jedi training. HS has the same issue as Epcot with the tiered fpp, but we don’t really seem to mind it as much at HS, and we just never want to spend as long at HS as we do at Epcot. I would also encourage you to take a second look at the EMH situation and maybe break your days up a bit more. If you have park hoppers, you can start or end the day wherever EMH are, and then hop to a different park for the other half/part of s day. I’m going that week as well, and we plan on using every EMH we can, and then doing most of our park time early in the morning and then late a night, with longer breaks midday at the hotel, because of the crowds.

This is exactly how we tour and we go during crowded Spring Break. It works so well for preserving our sanity with large crowds.

I am having DHS as my late start in my upcoming trip. MK and Epcot are not a late start option for me, too much to do. DAK is my favorite park and I love to be there as it is opening. I know that the Tree of Life has it’s “Awakening” at night, but I still think the awakening in the morning is the real deal. Animals are active, everything is fresh and ready for the day, it has such a great feel to it for me. DHS on the other hand. As long as I get a FP for Toy Story and I see Fantasmic! (cause we book the dinner package), I am good. The rest of my family isn’t into thrill rides, so I will hop on ToT and Rockin’ Rollercoaster if the lines are short.
Comes down to a preference thing ultimately, but I would say it is definitely between DHS and DAK.

I think your plans sound fantastic. That time of year is so busy that it can be more tiring to be in the parks, so you either have to be OK with being there very early and/or very late, or be OK with not getting to everything in one day. You have 2 days planned for the biggest parks. You have rest built in. You should have a great time!

One thing I like about your Dec 31 in AK plan - if I remember correctly, that park has an 8 PM close that day, where the other 3 remain open until at least midnight to ring in the new year. I was in AK on NYE 2012 and it was such a relaxed feeling compared to the other parks that day - crowded, yes, but not unusually so. The crowd calendar shows it as lower than the other parks for 12/31/16, too. Good call! And with park hopper, you could always hop somewhere else for midnight - just be aware that it will be very crowded everywhere but AK! And on the Dec 31 we were there, MK even closed to all but resort guests by about noon.

I know Epcot will be super busy on New Years Eve, but it is worth considering. It’s great to see the New Year in with each countries different time zones :grinning: The atmosphere was amazing!

Thank you all the feedback! It is really helpful to hear from people who have been there before. I’m back to thinking using the AM EMH is the better way to go, especially given how difficult it is for one of my kiddos to handle long waits. Oh the decisions!

My vote is for HS as a late start day. We have done this and arrived at HS around noon. It was busy but we did have FPP for TSMM and a dining package for F! It worked well and we did not need to come back to HS but did find time to go back to AK during our trip as we love it there!