This will be the first time in Florida for me, DH, DS11 and DS7. DH and I have been to Disneyland a few times each (the last time together), the kids have never been. They are anti-princess, probably because they feel they’re not the target audience, though DS11 went through a major Cinderella phase around age 3. They will probably want to do Star Wars-related Character meet & greets. I’m also planning to do the Marvel character dinner at Universal. I’m not sure any of us is truly prepared for the heat/humidity but I’m just hoping we can have fun and that there’s no hurricanes that cancel our plans.
We’ll be on the Dining Plan in late August, staying at CBR August 22-27, moving to RPR Universal August 27th for 3 nights so away from WDW before Galaxy’s Edge opens. I’d originally booked All Star Music with Free Dining plus upgrade to regular DP. I switched to CBR for the pool and in hopes that the Skyliner will be running by then. We’re driving down, visiting friends in Washington DC and checking out Savannah en route, so if my Skyliner optimism is misplaced we can drive to Epcot and HS.
Except for our Epcot and AK days I’m planning a few hours at the hotel pool every afternoon. My general plan/ADRs are:
Thursday Aug 22
arrive early afternoon, drop bags and see our room at CBR if it’s available yet
afternoon: pool at CBR or hang out at Animal Kingdom Lodge (pin trading with King Pin?)
ADR: 5:05 pm at Boma
after dinner: check out the animal viewing areas, possibly go to Trader Joe’s to stock the mini fridge, early to bed
Friday Aug 23 – Magic Kingdom morning, Hollywood Studios evening
breakfast: snacks from room
take the bus to MK for EMH, RD Space Mountain then spend the morning in Fantasyland, pick up SOTMK cards in Liberty Square, pick up mobile ordered QS lunch (Pecos Bill?) and take it to Tom Sawyer’s Island for a picnic-y lunch. If we still have stamina maybe try Pirate’s Adventure but aim to be back at the hotel by 2pm.
It’s a MNSSHP evening at MK that day and I decided we wouldn’t be staying up late enough for it to be worth it. Plus you gotta save some fun stuff for potential future trips, right?
Evening: after hanging out at the pool for an hour (or more if we tap out earlier at MK), head to HS via (fingers crossed) Skyliner, check out Characterpalooza if possible
ADR: 4pm at Minnie’s Seasonal Dine at Hollywood & Vine with the Fantasmic! package
After dinner: a Star Wars-centric evening, aiming for Star Tours, meeting Chewbacca, Kylo-Ren & BB8 at Launch Bay and Tower of Terror and maybe Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy if we have time and energy before Fantasmic!
FP+ goals: 7DMT just after 9 , PPF about an hour later (modify sooner if possible), Splash Mountain around 1pm, try for a 4th to Big Thunder Mountain if everyone still has energy, and try for a Tower of Terror fast pass for the evening.
Saturday August 24 – Epcot all day
Skyliner (or drive) to Epcot,
ADR 8:30am Garden Grill but planning to get there as though it’s for 8am and hope to be seated early
ADR 1:35pm Coral Seas (probably paying, as we have one more ADR than DP TS credits, so maybe replace this with QS/snacks but the food and tank view sound great – also, I may move this an hour or so earlier. How filling is the Garden Grill breakfast?)
Rope drop Soarin’, spend the morning in Future World, after lunch the afternoon/evening will be whatever combination of World Showcase and hotel/pool makes sense. I doubt we’ll stay for Illuminations but we’ll play it by ear. If Epcot is not our thing, maybe monorail to/from MK and try out Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. DH gets antsy if everything is scheduled so this is our day to improvise.
I have a backup ADR for Minnie Seasonal’s Dine this night just in case we’re wiped on the Friday and done after lunch, in which case we’d take the boat over from Epcot to HS and do our Star Wars-and-Fantasmic evening Saturday instead. Though I’m realizing I’ll need to make the call on that on Thursday to not to be charged the cancellation fee Friday.
FP+ goals: Test Track around 9:30 (I’d rather we all rode together), Spaceship Earth around 10:30, Mission:Space around 11:30 (not sure Green or Orange yet) and then try for 4th FP at Character Spot.
Sunday August 25th – Hollywood Studios morning, Magic Kingdom evening
breakfast: snacks from room
take Skyliner or drive to HS for EMH, sign up for Jedi Training as soon as possible then head for TSL. Hoping we’ll have a SDD FP+ so can do the other TSL rides then SDD around 9am. I also want to meet Edna Mode, see MuppetVision 3D, the March of the First Order and the Indiana Jones show.
back to the hotel around 12 or 12:30pm, probably having a light lunch at the pool
ADR 4:05pm 'Ohana – parking at TTC and walking over. Hopefully since it’s early we won’t have to wait long to be seated. I’m budgeting about 2 hours to eat and then either boat or monorail to MK and exploring the rides that are supposedly more fun at night (HM, Jungle Cruise, TTAPM, TMCA, DFE, MTP) and maybe doing some Sorcerors of the Magic Kingdom. I doubt we’ll stay for the fireworks.
FP+ goals: SDD around 9am, maybe ToT around 11 or just keep 2 free to book for MK in the evening
Monday August 26th – Animal Kingdom all day, last full Disney day
Drive to AK aiming to arrive 30 minutes before EMH starts
RD Na’vi followed by Kilimanjaro Safaris, then work our way through Africa, Asia, Discovery Island, Dinosaur Land and back to Pandora before Rivers of Light; late light lunch at Flame Tree BBQ, dinner at Satuli
ADR 10:30AM Tusker House (hoping to experience both breakfast & lunch options) with Rivers of Light package
FP+ Goals: FoP around 9am (after KS/before brunch), Kali River Rapids around 1, EE around 2, then try for another FoP at the same day drop around 3pm assuming we loved it
Tuesday August 27 – Magic in the morning at MK, in the evening at Universal
Out of our hotel room/bags in the car before 7am, drive to MK
ADR 8:15am Be Our Guest but planning to get there as though it’s for 8am and hope to be seated early
Rope drop either 7DMT or Peter Pan, revisit our faves and be done (and use up any snack credits or QS credits) by early/mid afternoon
FP+ Goals: meeting Mickey & Minnie, another post rope-drop trip on 7DMT, and BTMRR as a placeholder – I may modify these after our earlier days at MK to anything we missed or wanted to revisit
Then driving to RPR probably with a stop at Disney Prings for the Photopass Studio
Evening: exploring Hogsmeade, dinner at Three Broomsticks, some Harry Potter rides
Wednesday and Thursday August 28-29
Universal with park hopper and express pass, Harry Potter-heavy first day, whim-driven second day, afternoon breaks for pool time. Will make reservations for lunch at Mythos one of the days, Marvel dinner one of the days.
I have draft touring plans for all these days but will probably edit them a bunch once we visit Canada’s Wonderland in early June and see how much DS11 and DS7 like thrill rides now (i.e. is the Aerosmith coaster a must do or an avoid). Happily DS7 is tall enough for all rides at WDW and most of them at Universal.
I’m an optimizer by nature and by training, so I’m reminding myself that the metric to optimize on is family happiness, not seeing/experiencing as many things as we can cram into the day (which is what I would do were I traveling solo). I’m a bit conflicted that we probably won’t see Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular or Happily Ever After or Illuminations but naps seem unlikely, which makes the nightime shows also unlikely on the nights we don’t have the dining packages. But I know DH and the kids are likely to be happier with lighter crowds at rope drop than staying up late and it’s not like we won’t see any fireworks at all.
Anyway, I welcome feedback! Any obvious rookie mistakes? How many acronyms did I garble? I know booking fast passes early in the day is generally not advised, but since I’m trying to keep most afternoons free/unscheduled it seemed better, and with any 9am Fast Pass I’m probably aiming to ride closer to 10am.