First Evening

I’m struggling to plan our first night. Currently we planned on skipping the park on arrival and I’m booked for pirates and pals that night. I’m questioning this plan now as my husband is less than excited about pirates and pals. I think I could probably add another park day to our 4 for a pretty similar price and we have the deluxe dining plan so I don’t care about the desserts. This will be my husband and sons first glimpse of Disney. We have 4 nights at Disney and 3 full park days (Epcot, AK, MK) and 1 half day the day we depart at HS.

So should I:

A : skip park and keep my pirates and pals reservation

B : go to MK in the evening for the fireworks and a few rides

C : Go to HS for fantasmic or the Star Wars show and a few rides. And if this option which show? I love sorcerer Mickey and we are also all Star Wars fans. This is the only park we weren’t already planning on catching the night show at since we were doing HS on the departure day.

What time do you get in? And how old is your son?

We are traveling in from Naples which is the first part of our trip. I’m guessing we will be to the resort at noon. Our plan was to swim in the pool and then we have Sanaa at 5:30. We are at animal kingdom lodge. I still think we would take most of the day to unwind and go to a park just for the evening if we go that route. My son is 4, turning 5 for the trip. So we wouldn’t even try for a full park day, just low stress catch a few rides. I’m just guessing we can probably add a day for the $200 pirates and pals cost and I think my husband might like that more.

I think seeing MK is a great way to start!! Some good intro rides there too. I know my 5 year old, we were not at Disney until she saw the castle.


If you are dining at Sanaa at 5:30, I would expect you wouldn’t get to a park until 7ish.
What time of year are you going? Are the parks open on the later side? How late can your son stay up & have an enjoyable time of it?

AKL is such a fantastic resort. If you & the fam are into the animals, I would hang there. There are activities all the time basically. They do a drum circle for the littles right near the entrance at Jambo house around 7pm if I recall correctly.

Alternatively, you could go to a park for a couple of hours upon arrival and then unwind at the hotel for an hour or more before dinner.

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We arrive 4/30. My son is a trooper and is fine until 10:00 or 10:30 if we are out, but the parks are only open until 9.

We would probably change our dining if we do a park. We had originally timed it with pirates and pals. Our main interest in going to a park would be just for the night time show. So just a few hours as an intro. My husband wanted to do a night time show that night. With pirates and pals we are mainly doing it for the fireworks. My son would like the characters but they aren’t favorites.

I wouldn’t pay for the Pirates and Pals fireworks if you already have deluxe dining (which is a whole other discussion). I can’t imagine wanting a single bite more of food than what you will already eat. I love going to MK first - I don’t know if I’d necessarily stay late enough for fireworks depending on what else you have going on. Have you looked into a private cruise rental, sometimes that can be even less than what you would pay on Pirates and Pals if there is availability. (Pirates and Pals looks underwhelming to me – I see lots of availability for my trip in 3 weeks for example not exactly in high demand).

I think you are right on pirates and pals. We won’t be hungry, and the characters aren’t favorites.

I like the idea of catching fantasmic since we will miss it otherwise, but I think MK might be a better intro. We weren’t planning it until day 3.

Deluxe dining plan my husband is a big eater. He is basically a tall, skinny garbage disposal. And my son needs a solid 3 meals, and snacks to be in a good mood. He is a great kid, but he is no fun to be around if hungry. I probably won’t fully utilize. I don’t eat much. More so I just didn’t want to worry about food costs while there. I still remember my Mom being upset about the food costs at Disney when I went as a kid (amazing the weird stuff you remember). I wanted to take that out.

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If you are Star Wars fans, you might consider skipping Fantasmic! for the SW Galactic Spectacular fireworks. Most would say that Fantasmic is a better show and not to be missed-- but some SW fans might choose the fireworks over that. Because of the distance from Fantasmic! to the center stage, it’s not really possible to do both even though the fireworks start later. Partly because it involves a projection onto buildings so while you might catch the in-air fireworks you’ll miss the projections.

Starting with the castle is pretty great, but I also like the idea of starting at HS so you can see the sw fireworks. You could also meet sorcerer Mickey there. And star tours and maybe one show since you’ll only have a half day there later?