First Time at WDW - So. Much. To. Learn

Hey all, I am trying to plan a trip to WDW for my family (myself, husband, kids 6, 4, 2 + my parents). None of us have ever been to Disney World before (and most have never been to any Disney parks at all). An opportunity with my husband’s job plus cheap airfare combined to make this trip an unexpected reality for us, and we are super excited! I am the planner for all of this, and I am determined to learn all the ins and outs so we will be ready. We will be doing the parks Feb. 5-8, and staying at All Star Movies. I have several questions already as I am trying to plan and learn Genie+ etc. I was wondering if you all could help weigh in on some of these for me?

1.) Obviously the weather is hard to predict months out, but should we plan on doing Splash Mountain in February? How wet should we expect to get? We are coming from Houston, which I believe has a relatively similar climate to Orlando. We don’t like being cold and wet haha. In a similar vein, what about the Kali River Rapids?

2.) Regarding rope drop. My kids are early risers (they are up at 6 daily, much to my chagrin), so I am really hoping to rope drop all 4 parks. However, getting to specific places sometimes feels like herding cats. Is it worth it to try and rope drop the headliners with littles? And what about Rider Switch? It seems like an inefficient use of the early entry, plus it is unclear if rider switch is available during early entry? I am thinking for our MK day of rope dropping Space Mountain (unless TRON happens to be open, then maybe we could get on 7DMT if its popularity decreases). My 6 (almost 7) will most likely ride with me. She rode a coaster with inversions and a pretty intense wooden coaster this summer, and hopefully she will like Space Mountain. We will be doing either Epcot or HS the first day, so she will have some ability to gauge if she wants to ride it. Would it be crazy to do that and let the waiting parent do other tomorrowland rides like peoplemover and speedway, etc?

3.) Regarding shows in MK - I have country bears in my plan right now, but the monster’s inc laugh floor is tempting me. We have no one in our party that will be nostalgic over country bears, but I’ve heard its a good show that is pretty underrated. Is it worth it? Or should we go for the laugh floor, which our kids might appreciate because they have seen and enjoy the movie monster’s inc?

4.) Is 7DMT really worth an hour standing in line? My 4 (almost 5) is a total thrill seeker. He went on his first real coaster this summer, and he promptly got back in line and rode it again. I think it would be really fun for him. But an hour waiting sounds really…not so magical. And I really don’t want to fork over $60 to ride one ride…

5.) I am planning to bring my double BOB stroller, but I am also slightly terrified about it getting damaged on the flight. I love my stroller and use it daily. Has anyone had experience with this? Also, how does it work taking strollers on the buses? Obviously we will fold the stroller down, but where do we put it once we are on the bus?

I’m sure I will have more questions once these are answered, but I appreciate any and all help you can offer!


In cooler months, they “turn down” the water effects somewhat, both on Kali and Splash…so, you likely won’t get drenched…but there are no guarantees. So if you aren’t okay with getting wet, you might want to avoid. But there is a decent chance you would come off only mildly so.

This is a loaded question. It definitely CAN be worth it…and it will is always advantageous. But alternatively staying late (until closing) can be just as advantageous. Also note that sometimes the best thing to rope drop is NOT the headliner! When everyone else is rope dropping, say, 7DMT or PPF, you could instead get done WtP, IASW, TLM, and GB (for example) with little to no wait. Play around with a touring plan that hits up the non headliners. You will have slightly longer waits when you want to do the headliners, but you will have already knocked a bunch of rides out early, which can be heartening.

I think Laugh Floor is a better choice of the two. It is entertaining, and you will laugh. Kids will like it. Country Bears is fine…but totally skippable.

No…but for a kid that age, maybe yes. It is fun enough, but really quite short for the wait…and other coasters are better…but again, they designed a nice coaster for little kids to thoroughly enjoy as a first coaster experience. For us, it was basically a one and done…but our kids were older.

You have to hold it next to you. There is no place to put it other than keeping it with you folded up.

This is probably a wise move. BLSRS can get fairly long waits, so doing it first ultimately saves you time even if it means a longer wait at Space Mountain.


You should insert a break about every 2 hours for things like restrooms, snacks, and shopping. Even if you don’t need a break, it also helps account for inevitable variability in the plan that might set you behind schedule. Overall, though, wait times look low so you are going at a nice time of year for crowds…if predictions hold true.


First trip. So exciting! Check out YouTube, as I am sure Touring Plans has some up to date videos specific to your questions that will supplement the answers you get here. Someone suggested them to me recently and even as a seasoned veteran, I found the videos helpful.

As far as 7DMT, CBJ and Monsters, it’s possible to do all of them with the right touring plan. 7DMT is a good one to rope drop, OR experience during the fireworks for shorter waits. The other two are good shows, and also good resting spots for the entire family. Rope drop is always advantageous, IMO, but with littles will likely require a mid day break. The weather in early February will likely be cool early mornings and late nights. Always plan to get soaked on the water rides., If you don’t get drenched, well, you got lucky.


Excuse me!?


I think 7DMT would be good for kids that age. When my daughter was 6 it was one of her favorite rides and a couple of years later, when my younger one got a bit older (maybe 5?) he really liked it too. It’s a short ride and gets flak for that + long queues, but it’s a very smooth coaster with nice theming.


Hey there! Welcome! It can be overwhelming to learn all the WDW info, so pace yourself! :wink:

  1. It really depends. We did a January trip in 2019 and it was plenty warm enough for Splash on our MK day but our Epcot day had me in my winter coat and hat. (I live in VA.)
  2. If your kids are up at 6 on their own, I think you’d be a shoo-in for getting to the front of the pack at EE and SDMT at MK. Maybe a good day for a poptart breakfast while waiting at tapstiles. That said, we were able to do PPF and WtP during EE and then a few more rides at park open while many of the SDMT people were still in line. But with a 2 year old, I’d imagine waiting until park close for SDMT might not be an option for you. Could you forget RS for the first EE ride and send 1 adult and your bigger kids on SDMT and then have 1 parent stay behind at the end of the night to ride it solo? If you’re planning to purchase G+, I would probably prioritize SDMT since you’d have to pay individually for that.
  3. I haven’t seen either of those shows, but by 1 pm, we were really ready for somewhere to sit for a bit. Our kids loved Philharmagic, so that’s another option you might consider.

Welcome to the forum!

  1. On getting wet: for kids that age, I would definitely bring a full change of clothing (and crocs/flip-flops) in any case, especially if taking a stroller. If it ends up being warm, they might also love getting wet including in fountains and splash pads. Casey Jr splash pad opposite Dumbo was one of our favourites.
  2. Like others, I would definitely rope drop if kids are up early anyway, even if you are at the middle or back of the Pack because you’re skipping the headliners. If you are splitting the family up, keep in mind that you can save your Rider Switch until later in the day, you don’t need to use it straight away if you prefer to keep going with your Touring Plan while lines are shorter. I have not used Rider Switch during early entry (didn’t exist yet on our last trip last summer), but would be surprised if it’s not working then. Sample options for splitting up: at AK we were together at RD until the bridge to Pandora, then requested Rider Switch from the CM at the FoP entrance and one parent w/ older kid rode FoP, while the other did NRJ right next door w/ younger kid (and other parent did FoP again with the older kid at the end of the day). At MK, we were together at RD at the Fantasyland bridge, then one adult w/ older kid rode SDMT (agree it’s short, but a fun one for age 6 and even a thrill-seeking 4-year old), while the littles went to WtP. Same approach again at DHS, with SDD for the thrill-seekers and littles going to ASS. At Epcot, we all stayed together for FEA (you could do the same for Remy, if entering from IG). Since we rope-dropped, we took midday breaks and naps before coming back to parks in the late afternoon.
  3. Agree Philharmagic is one of the best shows in MK, for all ages. Between your two choices, would pick Monsters Inc if not too inconvenient/too far away.
  4. We’ve checked strollers in for flight travel often, never had any problems or damages. It does happen, but rarely I think. My sister had hers damaged once and the airline refunded her (full price of the stroller). In the unlikely event that it’s damaged on the way in, you could rent a Disney stroller (or see if someone like Kingdom Stroller can still deliver same day/next day) and ask the airline for compensation. If buses are the low type and emptyish (often had this in the mornings), then you can drive the stroller in/leave kids in and just put on the brakes, but with buses with stairs or any bus when there are big crowds (like end of the night), you’ll have to fold it and carry it like a you would a large bag.

Happy planning!


Pertaining to number one, you may want to check, but Splash & Kali usually go down in February for seasonal maintenance. We always go in February(week 2 or 3), and those two are always out of commission.

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WELCOME! I’m glad you’ve found the nicest community on the internet, with the most knowledge anywhere about WDW!

February weather is quite nice, most of the time, in FL. Mornings will be cool but later in the day it gets to be quite pleasant - 60s to 70s. I would definitely do Splash - if it’s open (it closes most years for small refurb in January) - because it’s going away in its current format soonish. But plan to do it in the afternoon, perhaps just before a break in case you do get really wet. How wet you can get varies quite a lot on this ride.

  1. If your kids are going to be up anyway, yes it’s worth it to rope drop. What you do during that time may vary depending on how tall they are and what kind of rides they will be into. But either way, rope drop is a great time to get to experience a few attractions with little to no wait. And if you’re aiming for headliners it’s a must. Splitting up to experience different things is a great way to maximize this time. Consider using rider switch, too.

  2. I wouldn’t either/or - I would do both :slight_smile: But if you have to pick just one because of time constraints, it might make the most sense to pick something they are familiar with.

  3. IMO, no, 7D is not worth an hour in line. I also 100% do not think it is worth a paid Lightning Lane. Ride at rope drop or end of the night for lower waits.

  4. Your stroller should be fine on the flight. You’ll gate check it and pick it back up as you deplane. As far as going on buses you hold it next to yourself once you’re in a spot - whether seated or standing - on the bus. As you mention, it does have to be folded closed.


If your son is tall enough, he may really like Big Thunder. It’s way more than 7DMT but if he’s already into coasters, he’ll probably love it! My son was 5 when he first rode it and loved it! But…maybe watch a video first!!

Ooops - just checked your touring plan and you already have it!

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We loved riding Splash & Kali in January/February as the lines were very low. One time we managed to stay on Kali for 8 rides since the line was nonexistent. But we’re from NE Ohio and used to hanging out in ice rinks so our tolerance for chill is a little better than average. While they do tone down the bonus sprays, you still may get plenty wet on either ride from the main splashes. Normally I prefer fabrics that wick water well and dry quickly, but for kids a change may be better. Avoid cottons/jeans like the plague as they won’t dry. I would probably play it by ear depending on the temps/lines and as someone else suggested, schedule it as the last ride of the day so you can head to the hotel and dry if needed. Splash is a classic, so it deserves at least one ride. Kali not so much…

Rope dropping 7DMT is likely your best strategy at least if you can get near the front of the line as everyone else will be trying to do the same. I definitely do not think it is worth an hour wait to re-ride it, but to ride the first time, especially as a 4 year old that loves thrill rides but may not be able to manage to do many other coasters, it likely is.

Lately we have been doing the shows when we either want a little break or need to kill time for a Lightning Lane or ADR. Monster’s is probably better for kids as they know the characters, but the Country Bears are quite enjoyable as well. Both are typically walk-ins so you’re just waiting for the last show to end. Muppets is another one to check out of that ilk. A Bug’s Life is also fun, although it can be scary for little kids so you may want to use a little caution or read up on it to see if it would be awesome or ruin your kids’ days…

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We always rope drop Buzz, and can usually do it a couple of times as a walk on before heading to Space and still getting a reasonable line.


YES! This… it’s a fantastic show and I’d rank it over both Monsters and Country Bears (even though I love both of those) .


Hey there, been to the parks with littles many times, so hopefully can help.

  1. I will never skip Splash just because of the weather, since its a favorite. I have been on it when the weather was mid 60’s. One thing you could do is pack some cheap ponchos to throw on as you get on the ride, that way you won’t get clothes wet.

  2. My three kids are early risers as well. I would recommend doing rope drop. While it does seem a little mean to start the day with a ride that would require rider switch, its going to probably be the most effective way to start the day. Such as in the past, we have started days with Space, Slinky, or Avatar FOP, so the kids unfortunately have to wait until we finish that before they get to do a ride, but they haven’t complained. You could find a smaller ride nearby that they could quick do.

  3. I never understand why 7DMT has such a long line, we’ve skipped this ride completely the last trip. It’s a fun ride, but not worth that wait.

  4. We have gate checked stroller and it has gone very smoothly. However, one time we did have something bad happen. We have a city select baby jogger double stroller, we gate checked and got it back after the flight and went on our way. The next day we realized that one of the seats was missing its canopy part. Unfortunately for the rest of the trip, one seat went without that part which was a pain. If we had noticed right away, I’m sure they would have been able to check the plane and found it quickly. So advice would be to check over your stroller when you get it back to make sure you have all the attachments and pieces before leaving.


Thank you all for your helpful answers! It’s so nice to have actual people who can answer those little random questions I can’t seem to find on the blogs, etc

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I agree with Ryan on all of the answers he gave to the questions you asked.

But I’ll add one other thing your kids may enjoy. I’m not sure of your budget, so just throwing this out there. One thing we did was to get a dining plan. We had a reservation for Cinderella’s Royal Table and I ordered a chocolate slipper from the specialty bakery. You actually cannot order that from the restuarant itself, but instead it has to be pre ordered. We had them write “First visit” in chocolate around the edge of the plate. The slipper was a very nice touch. The meal itselt was not above and beyond, but you are also paying for access to the princesses without having to wait in line. Don’t get me wrong, the food wasn’t bad, just not the high end quality you may expect for a meal as expensive as it is. Depending on your situation, I would recommend it though. My situation is I have twin girls and we did it when they were 6, so we really enjoyed it.

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Be aware that there are currently no princesses at CRT (except for Cinderella herself to welcome guests). It’s possible they will bring them back by the time of your visit. But for a princess meal right now, the only option current is Akershus in Epcot (just restarted for lunch and dinner only).

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This has been out experience as well. We like to go to WDW in February and I’ve never been on Splash or Kali because they’re always down for maintenance. Right now the WDW calendar goes out to January 17th. Wait about three weeks and you’ll be able to check for sure what’s closed during your stay.


If I dragged my kids to rope drop to ride IASW or WtP, they would kill me.