I’m in the process of planning out our first family (myself, my wife, 9yo son, 5 yo daughter) Disney trip. My wife who last visited DL almost 20 years ago, but no one else has been to any Disney park. I’ve done enough research to realize that this is going to be more of an undertaking than the regional midwest amusement parks I came up on. As such, I’m hoping to get some feedback on the strategy I’ve worked out and get some questions out there.
We’re planning on being at DLR Tuesday, May 26 through Thursday, May 28, bookending the trip by visiting my wife’s family in Orange county and hanging out at some beaches. We have a hotel booked on Harbor (Tropicana) for Monday through Wednesday nights to make it easier to get an early start and a have a place nearby to let the kids take an afternoon break. The current plan is to buy three day park hopper tickets with Maxpass so we can have the most flexibility in the time we have (and get all of the pictures my wife wants).
When we made our plans, we figured that right after Memorial Day should be reasonable compared to most of the summer since only some schools will be out already. However, I later learned that May 26 and May 27 coincide with Grad Nights at DCA. Does anyone have any advice on managing those crowds? Also, do Grad Nights have any effect on WoC showings? I’m figuring that Grad Nights will increase crowds more in the latter part of the day, especially on the more thrilling teen friendly rides.
We were planning to carry in snacks and lunch and just buy dinners and a treat or two each day. The plan is to stick to quick serve options and utilize mobile ordering whenever possible to limit waits and maximize flexibility. How far out do you typically need to do the mobile ordering? I was hoping to order in line for a ride to pick up when we got off, and maybe even place orders at multiple places near each other to satisfy everyone’s preferences.
As far as attractions, my kids are mostly interested in rides, with little interest in shows. I’d like to see the parade, but it doesn’t seem like that should be too hard to plan in. We’re not going to plan on fireworks due to the combination of uncertainty and a desire to get early starts instead.
The plan is to use early entry on the first day while everyone is at their freshest. The kids are more interested in Tomorrowland rides than Fantasyland so the intent is to head that way first and knock out as much of that as possible. I’ve seen articles that Maxpass opens up during that time, with return times kicking in after park opening. However, I’m unclear if that is just for the rides that are open during early entry or throughout the park. Can someone clarify this? Basically, should I be grabbing a top priority FP during that time (I’m assuming MFSR will be on FP by then and booking up fast). I’ll also assume we’re stopping a bit before 8am to set up for grab RotR BGs.
During the middle part of the day (10-2), my father in law plans to join us. Rather than springing for another Maxpass for that small of a timeframe, I’m thinking we can either use a normal Fastpass machine if we want to do any rides with long weight with him or I can take advantage of that part of the day to stack FPs in Maxpass for the afternoon at DCA (RSR and some combination of TSMM, GotG, and Soarin).
I’m going to make a reservation at Savi’s for my son (and maybe myself too). I’ve had trouble finding a guide on lightsaber logistics that isn’t largely pre-SWGE opening information. We’ll definitely want to get some photos with the lightsaber at various spots, but also don’t want to be carrying them all day so I’m thinking we can have my FIL take them when we he leaves rather than worrying about them in a hotel room or carrying them around every day. Does anyone have experience shipping them home? I was originally thinking of carrying it on, but fear being forced to gate check on the smaller jet on our second leg home.
We planning to set up an appointment for Bibbidi Boppidi Boutique for our daughter, though we were just going to bring some of the princess dresses she already has and just to the hair and makeup. How well does the hair and makeup hold up through a day in the park? Basically, should we plan for photo ops for a while afterward or can be reasonably mix in rides between photo stops?
My kids are a mix of excited and nervous about the characters. I’m assuming any walk around characters won’t engage with a child who does not engage them first. Is that accurate? We’ve told them everyone that works there wants them to have a good time so they are not going to force them to interact if they don’t want to.
Also, are there any rides were the Fastpass line bypasses something that would be interesting in the main line? I’ve read that the single rider for IJA does, but was planning to just FP that one so that’s not a concern. The only spot where I see using single rider is Incredicoaster since I’m the only one in the family interested in that one anyway.
So my basic plan is as follows (I’m trying to plan were to start based on a typical early entry schedule) and I would appreciate any feedback:
Day 1: Early Entry @ DL in TL. Priority rides 8-10. Gentler rides with FIL, Savi’s + walk around SWGE and stack PM FPs for DCA 10-2. Take a break in the hotel about 2-4. Use stacked FPs and have dinner @ DCA.
Day 2: Rope Drop @ DL. Any remaining priority rides early and start stacking PM FPs for DCA midday. Do some character meets and greets. Take a break in the hotel about 1-3. Use stacked FPs and have dinner @ DCA.
Day 3: Rope Drop @ DCA. Ride anything left on the DCA priority list and/or reride any favorites. Do DCA character meet and greets. Head over to DL and ride anything left on the DL priority list. Watch parade.
I’m holding off until closer to make a detailed plan to see if anything changes regarding rides on FP, refurb schedules, etc. I’m assuming Avengers Campus won’t open until after our trip if it hasn’t been announced yet since I’d rather avoid those extra crowds. We’ve talked about potentially returning in a few years for that if this goes well to see that (and whatever else may get added).
And to anyone who actually read all of this, thanks!