Full days in parks compared to half days or split days

Our family have always favoured rope drop followed by blitzing rides in the morning then back to the Hotel for pool time or a rest before showering and back out to a park in the evening for dinner and rides and shows

I guess we are influenced by always getting park hopper included with our UK tickets

But when I read about a lot of families spending full days in parks I wonder how you all manage?

We went to busch gardens on a shuttle and that ended up being a very long day for us and very tiring etc

Do you guys not kill yourselves by going full on in the parks from morning til after the shows?

In short, no. Until last year, we’d only ever done full days, always there at RD but not always staying for fireworks etc. Always in summer and no TS meals to break up the day. We never thought it was worth park hopping due to the time lost, and since we hadn’t paid extra for the hoppers we didn’t feel we were losing anything. We stayed offsite, and again afternoon breaks seemed just like a waste of time.

Last year we stayed onsite and had to take afternoon breaks, due to DH’s health, so we did some park hopping, though not a lot (usually went back to the same park). We were no less tired for doing that, and even DH said taking breaks was a waste of time.

Busch Gardens is a fair way away, and I do find that a long day if we go.

When we first started going to WDW in the mid-90s we used to do full days at the parks. But then we started going more often, and became DVC members, and suddenly the need to cram everything in every trip just wasn’t there anymore. We now usually go twice a year for two weeks each time, and part of the enjoyment for us is taking it easy and just doing the “best bits” plus some things we haven’t done in a while. Our 3.5 year old daughter also loves her pool time, so afternoon breaks with lots of pool slide action is obligatory! :thumbsup: A typical day for us is a park from rope drop until after lunch, pool break, then either a park for early dinner and a couple of rides, or dinner at Disney Springs (especially when we stay at SSR - love the easy walk from there!).

Yes we also do the best bits more by splitting days

So for example around an evening dinner in a park we will try an do 2 or 3 of our favourite rides from when we spent a morning in the park. And nearly always be different park in the evening to the one from the morning. I think it makes you feel you are doing more each day. Park/pool/different park. But that might just be me thinking that!! Lol

It also means moving fast and early in the morning part of the day at least. We tend to eat breakfast snacks on the move then have an early lunch in the park which also is a welcome rest before hitting a couple more rides on the way out.

We enjoy our family dining together as much as some of the rides I feel

In the mornings we tend to be able to get all the important stuff done

(we each make a list of our must dos and then put into touring plan to make sure we get to do them all)

Tbh it probably works well for us as I’m thinking universal on site which is close to the parks obviously and epcot area hotels close to epcot and HS and those are the parks we head to in the evenings so we tend to only have one travel return time during the day that takes any significant time

It wouldn’t work for us half as well staying at AK for example

I also feel you can do water parks well with an early morning start and then a theme park in the evening

I understand others feeling different though

We’re usually too tired after a water park morning to do a park later - we usually go to DS on that day.

That makes sense.

In the evenings though we just tend to eat and do 2 or 3 rides max and sometimes the show/sometimes not

Much more relaxed for us then without a big list of rides to hit

I just love dining in the parks in the evening

Having said that at Universal we prefer city walk for the evening meals

Tbh never been to disney springs as we would have to travel from epcot to get there

We don’t really use boardwalk too much for meals either tbh. Despite it being a short walk away

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CityWalk is good. No way I could miss DS! I love World of Disney, I could spend hours in there.

I only get a chance to go once every few years, and my trips are rarely more than 5 days, so when I go, I GO. With the exception of the one 7-day trip I had, I’ve never planned a no-park day or a “pre-planned” half day. I make RD every day, take no breaks other than TS lunches and dinners, and typically close a park in the PM. I always have the hopper option, but I typically only hop once or twice during a trip. As I get older my pacing while in a park has slowed down a bit, but I’m still in the parks pretty much all day, every day.

If I had the luxury of going more often - or staying more days while there - I might take a different approach.

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We typically do a mix of some sort. We will do all day RD to Close at MK followed by late start at HS and early night. We will tour RD to evening at AK but do two days there and then do one RD to close day at Epcot. We typically don’t build in off days but it seems like our kids have no problem touring this way. They’re kind of use to it.

When I went this summer we had originally planned full days. Not rope drop, but early till late.

After our first full day we switched to lazy mornings at home followed by arrivals between 11am and 1pm. We left after closing each day.

This worked well for us. We didn’t take afternoons off.

I had initially planned for mostly full days from Rope Drop to Fireworks, but quickly realized we were better off take a 3-4 hour break mid-day. We loved Rope Drop because the parks were quiet and we got a lot accomplished, and also the weather is so much better. But also wanted to be in the park later for fireworks.

It was less cumbersome to leave and come back if you’re staying at a WDW resort than I had imagined. Also, as a game my brother and I started counting meltdowns (kids and parents) and most seemed to happen around 2pm/3pm and 9:30pm - when families were tired, hot and cranky.

3pm is known as metldown-o-clock when we go to Disneyland. And not just for kids; adults too. I am relooking at my plans for my upcoming trip to DW (some of it based on your trip report) and I can see that naturally, the touring plans tend to have 140 min that are free every afternoon and I still visit everything I want. I think I am going to use those for a longer break in the pm and allow time to go back to the resort and swim and nap.

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At the Magic Kingdom, lines are typically the worst in the afternoon, so depending on what you want to do, you could easily find that relaxing at the pool is a more enjoyable use of your time than waiting in 90 minute long lines for rides.

This is one of those situations where “your mileage may vary” based on where you are staying. If you are staying at a monorail resort, the time cost in leaving some parks is minimal. If you have to wait for a bus, it may be substantially more. We stayed at Bay Lake Tower and pretty much always split our days, though we didn’t always park hop.

In the past, we always blitzed one park at a time and park-hopped the last couple of days of the trip to hit those things we just didn’t get to. But we were also younger and took the kids with us. Do you know how hard it is to get three kids to lay quietly for a couple of hours? We never succeeded at this and it just caused major frustration. So we toured accordingly; we went to the parks late when we wanted to see the evening activities, and RD’d when we wanted to ride as much as possible. Were we tired, yes. But looking back, it was worth it.
These days, traveling without the kiddos, we RD and stay in the park until 1 or 2pm. Then go back somewhere between 4-6 eating dinner on the way to our first activity. Sometimes it’s the same park, sometimes different. It often depends on CL, what is still on the list to do, and our current preference. It’s the one park of the trip that is a bit spontaneous, and it also takes advantage of the parks when the lines are most likely the shortest.
In the end, do what is best for you. Make the trip relaxing and enjoyable!

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I also feel that in the Disney Parks that it depends whether you want to do as many rides as possible or else you have a a target list of rides to do

I myself think that for a family with teenage kids that in AK, MK, HS and Epcot there are only a handful of MUST DO rides in each park so you can normally get them done in a well planned half a day with a good plan

Then go back for another half day or evening later in the holiday and do your favourites again or any you missed first time etc

But again I guess it’s all about your personal preferences

Between our family it’s thrill rides, dining and shows we like to do a in the disney parks and we don’t like to queue at all if we can avoid it

We RD everyday, but will often follow up a late night with a water park the next day (we RD that, too). The water park is really restful for adults. Teens can go do their own thing, and the Disney water parks have great tween areas where the kids can be monitored from the sidelines in deck chairs giving adults a well needed rest. This plan won’t work for toddlers and primary grade school kids, though.

Agree re water parks being good place for adults to recharge even if the kids don’t!!