Go for VIP, or extend stay?

I currently have five full days (plus a half-day: the day of our arrival) scheduled in Orlando.

I have a plan to cover all four Disney parks, plus both Universal parks.

(Half-day MK, one day AK and Epcot, one day Harry Potter, one day USF/IOA non-Potter, one day DHS.)

But I’m getting nervous about how realistic my planning is.

So I’ve had two ideas.

First, I could book the Disney VIP experience (which covers all the rides I want to do at MK and DHS) and the Universal VIP experience (which will cover many of the rides I want to do at USF and IOA). That will leave me three days for Epcot and AK.

Or, I could extend my trip to eight full days (and the half-day, with a possible second half-day).

Both options cost around the same.

The VIP avoids a lot of queuing, and cuts down on a lot of the Lines planning.

The extended stay option makes the trip a lot more chilled out, with plenty of time to cover everything.

Given this choice, which would you go for?

Dates of your trip ?

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Arrive 24th August.

Depart either 30th August, or 2nd September.

I vote for a longer stay. 5.5 days is just not enough time, in my opinion, for all you want to do. The VIP tours are nice, I am sure, but we usually stay in Orlando for 11-12 days, so 5.5 seems like only half of an Orlando vacation. :wink:


I also would go for a more extended, chill time. If you’re just looking to tick rides off a list, the plan you have for 5.5 days might be enough. But if you’re looking to have any type of actual experience, you need more time.

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I too am going to vote for a longer stay.

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Longer stay! That way you can and be flexible and have time to add in repeat attractions. We enjoy having a day that is lightly planned (i.e. A dinner reservation somewhere) so we can do whatever we feel like. Also if you were to do this would need PH.

I agree with longer stay. It gives you time to do things beyond the parks such as exploring/eating at other resorts or going to Disney Springs. WDW is much more than just the four theme parks. Plus it gives you more chances to catch things if they get rained out (fireworks, certain rides).

I’d go longer stay also. For the most part, I like to go-go-go when I’m at theme parks, but I definitely like to try a favorite ride at least twice. And a longer stay does give you some flexibility if something goes wrong or if you simply just want to take things at a slower pace one day.

I’d go longer stay, especially since the extra days are added to the back end, when the cowds will be as low as you’re ever going to see them. You also will be able to do Food & Wine Festival at Epcot that way, as it starts during the extension time!

Thank you everyone for your comments.

It looks like I may actually do neither and stick to my original 5.5 day plan.

The cost of changing the flight home is £1,090. That’s on top of the £540 I’ve already paid. In other words, it’s more than double extra!

The Disney VIP would cost USD$600 (for two) but I’m not that excited about the scheduled rides and I wonder how I’ll cope with 7 hours of non-stop action in 92F temperatures and high humidity.

The USF VIP is about USD$500 (for two) and has greater appeal, but I worry I’ll miss out on the queueing experience – the theming and so on. And that the day will become almost a treadmill of rides without a moment to stop and smell the roses.

If the flight weren’t so expensive, it might be an easy call to just have the longer holiday. But it adds nearly a third to my existing, already very expensive, budget.

My 5.5 day plan is pretty selective about what I want to accomplish in terms of rides – only four at MK, for example. The “only” thing that can go wrong is the weather is catastrophically bad – how likely is that?

My biggest “fear” is not getting the most from AK. I saw a video of the queues at Pandora and it scared the life out of me! I think that’s what’s got me panicked and thinking of VIP tours and extra days.

Sometimes I wish I was just into simple beach holidays!

This sounds like fun! As far as weather - I would expect one thunderstorm a day. You rarely lose a whole day in summer weather but it can throw a wrench into an afternoon and evening. Mostly it is over and done but I have had Fantasmic cancelled due to lightening.

Instead of the VIP tour at Universal - you could book an overnight stay in one of the deluxe hotels. It should run you a little less than $300 for Royal Pacific. That would get you an express pass for the two days that you are there and the ability to be back at your hotel for an afternoon break or swim That might be a little more relaxing. It isn’t good for the HP stuff but you can knock out the other thrill rides easier.

My other advice would be to not stress too much - concentrate on the stuff that would be new to you. Enjoy what you are doing and not what you might be missing.

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I would totally look into either the Disney World Early Magic Morning where you get into the Magic Kingdom early for 3 very popular rides and/or doing the Not-so-Scary Halloween Party for your dates. Lines will be shorter at those rides for the parties. Plus, IMO, 1/2 day at Magic Kingdom but a whole day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios doesn’t make any sense.

DHS has been downgraded to half a day :slight_smile:

So, the weather could be REALLY terrible for a day or two and you’d still get most things done at the time of year. I’ve done that exact week the last 3 years… we had 2 days of rain one year, almost no rain at all one year (a tropical storm fizzled just south of FL at the beginning of the trip and pretty much sucked all of the moisture down… it was HOOOOTTT that time, though), and then there was the outer edge of a minor hurricane last year that caused rain for 4 of our 5 days. The crowds were low enough that 5 days was enough time to do all 4 parks in the first two years, and we managed all 4 parks on a 4-day hopper last year, even with heavy rains on 3 days and midday breaks each day.

Adding in MNSSHP definitely helped last year, and if the 4 things you want to do at MK are available during the party (which starts 8/25 this year) then I’d recommend trying to swing it, because the lines will be even lower than during the days (basically walk-on to 15 minutes max for everything except 7DMT, and you can do that in 15-20 minutes after the fireworks are over) and you’ll get to do the extra Halloween stuff too.

If extending the stay is just not cost efficient then what about staying at one of the premium on site hotels at Universal (pacific probably the cheaper). With the stay you get early morning admission where you could do Potter in IOA then train to USF for gringotts. The cue at gringotts is amazing and its cool to worth waiting some. Hopefully you knock out both by 11AM then with the express pass you get with the stay at the premium hotel you can easily do both parks in a day once potter is behind you. I’ve done it with 2 DD’s (8,11) at the time and they pounded through it. Its a fun day for sure.

also if its 2 of you assuming adults, after a day at Disney you can check in, maybe close one of the parks if there is time and then go to the city walk for a few. You may be able to alter you Disney time and get back a nights stay.

good luck

Well, I’ve made my final decision.

I’ve taken all of your advice and I’ve extended my stay. I’ll now have eight full days and two half-days at WDW and USF. I’ve even booked MNSSHP for our last night!

I’m very happy about my plans, and very excited.

And also very considerably poorer.

But – hey – it’s the holiday of a lifetime. I last visited WDW 25 years ago. I don’t plan on returning for at least that long again after this trip, so I may as well make the most of it!


I hope you love it! Having the extra days will make things much less stressful.

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Being Disney-poor is the best kind of poor, and with such a long journey I’m sure you’ll appreciate the longer stay that much more in the end! I’m also jealous of your trip, in general. As I said, that’s my favorite time to go but I will likely not be taking an end-of-summer trip this year, since my sister wants to go nearer to Christmas.

You’ll be there after 8/31, right? That means Food & Wine festival… definitely a can’t-miss!

To quote a very smart man (my husband): “It’s only money - we’ll make more.”

:smiley: Congrats on your holiday! Enjoy every moment!!