Having trouble deciding how many days to spend in each park, feel like I'm going round in circles

I keep changing my rough plan because I don’t know how to split our days, please help. It’s myself, DH, DD7, & DD5. Arriving evening of Tues 13th Dec, 7 nights at the Poly and then 1 at AKL, leaving lunchtime on Wed 21st. Plan to be at the parks before opening all mornings except one or two, rest in the afternoon, early evening entertainment/ADR and keep the remainder of the night flexible. We want to see all the fireworks, plus Fantasmic and ROL, and can put the kids into club one night. What I am most stuck on is how much time to spend in the AK, I’m varying from only a morning and evening up to 2 mornings, and 2 evenings. I’d like to spend a bit of time at the AKL, but we are only there for our last night, (a decision I’m starting to wonder if I can change) and I don’t think we want to spend our last night not in a park, but by then everywhere is CL9 so maybe we should stay away, I really am going round in circles. Also where should we spend our last morning, was planning on AK but now I’m thinking the kids would much prefer MK. Too many choices, though they are lovely ones. Also having dificulty on which day to go to HS, most interested in Jedi training, and doing TSMM twice. Options are Wed 14th CL2, or Sat 17th CL5 but it has morning EMH. Think we def want to do Fantasmic on the Wed, as avoiding crowds is high on our list of priorities. Many thanks for any advice you can give.

Although one could certainly spend a lot more time in any one of these places, this is how I would break down an 8 day trip:

MK - 3 - one from preRD to dinner, one from after lunch through evening, and one split a.m./p.m. day)
EP - 2 - one for FW and one for WS
HS - 1 or skip - kind of not at all interested in that place right now)
AK - 1 (though ROL maybe makes that a 2-fer, with one preRD and one after lunch entry)

This leaves 1 free day if you do only one at AK - possibly for DS - or 0 free days if you do 2.

This is why I need to move to WDW :wink: Never enough time.


Unless you really love animals and want to learn everything about them, 1 day at AK should be enough. For HS, if you’ll use the EMH I’d go with that, since that’s your best chance of Jedi sign-up & TSMM twice. If you aren’t using EMH, I’d avoid it. Ending at the MK is a nice idea, but you have a lot to piece together, so see what works.


I’m not an expert like most on here, but having gone on a similar length trip with a similar family last fall, I thought I’d chime in.

We too are a family of four, and our twins were just about to turn 6. We too did an 8 day trip based out of the MK area. We did the first 4 nights at CR, and the last 3 nights at AKL.

I like OBN’s advice, and it follows fairly closely with what we did:

Arrival day, we didn’t go to a park. Explored CR and the monorail, while having dinner at Chef Mickey’s.

MK - 3 - We did rope drop and out in the afternoon the first two days at MK (Day 2 and Day 3). Day 4, a pool morning (may not work in Dec.) and to MK in mid-afternoon.

EP - 1 - We slept in on Day 5 and spent a half-day at EP (skipped WS), while our bags were moved to AKL.

AK - 1 - We did rope drop at AKL on Day 6 and didn’t leave until 5pm close. Wilderness Explorers kept us very busy all day - highly recommend for kids that age.

We skipped HS. Spent Day 7 at the AKL pool, finishing off our final night with a special dinner at Jiko. Slept in and off to the airport on Day 8.

I hope maybe you can take something from our similar trip to help organize your thoughts. We wouldn’t have changed a thing. It really was fabulous. Our first as a family to WDW. Have a great time!

My recommendation is identical to @OBNurseNH.

Thank you all.

So far I’m thinking 3/4 mornings at MK, no afternoons and not sure about evenings, crowds are an issue so might do MVMCP, but it seeems a lot of money and Wishes aren’t till 10pm, so we may not even manage to stay out that late. We are also coming from the UK so at 7pm, our body clocks will be saying it’s midnight for the first few nights. Am I mad to make evening plans the first couple of days? bearing in mind those days are the only low CL days.

Was it your twins choice to spend their last day at the hotel instead of a park, were they knackered from a week at WDW? Did they nap in the afternoon, and how late did you stay out at night please?

How much difference does it make getting out of Fantasmic at different CL’s please? my choices are 2,5,8&9. We’d like to do the H&V DP with Sophia 1st, do you know if you can get DP’s for 12/1pm? and if we weren’t doing our morning HS touring and Fantasmic on the same day, do I have much chance of getting a 5pm DP at H&V please?

I think we’ll love AK, but if we don’t visit until the end of the week we’ll only experience it at CL8/9. From what I’ve read it sounds like the park doesn’t handle crowds well, and I’m afraid my husband will say ‘no way, I’m going back to the hotel’. Worried that might happen in other places too.

In HS we’d ideally like 1 early morning for Jedi & TSMM, 1 early evening for Fantasmic, and 1 late night for the Starwars fireworks when we don’t have the kids, but I don’t think they can be joined up. Is it more important to do HS or EP at CL2?

Really comes down to what your family wants. This is one of the things that I HATE about FP and having to book out 6 months - it can KILL spontaneity.
Personally I think 3 days MK is a bit overkill - but hey - if that is what people like - cool.
I like to do one day each park and then circle back around. We are skipping AK as a whole this time.

Although we have things planned out to
1 - HS
2 - Epcot
2 - MK

We may switch things up once we get there

“Was it your twins choice to spend their last day at the hotel instead of a park, were they knackered from a week at WDW?”

No, that was our idea, and it was planned that way. I’m sure the kids would’ve been up for whatever our plan called for. I think I wanted to make sure our final day was as relaxing as possible. And given it was early Sept., we knew a real day at the pool would be welcomed.

“Did they nap in the afternoon, and how late did you stay out at night please?”

Our kids aren’t nappers. But, for our two MK rope drop days, we followed the good advice to get out of MK mid-afternoon and rest. So for us, “napping” was watching cartoons back in the room. It worked, and the kids were recharged for sit down dinners both nights, including watching the MK fireworks from the CR roof the 2nd night.

We didn’t do any nights (post-dinnertime) in the parks, except for our final day in MK, which started mid afternoon, we had dinner at BOG, followed by us leaving the park during the electrical parade (so pre-fireworks).

One day at AK will be enough.
CL5 for HS rope drop and a quick trot to sign up for Jedi Training will also work. Fill in the time using the kids TP with a step knocked off for every 20 minutes burned in the JT line.

1 Like

Thank you. Does anyone know whether Fantasmic is full at the earlier showing on both a CL2 & CL5 day please?

Re: Fantasmic. Unless you are really set on it I wouldn’t push to do it. Projecting stuff onto mist didn’t do it for us and we were underwhelmed, where as the Electric Parade never cease to amaze this old curmudgeon about how much it makes me smile.

But to answer you question directly CL2 I cannot see it being full enough to break the standard lead time in the plan, and you could probably halve it.

Thank you, Is the Electric parade in MK your favourite?

I’m undecided on Fantasmic, but at 7pm it’s the earliest of the evening entertainment, and we’ve never seen any laser shows before. As our first night entertainment might we still be dissapointed? Maybe EP on Wed 14th with CL2, and then plan to see Fantasmic but have no DP, FPP, or ADR.

I’m feeling less like I’m going round in circles now, so thank you for everyones advice.

What time do you need to arrive at a park if you’re going to morning EMH please?

There are lots of ways you can do it :slight_smile: I took my kiddos and we chose where we wanted to go! LOL :slight_smile:

One thing that I wasn’t for sure on is whether or not you had park hoppers! How many day park pass will you have?

The way that I would plan it for myself is:
MK 2 days
EP 2 Days
HS 1 day
AK 1 day

Then I would decide what we really didn’t get to see and use our last day for that. Or which park you like best! You could also use that day for a rest day to stay at hotel and swim or go play mini golf, DD or anything like that. Are you driving or flying? We changed hotels after 3 days and then a week at another and to me that was a hassle with kids. My mom and I also did a split stay and stayed 1 night at Poly MK view and then went to Club. For me, I would have loved to have stayed in the MK view! But we also enjoyed Club! Not sure how it works but at AKL you could do the Safari that is only offered to guests, if you wanted. If you were to do MVMCP then I would not get a ticket for that day and just use that as your ticket since you can enter the park at 4 pm. If you have not been it is a wonderful treat :slight_smile:

On Fantasmic we never lined up early. While everyone was in line we were riding rides and enjoying ourselves. We walked right in and got pretty good seats to Fantasmic. Fantasmic is not one of my favorites, I would much prefer to watch the Fireworks shows :slight_smile: It is good but I could watch Illuminations and Wishes all every single night! And now they have the Star Wars one at HS! It was AWESOME too :slight_smile: Love the fireworks shows :smile:

I LOVE doing the EMH with my kids! Most of the time to me it didn’t seem that busy and most families either preferred to sleep in or with small kids would be in park all day and leave early! We went in December and my family would just walk on rides because no one was there! I was going to go back to our room but the lines were over an hour long at the bus stop so we walked around and took pics in front of the castle while they rode roller coasters and had a blast :smile:

Thank you. We are on a package deal so we get park hoppers, waterparks, and extra ticket days we can’t use. We fly in on Tues 13th, 8 nights at WDW and then a more peaceful week with family over Christmas.

You could do afternoons at a water park. Just to experience it. I believe only one is open during that time. One thing with that is that you can start at a EMH park and then go to another. So if you find you are done in one park you could go back and rest or swim or water park or DD. There is so many possibilities. What I did with my family is ha each one choose a not to miss ride of their choice. Anything over that was bonus :slight_smile:

Thank you all, I really appreciate the advice. I think I’ve got the mornings sorted and it looks very similar to everyone’s advice.
W14 CL2 EP ADR Garden Grill 8am, or Akershus, but don’t want to rush the princesses?
T15 CL3 MK ADR BOG 8am
F16 CL4 MK (small lie in)
S17 CL5 HS ADR H&V lunch
S18 CL8 EP (larger lie in) Am I crazy to use CS in WS between 12-2pm at CL8, thinking the Japanane Kat something. Or do I need an ADR?
M19 CL9 MK
T20 CL8 AK ADR lunch DP for ROL
W21 keep open

No plans in the afternoon, so we can rest. If that doesn’t work I can add in a waterpark or a leisurely stroll around Tom Sayer Island for my eldest. I was playing about on TP and my afternoon rests weren’t looking that long, I’m strugling to find 4 hrs, but can fit 3 in ok, is that enough?

Evenings are trickier, so far I’ve got:
W14 Plan for Fantasmic, but no actual plans so can change out mind.
T15 Which is also my birthday, MVMCP (where I’m paying to be able to see the Parade, fireworks, and castle show in low crowds, but everything is so late we might not be able to keep the kids awake.) or ROL DP, or something else.
F16 ADR Akershus dinner, 5,6, or 7pm. Explore China & Norway, and hopefully see Illuminations. Should I always be aiming for early dinners? My kids are usually flexible, I was thinking a late dinner might help them stay up later, but now I’m not so sure.
S17 Kids into club and DH & I see Star Wars Fireworks, probably a late night for all.
S18 ADR Ohana, not sure what time, see the fireworks from the beach at 8pm and early night. Or MVMCP, I’d like to know whether disney sells the same amount of tickets for each party, unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be info they share.
M19 ADR 6pm? 1700 Park Fare, with option of going into MK afterwards, will probably depend on whether we’ve done a MVMCP.
T20 ROL, assuming we haven’t already. Or Boma.

Also wondering whether I should change our 1 night at AKL, is it worth changing rooms for only 1 night?

It looks really good :slight_smile: If your girls love the princess I would do Akershus :slight_smile: If you can get in before park opening you can get some great photo ops :slight_smile: Also it beats standing in line for some of the princess which can take time :slight_smile: If you know where you want to eat than I would try to make ADR :slight_smile: But that is me personally :slight_smile: If your not sure which restaurants you want to eat at, don’t know if you have seen the menus of the restaurants you can go to allears.net and look up each of the menus :slight_smile: My favorite CS meal in EP is Sunshine Seasons :slight_smile: Allears also has reviews of the restaurants that you can look at :slight_smile:

One thing that we always had a problem with (which may not be so bad since you are staying at the poly is my kids would always fall asleep on the way back to the room and then be wide awake when we got to the room :frowning: Your kids will be tired. It is a very busy, normally non stop adventure :slight_smile: One thing that you could do is break it down per area :slight_smile: That’s what I did :slight_smile: If you would like a sneak peak at one of mine I could send you the plan :slight_smile: Just for an idea :wink:

Boma is an AWESOME breakfast :slight_smile: LOVE Ohana :slight_smile:

Thank you, I’d love to see your TP. I have done some restaurant research, and my initial list had about 16 TS meals. After I priced it up, I went back and cut it down to 8/9. Of which 5/6 were character or buffet meals, so now I’m considering the DDP. We might fall into that small category where it’s actually worth it, because the price of a child character/buffet meal is regularly more than the DDP child price, so we effectively get their CS & S credits free.