Help making a touring plan

Hello All! (My first time using this forum – please let me know if I do anything “wrong”.)

I’m going to WDW in January with some family. My MIL an FIL are taking her sister and husband, her Niece and 3 kids (girls 10 and 8, boy 4 or 5?). They asked me to come along and “help” plan the trip and to help with the kids (really, she wants me to plan the whole thing :slight_smile: ). My in-laws are DVC owners and have a GV booked at OKW. I have been to WDW many many times (15+ since 2006) with my family (my DH and boys will not be able to come on this trip). The rest have never been to WDW and asked me to handle everything (they are super nice, the girls are good – but the youngest boys is a “handful” to say the least – he is “that” kid you see misbehaving in the parks – ugg). Now for my questions:

  1. We will only be there for a long-weekend (Friday to Monday). I know we dont have time to do it all, but what parks/attractions would you recommend?
  2. We want to do 1 character-dining experience. Which would you choose?
  3. Fireworks are a MUST. Which would you pick?

Things to note:
The girls are not really into “princesses” but will see them if I plan it.
I’m hoping to do “rope drop” on Saturday/Sunday with a mid-day break.
We can get park-hoppers if needed.

Thank you so much! I know I have LOTS of time to make a touring-plan, but my dining-date is coming up in about a week or so…

  1. We will only be there for a long-weekend (Friday to Monday). I know we dont have time to do it all, but what parks/attractions would you recommend? Full day MK, full day Epcot, AK morning + HS night
  2. We want to do 1 character-dining experience. Which would you choose? Cinderella’s Castle in MK or Chef Mickey’s
  3. Fireworks are a MUST. Which would you pick? MK
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I pretty much agree with @karraeb . If the girls aren’t especially into princesses, I might choose a different CM (CRT can be a very difficult ADR to get, and it’s one of the most expensive). I don’t do many CMs, but I find TH to have better than average buffet food, and you get to meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy - the most “classic” of the Disney characters. A lunch there would be a nice way to end your morning in AK before going over to DHS.

For FW, I would say there’s no reason that you couldn’t see Wishes on your MK night, IllumiNations on your EP evening, and Star Wars on your DHS evening. Illum is the “easiest” to see because there are so many places to watch it from; I’ve rarely had to get a spot more than 15 or 20 before. Wishes and SW have more limited ideal view areas (on MS or right in front of the Chinese Theater), so you’ll have to stake out (and defend) a spot at least an hour before show time (unless you spring for a desert party).

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Welcome to the forum! I want to 2nd the Tusker House choice. Great characters and really good food. I also agree with @bswan26, three nights, three shows!

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I will add a third to the Tusker House motion!!! It was my favorite food/character balance out of what we tried and I cannot wait to get to do it again. Also, Star Wars FWs were my favorites but if you follow the plan laid out above, 3 shows in 3 nights will be an awesome way to do it!

You mentioned starting your vaca on Friday. Will you go to the park/s on Friday? Or, do you really only have Sat and Sun for touring?

Tusker House. Absolutely.

MK certainly gets a whole day. If you only have one more day, I might hit EP in the morning and DAK (with a Tusker House dinner) after that…provided that Rivers of Light is underway. (If Rivers of Light isn’t happening, I’d hit DAK in the morning with a Tusker pre-rope drop breakfast or a Tusker lunch followed by EP for afternoon touring w/ Illuminations).

PS An alternate to the above, might be to catch Wishes from a monorail resort on Friday, rope drop the MK on Sat followed by Star Wars at DHS later that evening, and then either EP/DAK or DAK/EP on your last day depending on the Rivers of Light situation. Monday could be Disney Springs or any number of other, non-park things until you head out.

Oh, unknown if the Star Wars fireworks will still be happening when you arrive. I believe there are not show times for it past Sept 1 this year.

I’m not sure if we can go to the parks on Friday or Monday. It will depend on their flight schedule. (I’m hoping to come in on Thursday night as long as I can get a studio at OKW – I just havent checked yet.)

I agree with the full day at MK and EP. We would need to rope drop both (MK because my MIL wants to see the opening/welcome show; EP because we want to do the new Norway ride and Soaring and can only get FPP for one). I’m hoping they come in early on Friday so maybe we can do something Friday evening. But with 3 kids, I’m not sure they would be able to do a park on Monday morning if they have an afternoon flight. But… I really like the TH idea for a CM. sigh too much to do in too little time. The good thing is they wont know what they missed since they’ve never been (my MIL pointed that out to me). So… I think I just want to plan Saturday and Sunday for sure and then have a tentative plan if they can do Friday evening.

Update: My MIL just let me know that she would like to go to Raglan Road for dinner on Friday. So that looks like our Friday plan…

PS You guys are the BEST!!! Thank you so much for helping! I know everyone here understands all the “planning” involved. My family really just shows up and is surprised at how much we get done.


It’s a rather mixed group, are the kids the priority?

Would you take first timers to Raglan Rd if they only have a couple of days at WDW? I’m curious about this. Alternative could be Ohana, and see Wishes from the beach afterwards. Or somewhere else at a monorail resort.

Tuskers sounds a good choice for your group, alternative Park Fare as that can amuse all ages.