Help - which plan do I start with? So confused 🙃

Hi everyone

Long time reader of posts but first time posting - please be kind :wink:

We are coming to Disney World Dec 2-10, arriving around 6pm on the night of the 2nd from Australia. Two kids, aged 8&5 plus DH and I.

None of us have been to Disney before, and I’m feeling totally and utterly overwhelmed with where to start in planning. I know we need to have some structure to make sure we make the most of our time and not double up, but I also don’t want to feel so time structured and under pressure - it is a vacation after all!
I’ve had a look at some of the plans and really not sure what the best option is for such a novice! I’ve booked BBB for Miss 5 one morning at 840am before park opens but that’s our only commitment so far, I’ve not committed to other ADRs until I get my head around plans. We do plan on doing MVMCP one night.

Asking for all the wise heads and experienced folks to give me some good advice on where to start please?

Thanks in advance


Hi! Welcome to the world of posting on the forum! Can you tell us a little about your plans? Are you staying onsite? Do you have park hoppers? How many days of tickets do you have?

I usually start with what night time events I want to see: Star Wars or Fantasmic a “must do”? Then one night at HS. You want to see HEA and go to a party? That is two nights at MK.

Hi there, thanks for the welcome!

Plans to date:
7 day tickets with hopper

Onsite accomm at AoA

Yes to MVMCP and HEA

DS is a Star Wars fan so probably do this show one night at HS, but not sure if we can do both? I wondered about a half day or thereabouts at HS given some recent reviews I’ve read?

Both kids are tall so no height concerns for rides although DS (8) is not the most adventurous :yum:
I’d like to spend a night at AK I think as it sounds like some of the night time Pandora sights are amazing.

I’ll need to factor in some daytime breaks, or either early start/early finish or late start/late finish depending on how the jet lag goes I think as well as just getting some down time in.

Thanks again!

Welcome! I would start by thinking of each day as three separate blocks of time - morning, afternoon and evening. That will give you 7x3=21 blocks of time to work with, which I think is more flexible than thinking in terms of 7 days. Sketch out a grid on a piece of paper (no need to be fancy) and start penciling in parks or shows or swimming or late nights or sleep-in mornings. Like @PrincipalTinker said, some of your must-do items will automatically fill certain blocks. It kind of dominoes as you go along. For example, if you know you want to do both of the new Pandora attractions, you’ll need to make FPs for Animal Kingdom 2 different days. If you want to see the Magic Kingdom fireworks, that will block off one evening. Etc.


Some general advice to add.

You have a good amount of time, but you still will not be able to do everything! For each park, prioritise what’s important to you. What would your family like to do? 5 or 6 must-dos plus some “nice-to-dos” is a good start.

A character meal is a good way to meet characters without spending time waiting in the parks. CHef Mickey’s has Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto. You can meet 3 or 4 of them elsewhere but that’s the only place to meet them all together.

You will have the added problem of some serious jet lag issues, with no way of knowing how it will affect you, so I would not be planning to rope drop. If you manage it, that’s an added bonus. With the night time shows, either plan a late start to the day, maybe swim first, or a break mid-day. We’re from the UK, plus my family are not early risers, so we never rope drop. Your family may be different, but that jet lag may catch you unawares.

I split the parks in 2 typically. For MK - Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, then Frontierland, Liberty Square and Adventure land. For Epcot I prefer to do half of FutureWorld and half of World Showcase one day and the rest the other. It mixes up rides with strolling around nicely, especially when you don’t really know how the kids like it. Pick 2 or 3 countries to explore fully.

For DHS it’s tricky. I’ve been maybe 5 times and we still take more than a day. The shows can be tricky to schedule, and the Star Wars stuff can take a while. As someone who likes Star Wars but not a huge fan or nerd (unlike say DH), I still loved seeing March of the First Order etc. And spent over an hour in the Launch Bay. Jedi Training is another thing altogether, we are past that stage but it needs either rope drop or an early breakfast to get signed up. If you want to do the rides, Star Wars and even one of the shows you will need at least a day. If you want to see both Fantasmic (you really should!) and the SW fireworks then use 2 days but maybe one late start, or a break. The shows are good fun, I love Indy. The “half day” view is often from those who have seen the shows many times, as they haven’t changed much. If you want to see them all, or even 2 or 3 of them, you will need 2 days.

Avoid the pitfall of making your plans and not leaving time to just enjoy the parks. There’s so much to see, street performers to watch, ice creams to eat, characters to meet (many of them are not scheduled at set times so you can’t include them in the plans as such).

Above all, use the plans to get a feel of where things are and how long things take. Then be prepared to deviate from them if necessary. Kids want to Splash in the fountains? Great, grab a coffee and sit down for half an hour. Dapper Dans singing in Town Square? Go listen, they’re fab. Allow time to skip down MS and pose in front of the castle. Enjoy the bustle of Harambe in AK. I put plenty of breaks in my plans, 30 to 60 minutes every couple of hours. That’s my style. If you’re a “go go go” family then make the plans and fill them with as much as possible. Whatever works for your family is the “right” way for you!

And ask lots of questions here. Do you have a subscription? If so, you can make your personalised plans and publish them here so people can offer advice. There’s lots of experience on this forum, and there’s no such thing as a stupid question either!

If you haven’t already got one, I would suggest getting a guidebook to start. Find out about the parks and get a feel for what you’d like to do. Don’t forget there’s lots to do outside the parks for relaxation and excitement.


If I were you, where I’d START:
Figure out the things you need to do according to your family’s priorities.

Since you are paying extra to have access to EMH, AND you’ve paid extra for hoppers, I’d target any parks with am EMH, take a break, then hop to the least busy park for a very light night time tour and fireworks show.

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Wow thanks so much for all your advice, gives me some good places to start.

For a guide book what’s the best option? I’ve already noted some things for a wish list but I probably need to work on that some more.

I’ll be back here lots I can see!!

Thanks again :grinning:

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Hi from Cairns :slight_smile:
We’re heading over for our first time on dec 23, so I feel your overwhelmedness!
I bought the unofficial guide from here
It helped immensely as we had no idea what we were getting ourselves in for either.

To avoid SERIOUS jetlag on the first two days, our family is switching to the US timezone well before we leave. Given that school is probably not finishing for you until 1st Dec, I’m guessing the kids are missing a few days of school anyway? It might be doable for you.

Pick what night activities/shows you want to see, which will tell you what parks to go to. We’re opting for early evenings rather than having mid day breaks, however my boys are a couple of years older than your littles.

Once you figure out your parks, play around with a touring plan. You don’t have to follow it strictly but it will give you a good idea of what order you could do things in to get the most out of your time. Figure out roughly where you’ll be at lunchtime and make a rough list of food options. I don’t want to spend an hour figuring out where to get my food from when I’m there!

At the end of the day, your at DISNEYWORLD. Does the rest really matter? :slight_smile:
I’m making my ADRS tonight, but once I’ve updated my touring plans I can share them with you if you would like to get an idea of what we’re planning? It might be a little different than what you would want, but its a start?

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Hi Ladythomas thanks so much! I’d love to see your plans if you don’t mind sharing :grinning:

I’ve done that travel leg to the US East Coast many a time, just never with kids so it’s more their jet lag I’m worried about! I’ll see how I go acclimatising them but they don’t finish school till the Friday and we fly Saturday morning :joy:

I’ve just ordered myself the book, so disappointed I can’t get the kindle version so I could start reading tonight!!
Our ADR window opened a while back, I haven’t booked much at all to be honest, I’ll take a risk with what I can get when I get some order of plans. To be honest I find some of the meal pricing, even with characters, a bit hard to justify - I know Mickey is ace and all but some of those breakfast costs just seem obsurd to me.

I can see myself being a regular visitor here! Thanks again :ok_hand:t2::raised_hands:t2::grinning:

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We’re mostly doing our own breakfasts, mornings are valuable park time. I’ve found the pricing for lunches and dinner about the same as what I would pay here for a normal lunch/dinner. We aren’t doing tonnes of character stuff either. We also did manage to get the dining plan so the food costs weren’t a huge deal for us- my hubby doesn’t like to be involved in the finances, but he does frequently look like he might be at risk of heart failure when he discovers how much we spend on things!

Jump in and ask whatever you need to. The people here are just so lovely and super helpful. They’ll take good care of you :slight_smile:

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All of these a rough and works in progress, but I hope they help Epcot AK half day HS- not finished yet. For some reason, this one is difficult MK Epcot day 2 AK day 2 MK rough day 2

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Oh ladythomas that is amazing!!! Thank you so much :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile: Cant wait to read through them and get my guide book so I can start my plans!

Thanks again

No problem!
They haven’t been given the fourm’s seal of approval just yet… I was waiting until I got my fastpasses booked before I asked for feedback because I’ll probably have to move stuff around.
It’s a good starting point to see how long stuff will take though.

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I’d lend you my guide book until yours arrives, but I have a feeling you live nowhere near Cairns?

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Sadly not, we are in Geelong - a lot further south and colder!!
Thanks tho :+1: