Help with planning over spring break

We are making the trip over spring break with our kids and our parents - two 70 year olds, two 38 year olds, a 6 year old (boy) and a 4 year old (girl). (We are actually arriving on the 4 year old’s fourth birthday.) We will be there for 6 days of fun (excluding arrival and departure days), first day on Sunday, March 29 through last park day on Friday, April 3.

We have breakfast at Chef Mickey on 4/3 and breakfast at Royal Banquet Hall (Epcot) on 4/2. We want to also do a character meal at Hollywood & Vine and possibly dinner at Crystal Palace, but both have several openings throughout the week as of now. (We will book soon.)

Kids were actually at MK and AK just this past October, one day at each. It was plenty (especially with the lower crowds) at AK, but didn’t get all of MK finished in one day. Parks this time are all 7/10 - 10/10, so much busier. Staying at Wilderness Lodge, and hoping the pool will be warm enough to enjoy for some down time and rest. With my parents’ age, we will need some relaxation time. My dad was very tired during the October trip.

Now, with the background info out of the way, any help/advice on what to do and when to do it, with a 4 and 6 year old? With Chef Mickey on Friday, I figured we’d just go on over to MK after that. It just happens to also be MK’s lowest crowd level per the calendar predictions. And with the breakfast at Epcot on that Thursday, we’ll most likely make that Epcot day. We’d like to hit Downtown Disney, as well.

With six days of park passes and a park hopper, how should we go about planning what to do and when to do it? Do we need full days at Epcot and HS? Is one day each enough for Epcot and HS, or would one need two? Should we do mornings at parks, rest during the afternoons by the pool, and go back in the evenings? What’s your best advice? (And a big THANKS for any help.)

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And I should add…everyone (kids and adults) seem to do better with mid-day naps. :wink:

Mom of DD 7 and DS 5, visited last June. for HS we spent one morning only with RD. Every day we took naps in the room at CR EVERYDAY and without it my DS would have been a disaster. My kids loved Epcot so used our night from HS there and great dinner at Tutto Italia and a few rides in WS. On a separate day did RD at Epcot and the kids loved the rides in FW. My kids loved Magic Kingdom but did not like HS or AK as much. Previous trip they loved HS at age 2 and 4. Maybe because Star Wars Weekend and crowd level of 9? Would try for breakfast in park (MK or HS) prior to opening. Can get a bunch done the first hour. On a bit of a selfish note my DH and I had childcare at BC one night and ate at Le Cellier alone WOW. Have a great time!!!

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Thanks! I must admit, we were a little disappointed in AK last year. We have been to many zoos and for the time and money, feel AK wasn’t really worth it. It wasn’t horrible, but… That said, DS 6 LOVED Everest, all five times we rode it that day. Maybe we’ll skip AK this time.

DS6 loves Star Wars, so looking forward to the Academy, etc. at HS. Will probably try to follow your advice and book HS breakfast prior to park opening.

Thinking we may hit parks when they open, nap and pool afternoon, and back to parks at night. Given the high crowd levels, could use the break away from mid-day?

I haven’t been to Epcot for a few decades and thought it wouldn’t be for kids, but maybe there’s more there for kids these days?

Your plan of mornings (be there 30 minutes before park opening) with a break, then returning in the afternoon works great. You’ll tour the park when they are least crowded and avoid the hottest part of the day and your kids (and adults) will be rested if you want to stay for evening fireworks.

Another general suggestion (and you may already have done this) is to decide whether or not you want to do everything together as a group or split up at times. When I’ve traveled with my parents, they’ve taken time to sit on a bench for awhile or head back to the resort before the rest of the group. We eat meals and do most activities together, but there’s also some alone time for everyone. That works for us, but not all families, so it’s best to decide how to handle this before people start to get tired from running around the parks.

As for things to do:

Are character meets important? I just traveled with a friend’s family, including their 5 year old daughter, and we visited many attractions, but the character meets and autographs seemed to be our first priority. If that’s going to be the case with your children, then it’ll take some planning (we didn’t approach this very efficiently). Check out the schedules on Kenny the Pirate’s website (, particularly for those who don’t have formal meets (like Town Square Mickey or Princess Fairytale Hall) and plan to arrive 10-15 minutes before the character is scheduled to appear (lines form very quickly and in many of the Epcot meets you may wait through a character’s scheduled break until they return).

A lot of people seem to overlook things for kids to do in Epcot. There are plenty of the aforementioned character meets and also kidcot activities around World Showcase (mostly coloring). Some families have prepared “passports” or other quests to encourage their children to visit each World Showcase country (and get the passport stamped or learn something in each country’s native language). There are kid-friendly activities inside Innoventions, that you can visit in late morning/early afternoon, when crowds build and you want to get out of the heat/rain. Many kids are fascinated by the aquarium at the Seas pavilion, in addition to the Nemo ride and Turtle Talk show. Soarin entertains people of all ages and if your kids meet the height requirement, then they’ll probably also enjoy Test Track.

The best of Animal Kingdom are the side trails, like the Maharajah Jungle Trek and the Pagani trail, but also the unmarked ones near the tree of life or in the Oasis as you enter the park. The Safari is usually fun and Everest is great if you enjoy roller coasters, but seeing the animals or carvings and talking with the guides is what the park does best. I’m also a fan of all three big shows - Lion King, Nemo, and Flights of Wonder. It is, however, a tough walking park, so I’ll usually leave just after lunch and “hop” to another park for dinner.

The kid-friendly activities in the Studios are probably obvious, with the Disney Junior show and character meets in the animation building. If the Frozen singalong is still going on, then I’m guessing that’ll be on your list, too. I suspect you already know what you want to see again in Magic Kingdom and what you missed, so I won’t add much there. If you have time for Tom Sawyer Island, though, then try it out. Your parents can sit on the porch and rest while you run around the island with the kids. A trip of the riverboat can work the same way, with the kids exploring each deck with one parent, while the rest of the group sits down and enjoys the ride.

Spring Break should be a great time to visit the pools. The summer heat and humidity shouldn’t have arrived yet, but it’ll probably be hot and sunny in the early afternoon when you return for your breaks a swim/nap should refresh everyone for the evening.

Take the bus to Downtown Disney. I like to drive most places on Disney property, but with the current construction parking is a mess. That may change, but unless you hear otherwise, plan not to drive there right now.

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One of the things my kids (DS8 & DS3) like to do at Animal Kingdom is Wilderness Explorers. It brings you into the different areas of the park and you can interact with a lot of different cast members. We end up spending the whole day there because of all of the activities you can do with it.

Agree a ton for kids at Epcot though with Agent P, test track, soaring, Nemo etc. We didn’t get a chance to do Agent P (needed a longer nap) and my kids were sad. Definitely on the to do list next time. I think the pools will be great at Spring Break, they are heated, have fun!

Sorry for jumping in, but we’re planning to be there for Spring Break, as well, so this is very useful for us. Jlyn, you mentioned Wilderness Explorers. I’ve heard really great things about this. What I’m wondering, though, is how did you fit it into your Touring Plan? It sounds like the type of thing that needs to be registered for 1st thing so you can do the activities while you explore AK. BUT… with parks being busy during Spring Break, we’ve set our morning priorities for Everest, DINOSAUR, etc. We want to catch those rides before it gets too busy. When does registration for Wilderness Explorers ideally fit in?

We did a rope drop touring plan for Animal Kingdom over Christmas week and we picked up the Wilderness Explorers kit once we got off the train in the Rafiki’s planet area at a station there. That let us not focus on it the first couple hours (our kids didn’t know it existed yet) but start it off with all the stations in that area with the vet type activities and petting zoo. Then we did the more “zoo things” and trails after that for wilderness explorers. Worked well to not start until after the key early AM and rope drop rides.


Epcot was my kids favorite surprisingly (7 and 9 ages) - Phineas and Ferb in the worlds was one of the highlights of their trip. We did future world all AM, then lunch and the worlds with that all afternoon. It’s really well done.

I know some people LOVE character breakfasts, but we did all of our character meals at lunch to enjoy rope drop and shorter lines on crowd level 10 xmas days. It worked really well - might be worth deciding if breakfast is more or less important than the early time without crowds. For us it wasn’t, and we were ready for the sit down calm time by lunch - went with my parents too, so it worked really well to let them recharge at lunch and have a “real meal” instead of a counter meal. We did Crystal Palace twice for lunch in 1 week because the kids loved that one so much and asked for a 2nd time on our last day.

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That is such great idea! Thanks. Our TP has us doing the popular rides 1st & then heading to the Wildlife Express Train. We could get our Wilderness Explorers then. I didn’t know you could get the kit there. I thought the only place to get it was on the bridge from Oasis to Discovery. thanks.

They had a cast member at a station on the trail (in the open air hut) right after you get off the train - they get a sticker there right away. But, if they weren’t there for some reason - they have them in the conservation center too where they can do I think three more stations.

That’s exactly what our TP did too … it worked out awesome!

Thanks for that tip! :slight_smile:
We really want to do Wilderness Explorers since we’ve heard such good things about it. It sounds like fun!


Thank you for all of these fabulous ideas!