How to pick which parks on which days

How does everyone select which parks they go to on each day? My instinct is to simply try for the lowest crowds according to the calendar. But how to you factor in FP, ADRs and Magic Hours?

Since we usually go around the holidays, I usually consider both the crowd level and the hard ticketed events that are occurring during that time. Things like MVMCP and MNSSHP (and whether or not your will attend them) can really affect your nighttime touring plans and have to be taken into consideration.

As for ADRs and fast passes, I have my parks planned out in advance and then book the ADRs and fast passes to match the park days I have already chosen. I personally don’t let extra magic hours sway me that much in my decision making process.

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I usually go when the CLs are high no matter what (I’m a teacher), so EMH and ADR’s control my selections. I try to take advantage of EMH in MK, but not in the other parks. I’m not an early riser if I don’t have to be. ADRs drive our plans as we tend to “eat around Disney” being that’s its just myself and DW.


I look at CLs first. Then I’ll look to see what is driving those CLs (Is there EMH that day? Is the park closing early for a evening ticketed event? Is it a holiday?) As a dayguest, I immediately eliminate EMH days (or I used to…can’t do that for AK now until end of June or HS for all of July) and parks closing early. Then I chart out all the days I will be in Orlando with the CLs at each park with any days crossed out and determine the best overall days. Sometimes that means going to the lowest CL park each day, and sometimes it may mean going for two moderate days instead of a high and low crowd day depending on how extreme those high and low CLs are.

I also factor in the differences between CLs at Disney and CLs at Universal. A Universal CL7 involves a lot less waiting in line than a Disney CL7.

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One thing I would do now in the planning stages would be to put HS & AK at the back end of your trip. Securing Fast passes of FOP and the new TS land rides will be almost impossible on the first few days of a trip considering others will have an advantage in getting them a few days earlier. Personally, if I can get fast passes for the rides I really want, and can use the touring plans for the rest of the attractions, the crowd levels really don’t come into play at all unless it is a 10.


“A Universal CL7 involves a lot less waiting in line than a Disney CL7.”

Didn’t know that - thanks for the tip. Our one day/2 park at Universal is a 6/7 and I’ve been stressing a bit about the crowd levels. So those levels are not too bad at (Universal)?

Yes. When you compare the MK crowd level wait times found here:

…with the Universal crowd levels found here:

…you can see the difference, especially with the super-headliners.

Ah. Ok. I hadn’t yet stumbled across those particular charts. Thanks!

I do it based on ADRs, dessert parties, VIP tours and so on. I wanted to do the Ultimate Nights of Adventure tour and it’s not offered on every night, so that helped me decide which day would be my AK day. I wanted to do the CG brunch, so that determined one of my MK days.

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Given the recent changes in the reliability of Crowd Level predictions, I’m not inclined to use them for day to day planning. I tend to first consider any time critical activities (hard ticketed events, tours, must do restaurants, etc.) and see what parks those commit me to.

Then knowing that life can toss you a curve, I front load the schedule with my highest priority parks, That way I can shuffle the schedule if something foreseen happens. This is where I am at odds with Fastpass because you are no longer as inclined to be agile and loose those reservations.

Finally I fill in with Advanced Dinner and Fastpass reservations.

I wish I could take credit for a great plan, but I just kind of dumbed into it a little bit. We got to resort on a Saturday. I wanted Monday to be our 1st MK day, partially based on CL, so we started at HS on Sunday. but it turned out to be the last day of FPP for TSMM. We did AK at the end to be sure we got FOP FP. And the rest kind of fell into place in the middle. I didnt move any days to get specific restaurants, I just got the restaurants I could on the park days I had already selected.

@kadmgs Since you go at high CL, do you use the touring plans tool here? Do you find it saves you time?

I don’t worry about CLs. I do look at EMH though. We never rope drop so would generally avoid a morning EMH day, whereas I love evening EMH.

But I also try and mix up WDW parks and offsite days. Over 2 weeks, we might have say 6-8 WDW park days. I always start with MK, at least 2 further WDW parks, then a “free day” where I don’t plan anything*, maybe an offsite day(s), then a couple more onsite days incl MK again. Back to a “free day” and 2 offsite days and so on. Always finish with a free day, then MK.

I always try and have alternative days for every night time show anyone wants to see.

  • Free Days are generally unplanned, but I sometimes book an FP for the evening, like FEA, FoP (when we go back), or pencil in night-time shows.

Yes, I have and it does save time. We used one for our trip in March 2017. However, I don’t do it every trip because we have our favorites, so that allows some flexibility. Now we base our plan on our FPPs. DW has the DAS card, so we have more flexibility than most. Therefore, I’m not a good source for determining a good TP since we don’t really need them.

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As you can see from all the answers here, there are a lot of different ways to approach this depending on what your priorities are. One thing that I think is very important to take into consideration is nightly rest time - we always try to RD, so I wouldn’t plan a late night at a park on Monday followed by an mEMH park on Tuesday. And although I do try to get an “optimal” plan with the lowest CLs possible, at the end of the day this really isn’t that important because a good TP mitigates the CL differences.

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Is it hard to get fast passes for FOP and TS land rides even if we try right at 60 days?

I look at EMH and decide whether I want to use them - usually only at HS to sign up for JTA, but my son is too old now - but never look at crowd levels.

It will be very hard, maybe impossible for the first few days of your trip.

Thanks! I had no idea it would be that hard to get with staying on site. I assume it’s important to get to AK early to be able to get both of the Pandora rides in without huge lines.


Yes, people have been getting there 90 mins pre opening to do FoP and then Navi straight after with a short wait.