We are a family with a 2 and 4 year old, staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge (1st dvc trip). I’ve been to Disney many many times but never tried a touring plan so I have a few questions. We never seem to be able to get to the parks before 10am although this year staying in a 2 bedroom dvc we will eat breakfast in the room so that might give us an extra half hour. We have lunch reservations between 12-1 each day we go to the parks. Does it make sense for us to leave the park for a mid-day break since everyone tells me the downfall of staying at AKL is how far it is to the parks? Animal Kingdom closes at 6pm and DHS closes at 8 so if we left the parks around 2pm I don’t feel there would be any point of going back after the kids nap because there would only be an hour or 2 left until park closing. MK might work since it’s open until 10 but that looks like it’s the farthest distance from the resort so we’re wasting at least an hour on the bus by leaving and going back. Can anyone suggest a good strategy for us? Will the touring plan still be a good idea for a family that doesn’t get to the park at rope drop? Thanks in advance!
What are the crowd levels during your visit ? Weather ? And hopper ? Those are all factors in planning afternoon breaks.
No kids so I can’t really comment on the break question, but I would like to help dispell the rumor that it takes so much longer to get to AKL than it does to other resorts. No doubt, you casn’t beat the convenience of the mono loop for MK, and the BW area is very convenient for EP and DHS (as long as you are willing to walk), but otherwise, the bus ride to/from AKL and the parks is really not significantly longer than going to/from the other resorts. The “time factor” for mid day breaks comes from walking to the bus, waiting for the bus, and then walking to your room (and repeating on the return).
FWIW, with a 2yo and a 4yo, you can probably do most of what you want to do at AKL and especially at DHS by early/mid afternoon, so “pushing” it a bit and then calling it a day would probably work for those 2.
You should REALLY try to make RD at MK (and take advantage of EMH when possible); it will make a huge difference in the amount of time you spend on line. The other parks, especially with young kids who would probably not be doing many of the “headliners”, are a lot more forgiving.
We went this past Feb with our 2 and 4 year old. We stayed at BLT so our experiences won’t be exactly the same but here is what worked for us and what I would suggest.
On days that you are going to AK and DHS, I wouldn’t bother with a break - especially if you aren’t going to do RD. I’d have breakfast in your room, get to the park and do as much as you can without rushing/stressing yourself and the kids, stay as late as possible, then head out. You will have the most park time and be back to the resort for dinner, pool time, relaxing, early bedtime. You can get most everything done in a half 3/4 day at both parks so I wouldn’t add the stress of travelling for a break - it would be more exhausting than just staying in those parks.
As for MK, I highly suggest getting to RD and then head out for a break around/after lunch - and then back around dinner time. Even if your kids don’t fall asleep, getting away from the hustle and bustle for a couple of hours will do you all some good. When we went to MK, we made a touring plan for the morning (RD until approx 1pm) and then made a second touring plan for the evening (5p until close). That helped me to get an idea how much we might be able to accomplish when splitting the day in half. (Since most of the crowd goes right, we did all of the attractions to the left in the morning - Frontierland and Adventureland. That half of the park was dead in the morning so we did rides multiple times with no wait and then even snuck in a few from Fantasyland before we headed out for break. Our evening TP consisted of all the rides from Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.)
My best advice is to set a high level plan and don’t expect to follow it exactly. When we made our TPs, they were more of a guideline to show us how long certain things would take us and set reasonable expectations.
Personalized Touring Plans are ideal for people who cannot get to a park for RD. When you make the plan, specify your anticipated arrival time and the Optimizer will work out the best possible order based on that. Plus, if you arrive at a different time than you initially planned on, you can re-optimize at the park to take this into account.