Hi! I’m going with my husband, 9 year old son, and 82 year old mother at the end of September. I’ve been before but it’s been ten years, so there’s a lot of new stuff (and everything is ten times more extractive to the point where it feels like trip planning is going to financial war with a mouse!)
I’m obviously trying to hit the parks with the lowest projected crowds BUT, my son has never been before so I’m trying to schedule it so (as advised) we don’t hit MK too early. I’m also trying to put one full rest day in. We have tickets for the September 28 halloween event, so that’s also a rest morning. We did not spring for Park Hopper but I suppose we could revisit that - I expected we’ll be heading back to the hotel (not on property but close by) for afternoon rests on at least some days.
Currently I’m looking at:
Thursday: MNSSHP, starting at 4
So my questions are this: I’d ideally like to keep that last day flexible? Am I likely to get to that point and have no available park reservations so we can’t go to whatever park we want to, at this point in 2023? My son has never ridden a real roller coaster before, should I move a MK day up earlier in the itinerary to let him try out gentler coasters before the ones at the other parks and not worry so much about the order he sees them in? I realize the forecasted crowds may change, of course. I wanted to put our full rest day somewhere in the middle, but that’s also where some of the least crowded days are! I could do MK on Tuesday, rest Wednesday, and move EP to Friday but then we’re resting for a day and a half together instead of spreading it out. Am I overthinking this?
I like your idea of moving EP to Friday. I feel like EP and AK in general provide more of a relaxed atmosphere than HS and MK and EP might be nice after a late night at MK for the party.
For your rest day…you could always flex between Tuesday or Wednesday. Make ADRs (if any) in the parks for both days and then just cancel the ones for the day you end up using for a rest day
As far as worrying about park APR spots i wouldn’t imagine you’d have difficulty in late September….
I might also flip AK to a later part of your trip as it’s just more relaxed and easier to navigate when your energy level is lower later in the trip.
Totally ignore me if this doesn’t work for you but I would recommend….
Sunday: MK (traditionally a slower day for MK as it’s an arrival day for many folks. Plus you can get your bearings and a little of the MK rides in before wanting to divert attention to party offerings…)
Tuesday: rest (or AK)
Wednesday: rest (or AK)
Thursday: MK + party
Saturday: flex to wherever! I’d guess HS or EP
I never look at crowd calendars anymore. A good plan trumps crowd levels all day. And whenever I have relied on them in the past they always end up getting changed 2 weeks out and it stresses me out!
There are parties with MK closing early on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday (your party), and Friday of your trip. I’d move your full MK day to a non party day to maximize your time. Especially if you aren’t going to have hoppers.
I might disagree. DS and I went to MK on a MVMCP day last November and it was fantastic. We still spent 8 hours in the park even with the early closures and the first few hours the park was open it was empty.
I think moving MK up earlier up in the week is a great idea!
Tue- rest day
Sat- free park
I like to plan parks by crowds and by hours. Sunday you will be refreshed and ready to go. AK is a get there early park. But it’s also not a late night park so you should be ready for an earlier morning at MK. Since Tuesday is a rest day, run that MK day to its fullest. I picked HS for Wednesday for crowds but also after a rest day, rope dropping will be easier. You can run yourself ragged and have a nice break on Thursday to regroup before the party. Party’s run late. Epcot is the park that I feel is the easiest to get a later start to and still be effective so naturally I would put it after party night at MK. That next day I would make the park resi for HS. You really should be able to switch to other parks if you change your mind. I do feel like yall will be down HS or MK. Maybe EP if you couldn’t get it all done. But my advice would be to just wait in the lines at EP and finish it in 1 day.
I agree the crowds are smaller on party days, but if they need a midday break there goes the day if the park closes at 6.
That’s exactly what I would do.
Fair point. I’d do park open to 2/3 and call it a day if going on a party day.
Has he ridden any roller coaster at all, including smallish ones at local fairs or amusement parks? If not, can you try that before going to WDW? None of the coasters at WDW are all that big or as high in the air as what you get at Universal or some local amusement parks. But some at MK can be thought of as easier to start with, such as Barnstormers or Seven Dwarves Mine Train. You could also have him watch videos of them, including point-of-view (POV) ones from the rider’s perspective.
Agree! Or flex to Disney Springs after the break. Party days are so low crowds it’s hard to pass up, and a great excuse for a relaxing/different second half of the day. Pool time for a 9yo. also an option.
We’ve shown him the videos (he’s extremely gung-ho about them, even the big coasters that I have a feeling he might not be so enthusiastic about in person). He’s only been on the teeny tiny State Fair baby coaster, pre-pandemic. We don’t really live somewhere with a lot of ready roller-coaster access before the fair comes to town.
See, I like this itinerary except that it makes me worry about (probably just mentally for me!) the FOMO of knowing I could have had lower crowd days. I realize they’re just projections, but currently moving MK from Friday to Monday is moving us from a 2 to a 4. Is that going to feel significantly more crowded?
EDIT - sorry, I thought these responses would thread - the itinerary I’m talking about is the suggested:
Tue- rest day
It sounds like he has a good attitude about them! At that age, he might do just fine. Good luck! (I still like roller coasters and other wild rides, and I’m retired.)
Ehhh, maybe, but he only just yesterday jumped in a pool without holding my hand. It’s taken years of bribery. I’m a little worried he’s going to get there and nope out (and obviously that’s fine, we can rider swap, I personally don’t ride the bigger coasters, no shame, but at the same time I’m planning here.)**
With AK as your first park, it has EE, and that might be an easy one to skip. It has a segment where it goes backwards, and there are many adults who don’t like that part. You can walk through the queue if you want to see all the neat stuff about mountain climbing, then take the chicken exit before getting on. I’d hate for him to try EE only to not like it at all and refuse to try any others for the rest of your trip.
It’s nice that some coasters (BTMR and 7DMT) always have ground under the tracks and aren’t up in the air. The indoor coasters (RnR and SM) can’t have much height, plus being in the dark there’s no sights of scary things (like big hills or loops). I think it’s good that MK is still fairly early in your trip, with its variety of rides.
You won’t notice it at Magic Kingdom. Really 2 to a 4 is very minimal. I would want to spread out my Magic Kingdom days. Also, I’ve seen reports that if the crowds are too thin, Disney cuts back a bit on experiences in the park, less personnel and some rides are lowered capacity.
I am on the exact same page as @DeepInTheHeartofTexas. All the advice and the schedule!
Do a 2/3 day at MK with super low crowds and start off testing the roller coasters. Then get a good night sleep for HS which is a long fantastic day.
But my bias is that EE is a favorite ride for me and my family. It is definitely our favorite roller coaster. I would hate for you to skip it and have him end up loving coasters. And I would hate that to be his first coaster and have it scare him off more tame coasters (BTMRR, SDD and 7DMT)
This is what I have done … go to MK on a party day, arrive for RD and stay until 4’ish pm. Then have dinner, a relaxing night at the hotel, and an early bed time. Unless you really want to stay for the fireworks, I recommend avoiding MK on non-party days from September-December.
This is the downside to leaving MK early. BUT….an afternoon hotel break and you miss the parade.
Do they do HEA on MNSSHP nights? Or a different show?
Great point about EE. I think it’s the most intense coaster at WDW.