Hello, I have made a couple posts on here that ask specific questions, but I’m thinking it could be worth just asking for general advice for our upcoming trip from you super knowledgeable people!
I am overwhelmed with this Touring Plan stuff, but I do have the Unofficial Disney guidebook AND the Lines app AND I want to get to a point where we know what we want to do and can just follow a plan to enjoy each day.
We are 2 adults and 2 kids (girls aged 11 and 13), and this is our first trip to WDW. We’re staying at Polynesian for 7 nights during the first week of May. Here’s the current plan:
4/30 SUNDAY: arrive at Polynesian, check out the resort etc; watch MK fireworks from the Poly beach
5/1 MONDAY: Epcot part 1
no Genie+ or ILL
rope drop & follow a touring plan
possible midday resort break, then back to park for potential extended evening hours
5/2 TUESDAY: Animal Kingdom
no Genie+ or ILL
rope drop FOP, then follow a touring plan to hit all the cool stuff
5/3 WEDNESDAY: Magic Kingdom part 1
use Genie+ beginning at 7am to stack LLs
possibly sleep in and have a resort morning
late morning/lunchtime park arrival, following a touring plan & stacking LLs as feasible through the day
stay late for extended evening hours
5/4 THURSDAY: Epcot part 2
no Genie+ or ILL
possibly sleep in / resort morning
late morning / lunchtime park arrival, explore things we didn’t see/do on Monday
5/5 FRIDAY: Hollywood Studios
use Genie+ beginning at 7am to stack LLs
rope drop; follow a touring plan to hit all the cool stuff
stay all day till park closes
5/6 SATURDAY: Magic Kingdom part 2
possibly use Genie+ beginning at 7am to stack LLs
explore & enjoy the park until early evening
5/7 SUNDAY: early AM departure
Admittedly I’m getting overwhelmed trying to figure out a Touring Plan for each day. We have been reading up and watching videos on the various parks and their attractions, so we have a general idea of things we want to see and do. I guess I’m just looking for general advice as well as specific touring plan strategies to use at specific parks? Any input is appreciated
I think you have a great framework here. You’re considering G+ for the parks where it’s most advantageous, and you’re planning to use RD to get the tough stuff on the days you won’t.
In terms of TP I just like to add in my must do attractions and let it optimize for me. Because of the slight unpredictability of G+ I use my TP as more of a wish list at parks where I’m using it, and I use a solid TP at parks where I don’t.
It’s very easy to get overwhelmed by this stuff but the fact is, you’re already leaps and bounds ahead of most guests by having the knowledge you do. The most important thing to remember is to use any TP as a guide, not a strict rule book. Be prepared to change it up on the fly and call an audible so that you can achieve the ultimate goal - having FUN!
Try to understand the size of WDW and the parks. Here is a site with good walking distances and maps of what they are talking about.
Since you are staying at the Poly, you are likely using the monorail and the front entrance. World Showcase is big, with a lot of concrete and not much shade. If you find yourself walking around it in the hot afternoon, melting and so ready to go back to the Poly for a pool break - it’s a long walk back to the front entrance and the monorail. Have a few different strategies in mind for that. You could always explore the indoor shops and movies/shows/rides at each country, to enjoy their AC instead of a Poly break. Or do just part of World Showcase on a given day, or do it in the evening (but not everything is open in the evening, certainly more limited in the Deluxe evening hours).
This is a great start! The only thing I would add is to consider your LL preferences by location in the park. I didn’t want to zig zag all over and add a bunch of steps, so I tried to stack or plan for LLs in a walking order.
In MK, I tried to group Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, and then did Frontierland and Adventureland on our second day. With extra hours, I think odds are good for you to get most attractions in on your day.
This may be controversial considering the forum but i would recommend less reliance on a TP and buy an ILL or G+ a bit more (assuming you can swing it with your budget, which I’m thinking if you’re staying at Poly you might be able to). When I planned my first family trip I assumed we’d use a TP a lot but in the end it was the knowledge from this forum that was most helpful and having a few priorities in each park and then adapting based on LL availability (or FP+ back in the day) and based on mood / energy level of our kids was more important. If you buy an ILL for FOP for instance the pressure to get there so early before RD is far less and you can get more done easily in RD (like NRJ then KS and still a short line for EE).
That is exactly how I operated! I used my knowledge and bought lightning lanes and did not use an actual TP in the park. I would sometimes check wait times in the Lines app, and I did “mock” TPs before the trip to get a sense of everything.
Having just returned from our 2nd trip I would also say the most important app / site we used was bg1 (for VQs and LL bookings, refreshing to modify LL to better times, etc). Next was the Disney world app (to buy G+, for ILL, for mobile order, for online park map). Next was find my phone as we had a group of 7 and all had either iPhones (ds13 and adults) or AirTags (ds6, dd9, ds11) so very helpful to see where folks were whenever we split into 2 or 3 groups. And next was lines for wait times and attraction times. I’d recommend learning to use BG1 if you haven’t already, definitely worth the short time investment.
AirTags were great to have. Especially as my 13 year old son and father-in-law don’t consistently bring their phones with them (without telling us). I was solo with my 3 older kids at universal for two days and it was most helpful then as I could give them some freedom (or split up for coasters my daughter didn’t want to ride but my boys did) while being sure they were together and nearby.
I’ll be in WDW the same week as you! One special thing to mention–I don’t know if you’re Star Wars fans at all, but May 4th is “Star Wars Day”, as in “May the Fourth be with you”. The day after, in addition to being Cinco de Mayo, is sometimes referred to as “Revenge of the Fifth”. (Sith)
Disney hasn’t announced anything special for May 4th in WDW this year, and typically doesn’t do much. There will likely be some special new Star Wars merch dropped on that day, which if you stick with your current plan, will still be there May 5th. Here’s a thread I made about that week:
I’m on the May 3rd Galactic Starcruiser, which will be in DHS and Galaxy’s Edge on May 4th. With that, us Star Wars nerds have put together a pre-party at Planet Hollywood May 3rd, and post-party on May 5th. Return of the Jedi is also being re-released in theaters that week for the 40th anniversary.
I am about as far from an expert here compared to these forum folks but the only thing that stood out to me as you aren’t rope dropping MK once your entire trip.Based on my experience (albeit limited) and all the advice I’ve read on this forum from the real experts, I think you get such an advantage at MK b/c there are so many rides there, that you can’t LL or ILL your way through them. Plus, there are so many rides that people ‘run’ to at RD (some go to Fantasy Land, and another cohort goes to Tomorrow Land) and then you have a second rope drop for Big Thunder Mtn. Rope dropping plus LL seems like such a good strategy at MK.