Need help deciding what park to do what day!

I have read three books, dozens of blogs, joined this Web site, and looked all over it, but I’m still having trouble deciding on the best plan of attack for our group. The major roadblock I’m facing is deciding which park to go to on which day.

We have a group of 18. (4 female chaperones, 14 teenage girls age 15-18 (High school basketball players). We’re coming to the Disney Basketball Tournament, at the Disney Sports Complex, so we’re not free to go to the parks at any time we want.

Trip Details:
Arrive this coming Sunday, December 18, depart Thursday, December 22. We have a charter bus, and it is a 9-10 hour drive. We’re leaving home Saturday night and driving straight through to arrive at our resort on Sunday morning to check in with the basketball tournament and get our Magic Bands, check our luggage with the resort, etc.
Resort: Coronado Springs
Park passes: 4-day Magic Your Way Park Hopper, we do NOT have Mickey’s Christmas party passes.
Dining Plan: 2 quick service meals per day

This is our free time out of the basketball tournament for the week:

Sunday: 9 or 10 am until. (But, we have to be up early on the next day, Monday, to be on a bus at 6:30 am to the Sports Complex for a character breakfast, and then a game after, so staying out late Sunday night is not really a good idea.)

Monday-Wednesday: 12:30-1:30 pm until (we have games every morning that end around noon, and we will have to consider transport back to the Coronado to change and get ready for the afternoon/evening at the parks. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the games are closer to lunch time, so the girls will be able to sleep in, relax, and recharge at the resort in the morning for those two days. )

Thursday: All day with no commitment to any games, when we are done with the parks, we board our charter bus and drive back home. (9-10 hour drive)

Trip Goals:
The girls have all done a survey, and riding the rides, seeing fireworks, and watching the shows are their top three priorities. Magic Kingdom is their top park interest, for the most of them. However, many of them have never been to Disney, so they may not really even know what they want to do. With that, my goal is to spend time exposing the girls to each park, and perhaps even Disney Springs.

In my quest to do that, I have seen all the park times, extra magic hours, and read all the books. But, the information is very conflicting and many of the touring plans are designed for those who can be at rope drop. The only day we can be at rope drop is on Thursday.

Any tips or suggestions from this group would be very helpful. Once I get a framework for what parks to see on which day, I can make some sort of plan of what to see in each park. I understand that we will not be able to see everything, but I would like to avoid lines and wasting time waiting around as much we possibly can given the circumstances we have to work with.

Have you tried the personalized touring plans? You can choose the time frame you will be at the park and it will optimize a plan for you. It will also give suggestions on which rides would be good choices for fastpass. As far as which park on which day, check the crowd calendar for what is an expected crowd level for each day. As I understand it this time of year is very busy. And since there is a tournament going on, unfortunately large crowds are to be expected. Fastpass will be very helpful!

Random thoughts:

  1. Since you are staying on-site, are there evening magic hours on any of the days? I would target those days, or late park days:
    Monday, mk says it’s open until midnight, Hollywood until 10pm
    Tuesday, Epcot, late EMH
    Wednesday, MK until 2am
    Thursday, MK 7am EMH

Since you have hoppers, I’d try to strategically use the MK and EP EMH opposite AK and Hollywood.

Try not to miss Lion King at AK.
If they like Frozen (my guess is that many of them do,) try not to miss the Frozen Sing along at Hollywood.

Have you made any of your fastpass selections yet?

Maybe split the chaperones into diff groupings of “Thrill seeker” group, and, “not so thrill seeker” group? Schedule fastpasses and touring plans accordingly?

I’d skip Disney Springs entirely, but I’m a guy. Too much to do in the parks with your time restraints.

Thank you for all the help!

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Those are the same days our family will be at Disney, so I am very familiar with the time. Your MAIN PROBLEM will be that the parks are going to be insanely crowed each day.

We deal with that problem by arriving at the earliest possible time for each park. You will not have that option. So. See about getting fast passes for each of your days. That will probably be the only way you will get on any rides without waiting for hours. I know I am being Debbie Downer. I’ve seen it and don’t want you all heart broken. Wednesday is a late night at MK, so that might be a good idea. Start out looking for FPP for Wednesday at MK.

Thursday is an early open day at Epcot. Could you go there? Our family is going to Epcot at opening on Thursday and then going over to Hollywood Studios in the afternoon. We have all our FPP at Hollywood. If you can go at opening to Epcot at 8 am, see if you can get FPP for Rockin’ Rollercoaster and Star Tours for the evening. Those two rides and Fantasmic are great for teens.

Let me know anything else. I will help.

Thanks for the tips!

I just found out we do not have access to the parks on Thursday. :frowning: So, we are going to get up and relax at the resort and then go to lunch at Disney Springs that day before we head home.

I did some custom touring plans done for Sunday-Wednesday that show we can get to most of the rides in the days we do have–after I used my Fast Passes. On some of the days, we may try to save additional time with the single rider lines on the ones we couldn’t get a fass pass for.

I used the fast passes for rides that had the longest wait times on our touring plan, rather than rides that we absolutely wanted to ride.

Two questions:

  1. How spot on are the touring plans?
  2. Should I have made the FP for rides we really want even if on the plan they show a 10-15 min wait?

Can you go Thursday instead of Sunday?

That was my suggestion, but I don’t think the coaches will agree to it.

TP are life savers. Your question is FPP for longest wait or what you really want to do? I say a balance. Don’t use a FPP for something they may not really care about. Make sure that you can do the most important attractions for your group,using combination of FPP and waiting.

Have you gotten FPP already?