Need help planning parks - Aug 12 to Aug 19

Hi all,

I’m overwhelmed and hoping you can help me figure out what to do. Will be at Polynesian with two kids (ages 4 and 6), arriving around noon on Sat., Aug. 12 and departing at 6 pm on Sat., Aug. 19. That’s a total of 8 park days if we decide to go day of arrival and day of departure (it’s only 2+ flight, so thinking we should be okay to hit ground running). Another adult (my sister) will be joining from Aug. 12 and departing early morning on Thurs. Aug. 17, so trying to make sure we hit all four during that time.

We decided to get 8-day tickets and park hoppers, just to be flexible enough to go every day and at any time.

What days would you plan to do what? I have checked crowd calendar and recommendations here, Undercover Tourist (UT), Kenny the Pirate, and Your First Visit (YFV) - and there’s a lot of conflicting information! For example, for Sunday, Aug. 13 at MK, touring plans rate it as 5, UT says its “bad”, Kenny says its recommended, and YFV says to go to AK that day.

I’m overwhelmed and confused. Too much info, I guess. Who should I trust, and what parks should I hit on what days?

Thanks so much for your help!

Don’t worry too much about the crowd levels unless it is a very big difference. You would of course notice the difference between a 4 and an 8, but you won’t notice a big difference between 6/7 or 4/5. I’ve always been wary of the sites that rate “bad” or “recommended” just because it’s all relative. There has to be a good, and there has to be a bad… but during peak season the chosen park is still going to be crowded, and during low season the bad one may still be fine. That’s why I prefer the sites that give the numbers, and that’s also why I stopped stressing about crowd levels (I had similar question as you at the start of my planning).

The main thing is to have a plan. You will notice a difference between going in with a plan vs not going in without one - regardless of the crowd level that day. Even a high crowd level can still be a successful day with a plan.

Finally, my 2 cents on where to start:

Unless you have a very compelling reason not to, I would go to Magic Kingdom on the first day. With two kids ages 6 and 4, I can’t imagine starting their first Disney trip at any other park. I’m 31 (getting ready to go with my husband), and I still remember going to Magic Kingdom and seeing the castle for the very first time 25 years ago. It is complete magic and basically views of Main Street and the fireworks over the castle are the only things I remember from Disney at that age.

My opinion is this-
The fact that you are staying onsite, and have hoppers, makes this super simple.
Any park that has am emh, is the park you should go to. You should also be there before ppl are let into the parks. You have paid far too much to stay at the poly, and the hoppers, to not take advantage of the perks you’ve paid for. IMO, any park that has am emh is a no brainer for you, you can then take a break and have pool time, then hop to a low crowd park in the evening after the heat dies down. Some of the crowd calendars mark the am emh parks as “avoid” because the ppl who don’t have hoppers, will have to stay at tgat park all day, and the ppl staying onsite that have access to the perk that do not have hoppers will have to stay there as well if they choose that park. Since you have hoppers, you can take advantage of the perk you paid for, and then leave.

I’d target the am emh parks, and then fill in the blanks.

Thanks, that’s good advice. Maybe I’m overthinking it. I am also tempted by doing MK on arrival – we will see it straight from the Poly, and it will be an easy hop over on the monorail. My initial thinking is:

Aug12 - MK (after arrival)
Aug13 - DHS (early EMH); tap out that afternoon for pool time
Aug14 - AK (early EMH)
Aug15 - EP or MK (evening EMH at EP)
Aug16 - MK or EP (evening EMH at MK)
Aug17 - EP (early EMH)
Aug18 - MK or AK
Aug19 - AK (early EMH) or MK

Just saying hi! We will be at the Poly the same week with our 6 and 8 year olds (who were 4 and 6 for our first visit to the Poly two years ago). You’ve got some good advice above so I won’t repeat. The best advice is to have a plan and get a lot done early in the day and then just roll with it. We love our midday breaks for rest and pool time. The Poly is a great place for that!

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That’s great! Glad we will be there at the same time, and thanks for the advice!

Hello! I will add a different perspective just to make you crazier! LOL! I will be traveling to Disney later this year and our children will be 6 and 4 then. We did look at crowd calendars and are taking that into consideration, but we’re actually visiting Epcot & AK before we head to MK. This is because we feel that our children will enjoy MK so much that they will never wish to leave, and if we went there first, we might hear complaining at other parks about their desire to leave & go back to MK. They are not really naughty kids or anything, but MK is so focused to their ages and the other parks, while wonderful, will not be as exciting to them if they are comparing it to the MK experience.

So we’ll knock out MK & AK first, and then the main focus will be on MK. I don’t honestly think there is a “wrong” way of doing things - just when you know your kids, think about how they might do best, and try to stick to that.

Thanks, I appreciate that perspective as well. I booked a few fast passes today and I am still working on what to each day. The TPs are helpful, but I’m told unrealistic estimates of AK at the moment (well, for the Pandora stuff at least). I think it will be tough to resist MK on arrival because it will be just staring at us once we arrive at the Poly. The harder part will probably be convincing my kids to leave the Poly pool to do anything else.