Opinions wanted: October Trip


I’m hoping for some advice. We will be visiting WDW Oct 5-10, staying at Beach Club and expecting to land around 8am and to get to the hotel before 11am. We are a family of six: me, wife, 14yo boys, 12yo girl, and 5yo boy. We visited WDW eight years ago (as a party of five) and had great success planning the entire trip with Touring Plans - naturally I’m using it to plan this trip as well.

We went without Park Hopper last time, and were quite happy with the way our trip went - with two days at MK and two at EC plus one each at DHS and AK, I felt like we were able to make sure there was ample “magic” every step of the way - used our arrival day at EC and our first full day at MK, for example.

I’m finding it very hard to plan a rational trip with our dates - the Halloween Party means MK is closing at 6pm three of our days - which really means we get Park Hopper, visit a different park those days altogether, or just have an early evening. Add the Galaxy’s Edge to the mix - where no one really knows what to expect but I’m guessing crowds at least at DHS are going to be insane (regardless of the low crowd levels projected here)… I guess I’m also not entirely sure what my teens are going to like to like, so creating a plan has proven daunting.

My original plan was EC on day one because we can walk there from the hotel; day two at DHS, three at MK, four at AK, five back at MK and six at DHS (six being a shorter day).

After WDW altered park hours a couple weeks ago and TP adjusted crowd levels, I changed my plan to EC, MK, DHS, AK, DHS, MK. My issue with that plan really has to do with evenings: I’ve no idea what the Epcot Forever night show will be; we will have to leave MK at 6pm; I worry that crowds at DHS will be crushing and we may not be able to do the night show (which we loved on our previous trip); and I’m not sure that AK’s light show is really worth the trouble.

I’m not that worried about the extra money for the park hopper, but I don’t want to buy it and not really use it - and since I like to plan, I’d like to map out a plan if we are going to buy it, rather than decide to buy it while on-site and then feel like we had a sub-optimal plan. And in truth, MK closing so early so many days kind of devalues Park Hopper because I think that is the place we’d most likely visit — though I was surprised how much fun my kids had at Epcot on our last trip.

My 5yo will take naps and I could see him doing so on the bus rides, for example, and he generally has no problem staying up late… but I also don’t want to plan a totally grueling trip. I’m already expecting to make a solo run to DHS for RD since I know my wife and kids will not do that.

So - any advice? Anything is on the table - even rescheduling the trip - and I did think about shortening the trip and buying tickets to the Halloween Party for example.

FP+ really adds another dimension to planning that I really don’t appreciate… it’s bad enough trying to schedule meals six months in advance - trying to schedule rides in advance too is grueling.

My DH and I always get a PH ticket. We like all of the food options at Epcot and like staying at the Beach Club. We like to plan meals at Epcot even if we spend most of the day at a different park. It’s so easy to travel to HS or MK from Epcot.

RIght off the bat, I would encourage you not to go to Epcot on your first night Oct 5 which is a Saturday! World Showcase will be very busy. I often use arrival day to go to AK because we like to do the evening safari and see Pandora at night. Plus, there are fewer rides there so getting FPP for EE, KS and FoP is enough for us. I have had good luck getting a FPP for FoP in the 5-7pm range even on our first park day.

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If you consider buying tickets to MNSSHP, it will extend one of your MK days to a (very) full day.

We always had hoppers (and we’ve had APs for a few years now) so I agree with @cfunkak that being that close to EP (literally a 5 minute walk) I’d want to be able to pop in and out, often just for food. But that seems silly if it’s the only reason to add the extra cost.

You’ll be getting in very early on arrival day. You could spend several hours at EP before the local Saturday night crowd rolls in. Then either make it an early night or head to AK.

In general, I’m pro-hopper but in your case it may just complicate things or make you feel like you need to hop. If you don’t think you would hop more than 3 times, I don’t think it’s worth it for this trip.

We have bought park hoppers for every visit and have stayed at Beach Club most recently and as a pp suggested, have popped over to Epcot in the evenings. Our AK and HS days ended up ending around 5, so we went back to the hotel, had dinner, rested, and then went back to Epcot.

I would definitively take advantage of the night extra magic hours at Epcot with your location. We managed to hit Soarin, Test Track, and mission space twice in the two hours.

Get parkhoppers and visit Epcot 1/2 of your evenings. Best use of your location and planning around the parties at MK.

I agree with the others that you will get your value with park hoppers being so close to Epcot. If anything it opens up lots of close dinner options.

IMO AK is worth a night visit for Pandora alone but the nighttime show is also good.

If you don’t get park hoppers (and even if you do) another option is to do dinner at a resort. From California Grill or Ohana you could have fireworks viewing. See the animals at AKL. Just another experience to throw in the mix.

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I guess I’m in the minority here. Got PHs for years til visit w a friend who was on a tight budget.

I was surprised that I didn’t miss them at all.

Since then, I’ve been traveling w fam & grands, w/o PHs. With all the planning involving fpps, tiers of fpps, hard ticket events closing parks etc, I find that I like to be w/o PHs for the simplicity, as well as saving $.

We like spending our $ these days w deluxe onsite, w a splurge or 2 for dinners.

@mdbundy- Fam, ext fam & I were there that same week last October, staying at Dolphin. So here are some observations:

Our 6 day park plan: AK/MK/EP/EP/MK/HS.

I always plan around EMH days, which work well for us.
We always rest up, swim etc arrival day, Dolphin checkin is always latish. And after very early flight, we’re just tuckered out. But your travel plans may work very differently.

MK 2nd day: MNSSHP. We did both regular ticket & party that day, just worked better w/i our week. Was party worth the $? Yes & no. Would have been if fam had spent more time w party offerings: show(s) & FWs. They were more interested in having extra thrill rides haha. But we did have a lot of fun dressing up & seeing parade. Disappointing that some of parade was missing, the gravediggers, which looked to be the coolest part, so there was that. And some pushy people that tried to get in front of spot we’d secured 30mins b4.

As said^ above, beware of Epcot food & wine festival at night, especially on weekends. It was so crazy crowded even early eve on weekday that we decided to avoid it that night.

Fam had me change 2nd EP day to an extra AK day, mid trip b/c they loved FOP so much & ext fam wanted to see more of AK park, which worked out fine.

All 4 kiddos told us that ToT was their fave ride of all week. But that may have been b/c HS was our last park day. I was (pleasantly) surprised to see that both grands & cousins (8,8,7,6) were thrill ride fans.

We’ve always planned the rides scheduled around the kiddos, using the PTP & it’s worked great every time. We’re RDers always, easily done since the kiddos are such early risers.

I have always had PHs - either as an AP holder or using Military Salute tix (which automatically come that way). On any given 5-7 day trip I typically only use the PH once or maybe twice, and then typically to hop from a park with an early closing time to a park with a later closing time. If I had to pay for the “upgrade”, I’d seriously think twice. For a 4 park day trip I would not; for a short trip I’d rather spend the hour or so it takes to hop enjoying the park I’m in. If I had a 5-day ticket, I would consider it (the “5th day” I typically split between two parks that I want to revisit - usually EP and AK).

We went around this time last year. The nice thing about MK on a party day is that crowds are pretty low, so we did two partial days there (including rope dropping) and enjoyed lower crowds. We did not do the MNSSHP, but that would be one option as someone above suggested. Instead, we booked the HEA dessert party for a non-party night and hopped there just for HEA (crowds are higher on non-party days because people want to make the full day out of it).

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I am a big fan of PH and the MNSSHP. I know it is expensive. But we had such a great time! The Halloween parade and fireworks were awesome. Riding BTMR several times in a row with only a few minute wait each time was priceless!

Staying at Epcot are resort, you’ll be glad you got PH. We enjoyed breakfast in France a few days just because we could!! :slight_smile:

For the most part I think adding PH is waste of money. However since you are staying at the Beach Club, you are a 5 to 7 minute walk to the EPCOT International gateway, I would go for the PH. It is also during the F&W Festival, so having the PH gives you the easy opportunity to go over in the evening to have some new dining experiences for the your teens.

There are a lot of early morning EMH opportunities at AK, MK, and HS during your trip. I would go early to one of those three, head back at mid day to my resort for pool time and then only go to EPCOT in the evening.

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Thank you all for your thoughts and suggestions! We haven’t made up our mind on Park Hopping – but we have decided to change our arrival-day park to AK (rather than Epcot). PH is very tempting – especially since our Touring Plans suggest we can do everything we want to at MK and wrap up by noon – but ultimately I think we will make it a game-day decision.

Thanks again!

agree that during food and wine, PH is a good idea. plus with all the Mnsshps, you might want to go to another park in morning and hop to MK for HEA, or on party day, start at MK and then hop elsewhere when party begins

Thanks again for all the feedback. We haven’t yet made our trip (October 5-10) but we did end up getting the Park Hopper.

Our plan is: Epcot, MK+Epcot, HS, AK, HS?+TBD, MK?.

We’re using the last two days as floaters: we’ll go wherever the kids want to go, but I’m assuming that will be HS and MK. I’d like to fit in Happily Ever After, but I’m worried trying to do that on the first day will be tough – so our best bet will be Thursday 10/9 since we have a short day at HS planned.

We’re doing Epcot on our arrival day. I was trying to make AK work, but I don’t think we’ll visit more than once (if I recall, the bus to/from Beach Club was quite long) and I wanted to be able to fit in two rides of FoA - we have a 5yo who can’t ride, so my wife and other three kids will ride in the morning; I’ll ride (with the big kids if they want to stay) in the afternoon or evening before the park closes. With a morning start, we can ride all the major attractions and finish up before 2pm, which gives the rest of the family the option to leave the park if that’s what they want. I’ve built both a half-day and full-day TP for that purpose. Mornings are the same in both plans, but the afternoon adds shows and allows for repeat rides.

Visiting Epcot on our arrival day lets us start earlier and get through all the major attractions in Future World before dinner.

Just how crazy busy is World Showcase during F&W? We ended up making dinner reservations there three of our nights, but I’m thinking we should reconsider the two when we’re not actually visiting the park. Plan was to come back to Epcot on Sunday 10/6 after getting booted from MK – for a 6:45pm dinner reservation (plan to leave MK by 5:00pm). We also have a 4:30pm reservation on Thursday 10/9 (after HS, presumably) but I’m worried that forces us to leave whatever park a bit earlier than I’d like.

I’m still really anxious about SWGE crushing our HS plans, but we’ll see how it goes!

Three questions for those who read this far.

My current plan at AK is for my 5yo and I to explore Africa while “the bigs” ride FoA (estimated 80 minute wait). I’m assuming the line for FoA isn’t fun enough to warrant him staying with us and doing rider swap, even with the Play app. He’s 2" shy of the height requirement so there’s no way he’ll be tall enough by then, unfortunately. We were unable to FP for FoA, but I’ll check back 30 days prior. (The question is, does anyone have experience with a preschooler waiting but not riding FoA?)

Second question. We are not going to RD, to the extent that RD means getting to the park 30+ minutes before opening/EMH - that just won’t happen for us, but we are planning to arrive at the parks a few minutes before opening, generally. When I tell TP that we are showing up at 7am, does that mean we are showing up at 7am (which happens to be EMH for AK, for example) - or is it assuming that we are going to RD and therefore be in line 60-90 minutes before EMH starts to be front of the line?

Third question. What assumptions is TP making about SWGE and the “virtual queue” system to get into the land? We are planning to get to HS around 7am, and the “optimized” plan had us getting in line for MFSR at 8:20am, with a 80 minute wait. I’m worried that we won’t even be able to get into the land at 8:20am; should we try to get in before riding SDD in case there is already a queue?

Bonus question: I think I read that only SWGE and TSL are open for EMH. TP has us riding Rockin’ Roller Coaster first upon arrival (at 7am) - that works for us since we want to sign the 5yo up for Jedi Training when we arrive, which I’ll do while “the bigs” ride RRC.

Bonus bonus question: does A Pirate’s Adventure really not open until noon? And how much time does it take to “sign up” for Sorcerers of MK (can we do it when we arrive without losing too much velocity)?

Thanks in advance!

I can answer this one…it assumes you are showing up at 7am, not early.


I am in the same boat, with a trip on the last week of September. Right now, it seems like there are a bunch of things no one knows:

  • What will be open for EEMH on DHS?
  • How do you enter SWGE?
  • How will crowds be during the EEMH and during the rest of the day?
  • Will there be SDFPs?

There is nothing we can do right now. Staring September 2nd I will be checking daily how lines are doing. We will definitely know how operation details once EEMH start. I will try to adjust my FP reservations if my current ones (RnR, BeatB, ST before 11h30) won’t work, but I am hopeful they will.