Our first family trip......it's overwhelming! And exciting!

Hi, all, so this is my first post. I have about a million questions, but I’ll start with an intro and the main ones. I’m Melissa, and I’m going to WDW 3/25-4/1 with my DH, DS (13) and DD (11). My parents (68 and 70) are also joining us in their own room. DH and I have been to WDW before (last time in 2000), but SOOOO much has changed that I might as well be a total newbie. I started planning this trip in October, (I knew we were going to go back in August, but panic set in when I looked at what all goes into this trip, so I did NOTHING to get ready. lol) In October, I just picked a resort. We are staying at POR in a pool-view room. And we have 7-day PH passes. In December, my Disney planner friend prodded me into committing to ADRs, which seems to crazy to me, but we did it! We’ve booked flights, too. So overall, I feel that I’ve made good progress. It’s the touring plans that get me. I have read the entire UG…parts of it twice, but I’m still a bit discombobulated when it comes to planning out our touring plans.

One issue is that we built this trip around my son’s band trip. He will leave us and go be with his band starting on Wednesday, the 29th. So I have 4 days with us all together, and then 2.5 days with just our daughter. He will come back with us around lunch time on Friday the 31st. My plan is to hit each of the 4 parks while he’s with us. That way we can have lots of family experiences, and he won’t miss out on much while he’s gone. I will also focus on the more “princess” stuff when he’s gone, because even though she’ll be 11, the DD does still love a good Disney movie and princesses!

My tentative plan is to hit all 4 parks on Sat-Tues, and then use Wed/Thurs to focus on DD attractions/the resort amenities/DS, etc. On Friday, we’ll meet back up and end our trip in the MK. No dining plan for us, because the 11 year old eats like a BIRD and DS will be eating with the band for 2.5 days. Dining-wse, e have reservations at BOG for lunch HDDMR on at 6:15 on Sunday the 26th, Coral Reef at 5:00 on Monday the 27th, 50sPTC for lunch on the 28th, among a couple others that are more “fluid” while DS is gone. The kids care NOTHING about a character meal, so I’ll just take DD to meet and greet the couple of ones she’s interested in on Wed/Thurs.

All that rambling to ask this…our flight lands at MCO at 10:55 Saturday, and we are using the Magical Express to get to our resort. Is it reasonable to plan to get to AK by 2:00? We scheduled it for the first day, because of the dates of the ADRs in other places we were able to get (and also on the crowd calendar). Also, I thought that AK’s earlier hours would make for an easier evening after a long travel day. My concern is how long i should allow between flight landing and entry to AK. I’ve read that we should allow 2 hours for MDE. How long does it take generally to get from POR to AK? And, somewhere in this time we’ll need to eat something! Our flight leaves at 7, so we will need some sort of lunch. Hoping to get supper at Flame Tree BBQ, because I’ve heard such great things. Also, AK hours are posted now as till 7, but is there a chance that they’ll go up to 8? I LOVE AK, and I don’t think that DS will be going there with his band, so I really want to get to do most of the highlights our first day. Am I crazy to think we can? When I build a touring plan, it looks crammed, and it doesn’t give me an FP recommendations. Not sure what that’s about? I’m hoping that the park will stay open till 8, because I’m afraid that 5 hours won’t be enough.

If you’ve read this far, congratulations on the accomplishment, and THANK YOU! I’m open for thoughts and guidance here. I love to plan trips, but I’ve never planned anything as “structured” as a WDW vacation needs to be!


Sorry I don’t have any experience to answer most of your questions, but the fat pass recommendations may not show up because you haven’t told it how many you expect to use. I discovered sometimes I had to click the advanced button where the fastpass section is and actually tell it I have 3 to use, then optimise before it would make suggestions.

Hope this helps

I don’t have answers to all your questions, but I think it is reasonable to expect you’ll arrive at AK by 2 if your flight is on time. I wouldn’t plan any FPPs until after 3 to be on the safe side.

I have nothing to base this on other than hunches, but I think it’s highly likely they will extend the close past 7. By that time it is not even dark at 7, and they have made somewhat of a big deal out of the sunset safari and the Tree of Life Awakening, which both need it to be dark-ish.

Sounds like you have a good handle on the particulars.
We typically land at 10:30 and get to the resort by noon. We walk “with purpose” through the airport to the DME area. This is where things can vary. You may wait zero - 20 minutes (or more) for a bus. We’ve never waited more than maybe 15. We’ve stayed at several resorts and they all take about 40 minutes to get to. I think you’ll get to AK by 2 with no problem.

They can change the hours at any time. We’ve had day-of changes in the past. So, it’s possible they will extend past 7.

You might want to grab a quick bite at the food court at POR. At least it will be a little something and then you could have an early-ish dinner at FlameTree.

I love all your ADRs. HDDMR is the best!!

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You know your family’s tolerance level for keeping up the pace. I do not. As an outsider looking in, though, without seeing your tp for that AK first day, hearing you describe it as, “crammed,” doesn’t sound like fun after waking up for a 7am flight that lands at 11am, finding your way through two airports, and navigating the dme bus - maybe a wait, maybe not. I’m not saying I’m right abut this, I’m just offering friendly advice. I’d want to get in a big chunk with the son as well, if possible, but be careful about stress level - it’s a vacation. And it’s expensive. Don’t start out on a sour note trying to race around to fit stuff in. You’ll be able to figure out the tp fastpass issue if you tinker with it. There’s not too many moving parts with the program, you’ll have an a-ha moment when you find the issue, if the issue isn’t what Ladythomas described.

Okay. Not an animal kingdom expert. But i will say this. Between 2 and 3 is a safe eatimate to arrive at ak as long as everyone is on board.

Taking in the changes that are to come to the ak going your first night will be good. Expect time changes.

Pandora from Avatar is to open this year. And when it does it will bring a lot of changes to the animal kingdom. Hours, crowds, and fast passes will change as well as advice for that park.

Look through and plan what your family will be into. Make a plan now. But expect that to change. Keep your eyes ipen here as there will be great advice fir what to see when. First hand experience as well as others who understand new attractions and be able to help you plan.