Park Hopping FP? for HS/Epcot + other questions

We are family of four touring the parks, attending a convention, and staying off site (except for UOR). We will spend two days at WDW and four to five days at UOR. Planning on HS/Epcot Friday 2/3. Thirty days out scheduled FEA for 6pm. As we got closer, a week ago, it occurred to me that my 10 and 13 year old don’t really care about frozen and I did not want to spend all day with the first top tier FP in the evening. Due to the late change could only get Star tours at 10am and Midway Mania at 11:45. Would prefer RnR and ToT but both are sold out. I have been strategizing for a while and subscribed to Touring Plans a day or two ago. We live within two hours of Disneyland and Midway Mania I could take or leave. So I was thinking maybe we just rd RnR, Tot, maybe fp Star tours or just stand by line all three and get fast passes for Epcot…probably Test track instead of Soaring as Test track always seem to have longer posted wait times. As a family it would be best to do TT all together for the first time and not use the single rider option. I am afraid there might not be FP available the day we are park hopping at 12:00, Maybe get luck and get a Soaring FP after TT. Thoughts? Suggestions…
Btw gave up the FEA fast pass last night at about 1:30am PST…ten minutes later it was still there as I was trying different combinations. Then five minutes later FP for 4 at 5:55 on 2/3 gone! It is funny to think that someone, somewhere was freaking out in the middle of the night that they scored a FEA FP five days out. Hopefully someone using TP got it.

Other questions…why does TP say it will be a 30 minute wait on 2/5 for 7DMT at rope drop. TP keeps sending me to Adventure land and Frontier land at rope drop when we have FP for 10am space mtn, 12:00 Peter Pan, and 3pm 7DMT. Would prefer to rope drop 7DMT and Peter Pan and then knock out Tomorrow land.

Last time at WDW was twelve years ago pretty much exact same time…first week of February. All the parks were empty and can’t recall waiting ever and no fast passes. Is it just busier now…because estimates are for 30 minute or more standby lines everywhere.

Really enjoy strategizing and reading every ones discussions and inputs. Apologies for my format if hard to read or follow. I have already spent hours and hours researching and analyzing so no time left to be perfect here.
Thanks in advance

Short answer - YES. You cannot compare your experience that long ago with 2017. There are few “slow” times anymore. FPPs have also contributed to the longer SB lines; rides that never used to have the old FPs now have FPPs, so if you don’t have one, you have to wait longer.

First of all, I hope you are enjoying the planning stage. I sure do! Second, don’t worry about it! The worst thing you can do is get to the parks and then get upset if things don’t go exactly as planned. I do suggest getting FP for earliest in the day, then you can always pick up more later. But then, the first two hours of the park will always be slower than mid-day. If you have fast passes for the headliners later in the day, the smaller rides will have virtually no line when you first get there. Same with late hours.

We’ve gone enough times that I know having a good day isn’t necessarily hitting every ride, but having fun on the ones you do. My best memories of the parks are watching my toddler make a mess of a mickey ice cream, or having a cast member stop and have a conversation with one of the kids. Be open to those magical experiences and you can’t go wrong!

How we did…Here is a follow up regarding TP suggestions and how the two days panned out. Quick recap, HS in morning with not great FPP selections (as we dumped the FEA FP five days before arrival) and then Epcot in the afternoon. I did not include that I was thinking of knocking out AK at night time (as I know many would have tried to discourage this). My family is purely interested in the rides, no meet and greets, or shows. No one responded on whether we should keep the FPP at HS or change them to Epcot for the afternoon (so I planned on a wait and see). Friday 2/3, we were third row back at rope drop and walked right on Rock in Roll Coaster, made it to Tower of Terror by 9:20. Midway mania said it had a 20 min wait with an actual of 12 minutes and we got off of the ride at 10am (While in line for mania I dumped the HS FPPs and picked up Space ship earth for 11:35, Mission space 12:40 and Test Track 2:50). Got on Star Tours at 10:15, line was about 5-7 minutes and then finished with GMR at 10:40 and was done with HS by 11:15. Headed over to Epcot and parked next to a tram spot. Went to Spaceship Earth at 11:57 and the CM asked why were late and told him we just came from HS. He let us on which was nice because the standby line was 25 minutes. We looked at one of the shops and then went to MS five minutes early and then had lunch. Went on TT at 2:45 and then FP nemo. Left Epcot by 4pm (secured Expedition Everest FP for 4:40) and was at AK by 4:30 and parked next to another tram spot. We walked straight on to Dinosaur and then did EE. Could not have accomplished this with out following all of the advice on how to manage FPP…(also , the kids and I are fast walkers but the wife is not so overall walking speed was moderate at best).

Sunday 2/5…FPP at SM 10:20, PP 12:05, and 7DMT at 3:25. I decided to follow the optimized TP and not what I personally wanted to do (RD 7DMT and PP then knock out Tomorrow land). Made RD even though we were at the parking lot at 8:20. The monorail was not running so everyone had to take the Ferry (would have been nice to know and was not happy about that although it turned out okay). We were second family to board BTMR and rode it twice. Rode Splash mountain twice with no wait. Five minute wait for Pirates. We did not follow the TP over to Ariel under the sea opting for Tomorrow land instead. Should have jumped on Buzz at that time (maybe 20 min wait) used FP for SM instead. Rode the PM (love that ride and wish they still had it at Dland…people mover=TLTA). Waited 40 minute for Buzz then had lunch. Went over to PP for the 12:05 FP and the park was noticeably crowded at this time. My wife was feeling sick from SM and it did not look like we would make for 7DMT at 3:25. At this time the choice was modify the FP to HM and go back to the hotel or…ask the CM if he would let us on 7DMT two hours early since the wife was not feeling well and we would be leaving soon. He let us on, we scanned all four passes although only three of us went on it. A big thanks to the CM as this definitely made our day. We were planning on going back to Epcot at night and was able to pick up a FP for soaring at 7pm. In line for Soaring at 7:30 we were able to get TT at 8:35. We then watched Illuminations.

Side note…We stayed at Marriot’s Harbour lake for four days in a 2 bedroom villa and loved it. The pools were 82 degrees. We are now at Cabana Bay Beach Club and have spent three partial days at UOR. Mainly picked CBBC for the morning access and the refrigerator/microwave in the family suites. We have not entered the parks before 4pm (I have been going to a convention) and we have not needed to use early morning access. All of the rides of been five minutes or less (included the HP stuff) with the only line being 20 minutes for the Seuss thing that is on the elevated track.

The TP and general information were a huge help. I know this could probably be copied over to a Trip Report forum but I thought it would be good to follow up with how I did or did not use the Touring Plan optimizer (admin please feel free to copy over to a TR if you think this is worth while).

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