Personalized touring plan advice wanted!

Hello Liners, I’m looking for advice/thoughts/suggestions/feedback on my plans!

FastPass Day is still 28 days away, but I need to advise my parents and in-laws on their ticket purchase. We have ours; we chose Park Hoppers. “We” are myself, DH, DD9, DS7, DS2.9, and DS1 at time of travel. Obviously traveling with both sets of grandparents as well, who at times in the past 5 years have dealt with various knee/hamstring/back/feet issues.

Check-in to All Star-Sports, Boma dinner, AKL activities or early bed

Legoland, food court dinner at AoA or AS-S

Morning at Magic Kingdom
Break at hotel
After break, Epcot (this is last day of Food and Wine)

All day at Magic Kingdom, with hotel break, coming “back” from break starting with dinner at 'Ohana

All day at Hollywood Studios, with in park break (this one was hard! I couldn’t get the times for shows and JTA to work with an out of park break). We want to do JTA when it’s dark-ish for maximum light saber effect. We’ll do Star Wars fireworks if they’re available.

Morning at Epcot
Break at hotel
After break, Magic Kingdom

This is our “free plan” day. Epcot has EMH at 8, MK closes at 4:30, Illuminations is at 9pm. Our only scheduled activities are haircuts for the kids at Harmony Barborshop at 1pm and MBYBBQ at 5:30. I was thinking Epcot or DHS (kids choice, ok to split group) in morning, early afternoon fast passes at MK around haircut time and staying at MK til BBQ, then an after-dinner break and then go to Illuminations. The after dinner break may mean we don’t make it back to Illuminations, but I can’t figure out a better time for a break or a better day for Illuminations. I wanted morning haircuts but 1pm were the earliest I could get when I called.

Checkout, and KSC

TIA for any thoughts!

ETA: I also still don’t get how child rider swap helps, either saving time or keeping party together. It really just let’s some ride twice, right? But there’s still a wait for the child plus the two rides, and the group has to split, so might as well take the non-rider somewhere to do something else? I haven’t used it in my plans cause I just don’t see the benefit. But it might be that I’m still not understanding it.

Ok I had my touring plans linked wrong, hopefully this is clearer as I would love some feedback!

I haven’t looked at your plans yet, but to answer your question RE: child swap… you should absolutely be taking the short child(ren) to do something else while everyone else is in line unless they’re using FPP and it’s not likely to take long enough to go do something else. The point is so that all adults get the chance to ride without having to spend the time waiting twice… big kids getting to ride twice is just a bonus.

It definitely will require you to split up, but sometimes that can be special for the kids if they’re more than a couple of years apart… the big kids get “big kid time” where you aren’t making them ride “baby” rides they’re not interested in, and the younger kids still get to do the things that are intended for them. The really good thing is that the second adult’s ride doesn’t have to be done right away, so the “big kid” group can do the first ride and maybe a couple of other things that would bore or scare the littles during their big kid time, and then you all meet up later to make the switch.

Also, I will say that while lots of people probably use it just to get the kids a second ride, I don’t usually bother unless all of the adults actually want to ride. You have to take the short kids to the entrance each time, which can be a hassle if you want to split groups for a longer time.

For instance: one of the adults (we’ll call him Adult #2) in my group wants to ride 7DMT, but not Space Mountain, Splash or Big Thunder and everyone wants to ride Peter Pan, but the older kids don’t want to ride Winnie the Pooh, Small World, or do character M&Gs. I’d get FPP for Peter Pan for everyone, and then 7DMT and one other for the Big Kid group (including Adult #1) and a character M&G and Winnie the Pooh for the Littles group (including Adult #2).

We’d all do Peter Pan, and go to 7DMT. The CMs would see that we have small kids, and set the Big Kid group up for a child swap pass, then we’d split. The Big Kid group and adult #1 would wait for 7DMT, then go and do Space, maybe Stitch, Big Thunder, and Splash while the Littles group and Adult #2 go and do Winnie the Pooh, their M&Gs, Small World and then we all meet up at Under the Sea and switch adults. Adult #2 takes 1 or 2 kids (or another adult who hasn’t ridden) back to 7DMT while the rest do Under the Sea and we all meet up at the tea cups or lunch.

Okay I looked at Day 3, and here’s a more personalized example of how you could use a child swap in your plans for your evening at Epcot… if there are older kids who don’t care about meeting Anna & Elsa then I’d have whatever adults don’t want to do Test Track stay with the littles while everyone else goes to TT and Mission Space. Then if everyone who’s big enough wants to do Soarin, you all meet up there and get set up for a child swap… two adults take the littles to watch the movie in the Land Pavilion while everyone else waits in line (FYI, a 10 minute wait is going to have you pretty much just walking right by the interactive queue stuff), then those two get to ride while everyone else gets a headstart to the busses or goes and does Nemo if there’s time.

I also would consider swapping a couple of adults and the bigger kids’ FPP from Figment to the Short Film Festival unless they really like Figment. The shorts are really cute and the 3D is probably the best I’ve seen anywhere.

Day 4- Magic Kingdom

There are a few possible issues here, mostly with timing…

  1. Tom Sawyer Island always closes EARLY, like, just before dusk. I think there actually may not be any lighting on the island? There are no hours listed past September yet, but on your date dusk is at 5:53. Your plan of getting there at 6:40 is almost definitely not going to work.
  2. Swiss Family Treehouse is staying open until closing that night, but even with a 9pm closing your 8:43 arrival may not work, so if it’s something you really want to do I’d schedule it earlier. It’s also LOTS of stairs, so the grandparents may not be up for it, the baby will have to be held (which makes the grandparent who stays below convenient) and it might be a lot for a kid under about 4-5, especially after a long day.
  3. I wouldn’t say that 75 minutes at Ohana is enough time to get seated, eat dinner and see all of the characters, and then get back to the park. You’re looking at 20-30 minutes from Poly to MK gate, so that leaves well under an hour for dinner. I’d suggest you get there early (5:15, maybe) and see if they can’t get you seated early, and then plan on resuming your plan closer to 7pm.

I just tested it out (optimized for very relaxed walking pace), and if you either swap Tom Sawyer and Tiki Room (so you do the island in the morning, and Tiki Room in the evening), or skip Tom Sawyer altogether you should be able to do the rest of your evening activities in the following order:

  1. Treehouse
  2. Carpets
  3. Tiki Room
  4. Splash (littles will already be near the Carpets to stay and do them again)
  5. Pirates (gets you there at 8:39, which uses the 15 minute grace period, or you could adjust your time to start at 7:45 just in case since you haven’t actually made the FPP bookings yet)
  6. Jungle Cruise

Thank you for your help, @Nikkipoooo, this is exactly the kind of feedback I need!

So, typically you would use child swap if the group does not have FP for the big ride and all the adults want on? And by take the kids to the entrance, do you mean the entrance to the line, or wait in the line to where you board the ride and then swap?

We have never been to Epcot so we don’t really like Figment, but have never seen it. I will add the shorts for the little kids to do while the big kids are at TT, MS, and Soarin’. (ETA-except the shorts close at 7pm. So you’re saying skip Figment and do shorts instead. Hm.) I had thought the littles would head back to the hotel after we meet Anna and Elsa/while the big kids do TT etc. We’ll all meet A$E because our oldest is our daughter who really wants to meet them. :smile: And for Soarin, if the line is only 10 min, can we just take our time through the interactive queue and let others behind us who want to move faster pass on through?

So how long will just the meal at Ohana take? I looked at so gave ourselves 15 minutes to get from the Poly to MK, and figured 60 min would be enough time to eat since it’s not a character meal. We will definitely arrive early for our reservation since we’re coming from a break at our hotel. We’ll have our own cars, but I believe, from what I understood from other forum posts, that we can leave them at the Poly since we have a dining reservation?

I had Tom Sawyer Island as something the littles could do while the bigs are on Splash, but yeah if we don’t get on Splash before 7 due to our Ohana dinner then that won’t work. So if Splash is somewhat near Carpets I’ll use that instead. It looked too far away on the map. Also not sure why Tiki is in the morning, your plan of switching that and TSI makes more sense. Swiss Family Treehouse is just a “hey maybe we’ll run through it on the way out” kind of thing. I LOVED it as a kid in DL, but as a young adult was less than impressed and when my oldest were in WDW with us at ages 2 and 4 they didn’t care about it. We use baby carriers for both the baby and the toddler, and honestly at that point in the day I think both will be in the carriers so their older sibs can be in the strollers. And because the idea of the 3 year old running around loose in the treehouse scares me!

Again, thanks so much for your help!

Yes, you really only need a child swap if all adults want to ride (or in your case you’d probably need 2 adults to stay behind in case the baby can’t go on something), whether you have FP or not. One good thing about combining child swap and FP is that you only need FPs for the people who are going first. The people who go second will enter through the FP entrance using a paper ticket (which is how the exact same three people could go for the second time around, if you want to play it that way) that can be used any time that day (and recent reports are saying it’s good for up to a week). The short child(ren) just need to be at the entrance to the ride… the whole point is so they don’t have to wait in line for a ride they can’t ride just because everyone else wants to ride.

On to Epcot… I was saying for just the older kids to skip Figment… the littles usually love Figment, but by 7 or 8 years old it’s iffy and the shorts are a pretty sure thing. For Soarin you may be able to hang back and play the games (while everyone else passes you by), but they’re giant screen games that are really more geared toward larger group participation and that would extend your wait time (unless this has changed since the closure… I haven’t heard much about that, though). Illuminations can be a bit boring for younger kids (it’s beautiful, but gets kind of deep and slow for a lengthy part in the middle… my 8 year old niece enjoyed it for awhile last summer, but was asking to leave before it was over) so that might be something for some of the adults to do sans enfants after the BBQ, while the kiddos have one last dip in the pool or maybe just hang out at the hotel. If you really wanted to fit it in then maybe you could skip Mission Space (or try to fit it in during your Epcot morning) that first night and then you’d have time to head back to WS to get a spot.

I forgot there’s no characters at Ohana dinner, but since it’s not a buffet you are at the mercy of your server’s speed. There’s not always a wait for a table, but I’ve waited up to 15 minutes at various table service places around WDW so I wouldn’t say you should definitely plan on being seated right at 5:35… if you’re seated at 5:45, and then take 45 minutes for dinner/paying/getting to the monorail you’re already at 6:30. The 13 minutes is how long it’s going to take once you actually get on the monorail… if you have to wait for it to arrive then it could be 5-7 longer, and from time to time you’ll be held on the track for a minute or two to wait for traffic to clear. I still say 7:00 is a safe guess for arrival time, especially once you add in a possible wait at security before you reach the tapstiles.

Splash is nowhere near the Carpets, but the Tiki Room is right next door so they’d already be there (rather than having to make the trek all the way back to Splash) and they can do that again and then take their time getting to Pirates (which is along the way back to Splash, so the bigs would be headed back that way anyhow). There is a small play area underneath Splash, and the wait is going to be short so if you all headed back there it probably wouldn’t make much difference, but I think another go round on the Carpets and maybe a shot of camel spit would be more fun and would spare the legs of the 3 year old and the Littles’ minders. This way would have the littles staying in Adventureland for the entire time. If you don’t care about the Treehouse and the bigs don’t care about doing the Carpets then that faction might even like to hop on the train at Main St and ride back to Splash. If they did that there might even be enough time for 2 rides on Splash before they need to head up to Pirates. I hear you on the scary thought of 3 year olds running around up in the trees!

For your HS day… there’s a possibly major problem, RE: the time allotted for JTA (both at sign up and at showtime)

Are you aware that you pretty much need to get there immediately at RD with the kids who want to participate (they must be present at sign up), especially if you want your choice of times? There will be a line, but it shouldn’t push your TSMM timing back too much, if at all since you weren’t going until after breakfast anyway. You also MUST be there 30 minutes prior to the show (so 4:10 for the 4:40 show) or they will give the spots away to alternates. I really don’t see an 8:35 breakfast with characters being possible, so if JTA is the bigs’ absolute must do then I would suggest that one adult and the kids skip that breakfast. To make up for that lost 30 minutes, and since you’re planning on making it a pretty early evening then I’d say forgo the 90 minute break for the bigs, and you can pick up a quick bite for lunch and hit the 1:15 Indiana Jones show, which would leave you free to do Muppets after Frozen and then head to your Star Tours FP. 3:45 should work, but I think you could make it there by 3:30 so I’d get a 3:25 FP, just in case. Then you might have time for two rides (it’s different every time for the first 15 or so times!) before you need to show up for your JTA slot.

Also, if there’s a Playhouse Disney show during the Launch Bay time slot then that could be a great alternative for the littles if they’re not particularly thrilled by Star Wars.

ETA the JTA dilemma is only a thing if the kids plan on participating, which I just kind of assumed. If you just plan on watching then your plan is just dandy as is!