I have been several times in my life, most of them in the past 7 years, and this still applies.
I think the simple answer is we don’t know for sure what a “River of Lights” (or Jungle Book) show package will be credit wise at AK just yet. Best guess is it would be like the Fantasmic! Dinner Packages which is still only 1 credit at 1 credit restaurants (but 2 at Brown Derby) though. I’ve seen some claims Tiffins will be a 2 credit restaurant so I’d expect Tusker House to be 1 & Tiffins 2, but unfortunately that’s just a guess until DIS tells us definitively…
Funny, a podcast last week asked for show suggestions and I basically asked how we were supposed to schedule everything 180, 60 days out when we don’t know the hours or even what is available.
I have 3 nights in September. I know what I want, I just don’t know if any of it will be available or if it is what times/days. This means that I will book multiple dining plans and then have to cancel. I love planning and sometimes just not knowing can be annoying- but I know I will change everything 10 times anyways so enjoy that you can tweak your plans for the next 6 months!
Our group was very frustrated a few weeks ago about it, but now we are just like whatever.
I have already had this experience. I realize that Disney is an ever changing being and I am not going to be that torn up about missing a show or a ride. On the other hand, I want to do my due diligence to try to see the things I didn’t see last time. My trip in '07 I feel like I missed so many things because 1. I was a teenager in charge of planning a trip and 2. I hadn’t spent time researching the strategic way to plan things. (ADRs were planned by the trip manager but we were free to visit whichever park as long as we met up for dinner).
My issue with returning sooner than 5-10 years is that my husband and I are planning to start a family after we visit Disney and we want to wait until the child(ren) are of an age that they would enjoy & remember the trip. Sorry if this is TMI.
In response to your specific questions…
Rivers of Light should be running by Nov, so there is no reason to believe that AK will not have extended hours every night. Exactly HOW late they will be is hard to predict. The plans are to run at least two shows of RoL every night, so if not 11:00 like they are doing through the summer, I would guess at least until 10:00.
The new SW fireworks/projection show at DHS will also be up and running by then (no, we don’t know what time yet). I would imagine that F! will have at least one show every night as a lot more people will be coming to DHS at night, and the park has such capacity issues, I would think they would want both shows running.
For what it’s worth, with all of the trips I’ve had, and all of the planning that I’ve done, I’ve NEVER had a trip where I haven’t deviated from the plan once I was there. And the results ended up often being better than the plan. Don’t get into the trap of being more focused on following a plan than on enjoying the moment. Been there, done that. And they were the most stressful and least memorable trips that I have had.
ADRs are the only real issue this far out. Other than the pre-RD MK ADRS and some CMs (neither of which would be impacted by changes to the PM schedules), most ADRs are available much closer to your trip dates. I would go ahead and make them at your 180 based on your “current” plan, and if you have to make a change once hours and show times are released, then make the change. Once RoL dining packages are released, it’s going to be a free-for-all and all bets are off. Also, whatever is going into the old Pizza Planet will be open by mid-November, so if it’s a TS with ADRs, it will also be a free-for-all.
Bottom line - your trip is way too far away to have any serious stress issues about planning yet; I’m frequently not “locked in” to a plan until a few months before a trip, and even then, as I said above, there are always changes once I’m there.
As far as late November hours, don’t forget that it will be dark much sooner then, and hours may not need to be extended to far beyond 6PM.
Good point - I’d expect hours closer to HS or Epcot for that time of year which usually means closing at 8 or 9 PM.
After much review and taking in what everyone has said, to ease my scattered brain I typed up all of my rough plans plus made “Plan B” plans below them. I am such a visual person and this has really helped. Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. I want to go into this trip with a strong plan but also knowing that 1. things beyond my control happen and 2. it’s okay to deviate from a well thought out plan.
@OBNurseNH’s suggestion to pick up a variety of times for ADRs was invaluable to me. My idea is to pick up an early time and a late time for the park days that I am unsure about and once things become clearer, drop the one I don’t need.
@disneybroadwayfan I didn’t even think about the sun setting earlier during my trip. Even if they just extend the hours until 8 or 9 I think my plans would be greatly enhanced. Thanks for reminding me of that.
I feel your frustration, especially when you’re responsible for making plans for your group. We’re leaving in less than a month. Originally thought we would see RoL, the Frozen attractions at Epcot, new Star Wars fireworks at HS, and new Soarin. We’re now missing almost all of these. We didn’t know opening dates for the Epcot Frozen attractions or the HS fireworks (6/17) until this morning’s (5/21) announcement. Obviously we don’t want Disney to open attractions until they’re safe, etc., but it makes planning very difficult (and very frustrating.) We went last year as well, and I wasn’t NEARLY as annoyed as this year. Last year, at approx. 55 days before our trip, I had ADRs and FP’s booked and was able to set our plans aside and not constantly monitor the Disney websites for updates. We made some changes during the trip, but had a good basic game plan. I’m now considering changing park dates (and ADRs and FPs) to accommodate Disney’s late announcements less than a month before our trip. Ridiculous. The only thing that is keeping me sane is knowing that my preschool age children will be perfectly happy at the resort pool if I choose to walk away from the planning. I agree with the other comments in that you’ll have a great time, even if your trip doesn’t include everything you’d like.
Can I say how much I appreciate this post? I’m so glad to know I’m not alone in my frustration, trying to figure out what will be going on in the parks and making ADRs around that.
Currently planning a trip for October 2016 with my extended family (13 of us), which means different ages and different wants. Also, as I plan, I’m getting the “oh, well, we don’t want to to do that,” or “let’s just play it by ear” comments. What I’ve decided is that I am planning the best trip for me and my kids, and if the others don’t want to tag along, they are welcome to plan for themselves.
You will always miss something when you go to Disney, regardless of how well you plan. You and your kids will be too tired to get up early one day, there will be weather to contend with, or you’ll decide that you need to check out a different attraction than what’s on your schedule.
I’ve really had to make a big mindset shift around making a plan, and then embracing the magic that unfolds. Once I have my touring plan and ADRs for the day, I try to be in the moment so that I can experience the magic as much as my family does (because I don’t think they fully appreciate how much of a difference my planning makes to the Disney experience).
@OBNurseNH and others…
Do I need to have a certain amount of time between my ADRs if I am getting 2 for one dinner and then dropping one once plans are final?
I think they allot an hour. So you could make one for say 5p and 6p but not 5p and 5:30p.
Someone correct me if I’m wrong on the timeframe
The other thing you can do i fyou want them in the same timeframe is have a dummy account and make one of the reservations from there.
Eg I may or may not have reservations for both CG and Sanaa one evening both at 920pm. One is made with my usual account and email, the other with a dummy account and email
DUDE! That sounds awesome! Can you pay for reservations on the dummy account with the dining credits on your magic band associated with the real account?
Also, how does the dummy account know when you are travelling to allow you to set up reservations?
You pay when you dine, credits or OOP. You will need a credit card to secure the reservation but nothing is charged to you unless you fail to show in which case you are charged $10/pp for most TS. So, don’t forget to cancel whatever you decide you don’t need!
WRT how it knows when you travel: ANYONE can make reservations at 180 days, it’s just that you can make 180+10 based on your dates of travel for on-site guests. If you are more than 180 out from when you want a reservation you’ll just have to wait the few days til you are within that window.
You’re my hero of the day!
Just passing on some wisdom I learned right here
Exceptions to this: Hoop dee doo (and other dinner shows) and CRT (almost positive). Unless something has changed. Both times we’ve booked HDDR, I’ve been charged at the time of booking.
However, they will refund you if you cancel in the specified time allowed.
But, Disney changes these policies all the time.