Please critique my general plan. Trying to decide to park hop or not. 1 park day prior to a cruise

Hello everybody! I hope you are all well. TL;DR Should I park hop after Early Morning Magic at Fantasyland?

I am currently planning my families next Disney trip. It is me (39 Husband), DW 37 DD 7 DD 5 and DD 1.5. We are DVC members and we have gone every year for the last 4 years making this our 5th trip. We feel like we have a good idea of what to do and how things work but this year is definitely a year of firsts and I was hoping you guys would help me think through our plans.

This year we are doing a very short trip(2 nights 1 park day) in advance of our very first Disney Cruise. We typically stay at Bay Lake Tower but this year we will be staying at Kidani Village in a 1 bedroom Savanna View(Anyone have any room recommendations?). So our first time at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

We always arrive as early as possible on our check in day to play in the pools and we hear Animal Kingdom has some fun pools. Before the pools we have breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace at 10am. After that I thought we would take a quick ride on the gondola’s and then head to Kidani village to explore and swim before dinner at Boma (Should we be doing Sanaa instead? We are doing Sanaa for breakfast our last day) and then to bed.

For our park day I am trying to decide to park hop or not to park hop. We have reservations for Early Morning Magic at Fantasyland and we are happy to stay in Magic Kingdom all day. That being said, we don’t go to Animal Kingdom often and I have managed to get a ROL dining package at Tiffins. So I was thinking we could either do Magic Kingdom all day or we could use our Early Morning Magic at Fantasyland reservation, rope drop Magic Kingdom and play in Fantasyland but make our Fastpasses for Animal Kingdom that afternoon.

Next morning we wake up and eat breakfast at Sanaa. Im hoping to get a window seat and see the animals. After breakfast we checkout and head for Port Canaveral.

Questions: Is a 5 year old going to be as impressed with Rivers of Light as Magic Kingdom fireworks? Should I park hop? If I do park hop should I use my fast passes in Animal Kingdom or Magic Kingdom? Im thinking Animal Kingdom, how likely is it that I’m able to get Flight of Passage fast passes at 60+1? Would the gondolas be a fun non park day excursion? Any other tips or advice?

TL;DL - No…

IMHO - Since you are DVC members and seem to go each year / often, I wouldn’t Park Hop this time. Seems to me like you are trying to “cram” as much fun in as possible. You’ll have three small children in tow with you. No need to drag them on a march all over WDW. Stay at MK and enjoy the day at your pace before your cruise. You’ll be getting up extra early to do EMM. (Which is great fun!!) Do you really want a bunch of cranky / tired kids struggling to wake up the next morning when getting ready for your cruise?

Getting a RoL dining package isn’t hard to do and really not needed to get a good viewing area for RoL. I wouldn’t make RoL the motivation to go to AK. It’s a good show, but not a great show. AK has pulled it at least twice to try and make changes / improvements.

With DVC, You’ll be back soon enough and can do a whole day at AK.

However… since you’ve asked I’ll try to answer your questions -

No… It’s not even a close comparison. RoL is fine, but it’s no MK fireworks!

The skyliner looks fun and if I were a kid it would probably be neat to do. If it was on my way to a park I’d definitely take my kids on it instead of a bus. I’m not sure if I’d make a special trip for it though. Since it doesn’t go to MK or AK you’ll have to go out of your way to board it. This is your call…

Stick with Boma… It’s great. Even kids like it

Thank you for the great response. I think you make some really good points especially in regards to being DVC and coming back. I think you are right and we should either choose Animal Kingdom or Magic Kingdom. I know if we only get 1 park day that my girls would probably prefer Magic Kingdom. I was trying to squeeze some Animal Kingdom in as well since we are staying there but I guess its not really necessary.

Also, I wanted to provide some clarification on the skyliner. If we did it, it would be the day before our park day. I always plan a resort day on the front end of the trip. We ALWAYS do Chef Mickey as it is my tradition but this year we are skipping Chef Mickey to try out the character meal at Topolino’s located in the Riviera. I figured since it is in the Riviera and the skyliner is there as well, why not give it a quick spin before heading to the Animal Kingdom Pool and resort.

Thanks for the tip on Boma. I am really torn on Sanaa as I want the experience of seeing the animals while we eat. I am planning a breakfast at Sanaa prior to checking out. From your experience will breakfast at Sanaa provide us the opportunity to see animals while we eat?

Most likely… there’s an assortment of birds, giraffes, zebra and gazelle right outside the windows. The care takers put feeding areas out so the animals are in view of the restaurant. However, you are still dealing with living creatures with minds of their own and may not want to come as close as you’d like or at all - and weather plays a factor too…


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We’re doing 1 park day before our cruise and we’ve decided to stick with the single park ticket. On a multi-day ticket park hoppers are worth it to us, but on a one-day ticket the additional $60 per person doesn’t seem worth it to me. We can have a character meal for that cost.


On rooms at Kidani DON’T stay too far from the lobby as the halls are endless!!! Given that you want to spend time in the pool (and water splash play area which is great!), I would request a room on the North Trail, facing the Sunset Savannah, in the second or third block buildings from the lobby. Some sample numbers to look at would be 7626 and 7618.

On Sanaa, its lovely but you may not get a table seated close to the window and your view may be obstructed or disappointing.

Honestly, when I want to have breakfast at Kidani or Jambo with a view of the animals on the savannah I just have my breakfast on my veranda!

Skyliner is great for transportation but not really a “big” ride, per se. It would be fun to get on and off once but you don’t need to fly on the whole thing to get a taste of it. ROL wasn’t that good, to be honest, to us. But I don’t regret seeing it. It has a lot of nice elements but they just didn’t seem to make a cohesive whole to me. I agree with the person who said that it’s not a reason to visit AK. To me the tree of life awakenings was more fun. I really wish now that I’d insisted on standing in front of the tree long enough to see everything b/c I know we missed some.

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At Kidani we will grab breakfast at Sanaa but we bring it back to the room and eat on the balcony.

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