Strategy for EMM at MK with 5 year old

Hi all

New member here, really appreciating all the resources to read through.

We have one day only to visit Magic Kingdom. It is an EMM CL8 Thursday in April and we figure that having one day only, EMM is worth the money especially as our 5 year old son is going to be toasted by 7pm or maybe even earlier. Trying to decide on what our Fastpass strategy should be.

  • Having read many posts here I think we have a strategy for the EMM part of the morning and we’ll head to breakfast at around 9:45am.
  • We want to see the Let The Magic Begin show, so that will screw up any advantage we might have had for rope drop.
  • We want to do all the major rides except I think Space Mountain is a bad idea for my son, and we’re not fussed about Tomorrowland Speedway.

With the above in mind, what would your strategy be for Fastpass bookings, and what would you aim for between LTMB and breakfast?

We are looking to reduce accommodation costs. We currently have a booking at one of the Disney Springs hotels that gives the 60 day Fastpass bookings but it would save us a bunch to move elsewhere. With EMM, how important is it to have the 60 day bookings?


I would definitely book FP for Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. I’m not sure a 5 year old is big enough to ride any of the mountains. Maybe use the third FP on the Jungle Cruise. You could fit it one, maybe two Tomorrowland rides between LTMB and breakfast (Buzz Lightyear and Peoplemover).

I have two boys (4 & 6). We are heading to MK next week. We planned to do EMM, but it just didn’t work with our schedule. I’ve heard you can do most of Fantasyland at least once (maybe twice) during EMM. That is great because I would normally get Seven Dwarfs and Peter Pan fastpasses. I wouldn’t bother with EMM.

If it was me, I’d aim for fastpasses for other rides that can have longer lines like Big Thunder, Splash, Buzz Lightyear or Astro Orbiter. Our youngest likes Beauty and the Beast so we also got one for Enchanted Tales with Belle since the line can be pretty long. After LTMB I’d head over to Tomorrowland and do Buzz, Astro and anything else first thing when the lines are short. Have breakfast. Then head over to the other side of the park near Adventureland and Frontierland to begin with fastpasses for Big Thunder, Splash, Pirates, or Haunted Mansion. I’d save shows and other experiences like Tom Sawyer Island and the Pirate Adventure game for the afternoon when the crowds pick up.

I don’t know about EMM and the 60 day booking, but it shouldn’t matter since it is a separate ticketed event. I have been modifying our fastpasses and I don’t think you would have trouble getting fastpasses at the 30 day mark for rides outside of Fantasyland. The times available would likely be better at 60 days since most are trying for Space, Seven Dwarfs and Peter Pan. You could just adjust your plan based on the fastpasses you are able to get. For instance, if you get Big Thunder and Splash, start in Tomorrowland. If you get Buzz, Barnstormer etc., start in Frontierland.


Thanks for the response and the thoughts about the height restrictions which could have been significant, but he is tall for his age - around 46" - so it’s not an issue.

EMM is definitely worth it. You can knock out Fantasyland giving yourself more time for the rest of the park and freeing up those FP’s other rides. I will also be at Disney next week, and we have EMM booked. It’s a must do for us.

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I’m a BIG fan of the LtMB welcome show. (I still miss them doing it at the train bridge, but understand Main Street is a better place logistically)

However, I HIGHLY recommend skipping this show if you are doing EMM! (EMM is awesome & totally worth the money!)

The show starts at 8:55am. You’ll have to leave Fantasyland by 8:40am and truly “muscle” your way to a spot to see the show – since the RD crowd will have arrived and filled in the area. Then you’ll have to fight your way back into Fantasyland or Tomorrowland. You are paying about $1.50 per minute (about $35 - $40 / per person) to watch this show instead of staying in your EMM bubble. That’s almost half of the money you paid to attend EMM

I would also recommend going to eat closer to 9:30am. It’s a bit of a walk to Cosmic Ray’s, especially with a small child. While they won’t kick you out if you make it inside by 10am, they don’t let in latecomers. Plus, right at 10am is when they start discreetly removing items from the fresh food area.

If, after reading all that, you still think you want to see the LtMB show:

You don’t need a FastPass for 9am / RD. I know the logic of getting a 9am/10am/11am to refresh for more. However, I don’t start my FPPs until 10am as they aren’t needed in that 70 – 90 minutes. If you stay in Fantasyland you’ll continue to walk on to basically everything without a FPP, except 7DMT and PPF – which you should have done multiple times by now anyway during EMM.

If you do go to the LtMB show, I’d head over to Tomorrowland and hop on Buzz or Astro – you should be able to walk-on (get a FPP if you insist) and then go to breakfast.

If you are only doing one day at MK and EMM then I don’t think you’d be hurt to move to a less expensive hotel with 30 day FPP reservations. You’ll already knock out two of the hardest FPP to get (7DMT & PPF) at MK before the park opens. If the focus on this trip is your DS5 and you are leaving by 7pm this is an overview of what I’d do for the first few hours of your day with a DS5.

EMM – no LtMB show with breakfast by 9:35am
FPP at 10am for Buzz and then stay in Tomorrowland doing Astro or Monsters Inc
FPP at 11am for Pirates OR meet Mickey in Town Square
FPP at 12pm for Jungle Cruise or Pirates
Continue to do rides or character meetings until about 30 minutes before parade and fill in the afternoon with the remaining rides.

GL! Please ask anything and often! Everyone here knows the investment you are making and the need to go on vacation as stress free as possible.


Hmm, food for thought, thank you.

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It’s your money being spent here so I don’t know how financially feasible it is, but if I only had one day at MK with a 5 year old who was tall enough for all the rides, this is how I would initially plan it out (I would then put the plan into TP and optimize to see how the times worked out — I highly recommend you play around with some different TPs and then optimize):

(A) Do EMM (assuming no breakdowns in the rides, this should allow you to do PPF and 7DMT a couple times each and at least a few other Fantasyland rides).

(B) I would keep the resort stay so you have 60 day FP (this will give you the most FP time options), but other posters may have a better sense of whether you can get AM FP times for JC, Pirates, Big Thunder (probably toughest), and Splash at 30 days. I have only stayed on-site so have always had the benefit of the 60 day window.

© Book these FP: (1) Jungle Cruise or Pirates (9:45 am to 10:45 am), (2) Big Thunder (10:45 am -11:45 am) and (3) Splash (11:45 am -12:45 pm).

(D) Skip Let the Magic Begin. Watch it on Youtube the night before. It’s fine, but I do not think it is worth giving up early morning attraction time when you only have 1 day at MK.

My initial TP

(a) Do EMM until just before 9:00 am
(b) “RD” - Buzz Lightyear
© eat (relatively quickly) at Cosmic Ray’s
(d) Check wait times for HM, JC and PotC (I would go to the one with the lowest SB wait that I didn’t have a FP for) and save my FP for the end of the window. Magic Carpets is a good filler if you have the between rides.
(e) After your Adventureland FP, I would check SB wait times for whatever you didn’t do between HM, JC and PoftC. If reasonable, then do it. If not reasonable, then consider Small World (not too far a walk).
(f) Do Big Thunder FP around 11:30 am and then Splash FP right after.
(g) As soon as your party taps in for Splash, start looking for your 4th FP for 12:40 pm start time. Remember to keep modifying to find the best time. I’d hope for (and my first choice would be) any ride you missed from JC, PotC and HM, but if those aren’t available, start grabbing Small World, Dumbo, Winnie the Pooh, etc.
(h) Eat lunch
(i) Do you fourth FP selection. Search for your fifth FP after you tap in for you 4th. Rinse and repeat each time you tap in.
(j) Remember to take a break from rides to watch the parade if that is something your family would enjoy.


I think others have pointed you in a good direction but I’ll throw in my 2 cents. I think it’s a good idea to hit up what does interest you in Tomorrowland in between the show and breakfast since Cosmic Rays is over in that vicinity. You can stand just outside the Tomorrowland entrance and see the show decently and then turn and head straight for Buzz, AO and PM and then hit breakfast.

I think I’d FP Splash, BTMRR and HM, try for JC as a fourth FP and do the Pirates game in Adventureland to earn a FP for PoC. You can usually pick up Storybook circus FPs pretty late in the day as well as iasw. And when the park gets crowded and overwhelming definitely take the raft over to Tom Sawyer. My kids LOVE it. It’s a great place to get away from the crowds, enjoy a snack and let the kids run.

One more thing to keep in mind, I did EMM at TSL in HS and FL in MK with my kids this past July. I had planned to leave the event around 8:45 both times to line up to RD something else but my kids were having so much fun riding SDD and 7DMT over and over and over again that we stayed until the RD crowds hit the queue. So, if you truly can’t miss the show, make sure you prepare your boys beforehand for leaving early!


Just in follow up to this - we are doing a split stay (3 nights CBR) and 6 nights offsite. I did 60 day fast passes for the first 4 days and am now in the process of doing the 30 day ones for the remaining days. I have gotten on right at 7am and had some pretty good luck (we are doing EMM on our previous MK day, so weren’t trying for SDMT or PP). I was able to get 940 jungle cruise, 1040 buzz and 12 BTM. Those were exactly what I wanted, at the times we wanted (BTM 30 minutes later than ideal, but just fine).

So I think with EMM you can easily get away with 30 day FP if it’s anything like I’ve experienced booking.

It was important to get on right at 7am though - within a short period you were looking at only getting mid-late afternoon ones .


Hi! If your kids like shows you might consider Mickeys Royal Friendship Fair. My kids 4 and 6 loved it and asked to see it again on our 2nd MK day. We are actually planning on seeing it yet again on our May trip just after our EMM breakfast. It runs throughout the day so you have a lot more flexibility when to work it into your plan.

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When we did EMM a few years ago we did 7DMT about 9 or 10 times and Peter Pan and WtP once each. The other rides aren’t worth wasting much time on them when you can lap 7DMT.

Thank you everyone for all the comments. We have decided to ditch the idea of catching the Let The Magic Begin show and instead catch some of the shows later in the day, so we can make the most of the EMM. It had not dawned on me how much of the EMM we’d lose.
Also thanks for the comment about the Pirates adventure getting extra Fastpasses. That had escaped my attention before now, and the adventure itself looks pretty fun.

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Yes, this is a great show. My kids loved it! You only need to get there 5 minutes before and will have a good spot. I recommend going to an afternoon show so you don’t miss riding attractions during the morning.

Just following up on this thread having just entered the 60 day window. I decided to be mindful of the amount of walking so we will do what we can in Tomorrowland between RD and breakfast (including Buzz but decided to skip Space Mountain). Following breakfast we have Fastpasses booked for HM, BTMRR and Splash. After that, we’ll see what extra Fastpasses we can get but we’ll probably want to slow down anyway.

Thanks to all who contributed. I am very pleased with our plan.