Touring Plan for a Friend's Short Trip

Hey everyone. I’m new around here so sorry if this is breaking a rule…I don’t think it is but if so…feel free to let me know and I’ll delete it. I’m looking for some advice for a good friend. She’s been “planning” to take her kids to WDW in mid-April and booked tickets but has done no planning…she didn’t even have MDE until a few days ago when I told her to download it so she could make her FP reservations. She’s been under the impression that WDW is the same as it was when we were kids 25-30 years ago. Anyways, I’ve managed to convince her that it’s not the same and offered to plan for her a bit. My own trip isn’t until December, so it’s giving me an outlet for my “want to plan all the things.” =) She doesn’t have TP, has three kids (DS3, DD5, DD8) and a hubby. They’ll have a stroller. They’re staying off property and have 4 days: arrive April 16, then they have the 17th, 18th, and will drive to JAX on the 19th after leaving the parks. Could you look at this and tell me what you think? I don’t want to overwhelm her but I also don’t want her to hate WDW because she waits in line all day.

Tues April 17
Rope drop MK (CL5)
Peter Pan
Winnie the Pooh
Enchanted Tales with Belle
It’s a Small World (FP sometime in the 10:00 hour)
Prince Charming’s Carousel
Under the Sea (FP sometime in the 11:00 hour)
Meet Ariel
Haunted Mansion (2 FP in the 1:00 hour, use rider swap. The 3 and 5-year olds will not go.)
Big Thunder or Splash (3 FP in the 2:00 hour, use rider swap. The 3 and 5-year olds will not go.)
Big Thunder or Splash, whichever they didn’t just do.

Then I’ve told her to get FP for Pirates, Jungle Cruise, Magic Carpets, Speedway, or Buzz and go from there. Can she realistically do what I’ve got above? I think she can but not sure…

April 18
Epcot CL3
I have a plan for her starting at around 10 in case they decide to stay until after HEA the night before.
Spaceship Earth (FP in the 10:00 hour)
Soarin’ and/or TT if they want to do it and have time. Use Rider Swap or Single Rider line.
Lunch Break
Explore the Seas tanks and exhibits
Turtle Talk with Crush (FP in the 1:00 hour)
The Seas with Nemo and Friends
Living with the Land
Journey into Imagination
Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival
Character Spot if they want
Gran Fiesta Tour
Meet Anna and Elsa
World Showcase
Frozen Ever After (FP 5-6)

April 19
Kilimanjaro Safaris
Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
Lion King 11 am
Lunch break
Discovery Island trails on the way to Pandora
Na’vi River Journey (FP in the 1:30 time frame)
Kali River Rapids
Maharaja Jungle Trek
EE if anyone wants to ride. Rider Swap it.
DinoLand for Boneyard and Triceratop Spin
Head for home

So…suggestions welcome. Thank you!

We are going at the same time (at the parks different days though) and have kids near in age to the older 2.

Thoughts, having plotted out our plans…

  • it sounds like you are planning for her to be at MK from rope drop to very late in the day if not even Park close. That sounds like a recipe for misery with a 3 and 5 year old in my view. I would make sure you friend gives you an idea of how long they plan to stay or if they are open to a break mid day to let the little ones rest.

  • with kids that little maybe they would instead enjoy two MK days to be run less ragged instead of the Epcot day unless they have a really big Frozen fan?

  • you don’t list the FPs you plan to suggest for AK. Doesn’t the AM have a lot of unstructured time (unless they are arriving late?) while they may get crunched for time more in the afternoon (given they are leaving that day) with the visit to the Dino area & boneyard that the littler ones should like a lot?

I would probably also drop Epcot for a second day at MK with kids that age unless someone is a huge Frozen fan. Epcot is huge with lots of walking that is very tiring for littles (or their stroller-pushing parents!) That would give 3 more fastpasses to use at MK, and also leave time for things like letting the 3 & 5 year olds play in the water play area in Storybook Circus, going to Tom Sawyer Island (which was my favorite thing that I remember from my first trip to WDW at around 5 years old), riding the train around the park, etc. It would also let her do one MK day as a rope drop-to-whenever and one as a late-arrival-to-HEA, which is less likely to end in nap-deprived tears.

Yeah based on the advice from others on this forum I put TSI and the train on my 6 year old’s schedule (while older one is doing thrill rides) and think he will really like those a lot.

Thanks for the input!

Well, I was kinda thinking they’d do Fantasyland and mostly be done with it by lunch time. Then they could do whatever else they wanted until they were tired and wanted to leave. I’m not sure they’ll want to do open to close (I wouldn’t!) but I think they need to do Fantasyland first.

One of the only things the dad wants is to have the girls meet Elsa and Anna. So…I think that means Epcot. They’re the ones who told me they wanted those three parks for three days. They might be more open to dropping the AK day. I’ll ask.

When I plugged in FP times into a TP for AK it didn’t seem to make much difference in wait times. If they’re not going for FoP (and they probably won’t do EE either) then it didn’t seem to matter too much about the fast passes, especially since a lot of AK is just walking around and looking at the animals and theming (right?). I was also kind of trying to save some criss-crossing across the park. Do you have a different suggestion for how to better plan the AK day?

I will suggest that they do 2 MK days. I’m not sure they want to drop the Epcot day, though. Could they realistically get Fantasyland done before lunch if they’re there by 8:15 on a 9:00 park open day?

I think they could do the major attractions by 12:30 or so? My TP has us done with Fantasyland by 11 or so on an 8am open day, but we are not doing any M&Gs.

Kilimanjaro Safaris - is this at rope drop? If not maybe seek a FP for 9:30/10? If it is at rope drop maybe try the lion King 10:00 show and try to move up the NRJ FP?
Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
Lion King 11 am
Lunch break in Pandora
Na’vi River Journey (FP in the 1:30 time frame) - can you move this up to 1?
Discovery Island trails as cross park
Kali River Rapids
Maharaja Jungle Trek
EE if anyone wants to ride. Rider Swap while other adult takes smaller kids to Boneyard then switch while kids stay in Dinoland.
DinoLand for Boneyard and Triceratop Spin

Head for home

My DD7 isn’t much into Frozen anymore and she still thinks meeting Elsa was one of the best things we did on our trip 2 years ago. FEA was also one of her favorite rides.

If they are doing Epcot they might like to visit a kidcot station or two. I know there’s one in Mexico.

Yes, I was thinking they’d be there at park opening. Maybe not be there at 8 or anything, but be there when the park opens and head straight there. Last I checked there weren’t any FPP available in the morning. Moving Na’vi up would be good if possible. I’ve got to get her to actually get in there and make FPP reservations!

EE if anyone wants to ride. Rider Swap while other adult takes smaller kids to Boneyard then switch while kids stay in Dinoland. Yes, this is what I was thinking. No point in them just waiting around.

@dunegirl, thanks. I think if they can have Fantasyland done by lunchtime then they’ll be happy and free to stay/leave as they like.

Yes, I will have to mention the Kidcot stations! Thanks for the reminder!

To find out the whether the timeline for fantasyland makes sense you could always make a TP for her (even if she won’t ever see it or use it!). For kids that young I’d do “very slow” and see what you get.

Yes that’s what I did. It said that in that order it could be done. I was wondering if that was, in fact, people’s experience, with no 7DMT in there.

The one I’d worry about would be Barnstormer, which can build pretty long waits sometimes.

It seems to have a lot of FPP available, though. So they could go back to it after doing the train or Tomorrowland. Yes?

It generally does have decent day-of availability, but I would think that it’s a small world has more (largely due to much higher hourly capacity)? This: seems to confirm that as well.

That said, I still don’t think I’d advocate changing the fastpass to Barnstormer – if crowd levels are much higher than expected or something else gets you off track I, for one, would much rather do it’s a small world, which is super-classic Disney, than Barnstormer, which is basically a glorified fairground coaster. Maybe just give her a heads up that if Barnstormer waits are much higher than predicted they may need to decide whether it’s worth it to them.

Thanks! She’s not sure any of the kids will like coasters, so if they don’t even get to it I think it’ll be ok. But I also think that if they can they should do it early in the day…because if someone loves it and is tall enough then they might want to try BTMR. Thanks for all the help!

Glad to help! My other major advice to made sure a planning-free friend doesn’t end up miserable at Disney is to make sure you’ve prepped her for exactly how much food is likely to cost. Giving her lack of planning, I’m assuming all quick service, but even if the 3 and 5 year old split one kids meal, 2 adult + 2 kids meals at most quick service places is going to run $45 - $60 after tax. Even staying off property and only doing lunch in the park, that’s going to add up quickly – add a few snacks and you’re talking $200 for three days, easy.

Ooh, good point. I snagged her a reservation at Akershus for breakfast because one of the things they really wanted was to eat breakfast with the princesses. When I told her it’d cost at least $200 she was quick to say to cancel it. So I should prep her for food costs, too! Thanks!

I put some comments embedded in the above. We always get a FP for Jungle Cruise. It’s a family favorite and the lines get long early in the day and stay that way it seems to me. I would skip Speedway unless the line is super short. If you don’t have it, try to find the directions for how to obtain a 4th FP from the app. And the modify/refresh directions too… it will come in handy for her to have. I find the waits for Dumbo and Barnstormer to be painful considering the ride at the end… try to get fast pass as soon as she swipes for the 3rd one.

Pirates is a very dark ride - DD7 still refuses to go on it. I’m always on the fence when suggesting it for families with young kids. Another family favorite (indoors with AC and minimal wait) is Carousel of Progress. Guaranteed 20 minutes sit down/rest/nap.

We also like Swiss Family Treehouse and Tom Sawyer’s Island.

My next visit will be my first with the new mobile ordering. With 3 kids in tow, I’d be suggesting this to her as well if you haven’t already. And emphasizing that RD means showing up BEFORE the park opens.

In AK, we really like the Nemo show. Epcot kidcot is a huge hit and time sucker. Leave lots of time for this and the pop up entertainment found throughout Epcot.