Touring Tips for Non-RD Arrival Needed!

I am currently planning our first trip to WDW since 2009. It will probably be our only trip to WDW for a long time and I want to make the most of it. It will be me, DH and DSs 10, 7 and 4. We will be there 1/30 through 2/6, with the tentative following schedule:

1/30: Arriving at 9:45, lunch at T-Rex, end of day at EPCOT
1/31: EPCOT
2/1: Legoland
2/2: HS
2/3: MK
2/4: MK
2/5: AK
2/6: We have a 8:30pm flight, so we will probably hit any park we feel like we didn’t already get enough of.

My concern is that while I understand and fully believe in the importance of being at RD, DH does NOT believe in getting up early on vacation and is, in fact, quite crabby when forced to rise early. My question to all the seasoned veterans is this: Given the days we will have at each park, can anyone give me some tips on making the most of our time and being efficient without being at RD? I have seen some people recommend splitting MK into left and right and doing one side each day. Is that a good plan? What other advice can you offer? Thank you!

I would suggest that you schedule your FPs for later, when you know you’ll be in the park. Are you creating touring plans?

Yes, I will be creating touring plans and will make the start times later in the day and use the recommended FPP times. Unless someone thinks there is a better plan of attack!

It will be interesting to see what those touring plans look like!

I also have to say I have a list of “minor” attractions I love but I know will always have a short wait: PeopleMover, Mickey’s PhilharMagic, Dumbo at night…

Can you compromise and do RD some days and sleep in other days? That’s what we do. I’ve found that AK is no problem going later in the day. With 2 days at MK you can easily do without RD at least one of the days. At HS, RD is essential if your boys want to do Jedi Training, but less essential otherwise. At EPCOT, with Soarin closed, only Sum of all Thrills is a concern because it doesn’t have FPP. In any case, I think you’ll be fine with good choices for FPs.

`i think you will probably be okay, just have to accept that you will wait in line longer than if you did RD. I would schedule your FPPs for the first three hours you are there and for the headliners that are important to your family. This also has the advantage of giving you a time you need to be in the parks by - may speed DH up a little. For AK I would be tempted to go early afternoon as the park tends to empty and you can probably do lots if you use FPP wisely. For DHS, if you are not doing RnR or ToT then you will have no problems.
(Having said all that, my instinctive response is for you to take the kids to RD and let DH catch you up when he is ready)

Personalized TPs with a later start time are the way to go, and you can use the TP Optimizer to help you determine the best FPP reservations to make. I don’t believe in things like the “left/right MK split” as you may not be able to get the best balance of attractions to minimize your overall wait time.

One thing to do is to make a plan starting at RD and then make a plan with a later start time and compare the two of them. Show DH how much more you will be able to do with less time wasted standing in line. Appeal to the pocketbook - emphasize how expensive WDW is and how you want to get the most bang for your buck as you are not planning on returning soon. WDW is not a “resting” vacation - he can sleep when he is dead. :smile:

Of course, another solution is to leave the laggard behind and have him meet up with you when he feels like getting up. Maybe once he actually sees how much you were able to get done he will join in on the next day. “Oh, you want to ride TSMM? Sorry, we already did it. Feel free to stand in the 2 hour line by yourself”…

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I am hoping to compromise and manage to get in a couple RD days. He’s usually the one talking about sleeping when you’re dead! I am also hoping that later opening times means I can convince him it’s not THAT early. In the meantime, I will focus on making some kick a** touring plans to help me along! And believe me, definitely thinking about leaving him behind! And I know the boys will want to do Jedi Training Academy, so we will have to be at HS early!

You’ll be fine either way. I have almost never done RD per se, which really means arriving at the gate at least 30 minutes prior to park opening. We tend to arrive just after park opening time and we use our FPP and TP to help navigate the lines.

At the MK, we do tend to focus on certain lands when we have multiple days. We focus on Tomorrowland/Fantasyland one day, then the rest of the park the next. This saves us on walking, even if it doesn’t technically save time. It also means that rather than running from one headliner to another, we do a lot of the smaller rides and really absorb the flavor of each land. My kids also really love the game, Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom, which is new since your last visit in 2009. If you end up back at MK on your last day, that would be worth checking out - but wait until the last day so that you get in all of the other attractions first. I like to have three MK days because day three is for whatever we missed or want to do again.

The only other thing I would suggest is to consider moving your T-Rex ADR. Maybe it’s just me, but Disney Springs is more of a “if I have time” type of place to go, rather than the very first thing I do when I arrive. It’s a big time drain, and combined with having traveled that day, you’ll all be a bit tired by the time you get to Epcot. I would recommend heading straight there, grabbing quick service for lunch while you tour (Sunshine Seasons is excellent), and making an earlyish ADR for dinner somewhere in World Showcase. We had an excellent meal at La Hacienda, and I also love Rose & Crown and Teppan Edo. Maybe move your T-Rex ADR to the night after you visit AK? AK tends to have the shortest hours. You can plan to spend that evening at DS.

I think that Epcot is a good park to arrive late, a little bit before 11:00 am. You could start with World Showcase, and then come back to Future World in the evening to go against the crowds You might be able to do “right half” and “left half” of Epcot on your two days. If Soarin’ is closed, you might be able to get a FPP for Test Track both days.

AK is not that bad in the late afternoon, before closing.

HS may be the hardest, if you want to ride both Toy Story and RNR coaster.

Traditionally that time of the year is not the busiest time of the year, so hopefully crowds will be lower.

@brklinck, I will definitely do a RD v, non-RD TP to show DH. Maybe that will work!

@Iheartepcot, thanks for the advice on T-REX. That is really the ONLY thing we want to do in DS and the kids are really looking forward to going, so I was trying to get it right away and then move on. But you make a good point, so I will have to play around with it. I had also read about Sorcerer’s of the MK and was considering that if there is time.

All in all, sounds like Epcot and AK will be okay for late arrival and maybe one MK day. Will try to get DH going for the other days. Thanks for the advice!