First time to Orlando. Anyone wanna have a look at my itinerary and give me feedback?
Mom, Dad, 4 boys (9, 11, 13, 16). The boys–especially Dad–are all thrill seekers. We live in Northern California and do Six Flags, Universal, etc. We’ve done Disneyland once and unfortunately it was a cursed day*, so I’m trying to redeem Disney parks for my family.
About us: We do theme parks often. We arrive early, have good stamina, bring snacks, and don’t do any formal dining. (We do try hard not to run.) Meeting characters is not a priority for us.
Our only option is a Christmas visit–yes, crazy, but I’ve at least managed a plan that only puts us in WDW when crowds are at 7-8. We’re doing 2 days at USR and 3 days at WDW (with a Hopper). We’re very familiar with Universal, but I’m still figuring out WDW, so I’m hoping I’ve put together something that will work. I know park-hopping is a bit ambitious for newbies, but we can only swing 3 days at WDW and I have a severe case of FOMO–plus we’ve learned from experience* that we need to have back-up options.
I’ve included all the TouringPlans.com “not to be missed” items, plus a small sampling of others (no characters or sit-down meals). I see this as “the only time we will ever buy 6 plane tickets to FL” so I like to make sure we hit all the highlights. I do insist on dragging the boys to a few live shows and some “classics” whether they are interested or not. I’ve created/optimized touring plans for everything, so in theory this should work:
Dec 25: Arrival
8am-2pm: AK (Crowds:8) (No FP+, arrive early)
2-3pm: xfer to HS (Uber?)
3-10pm: HS (Crowds: 8); FP+ saved/used for this afternoon
- 2 Days @ Universal (Crowds:10, but we’ll have Express Unlimited, so we’ll be fine)
- Weekend/New Years Eve, downtime, explore Orlando
9-11am: Quick trip to HS (Crowds:7) to re-ride 3 favorites (no FP+, arrive early)
This is mostly because I think my boys may struggle with the thought of a whole day at Epcot–not that they should, just that they might!
11am-1pm: Lunch and xfer to Epcot
1-9pm: Epcot (Crowds:8); FP+ saved/used for this afternoon; mostly attractions, plus a couple hours to explore
- All day at Magic Kingdom
Jan 3: Departure
What do you think? Any feedback?
Our Disneyland Disaster, ICYI:
On our first Southern CA vacation we hit Magic Mountain, Universal, Disneyland and California Adventure. Because we did Magic Mountain & Unversal first, I prepped my boys, saying that Disney is a different atmosphere/purpose and also has some amazing rides (I grew up loving Disneyland; my husband had never been).
We used (and loved!) touring plans. I used the book, but not the website, so I didn’t know we could customize it or look up day-specific info about the park in advance. I didn’t even notice that they had signs outside of the Disneyland entrance with a list of the day’s closures. We were visiting off-season, and it turned out they were prepping for the 60th anniversary so the following rides were CLOSED: Peter Pan, Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, and Matterhorn. And then Big Thunder Mountain broke while we were in line. This is not a joke.
We also didn’t have a park hopper (don’t ask me why we didn’t go back and upgrade–maybe we didn’t know it was an option?) so we couldn’t even walk over to California Adventure. When we made it to California Adventure the next day, after our first ride–Goofy’s Flight School–my son proclaimed, “this is already better than Disneyland!”. Fortunately everything there over there was open except for Soarin’ (and the Touring Plan was spot-on), so that day was a bit redemptive, but my husband swore off Disneyland forever. I’m hoping that if this trip goes better, I can get him to rescind that!