Profile: Travel with 2 children (2 and 7), utilized rider swap for all applicable rides. Early morning rope drops (extra magic hours), no break for naps, early bedtimes, SWGE, Skyliner travel and other headliners.
Hotel: Art of Animation, Cars Suite (review at bottom)
Day 1: Magic Kingdom (Crowd Level 2)
Wake up 5:30am. In line for shuttle at 6:00am.
Shuttle picked up at 6am, arrived at MK at 6:20am and we were through the gates by 6:40am.
Rope dropped Fantasyland and it was nearly empty. Zero wait for Dumbo, Barnstormer (which we rode 2-3 times without getting off). 5 min wait or less for Peter Pan, Small World, Winnie the Pooh, Ariel’s Grotto, Regal Carousel. Easy to get spots for the parade and short lines in stores and restaurants. Fantastic day! Left park at 3pm. Swim and early bed by 7pm.
Day 2: Animal Kingdom (Crowd Level 4)
Same as Day 1, early morning rope drop. Wake up and shuttle travel the same.
The only negative experience was a near stampede of a few very rude people literally pushing and bowling people over along the edge of the walkway while in line to head back to Pandora. Otherwise, people were pretty cool. We were able to ride FOP twice (with rider swap) in an hour. And the benefit of being there so early is that we saw Pandora in the dark because the sun had not yet come up. It was beautiful. We made our way easily around the park and were done with all rides by 3pm. We were planning on the 3pm show for Lion King but it was canceled for technical issues so we left. Bed by 7pm.
Day 3: Hollywood Studios (Crowd Level 6) SWGE Rope Drop
Woke up at 4:20am and were in line for shuttle by 4:45am.
Shuttle arrived at 5:55am and we were in the park by 5:30am.
We were guided back to GE by 5:45am. Again, another chance to see everything in the dark because the sun was no yet up. No pushing or shoving- everyone was super nice and excited. We were able to ride Smuggler’s Run twice (using rider swap) in about 45 minutes. IT WAS AWESOME! By the time our second ride was over, there was a short line and the wait was well under an hour.
We were able to then to SDD and Toy Story Mania in the next hours by 7:45am.
We then headed off to Jedi Training, which was changed to a meet and greet with Darth Vader due to weather. What a bummer!
After that we explored the park, rode all rides all with minimal wait times.
Then we went back to GE for the Custom Light Saber Build (incredible experience!!) and Droid Depot (also super fun!!). Drank some blue milk, bought some t-shirts, explored the shops. We loved Galaxy’s Edge- the details, the feel…everything was really fantastic! Absolute highlight of the trip. (We’re also big Star Wars fans.) Rode the Skyliner home around 6pm. Fast way to travel, smooth ride, easy transfer, no issues at all. We loved it.
Day 4: REST DAY
Day 5: Epcot (Crowd Level 2)
Extra Magic Hours Rope Drop. Rode Frozen (no wait) then circled back through the park for Test Track, Spaceship Earth then off to Nemo, Turtle Talk, etc. Again, minimal waits. We were off to the countries by noon. We really took our time, explored the shops, tried different foods. It took much longer than anticipated. Although the crowd level was low, it felt really, really crowded. We stayed for about 5 minutes of fireworks (which was unplanned) and then headed home for bed.
Day 6: Magic Kingdom (Crowd Level 1)
Same as Day 1. Nearly empty for extra magic hours. Rode Barnstormer 3 times with zero wait. Minimal waits for the rest of the day. Chef Mickey’s for dinner!
Overall, the wait times Disney posted were way off. The waits were much LESS than what Disney posted, sometimes off by over 20 minutes. (Example- Wait time posted was 30 minutes and we got on the ride in 5 mins.) Touring Plans predicted wait times were much closer to actual time but still overestimated most waits (which is a good problem to have).
Art of Animation, Cars Suites- The suites are a good size and have 2 full bathrooms. The sofa bed is very comfortable. The murphy bed, which my son thought was THE COOLEST was super, super comfortable. Rooms are clean and the hotel grounds are spotless. The Landscape of Flavors “cafeteria” had some selections but the menu wasn’t as nearly as large as I was expecting, given reviews. Each station only had about 2 options, which were limited. The biggest criticism is that the floors in our hotel room were tile, not carpet. I did NOT like how cold the floors felt and how you could feel every crumb under your foot. Not great for a 2 year old who is prone to falling. I want my hotel room to have carpet.
Skyliner- We loved it. Super fast loading and you can go from hotel to park in about 16 minutes. The transfer station is super easy- pop out of your car, walk a few feet, hop on another line. No going up and down steps or going from one side of the station to the other. Very easy.
Overall, the early mornings sounded crazy when we decided on it (and everyone criticized the 4:20am and 5:30am wake ups for my kids) but it worked for us really, really well. The kids napped in the stroller as we walked and we had them in bed early at night. They got at least 8 hours of sleep every night and were ready to go. That being said, we sacrificed the fireworks and night shows. We’ll catch them next time when the kids are older.