Trying to not be too ambitious on my first MK Day

We’re heading to Disney the week of 9/17-9/25. On 9/18, we’re planning on going to MK for our first day, which will be the first of three days at MK. Also of note, 9/18 is a MNSSHP day. We won’t be attending the party that night and I’m looking forward to taking advantage of low CL’s that day. That first MK day I have a 7:45 Chef Mickey’s reservation and then plan on being at MK as close to RD as possible. That evening we have a 4:15 ADR at Hollywood Brown Derby for the Fantasmic package. Ideally, we would work in a midday break in, more for my DD (5) then my DS (12). I want to keep my family’s expectations realistic for the first day with the idea that we will hopefully be able to see most of everything we want the other two days. We’re staying at the Poly and assume we leave MK between 12-1, to get a couple hour break before heading to HS. If you had 2 more days in MK, what would you try to get accomplished in your first half day?

Will you save your FPs for HS?

I have gone back and forth on this. My first thought was to use them in the morning in MK and then hopefully be able to secure other FPs that evening for HS. Or if I couldn’t secure them for HS, I thought perhaps because more people are treating HS like a half-day park, perhaps that evening during a slower time of year I would be able to ride a few rides minus a FP. On the other hand, using them at HS assures us we get to ride some rides that night. We are going back to HS the next morning, so I’m not overly stressed about trying to cram everything into one evening at HS. Although, I do worry about trying to squeeze in FPs that evening around dinner and fantasmic.

With two more days (presumably with RDs and FPPs) at MK, I would probably save the FPPs for DHs. Even if DHS is viewed as a “half day” park, many people are doing exactly what you are, so I have noticed NO reduction in lines later in the day. And with the MK “closing early”, there may be even more people going to other parks later in the day. The shows should be no problem, and the ST line is usually manageable, but the “big three” (TSMM, ToT, and RnRC) will have pretty long SB lines all day (except right at RD).

What you will “realistically” be able to do in 4 hours at MK will depend on how close to RD you get there. I’m not one who does many re-rides, so if I was in you position, with a potential for 6 FPPs, I would use them for Splash, BTMRR, 7DMT, PP, SM, and either HM or PoC. For that 1st day I would probably go to FL and do as much as possible there. I’d say EtwB, LM, Dumbo, and iasw could easily be done in that time, and probably Pooh and maybe a M&G as well. But it really depends on what you are interested in riding. I virtually never do more than 1 day at MK, so you have a lot more flexibility than I ever have.

One recommendation is to make a personalized TP for a 9:30 - 1:00 day (to allow for the possibility of NOT being there right at RD), put in the things you think you would like to do and see what comes out. I’m not saying that TPs, especially for the MK, are perfect, and you might not be able to fit “everything” in that they say you can, but for a basic “reality check” they work very well.


That’s a really good point about non-party guests migrating to other parks that night. I hadn’t thought of that, but it makes a lot of sense. To make my 4:10 Brown Derby reservation, does leaving at 3 from the Poly sound about right to you? If so, I should shoot to be back to the Poly by 1 to have a couple down hours correct?

3PM departure sounds about right if you’re using the bus. Best case scenario is walking up to the bus top just before a bus leaves, 20 min to the park and another 15 to clear bag check and get to the HBD. Even if you have to wait 20 min or so for a bus, you should still have plenty of time.

When my kids and I went we broke it down per area. We did tommorrow land and part of fantasyland one day. Frontier land and adventure land. And the Rest of fantasyland and liberty square. We did what we wanted. If we had time we did more if not we did less.

I agree with @bswan26, save FPP for HS.
Also, that’s a very ambitious day, a mid-day break is a great idea.
I think I’d go CM 7:45, hope for RD-ish by 9:15, and leave to head back to the (amazing) Poly pool to relax and cool down right at 12. Resist the urge to keep going because you have a long evening later, and two more MK days.
With kids those genders/ages, I’d probably head counter-clockwise up through Tomorrowland (to make sure DS12 gets some excitement, too):

  • Buzz
  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Tea Cups
  • Winnie the Pooh if line not too long
  • Dumbo
  • Barnstormer
  • Meet Minnie and Daisy at Pete’s Silly Sideshow (opens at 10-10:30 am)
  • Meet Ariel if line not too long
  • Under the Sea if line not too long
  • Carousel
  • It’s a Small World
  • Maybe Mickey’s Philharmagic
    … and that should bring you pretty close to noon, especially if you stop for a snack in there somewhere
    Sounds like a great trip!

I love this idea!!!

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I love your Chef Mickey ADR first thing. It was a fun experience for us on our first day. I do think you have an ambitious day so yes definitely get a midday break in. I would say cutting off at 12ish is a grand idea. It will be hard because MK is so fun, but you will be happy later when you are not cranky at DHS.

Also agree on saving the FPP for DHS. It was slightly less crowded during F! but with MK unavailable to non-party goers I would expect it to be pretty full. Also the Star Wars FWs are amazing so I could see lots of people deciding on that if they can’t be in MK.

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Sorry for the delay but thanks for taking the time to respond! What time was your Chef Mickey ADR? I’m curious what time you found yourself at MK.

Our Chef Mickey ADR was 11:15 because I didn’t want to do something much earlier since I was more excited about the brunch food available than breakfast food AND because our flight was getting in at 5am, I didn’t want to make a reservation so close to our arrival time and be stressed about missing it. We also did DHS instead of MK on our Chef Mickey Arrival Day ADR, but we did walk to MK bus area after our ADR to catch a bus back to our hotel and the walk was around 15 min from Chef Mickey’s to bus area. The security gate is only 1-2 min away from that. If you hustled it could be done in less.

Chef Mickey’s took us 75 minutes but it could be done in a little bit less if you were not wanting to go back to the buffet for one last round or if you didn’t have to wait for one last character. We didn’t have any characters for the first 25 min (which is unusual for Character dining so if you don’t have that gap you might easily do the full dining in 60 min). Then maybe plan for 15 min to walk from Chef Mickey’s to MK. You would likely hit security right at or shortly after 9am at the soonest. Both days that we were at MK security (once for a pre-RD ADR and once for the Welcome Show at 8:40) security was a bit of a mob and took 10-15 min to get through.

The only concern I would have is that the walkway from the Contemporary to MK isn’t very wide and that time of day is likely to be congested so you would have to hope that the general flow of people is wanting to move quickly and not slowly. But I never saw it at peak time so it might not even be an issue since I’m not sure how many people actually do the quick walk over.