Hi, I have a couple of questions please.
- Our weeks stay is split over all crowd levels, so would you advise we do AK & HS with the lower crowds?
- With CL3/4 can we expect to get a seat at the likes of Lion King, Nemo, BatB arriving 5 mins beforehand?
- At CL8/9 might we not get in even if there 30 mins beforehand?
- DD5 & DD7 have only been on a few rides and only visited a couple of small Zoo’s/Petting farms. Ideally forgetting CL what order would you see the Parks?
- DD7 is very into anything connected with space, and DD5 loves animals. Is there any chance MK will spoil their delight at EP & AK? I don’t think it will.
I think AK does a good job at handling crowds. A few trips back, the place was loaded with construction walls and it was still manageable.
HS is a big question mark with so much of the park now closed off for new construction.
Waiting 5 minutes before a show is risky anytime. You may end up not getting in, getting the least desirable seats, etc…
Get fast passes to the shows you really want to see.
I know usual thinking is to not go to MK first. All of the parks are impressive in their own ways. I always say that which ever park we happen to be in is my favorite park. Since you’ve never been to anything on the scale, the kids will be amazed at just about every turn.
I would try to get a taste of all 4 parks relatively early in the trip, so if there is a surprise hit park, you can go back to that one later in the week and spend a little more time there than your initial plans. I would hit the parks on the lower crowd days though if at all possible as there’s little reason to battle an 8 at one park if another is a 3 and the next day the crowded park will only be a 5. AK & HS will be better with lower crowds if possible. With kids that young, let them figure out what interests them by exploring - you’ll probably be surprised where they have the most fun and what they may want to do more than once.
MK has the most things to do so I’d say it deals with a big crowd the best. HS right now is the worst since so many things are closed, everyone that is there is going to be vying for those spots on the headliner attractions. With young kids, MK is going to be the one you’ll want to hit the most though and I wouldn’t hesitate to go there first. Our “tradition” is to arrive on Saturday and hit Le Cellier at Epcot for a late lunch, back to the hotel to check-in and then head to MK for a late night evening intro to the parks where we hit some of our favorite rides…
On a CL 3/4 day, I wouldn’t expect to have issues getting into the shows, but I’d probably plan on arriving 15 minutes before hand at least just to make sure you don’t have issues. 5 minutes would be cutting it pretty close…
I would personally want to do MK with lower crowds. You end up doing the largest number of things there because most rides are short, as opposed to seeing shows or wandering around that takes up larger quantities of time. So you stand on a larger number of lines at MK, but still only have 3 FPs to start with, which means that you have more lines to do without FP. In general, I would look at what you want to do that has long lines and you won’t have a FP for and won’t be doing early morning. That’s where you need to choose carefully.
I know there are people who say you should save MK for last because kids won’t like anything else in comparison, but that’s not what I’ve experienced with my kids. They have enjoyed everything in any order. I just try to choose the end of the last day carefully so it won’t feel like we’ve fizzled out.
For shows, I think 5 min is tight. What if you run late? but you probably don’t need 30 min either. maybe 10 on a low crowd day and 15-20 with higher crowds. I would not use FP for shows unless there’s nothing else you need FP for. The shows are high capacity, unlike the rides.
re: 1. I feel like your little ones would still get to do most of what they will want to do in DHS even with higher crowd levels. They sound like they are not likely to ride ToT or Rock’n’Roller Coaster. Make sure you get your fastpasses for the things you want and you should be good. Same goes for DAK I guess, if you get those fastpasses for the safari and other ride/shows you want, then you should be able to see much of the other things they are interested in.
re: 2&3 sound like you are thinking correctly to me. though if you want “good” seats you may want to show up sooner than 5 min.
re: 4. I am a big proponent of making the Magic Kingdom the last park that kids see on their first trip. (after you have been once, all bets are off) I have heard so many stories of families that took kids to MK first, because that is Disney World, and then the kids did not want to do anything in the other three parks because it just wasn’t as fun or there wasn’t as much to do as MK. I did this with my own kids on their first trip and I can say I was happy with the results. They enjoyed the other parks and were still in awe all that the Magic Kingdom had to offer when we got there.
That being said, I agree that you should also take advantage of crowd levels. I would certainly go against my own advice if it meant shorter lines in MK.
re: 5. I guess I answered this one, In my opinion, I would think it would be a risk. Though, their love of those things could carry through and trump my thoughts.
Good Luck, either way you will be at WDW, so it could be worse. Just enjoy whatever you are able to do and try not to stress about the things you didn’t get to. There will be things you don’t get to.
Re. #5. I admire those who can hold off on MK, but with little ones (nearly 6-year old twins) on our first trip, there was no way we could wait.
I will add from a selfish perspective that with so much of my WDW planning (thank you TP!) centered on MK, that until we did MK, I’m not sure I could’ve really relaxed.
Looking back on our incredible week-long WDW trip, two of my favorite memories were 1. entering MK at rope drop our first morning, and 2. realizing at lunch that first day how much we did that morning (thank you TP!) and how much fun we were all having. It was really happening, and I was relaxed and having a great time.
Oh, and let me add to my previous post re. #5. We just made a point to set expectations with our kids that EP and AK were different than MK (we didn’t do HS), and they thoroughly enjoyed those parks as well.
I would absolutely do MK on the lowest CL day possible. Even on a moderate CL it “feels” crowded, and on a high CL level it’s a log jam. I feel that EP is the least crowd-sensitive as it has wide walkways and large pavilions in FW. Other than TT, Soarin’, and the new Frozen attractions that will be open by the time you go, most lines are pretty manageable as a SB. FW should be no problem, although the shops can get pretty crowded on really busy days. As a side note, if you are going to be there during F&W, WS will get a lot more crowded as the day progresses; Fri and Sat PMs can get kind of crazy with a lot of locals and a lot of drinking.
AK only has a few rides that build long lines - KRR, EE, KS, and to a lesser extent, Dino. But between RD and 3 FPPs, you should be OK on these. For the live shows without FPPs (and I never use FPPs for shows) you will want to be there at least 30 min prior to show time. I’ve never been to AK on an 8/9 day, so I don’t know if 30 min is enough time; I’ll let others answer that.
BatB fills up early and fast. Regardless of crowd level you’ll need to be there 30 min early. If it’s an 8/9 day, and you really want to see it, you may want to use a FPP for it (and still be there 30 min early).
What order to visit the parks is a very subjective call; some say "it’s just not WDW if we don’t go to MK on the first day - I’m NOT one of those. I base my park order decisions on a combination of CL and AM EMH, and to a lesser extent on PM EMH and ADR availability. If I have more than 4 park days, I typically leave my last one unplanned and use it to go back to whichever park(s) that still have things that I want to do (or do again). For me this is usually an MK/EP split day or an AK/EP split day.
Thank you everyone, your responses have been brilliant and very helpful.
Our second and third day are MVMCP with CL 3&4, the lowest of our week, so those mornings should definitily be MK. Our first day has EP & HS at CL2, however currently thinking of going to AK at CL4 with early EMH, because by the 4th day it’s CL7 and rising. That means HS at CL5 with early EMH, and leaving 2 days at EP and repeating MK to CL9. If we skip an afternoon rest the first day, we could have a long lunch at Sanaa, and then hop to HS for BatB & Fantasmic. That might be overly optimistic, but I won’t make any evening ADR’s and have a back up plan for alternative evening at HS later. I’m getting there, and it’s a very enjoyable process.