Which parks, which days

First time poster here :slight_smile: Nice to meet everyone! :grinning:

Were planning a trip in January, 2018. Well have 6.5 days in the parks, and have been thinking of doing 1 day each in Epcot, Studios, and Animal Kindom, and 3.5 in Magic Kingdom. We`re planning for MK (arrival day, so half day at park), HS, MK, EP, MK, AK, MK. We don’t have hopper tickets.

We`ll keep an open mind, and may change the last MK day if we really want to go back to another park for a second day…but I will be booking our fast passes soon, so need to make some assumption.

My question is - is 3.5 days too many for MK? My kids are 6 and 9, not into “thrill rides”, huge Star Wars fans, and at the “princesses are gross” stage. :stuck_out_tongue:

Well in my opinion from being at WDW many times I think it all depends on where you are going to eat if you have table service APR’s. The reason I say that is because you have no parkhopper and most of the good table service restaurants are in Epcot. There are however some in the other parks as well including resorts. So basically you would match your meals to whatever park you go to. I like MK for the first park because that is Disney and the kids will love it. I am assuming this is your first trip. I do Epcot next and then HS and AK. If you don’t already have FP’s for the rides you have in mind get them before you go. Some will be hard to get but not impossible. HS has cut out a few rides such as the Great Movie Ride plus the Backlot is gone in lou of an Ewok village yet to come online. Three trill rides there but your kids seem kind of young for those, (Mt. Everest, Tower of Terror, and Rock’in Roller Couster). I think your right to keep your spare days for MK as that is going to be where your kids are going to want to be. AK is good for the first time with A BUGs Life and an African Safari. The lion king show is quite good and so is finding nemo. All can easily be done in one day. HS has two thing we liked and that is Frozen Singalong, and Beauty and the Beast Show. Epcot is more educational and not that big a hit with the younger set. Though Star Wars is not at it’s fullest yet in HS, there are some things to be seen such as Stormtroopers walking through the park. Of coarse their are QS restaurants all over the place in all the parks if you are planning to go that way plus snack stands as well. Hope this helps some and have a Magical time.

Thank you - that was super helpful! And yes, it is our first trip (though I went nearly 30 years ago when I was a child).

We booked with the Stay, Dine and Play package, and have QS meals. But we have ADR for BOG for breakfast, if only for the experience of the castle.

I’m glad to hear 3.5 days won’t be too much MK for us!

Your welcome, Im sure many others out here will add to my post with their opinions. BOG is really quite good. I am not sure where they put you and yours for breakfast but dinner was in a beautiful room. BOG for dinner is very hard to get but that said, people will be dropping reservations so they don’t have to pay the $10 no show fee to their credit cards. As long as they cancel 24 hours ahead of their reservation their OK so if interested check often via the Disney app. You never know and if you snag one for dinner you won’t regret eating their. The Beast only shows up for Dinner as far as I have heard. If he does show it is very brief so have your camera ready. Have a Magical time.

At breakfast you get to choose, but one of the rooms is shut (possibly the West Wing?). At dinner Beast meets in the library, you line up to meet him and it’s a fairly short wait. There are photopass photographers there and they will use your camera too. There is good interaction.

What resort are you staying in? Do you plan on taking breaks from any of the parks to go back to your resort mid day, or are you staying in the park the entire time?

I agree with @DocHopper that we usually book our parks around meals, but if you’re sticking to the QS restaurants than it’s not as critical. Be sure to use the pre-order QS on your My Disney Experience app to take advantage of less lines. :slight_smile: However, I don’t agree that the best TS restaurants are in Epcot. There are a ton of fantastic table service restaurants in the resorts that it would be worth a splurge to experience. Jiko, California Grill, Artist Pointe, Home Coming, Boat House, Morimoto’s etc, etc. All of them are a great way to experience something outside of the parks to make your stay more enjoyable. But if budget is a concern, I’d avoid all of those options. There are many great QS options outside the parks as well. Happy to suggest a few when you let me know where your resort is.

Have a great time!!

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We are taking our 3 boys for our second trip in May 2018 and doing 6 park days. Based on what we learned from our last trip in September 2016, we are doing 2 days at MK, 2 days at Epcot, 1 day at AK and 1 day at HS. My kids favorite parks were HS and Epcot. The last trip we felt that we did not have nearly enough time to explore Epcot, especially the World Showcase. I think for us, 3.5 days at MK would have been too much. We tend not to do rope drop to closing and are only doing that on our HS day. Instead, we go rope drop to dinner or lunchtime to closing. My boys are ok with princesses and love Star Wars. We also have realized how important table service is to our family to wind down and take a break from the rush of the parks, but that is not for everyone. My 9 year olds are not huge thrill seekers, but loved the coasters at Disney World. They rode Expedition Everest and Space Mountain and had a great time. One of them wants to try Tower of Terror next trip. I disagree about Epcot not being for the younger set. Turtle Talk, Soarin, Figment, Spaceship Earth, Test Track, and the Agent P scavenger hunt were all hits with my kids.

I agree with Alewis678 with some of what was said. I did not say Epcot isn’t worth seeing, and I fact you could easily spend three to four days there between Future World and World Show case. That said, World Showcase is more for adults than kids because it is different countries around a lake setting. Adults love it for shopping but be careful with your kids as many thing are breakable in various country shops. Future World on the other hand can be great fun for kids and a learning experience as well. What I tried to say is that MK is more kid friendly and seems to be the most popular around your kids age set. That’s not to say they will not like what Epcot has to offer, and the adults will love it for the rides mentioned by Alewis678. I believe you stated your kids are not into trill rides and some of them listed are just that. Turtle Talk with Crush they will love along with Figment. Spaceship Earth or the big golf ball as I like to call it is more educational but they may like that too as it is not a thrill ride. Test Track and Mission to Mars are questionable for one’s so young, but then again some kids love them. So if this seems good to you maybe try 2 days at MK, 2 days at Epcot, 1 day at HS (just isn’t that much there anymore after refurbishing a number of rides), and 1 day or a day and a half at AK. With kids that young make sure you plan breaks in between all the fun. Also as stated. If you can afford a table service meal or two. Make APR’s for a couple such as Chief Mickey’s, Biergarten in the Germany, and if you are a sea food fan, try Cape May’s Café in the Beach Club resort a buffet featuring all you can eat crab legs, shrimp, Clam choudder and the like. Oh yes, you said you are on the QS plan and in MK the Columbia House is really good and it is QS. It is located near the Hall of Presidents and the Haunted Mansion. Have a magical time!

We haven’t decided how long we’ll go in the parks - we’re staying at All Star Music, so I think a bit far to go back for a break… I know going for rope drop is ideal, but we’ll have to balance that with keeping the trip enjoyable. We’ll either do rope drop to late afternoon, or late morning / early afternoon to evening. Are there places within the parks to take a rest - grassy areas where we can sit and relax? Or maybe the monorail to a fancier resort to look around in a more quiet environment? I have no idea what to expect in this area.

All the comments on parks and number of days are very helpful. I have heard that Epcot is better with at least 2-days. My older child will likely love it, but my younger may be harder to keep entertained there (just based on personality type). We aren’t vacation-shoppers, but Future World sounds great. Phineau and Ferb are my older child’s favourite characters, so the scavenger hunt is a must! That said, I think MK will be a favourite for both of them, based on the number of non-thrill rides available.

I have thought of adding in a table service or two. I even thought about upgrading to the TS plan - but I wonder if having a TS meal every evening would be too much for us. Also, we booked late, so missed the reservation window, and I didn’t know if any “good” restaurants would still be bookable. We hadn’t planned on character meals, but had heard from friends that Biergarten was a must-do. Though I do like the sounds of unwinding at a TS meal. It isn’t possible to just drop in to TS restaurants, is it? It is hard to commit to a time schedule without knowing how we’ll all be feeling on the actual day!

This is all great food for thought - thank you for taking the time to help me with this!

No, it would not be worth upgrading your meal plan to TS. Unless your kids are not picky and are big eaters it would not really be worth it. Your better off just paying outright for a TS or two. Biergarten is usually not a problem to get a ADR for but a walk up is a little risky. I have seen walkups here but your better off with a last minute ADR. There are many QS restaurants in all the parks so you will have no problem finding places to eat. Some of the best are in your own resort.

I have been following this thread and I am hoping to give another perspective.

I do not think there is any right or wrong way to decide what parks are best for your family. I personally like park hoppers so I can break my days up into half days but many people will never get a park hopper. I have traveled with young children that love AK, others do not go there at all. I like your plan because you are allowing your family to decide how you spend your last day.

Only you can decide if the dining plan upgrade will be best. Have you looked at this Touring Plans blog post about their new dining calculator tool?

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You might be surprised at what you can find to do in the World Showcase. If you are going after Jan 12th, the festival of arts will have started and there will be extra events and activities. I was actually surprised my kids liked Epcot so much. I wouldn’t stress about table service everyday if you have the QS dining plan. But if you want a few table service meals, you should be able to find last minute ADRs. Have a great trip!

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First I hope you have a great time. You said that the first day was a half day HS can be done in a half day or your might try going to EP for the half day then a full day. I was 14 years old my first time to EP and it is still my favorite. There are many wonderful TS places I like doing a full day in the park and the TS is our break. I’m just over 200 days out and I can’t wait. What ever you decide you will have fun just relax and enjoy.

Thank you for that link - it was very helpful! I read many posts that indicated the QS plan wasn’t a good “deal”, and now I can see how - though getting it with the stay, play and dine package makes it worthwhile for us. Based on the calculator, the upgrade doesn’t seem best for us… it is nice to see it laid out like that, makes the decision so much easier!

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Also another good idea taking the half day and adding it to Epcot. So many decisions! At times it is overwhelming, and I get worried it will be a stressful trip. I’m hoping that, once the basic plans are made (and FastPasses booked), we can play it by ear a little and relax and enjoy. We book FastPasses tomorrow morning… eek!

First of all, your right, the UOG meal calculator is off. It is based off of what is called rack rates. That’s the amount you would pay for the plan without any discounts. When you get it with the play, stay, and dine MYW package you are getting the QS meal plan at a discount so the calculator is off. I know because we generally use this special for our table service meal plan and keeping track of the billing each time we use it, we find we come out ahead by a couple hundred dollars. In order to come out ahead though you must use it to the fullest. The thing many miss is the convenience of it. There is no doubt Disney makes money off this plan but it has it’s benefits. The way not to stress out on your vacation is to plan ahead as best you can, take breaks and plan for alternative situations. Once there, things will go great if you and yours just try to go with the flow. Many have given you good advice out here and they would know as many have been to WDW many times over and some with your situation. Sit back and relax. The vacation will take care of itself. Remember Disney is all about the magic and it will be all around you. For the short period of your stay, BELIEVE and let Tink show you a fantasy world.

Hi @seabass15! Since you book FP in the am, I wanted to add one more perspective.

Our first family trip with (at the time) DDs 9, 6, and 2 we allotted 2 MK days and a day each at every other park. At the end of our week, we tacked on another park day (since we were driving and were flexible and additional park days are SO cheap to add while you’re there). We let the kids pick which park to visit one more time, and they picked one more day at MK.

All that to say, 3 MK days is definitely not unreasonable for a family with kids your age.

BUT, I’ll say this: one mistake we made is not budgeting a full day of no park touring. I almost wore our family down with our aggressive touring schedule. This next time, I’m scheduling one full resort/rest/swim day.

Also, in line with what others have said here, I didn’t feel like we got in enough time at Epcot. Even though all the kids voted for one more day at MK, Epcot is actually my oldest daughter’s favorite park. If I had all the time in the world to play with, I would do 2 or 3 days at MK, and then a day and a half at Epcot, and then a rest day and then add a day each at the other two parks.

One more thing: I know others advocate for starting your trip with MK, but we actually like to start our trip with Epcot. It lets us get our sea legs under us and then build up to MK.

Regardless of what happens in the morning, your trip is going to be GREAT and I’m so excited for your family!


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This is what we did too (two kids currently 11 and 7) - 1.5 days in Epcot, 2 MK, and a “no park” day where we hung out in the pool at BC.

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So… @seabass15… how did your ADR day go? What did you decide on your parks?

Thanks for checking in :grinning:

I booked our FP based on our original plan… but may still change our first “half day” from MK to Epcot. If we go to Epcot, we can do the World Showcase, where we won’t need FP, and if we go to MK we’ll have our FP ready to go. The last day is still up in the air, but I booked MK FP for the time being. It is predicted to be a low crowd day, so hopefully, if we change to another park, we will still have a shot at some rides (or even last minute FP).

The FP booking was great - I got everything I had hoped for, including FOP (which we may need to do rider switch off, depending on how my kids do with the other rides). It was my first time, but the entire process was so easy and intuitive.

I don’t have a “no park” day booked. I’m nervous to do that, because we’re staying at a Value resort, so I don’t think the best place to sit and relax in our room… and since we’re going in January, we can’t assume the weather will be good enough for a pool day. But I will keep all these good points in mind, and try to remember not to run the family ragged!

And now, I guess I just wait for our trip to arrive - I’m so excited! :grin:

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