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Old 03-19-2013, 11:22 PM   #16
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Does your son enjoy Star Wars at all? The Jedi Training Academy at HS is pretty freakin' awesome...and might trump Universal. I would drop Universal, and try to get back in a year or two.

Universal (during any sort of busy period) is best seen when you are staying at a Universal hotel to get their automatic fastpass/early entry to Harry Potter. The line ques are not nearly as interesting as at WDW, making the lines feel that much longer.

You could always do a Universal/Sea World trip in the future, and really try to do as much WDW as possible during this trip.
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:27 PM   #17
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I have a 5yo (daughter) and 3yo (son) and we've gone the past 2 summers. Animal Kingdom was a morning to noon park for us. If they're doing Extra Magic Hours, go that day, get there as soon as it opens, get a fastpass for Kilimanjaro Safaris and go through Pangani Forest Trail while waiting for fastpass return. After the Safari, head over to Asia for the Maharajah Jungle Trek. From there, you'll have to check the Times Guide to see when Finding Nemo show and Festival of the Lion King are playing. Those are must-see's at the Animal Kingdom.

Other than than, maybe see Bug's Life, if your little ones don't frighten easily.

If you get lunch at the park, you could probably be out of there by 1:00 or so. Plenty of time for Hollywood Studios, though you might not get to ride Toy Story Mania at that point.
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Old 03-20-2013, 02:42 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by JackStraw
Hi -

We have five full days for our first ever trip to DW next week. We are staying at The Poly. Trying to come up with a loose itinerary and seeking assistance.

Day One - MK
Day Two - AK
Day Three - Universal (6 yr old in peak Harry Potter phase)
Day Four - Epcot
Day Five - MK

Honestly, I am not hung up on what days we go where other than bookending with MK -- seems like a treat to start and end the trip there.

My main issue is that my kids love Disney Jr and are gung-ho on seeing those characters at Hollywood Studios (Sofia the 1st and Doc McStuffins etc are only at HS). So, I need to find an afternoon to add that to the schedule. I don't want to commit much more than a couple of hours to HS since it seems like a better fit for older kids, anyway. If we had an extra day, then I'd spend more time at HS but right now we need to prioritize!

I tinkered with the idea of trying to do AK thru lunch, then finish day at HS...but I prefer devoting more time to AK. I could try and combine Epcot and HS -- I know they are close to one another. Don't want to shortchange Epcot but not sure it will be as compelling for the little ones as us. Plus, my wife and I might get a sitter one night and beeline straight to Epcot anyway so we can make up the lost time.

Confused. Help, pls!
I'm usually in the minority, but my kids 2 and 5 like Epcot. I would spend a full day there. AK is only a half day park. If HS has an evening EMH, I would do AK in the morning and HS at night. AK is a lot of fun, but if you plan it right, you can do every ride and show by 1:00. Also if MK has a night EMH, that may be a good option for a date night if you decide not to go back to Epcot. You definitely need two days to see all of MK. Make sure you take advantage of EMH and put universal studios in where it fits.
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Old 03-20-2013, 03:00 AM   #19
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I agree with the pp who suggested starting a day at HS and then changing to Epcot. You can stay later at Epcot, and World Showcase doesn't even open until 11 anyway. Also, you might look into the Phinis & Ferb mystery thing for your little guy if he likes the show. A great way to do Epcot with kids.

I also disagree that IOA would not have enough for your little ones. I believe you said DS is 6. If he is at all into Dinosaurs, then he needs to check out the Dino exhibit hall (sorry, can't remember the name) that sits between HP & JP. There is lots to see here, and interactive hands on stuff. Also, both your kids, as well as you, would love Suess Landing. We took DD when 18 months and spent a couple hours here alone. She played in the Suess zoo for over an hour, and loved the flying fish ride. And the Comic Strip land was fascinating to her. Her eyes were Hugh just looking around and thanking in all the color and energy. You could easily spend all day here, making the cost worth it.

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Old 03-20-2013, 08:12 AM   #20
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Thx to all for your thoughtful comments. I think the majority of you indicated that AK can be done in half a day btw 9 - 1 so that will be our plan, followed by some pool time at the hotel, then a late afternoon/early eve at HS.

If we find that there is too much to see at AK, then we will spend the day there and push HS into the next morning followed by an Epcot afternoon.

As for Universal, I hear ya on getting your money's worth re: kids height. My son is 48" on the nose (by the way, how exacting are the Disney staff with height?!!) so he can go on two of the three Potter rides and my daughter is 36" so she can go on one. Plus, they will both have fun with Seuss. As I mentioned, my son already thinks we are going to Potter and would be devastated if we pushed to another trip. He is right in the sweet spot for Potter right now -- in the middle of the 5th book, broom and wand for Xmas, etc.

Our trip begins Sunday so the weather will hopefully not be too oppressive. Forecast (ha ha) calls for highs of mid-80s on some days and mid-70s on others.
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Old 03-20-2013, 05:31 PM   #21
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just my 2 cents

I would base my park day plans on crowd predictions, don't pick randomly! Sites like Easy WDW are so easy to use, and are so accurate. Two different parks can have completely different crowd numbers on the same day, we always follow the lowest park predictions.

We have hopped to a "worst park " in the evenings sometimes (because best park closed early) and the crowds were always so much larger. A little research will save you a ton of time in terms of lines.
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:54 PM   #22
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From my experience height requirements are usually accurate. We always put our kids in the tallest shoes possible. I've even taken the soles out of another pair of shoes when they were really close. According to a lot of people you shrink throughout the day so maybe hit those 48" rides early.
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:04 AM   #23
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Agreed - if you're sure your child is >48", I would be prepared with shoes that give a little boost to make sure he measures as such at the parks, as I've heard there is some variability in the measuring! My cousin is well over the height requirement, per her doctor and several at-home measurings, but has come in under by a hair (literally!) at WDW before, so her mom got her the Sketchers sneakers that have a little boost just to make sure she'd make it. I wouldn't encourage it if your child isn't definitely at the height minimum, of course
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Old 03-21-2013, 01:47 PM   #24
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Are arrival and departure days not an option? Adding an extra day to tickets is usually not that expensive, so on our trips we hit MK on arrival for a few hours. No real plan , just soak it in and see what we can. We then do a full day at MK and do MK on departure day as well. That gives us one full and two half days at MK during a 6night 7 day trip, leaving 4 full days for other things. Some thoughts on other items that were raised:

Park Hoppers - sounds like you may only use them to hit AK and HS in the same day. They aren't right for everyone. I would recommend thinking about it a little more. Being a newbie, there is so much to take in and enjoy. You don't really want to short change yourself at AK or HS and skip things because you feel pressured to get to the other park. It's nice to stop and smell the roses, especially on a first trip.

HS - My DD loved it at 2 & 3. Little Mermaid show, B&B show, Disney Jnr, HISTK play area, etc. Not a full day park though, as others have said.

AK - Also not a full day park but we have stayed there much longer than we expected. Combination of seeing new things we didn't anticipate and navigating a little more slowly than expected.

Universal - sounds to me like you may be trying to do too much, but you know your family best and it seems like the right fit for DS.

Epcot - DD has always loved it and at 6yo there is plenty of must-do activities there.

Park Crowds - Like PPs said, try to plan your days around park crowd estimates.

Have fun on your first trip!
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Old 03-21-2013, 02:59 PM   #25
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I am tired just thinking about your days.

As an adult I'd need a day off of no park & to sleep in (til 7!) & sit by the pool.

The kids might need naps. I know when my dd was 7 she napped at Disney (didn't at home). When she wa 4 I didn't think she needed a nap so I took her to the pool while my dh stayed with my napping 2 yo. She fell asleep in the stroller while we were walking around Epcot.

But that is me.

We do AK, but we are out by lunch time.

We do DHS and we are also out of there by lunch time.

Then we spend the rest of our time between MK & Epcot.

I wish you luck!
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