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Old 03-26-2013, 10:24 AM   #1
Rydalot
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5 days of Disney with a toddler & baby

My dh and I are going to Florida next month and staying with friends for a week further down the coast. I have 5 day basic passes for us and since our boys are 2 (will be 3 in May) and 9 months they are free. We are planning on driving through the night on the Saturday to arrive between breakfast & lunch on Sunday to Disney. We were hoping to hit one park for a bit then have an early night, do one overnight then do most of a day until about 5pm in another park, have dinner then head down the coast to our friends place. On the way back we have 3 nights hotel booked (Tuesday - Thursday) then leaving Friday to go home. How would you suggest we use our park passes since we can only pick one park per day and have small children? MK for at least 2 days is a given. My dh has only been to MK once 25 years ago and last time I went was 20 years ago and went to Mk & hs. We have never been to Epcot or Ak so we are really unfamiliar with all parks and of course super excited to go!
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:26 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rydalot View Post
My dh and I are going to Florida next month and staying with friends for a week further down the coast. I have 5 day basic passes for us and since our boys are 2 (will be 3 in May) and 9 months they are free. We are planning on driving through the night on the Saturday to arrive between breakfast & lunch on Sunday to Disney. We were hoping to hit one park for a bit then have an early night, do one overnight then do most of a day until about 5pm in another park, have dinner then head down the coast to our friends place. On the way back we have 3 nights hotel booked (Tuesday - Thursday) then leaving Friday to go home. How would you suggest we use our park passes since we can only pick one park per day and have small children? MK for at least 2 days is a given. My dh has only been to MK once 25 years ago and last time I went was 20 years ago and went to Mk & hs. We have never been to Epcot or Ak so we are really unfamiliar with all parks and of course super excited to go!
Sounds like 2 days MK and one of each of the others to me.
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:30 AM   #3
Rydalot
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Is Epcot worth giving up a day at ak or hs? It seems a bit more geared to adults and older kids....
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:31 AM   #4
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I am kind of having difficulty understand what you are saying:

We are planning on driving through the night on the Saturday to arrive between breakfast & lunch on Sunday to Disney.. We were hoping to hit one park for a bit then have an early night, do one overnight then do most of a day until about 5pm in another park, have dinner then head down the coast to our friends place. On the way back we have 3 nights hotel booked (Tuesday - Thursday) then leaving Friday to go home.

I think I get you are driving through the night, then planning on heading directly to the park with a two year old? The next day, hit a park all day, have dinner, then get back into the car for another drive?

If that's the case, WOW, thats a lot on a two year old. Any way you could bump that down to a 4 day and add the hopper option?
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:31 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by mesaboy2 View Post
Sounds like 2 days MK and one of each of the others to me.
Agree with this. I think you maybe able to do a half day at HS and then some R&R at the pool/resort. AK closes at 5 and will allow more down time. I think the 3 longer days will be EPCOT and the 2 MK days. Enjoy!
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:32 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Rydalot View Post
Is Epcot worth giving up a day at ak or hs? It seems a bit more geared to adults and older kids....
With two young kids, neither Epcot, HS or AK should take you more than 1 day. if you are parking it for 5 days and 2 of them will be MK, one day for the other three parks will be sufficient.
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Old 03-26-2013, 11:09 AM   #7
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Disagree with other posters. There's much to do in Epcot, even for the younger set. Usually, we divide our time as follows: 2 days MK, 2days Epcot, 1day each for HS and AK.

At HS, TSM is a big draw, so it's probably good to go to HS on a day where you can arrive early, and head to TSM first for a fastpass. It does not have to be a full day, we usualy finish up at Hs by 4pm.

Simililarly, you do not need a full day to cover AK. You can easily stay busy in both HS and AK all day, but you will most feel a pinch at Epcot and MK. (Attractions you did not have time to see). Now that MK has the new expansion, it is even more important to give MK two days. (one more important suggestion- look at the weather. If you have flexibility- try to do AK on a nice day. Many of the attractions shut down during a thunderstorm.)

It depends a bit on how many hours you'll have on your arrival day. You probably don't want to pick AK, since it closes early. MK or Epcot would be the best picks. It also depends on how you handle the bigger attractions (in all four parks). You could simply skip them, you can also go on them as individual adults using fastpass and/or the single rider line. While one adult goes on the thrill rides- the other can take the kdis on somethign else...there's also little playgounds, bathroom needs, gift shops, snacks...and other things you can do with the little ones while an adult goes on the bigger rides.


You also leave out your eating plans. There are well over 100 table service places to eat at WDW. Your post suggests that you plan to leave the park on the second day - around 5pm - to eat dinner. If you are meeting your firends, that makes sense, but it also greatly makes sense to eat at a restaurant in the park that day, especially if you were to pick Epcot. Three of the parks: Epcot, MK, and HS have nightly shows that are very worth seeing. I thnk the evening parade and frieworks at MK are especially worthwhile.

My suggestion is as follows:

Arrival: MK (so long as it's not a Saturday)
3/4day: HS
Tues: Epcot transfer day- (I assume an arrival atthe parks after 9am, but still getting most of the day)
Wed: MK
Thurs: AK

One plus of Epcot is that much of what there is to see is not rides with lines, so it would also be a good place to go on your arrival day.

Oh, my take on the drive is that you - the adults- will likely be tired after the long drive- but the kids presumably will be able to sleep in the car. So they will lieklly be wide awake when you arrive at WDW. One tip - if the kids are wide awake, and the adutls are tired....one can often quickly 'tire' the kids by putting them in water. Either take them swimming, or just let them splash in the bathtub for a bit.

Another thought, if you are too tired to head to a park upon arrival, many resorts- both onsite and off WDW property- have lots of fun ways to entertain kids, especially little kids.

You probably do want to use a stroller.

Still more dpeends on the weather and the crowds when you go. Like if you are goiing over a major holiday, avoid MK on the day of the holiday. If you are goiing ona more quiet week, then it doesn't matter as much.

OH- one last important detail- if you buy regualr tickets- you must use them within a total of 14days. You don't mention how long your visit with your firends is goiing to be. Ifit's just a few days, you shoud be fine, if the first park day and the last park day are more than 14 days apart, you'll need to buy the "no expire option" for your tickets. (or two sets of tickets)
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Old 03-26-2013, 11:27 AM   #8
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How long is your drive from home? If you're tired, can't check into your room yet, and don't make it into the park until mid morning, you may have a rough first day. I would spend my first day at the hotel and relaxing, that way you have plenty of energy to hit MK hard the next day. On the way back, I would do one more day at MK, 1/2 day at AK with HS in the evening and one day at Epcot. You can easily switch HS and Epcot if you want.

Just noticed you don't have a hopper. What if you did 1/2 day at AK on the day you return home? That would give you a full day at each of the other parks.
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Old 03-26-2013, 01:23 PM   #9
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I agree with the PP that your driving plan may wear everyone out too much to enjoy the parks but if you are committed to it here is my 2 cents.

I would skip EPCOT. I know some will flame me but at young ages my kids just didn't like much there. Even now at 7&5 they don't enjoy much beyond Soarin' and The Seas.
I would do 3 MK days. I would make your arrival day (really a half day) a MK day and then two other days later in your trip.
And 1 day each of AK and DHS. People may discount both of these parks but at your kids very young ages animals (AK) and Disney Jr characters (DHS) will at least be recognizable. AK closes early so it will be a good park to do on one of your departure/driving days.
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Old 03-26-2013, 01:57 PM   #10
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My girls were 18m and 3 when we were last at Disney and their favorite parks by far were MK and AK. Their least was Epcot and HS was a half day trip at most. In my opinion Hollywood studios is great if you like the shows but their aren't as many rides for smaller ones and same goes for Epcot. I love Epcot but my girls rode the nemo ride saw a few characters and were ready to go....they didn't care at all for world showcase either
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:06 PM   #11
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Thank you all so much for your advice. I'll give you all a bit more detail. We are leaving on Saturday from Ontario, Canada around lunch time. We are going to drive all night as it will take about 20 hours to get to Disney and we are hoping a large chunk of that drive will be with the kids sleeping. Of course we are open to stopping and letting them stretch etc. as much as they need so we are not sure what time that would have us arrive on Sunday. My husband and I will try to take shifts sleeping in the car (but we all know how that goes!) so I am not counting on it. To go into even more detail...we are trying to do Disney on a budget. The whole trip started with friends inviting us down for a week to where they are renting in Florida for free. So of course I start to think can we hit Disney for the kids (and for my husband and I...the bigger kids). We were going to Disney for a day but then I found that the kids are still free so we were trying to budget 2 days. Then I got an amazing Groupon deal on a condo in Orlando for 3 nights with meal credits, so the plan was do 2 park days and one day maybe shopping and lounging around the fabulous pool they have. Then I found out I had enough Air Miles for free Disney tickets. They offered 3, 5 or 7 day basic tickets. I was about to order the 3 days...but then saw the 5 day was just a fraction more so I went for those. So now we have 5 days of Disney passes and 3 booked nights in a hotel. I am still trying to figure what will work best. This was my thoughts..tell me if it sounds good;

Sunday, arrive in Orlando after driving all night. Guessing we will arrive around lunch time. Most hotels (we haven't booked yet) seem to have check in around 4pm so chances are we won't be able to check in...so no naps...no sitting by a pool. So we thought why not take the kids to a park, let the toddler blow off some steam after a long ride in the car, go on a few rides then go back to the hotel, check in and have dinner somewhere. Then go back to the park for a couple more rides and a parade/fireworks show then to the hotel for bed. The next day we would have almost a full day. We would have lunch in the park but probably leave by around 4pm so depending on if the kids were sleepy or hungry we would grab dinner outside the park (McD's or something quick) and hit the road to stay with our friends for 8 days. We would be arriving there around 7-8pm on the Monday night then leaving their place the next Tues in the am and going to another park (may not make opening that day) but will have a pretty full day on Tues, Wed and Thurs. Check out Fri. Probably spend some time around the pool in the am, have a nice lunch then hit the road to get home sometime Saturday.

My first thought for parks was Epcot (neither my husband and I have too much interest in that park and not many rides for the kids, but thought it would be a good low key place to go and we would be able to return for the Illuminations show at night after dinner. Then the next day I'm undecided what park to do. Maybe AK. On our return trip home for the 3 park days I thought MK, HS, MK but then I saw that on the last day it's EMH and MK is not recommended (esp since we are not staying at a Disney hotel). So now I am thinking MK, MK, HS.

What park would you like to leave off on? I wanted MK but since it is a 'RED' day, where would you choose next?
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:57 PM   #12
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Sunday, arrive in Orlando after driving all night. Guessing we will arrive around lunch time. Most hotels (we haven't booked yet) seem to have check in around 4pm so chances are we won't be able to check in...so no naps...no sitting by a pool. So we thought why not take the kids to a park, let the toddler blow off some steam after a long ride in the car, go on a few rides then go back to the hotel, check in and have dinner somewhere. Then go back to the park for a couple more rides and a parade/fireworks show then to the hotel for bed.
I'm only half joking when I say, if your kid(s) don't have a meltdown, they are not of this planet.

Ultimately, only you know your kids, but the only reason I bring it up is that I would not plan so that my entire trip revolves around having to go to a park upon arrival. If you plan on two MK days on your return with the other park based on crowd predictions, I would at least leave the possibility open that you might end up having to miss a park if something happens and you can't go parkin hopping as soon as you arrive.

What are you going to do if you arrive and one of them isn't up to going to the parks? At the very minimum, I would add an extra day to your reservation so at least you had somewhere to go as an option upon arrival.

I do agree with not going to MK if it is EMH and you are not on site, but if you need more time there, there is no reason you can't go to MK three times and skip Epcot, HS or Animal Kingdom. The problem you will run into without hoppers is there isn't enough to keep you occupied for an entire day at either of those three parks. Animal Kingdom can take a while if you do both the Lion King, Nemo, Rafiki's Planet Watch and the Safari, so maybe use that as a full day as well.
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:02 PM   #13
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on our last two trips, we checked into our resort in the morning. one time, our room was actually ready; the second time, it was not. however, you would still be able to lounge by the pool if your room isn't ready. there are places where you could change.

with kids that small, they may need a break to unwind after having been in the car that long. any of the parks is major stimulation. you might want to consider some down time first.

and i'd plan for some breaks, especially since you have a baby. on our last trip, my youngest was six months and we took it really easy. if he was fussy and needed a good nap, i took him back to the room. it made our lives much easier and his mood much better if he was well-rested. (and he was a VERY easy-going baby)
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:19 PM   #14
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Like someone else mentioned, you know your kids best, but that is packing in A LOT for kiddos that will have been in a car for 20 hours. Heck, I am fairly certain I would have a melt-down.

We took our boys for the first time when they were 3 and 14 months. The best advice I can give is to try to keep them on their eating and sleep schedule as much as possible. For us that means RD (they are early risers) and they still have not seen a fireworks show after 3 visits.

If you try to do it "all" you may find that everyone is just miserable.

Good luck and have fun!
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Old 03-26-2013, 04:01 PM   #15
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I live in SE Michigan, plan on 20-22 hours for your drive down with stops. Our last trip we left at 9 pm on a Wednesday and arrived at 6pm Thursday. This was with a 7 and 9 year old. I truly don't recommend hitting a park on your arrival day unless you take some much needed sleep unwind time for you and your husband.

It's a long trip for two littles ones and then to hit the over stimulation of a park.
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