AK and HS, really just 1/2 day?

Discussion in 'Disney World Tips' started by chefsparrow, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. chefsparrow

    chefsparrow Earning My Ears

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    First, I can't believe I'm going to say this... after years at failed attempts to make it to Disney World - it looks like this trip is still on! I'm still cautiously optimistic about it, kind of "I'll believe it when I see it." type of thing. But, regardless, I will continue to plan this trip as if it were set in stone.

    My dilemma: I have been lurking these boards for a loooong time, and I can't count the amount of times I've read people saying that AK and HS are only 1/2 day parks.

    Now, we're only going to be going November 4th-8th... so 4 nights, and 5 days... I am desperate to maximize our time doing things that we will absolutely love.

    We're also doing DxDP and I want to plan our ADRs, but I don't want to waste a lot of time park hopping, so if we plan our ADRs like we'll be spending full days at AK and HS and then it turns out we truly only needed to be there half days, I don't want to A.) Either be stuck walking around a park not enjoying ourselves as much as we should. or B.) Park hopping to a better park, then park hopping back just to catch an ADR.

    I hope that made sense. Thanks for any help in advance!
     
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  3. FiggieFan

    FiggieFan DIS Veteran

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    Hi, I just got back. If this is your first time, I would do 1 day for both MK and HS. HS (formerly MGM) used to be one of my favorite parks, but the problem is that I have seen the Indiana Jones show and Lights, Motor Action show enough times that I really don't feel the need to repeat it. We also no longer take the time in Animal Kingdom to walk around and look at the animals like we used to. We did do the Its a Bug Life movie in AK this time and really enjoyed it - we also really enjoy the Flights of Wonder Bird Show.
    Be careful with HS, Toy Story is very popular and if you aren't there early, you will have to wait forever and fast passes will most likely be gone. We went to AK one morning when they had EMH, and still got to HS a little before 10, the fast passes were gone and the wait was over 1 hour. Later on that day, the wait was 120 minutes.
    We had hoppers and came back another morning just to get in Toy Story and there was still a sprint to the ride when the park opened. Nothing like a cardio workout!
    Also, regarding HS, we usually always do 50's Prime Time Cafe - I added Sci-Fi cafe at the last minute and my fiance LOVED it - it was a nice break from the crowds, dark and quiet. We actually ending up going back to Sci-Fi a second time on the trip just because we enjoyed it so much. It surprised me a bit since I haven't been there in years.
     
  4. growinupdisney

    growinupdisney DIS Veteran

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    We usuall spend a full day at DHS with all the shows and rides its easy to fil in the whole day especially if your doing Fantasmic. There have been times we have gotten done early left mid day and came back for dinner and Fantasmic, we have been to WDW many many times so it depends on how the kids feel and what they may or may not do. If we know we are going to skip Beauty and the Beast show and Indianna Jones and lights and motors than we can leave by 3 or 4, but we also eat cs. If you are eating sit down that will eat up time too, so can surely soend a whole day there.

    AK we are always there til atleast 5:00pm and we get there at RD,

    MK we do 2 days no way around it
    Epcot 2 days as well but we can do it in 1 if we have to

    with the deluxe dining that's alot of eating at sit down meals so your going to "eat up" alot of park time hours so I wouldn't worry about walking around and having nothing to do because you will have to fit in all the attractions in between your meals vs fitting meals in between attractions
     
  5. AshleeH

    AshleeH DIS Veteran

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    Our tried and true family rule: Try something before deciding.

    We've done full days at all parks and found that what works best for us is a half day at AK and two full days at HS, so every family is different. I always suggest going to all four parks and then using your remaining days (however many that may be) repeating your favorite park(s) and going in with a better idea of half-day parks for your subsequent trips.
     
  6. Kauai4life

    Kauai4life Earning My Ears

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    If this your first trip to DW I would skip the Park Hopper everything is so spread out. I think if you have been several times then it makes since.
    Also the Deluxe dining plan is a whole lot of food. We do the Regular DP and never can finish all our credits.
    I would also dedicate a day each to AK and HS if it your first time. Have a great time. Aloha :)
     
  7. chefsparrow

    chefsparrow Earning My Ears

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    Thanks for all the responses!

    I know the DxDP is a lot of food, but my main reason for getting it is because I'll be celebrating my degree in culinary arts and I want to experience as much food there as possible, it's why we're trying to catch the tail end of Food and Wine, too. :-)

    I really really wish we could afford to add a sixth day to our trip, but it doesn't look like it will happen.

    I think what we will do is hopefully catch AK on an EMH morning, and plan to eat lunch at the Flame Tree BBQ, then choose which park to go to that afternoon as a spontaneous thing. Something tells me that even in November AK will probably be pretty hot/humid in the afternoon. Instead of buying the park hopper, we'll just buy an extra ticket or two to save some money.
     
  8. Kauai4life

    Kauai4life Earning My Ears

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    Were you able to get a free dining promotion?
     
  9. chefsparrow

    chefsparrow Earning My Ears

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    I didn't know they were doing free dining in November... I thought that was just September/October.
     
  10. AshleeH

    AshleeH DIS Veteran

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    Typically, I think it's whenever they are expecting very low crowds (to bump up the attendance in the hotels).
     
  11. I loveStitchnippyjon

    I loveStitchnippyjon DIS Veteran

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    Personally, I always need a day and a half at AK. No way only 1/2!
     
  12. DisneyDiva8401

    DisneyDiva8401 Mouseketeer

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    We do half days at both parks simply because if we had to choose, we would rather spend most of our time at MK or Epcot. There are only a handful of things I care to see at each park, plus eating at sci-fi. We spend 2 days each at Epcot and MK (especially now with the expansion!)
     
  13. chefsparrow

    chefsparrow Earning My Ears

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    My husband is such a good sport. I think I have him all kinds of confused.

    We just discussed dropping down from the DxDP to just the regular DP, and adding an extra day to our trip. Turns out it is actually slightly cheaper for us that way. :woohoo:

    I'm thinking of doing that, still buying a couple extra tickets instead of a park hopper, and maybe possibly upgrading to the DxDP if the funds show up, or if they do by some miracle offer free dining. I just can't stand the idea of not getting enough time in the parks!

    I had considered doing a pre-trip report, but seeing as how I can't make up my mind on things like this, I think it might go down in history as the most confusing pre-trip report ever.
     
  14. Kauai4life

    Kauai4life Earning My Ears

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    As long as your not going Thanksgiving week, there is a good chance they could offer it, just keep your eyes open for any promotion
     
  15. I-4Bound

    I-4Bound Mouseketeer

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    If you want to see everything, you could definitely make it a whole day at each park, especially if you like to take a midday break. We typically do half a day at these 2 parks, but we have park hoppers and go frequently. If it's your first trip, I would allot a day for each to fully get the experience and enjoy everything.

    Have a great trip!
     
  16. FlipHipster

    FlipHipster DIS Veteran

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    I think most of those posters have been multiple times. You can do 1/2 day at AK if you know what you want to do, but you will miss a lot on your first trip if you are running through the parks trying to see it all on the whirlwind tour. We have been 3 times and still do a full day at AK and HS. I wouldn't sweat it though, you aren't going to be able to see and do it all in 5 days so pick the things you know you want to see and make sure you hit those. AK closes earlier than the other parks so you could hit AK and still have time to squeeze a few hours in at another park that day if you're up for it.

    FWIW, we got the free standard dining plan last December staying at YC. We regretted not upgrading to deluxe. The difference between standard plan and deluxe plan is significant considering the dining options (QS vs. TS). We loved the TS meals, QS not so much. We ended up not using all of our QS credits and paying cash for more TS meals. It would be worth looking at the places you want to eat before switching plans IMHO.
     
  17. ZoZo

    ZoZo DIS Veteran

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    Want to be sure you understand how ticketing works. It costs much more for a one-day ticket ($89) than it would to add the hopper feature ($57 to add hopping to your base ticket).

    Also, by the time you get to a five-day ticket, it only costs an additional $10 to add an extra day! You mentioned that you can't afford to add a sixth day to your tickets, but it would only be $10/ticket.

    OP, you may already realize this, but to visit two parks on the same day, you have to have a parkhopper ticket. Some folks think they can just use two of the "days" on their ticket on the same day, to avoid paying for the upgrade to a hopper. But WDW has figured that out - if you try to go to a second park without a hopper feature on your ticket, you will be denied entry at the second park.

    Ticketing is kind of complicated, as you can see. Check out the ticket "sticky" at the start of this thread for more details!
     
  18. ZoZo

    ZoZo DIS Veteran

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    One more thing. When you read on these boards that DHS or AK are "half-day parks," that's often an opinion expressed by someone who has been to these parks at least once or twice (or many times!) before. They have already experienced most of the attractions and don't feel the need to repeat some of them again. But for someone who has never been to WDW, I'd recommend at least one day in each park. If you have a fifth day, return to the park you liked the best, or that you didn't get the chance to explore fully.

    That said, please give AK a try! It's my favorite park (tied for first with MK). So many things to do! Take your time. see all of the shows (including my favorite, flights of Wonder), explore the animal trails, and have fun!
     
  19. chefsparrow

    chefsparrow Earning My Ears

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    ZoZo, thanks so much for that info!! I had no idea that you could no longer bypass the park hopper with extra tickets. That definitely saved me some heartbreak.

    Affording the extra ticket for a sixth day isn't the problem, it's affording the extra day of the hotel and the dining plan that is the problem. I'm hoping that maybe possibly once I'm done paying for my last semester, that I will be able to find it in my budget to add one more day. Unfortunately this semester and next semester have to be 100% out of pocket - that eats up the majority of my budget!

    Thanks for helping me!! :worship:
     
  20. amberg93

    amberg93 DIS Veteran

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    When my wife and I went this past November from the 11th to the 18th we had a free dining promotion. It just didn't come around until July or August (if I remember right) so definitely keep your eye out for that. However, know that it's usually just offered with moderate resorts or higher. We'd originally been planning on a value but with free dining we switched to moderate and even with the fees for changing (I don't remember the exact cost) we still ended up saving like $25 a person from our original plans and the moderate (POFQ) was sooo nice.

    The regular dining plan was more than enough for me. However, my wife bought breakfast most mornings out of pocket because she needed it. If you don't need to eat breakfast and can get by on poptarts and granola bars until lunch, like I did, it'll save you money.

    As for the parks, it really depends. We were staying seven days on our first trip, so we did a whole day in Animal Kingdom and a whole day in Hollywood Studios. Those were perfect amounts to get everything done, but my wife has said that next time she'd want to spend more time in Hollywood Studios. But you'll get most of it done in a day, so long as you rise early and take advantage of EMH.
     
  21. ZoZo

    ZoZo DIS Veteran

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    You're welcome! It's a very common misconception that you can use more than one "day" on a multi-day ticket at a second park. It sure doesn't make financial sense to buy an extra ticket, given the cost of a one-day ticket. Wanted to make sure you knew the scoop.

    And wish you could afford that sixth day! But I totally get you - it's not the extra $10 for the extra day on your ticket, it's the extra hotel and meal costs! Darn. Maybe next trip!!

    Sure hope you have a blast on your trip!
     

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