Park Plan Ideas for four days?

Discussion in 'Theme Parks Attractions and Strategies' started by rachallyy, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. rachallyy

    rachallyy Earning My Ears

    Feb 15, 2013
    Hi, love this site :cool1:

    Just booked our first Disney vacation as a family! I've been but that was 10 years ago and my DH and DSs (8 and 6) have never been. We are staying May 23-May 28 which will be Memorial Weekend, and will have the 6 day passes. I did not get the hopper option because I'm not sure we'll need it and that is why I wanted to pick more brains than my own. I'm also on the fence concerning the Dining Plan and the Photopass.

    Some things to consider when planning on Park visits and why I'm considering skipping Epcot and have decided not to include any water parks:

    my sons aren't very daring, so must fast rides, scary, and tall rides will be out of the running. they are not very adventuresome eaters either I'm afraid they like the usual kidfare.

    I'm thinking half day at AK and HS, followed by afternoon downtime at our resort AOA, then maybe return to same park if time permits that evening depending on dinner plans. So that is two days down. Then at least a full day at MK of course. My boys would love the Lego store and arcade at downtown disney (or is that the boardwalk?).

    Tentative Plans:

    Thursday: arrive, evening?
    Friday: MK most of day
    Sat: AK until early afternoon, then resort pool
    Sun: HS ", "
    Mon: MK?, epcot? am....LEGO, shopping etc
    Tues: fly out, I dont want to plan much this day

    Anyone with young children please give your experiences/thoughts? Anyone NOT do the hopper and how did that work out with only 4-5days available?
    Thanks so much!:)
  2. SplashMo

    SplashMo DIS Veteran

    Sep 8, 2010
    Why a six day ticket with only four days in the parks? Cust curious. :):)

    I would get park hoppers if possible.

    Thursday: arrive, evening?
    Friday: MK
    Sat: AK until 1:30 then HS in afternoon (You will miss TSMM)
    Sun: MK -> Epcot
    Mon: Epcot
    Tues: DTD (With LEgo Store) fly out, I dont want to plan much this day
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  4. MacClemsons

    MacClemsons Mouseketeer

    Oct 11, 2012
    SOmething to consider is STar Wars weekend at HS. Unless you are a Star Wars fan, I would stay clear of HS on Fri, Sat, Sun.
    My kids are similar ages and don't really love Epcot. I'd probably do 1/2 day there or skip it. I'd do 2 days at MK. 1 day at each AK and HS.
    We have APs and rarely park hop. We feel we lose too much time going from park to park. Memorial day weekend is likely going to be busy. You may not get that much done if you only spend a few hours in the parks.
    You could always go to DTD on the night you do AK since that park closes early. We never schedule pool time. We might be the exception, but we go to Disney for parks and not pools. Thurs when you arrive might be a good time for a swim.
    Sounds like you only need 4 day tickets.
  5. LisaTN

    LisaTN DIS Veteran

    Jan 2, 2013
    If you only have four days, I agree about doing park hoppers.

    One MK day
    One HS day morning, then go to Epcot
    One AK day (make it an early day to get some rest
    And another MK day

    Personally, we love Epcot and spend a whole day there. Our four 1/2 day plan this year looked like this:

    Check in day - went to MK around 4pm for some character greetings, a couple rides and wishes
    MK day, but ended with Fanstasmic and EMH at HS
    Epcot Day
    AK Day until about 2pm, then DTD for BBB & dinner
    then the morning we left, we went to HS from about RP until noon

    The price difference to add a couple days wasn't much, and could have probably skipped the Hoppers looking back, but likes having the option if we wanted it. SO if you can get some park time on check-in/check-out days, I think it's worth adding in the extra days...
  6. ImpossibleOfMe

    ImpossibleOfMe Mouseketeer

    Sep 18, 2010
    We have 4 parks days too and DS will be turned 4 on the trip.

    Mon - HS
    Tues - MK
    Wed - Off
    Thur - Ak in AM, EP in evening
    Fri - MK

    I want to add that we plan a full day at HS because we will be utilizing baby swap and are going to fit in RnRC and ToT as well as wanting to see F!.
  7. ForMyBoys

    ForMyBoys DIS Veteran

    Jan 13, 2013
    I disagree with some of the prior posters. I don't think a hopper is necessary at all. In 4 days (and seems like one evening?) you can visit all the parks and most are open late so you can go back in the evening. The only park that closes early is AK and like you state you can do a pool outing that night... the kids are going to want some time in the pool. I don't think its worth the price of the hopper upgrade simply to be able to go to AK one morning and another park that night when you can still return to the same park at night.

    Our first visit, my older ds was 5, younger ds was 1, their favorite park hands down was AK, Second was HS, third MK, fourth Epcot. But honestly they still loved Epcot, it was just a really hot day and I hadn't done enough research at the time so we sort of wandered aimlessly. I will say though that my DS was scared of dark rides so that ruled out A LOT at MK. This time around I'm hoping we can enjoy that park more.

    We went at RD each morning, took a break mid-day, then returned at night. That worked out great! I would also save some time for DTD, maybe on your going home day? We had a lot of fun there.
  8. ghtx

    ghtx DIS Veteran

    May 29, 2012
    Your original plan is for 4 theme park days, yet you say that you have 6-day tickets. You should check on that.

    I disagree with PPs recommending a hopper. Instead, you should add an extra day to your ticket. Starting with a 4-day ticket (which is what you should have), the cost of an extra day is just about $12 plus tax, much cheaper than the cost of a park hopper option ($57). Then you could go to Epcot on either your arrival day or your departure day, for just a half day.

    Then, two full days at MK, one at AK and one at DHS. :thumbsup2
  9. rachallyy

    rachallyy Earning My Ears

    Feb 15, 2013
    Thanks for all you'lls thoughts on this! yes I'm from the south lol.

    To clear things up, we are staying 5 nights, and have 6 day passes, single park per day

    My DH isn't keen on DW, so I'm trying to allow him some downtime at resort etc.....

    Opinions on the dining plan, now I"m thinking maybe we should get it after reading some threads on this; I just dont want to be continuously told we "cant have that because it isnt included on the plan"

    I'm considering photopass because at least that way I'm guaranteed to be in some photos lol

    we are in the process of getting our 8 yo tested for mild aspergers syndrome, so we need to avoid some types of rides: ie too dark, too loud, too high up in the air, etc. any specific ones you'll can name besides TOT? We will probably due some ride switches so our youngest can fully enjoy things though...
  10. siskaren

    siskaren DIS Veteran

    Aug 8, 2007
    The thing is though, it doesn't make sense to buy 6-day tickets if you're only going to be spending 4 days in the parks. You're not required to buy 6-day tickets just because your hotel stay is 6 days, if that's what you were thinking.

    And with regard to the dining plan, I'm not aware of any item at any restaurant that isn't included on the plan, other than appetizers at TS restaurants, but that's just because the TS credits only include entree or buffet, dessert and non-alcoholic beverage.
  11. elittleton

    elittleton Mouseketeer

    Jul 25, 2011
    We will be arriving on Saturday of Memorial Weekend.

    I recommend the photopass and have already pre-paid for one on my next trip. I pre-paid for it our last trip and did not bother with my camera if a photopass photographer was available. I came home with a ton of great pictures. I have not pre-paid for the photopass in the past and would have the photopass photographer take pictures with my camera. When I got home the photopass pictures were so much better than the pictures the photographer took with my camera. I would also have only 1 picture with my camera but they would take a lot on the photopass making me wish that I had pre-paid for it.

    My DD is 5 and we don’t park hop. She likes Epcot for only Sorrin and the characters. We do only HS for half a day. AK is a full day for use with just all the animals and characters. At MK we spend most of the day in Fantasy Land. I’ve been told you can see most of the rides on YouTube so you will have an idea you should try it or not with your 8 year old.
  12. sammons70

    sammons70 Mouseketeer

    Apr 10, 2006
    I have a lot to say about your situation, but keep in mind, it is my personal opinion. Since it appears you have already purchased passes for more days than you can use, it would be foolish to purchase the park hopper option. That would simply be spending more money when it sounds like you have already over spent. Since you have 6 day passes, and only 4 days for parks, if you decide to visit more than 1 park on the same day, just use an additional day worth of passes that you already paid for.

    Given the interests of your children that you shared( not thrill seekers), I would suggest that most of your time will be spent at Magic Kingdom Park. It will likely be very crowded on this holiday weekend, so you would need at least 2 days to cover this park, and do everything you want. Since you are not big thrill seekers, I would recommend arriving at rope drop, and going straight to the New Fantasy Land. I would avoid this park on a day that had morning extra magic hours as it tends to draw bigger crowds on those days. You may want to plan to make it a late night if you can, and take advantage of evening extra magic hours in this park. I'm thinking that you will skip most of Frontier Land except Country Bears and the river boats due to not caring for thrill rides. Due to scariness, you may also wish to skip Pirates in Adventure Land and Haunted Mansion in Liberty Square. In Tomorrow Land, the thrill of Space Mountain will likely be out, but I'm hoping that you and your kids will enjoy the rest of the park.
    A day at AK sounds good as well, especially if your kids like animals. It sounds like you will want to steer clear of EE and Dinosaur since they are thrill rides. You may have time to do multiple rides in Kilimanjaro Safaris, or repeat a favorite trail or show since you are skipping the thrill rides.
    The tough part of this to figure out is whether or not to skip Epcot and Hollywood studios. The studios biggest draw are 2 thrill rides ( Tower of Terror and Rock n Roller Coaster) which will not please your kids. The question here is do your kids like Star Wars. If yes, then not only is Star Tours here, but it will be a Star Wars fan's dream come true with Star Wars weekends. If your kids like Star Wars, a full day in this park will be in order. If Star Wars is not a desire of your family, then the only other thing you are missing is the Pixar element of this park. TS mania is 1 ride, but this is the only place for character greetings with Woody, Monster's and Cars.
    The big draw for me about Epcot is all of the international dining in World Showcase. Since you mentioned that the family is not adventurous eaters, you would likely skip this part. Your kids may like Nemo and the Aquarium in Living Seas and some of the Imagination, Land and Innoventions attractions in Future World of Epcot. With holiday weekend crowds, this could take the better part of a day. There are also some unique character greetings all throughout this park, especially in World showcase.
    Any time you save by skipping Epcot, and/ or HS should be dedicated to Magic Kingdom.
    Unless your kids are snackers, I'd pass on the dining Plan. A character dining meal in MK ( Crystal Palace) or AK may be fun. Epcot also has one in Garden Grill if you go to that park. You will likely need an advanced dining res for any of these that weekend.
    I would recommend Photo Pass as it will help you customize your special memories.
    Have a great time:)
  13. siskaren

    siskaren DIS Veteran

    Aug 8, 2007
    You can't use an additional day to park hop. The only way you can park hop is to buy the park hopper option.
  14. BenKling

    BenKling Mouseketeer

    Jul 20, 2011
    You most definitely cannot use regular tickets in that way. Only 1 park per day, regardless of how many days you have purchased.

    It sounds like you have a pretty good idea of what you want to do... If you haven't already bought them, you should get 4day tickets and not 6 day.
  15. sammons70

    sammons70 Mouseketeer

    Apr 10, 2006
    Ooops! I forgot that passes are set up like credit cards, and not individual tickets. If you decide to include HS or Epcot, I would get park hoppers in case you decide you want to return to MK.
  16. backpacktwang

    backpacktwang Mouseketeer

    Jan 19, 2013
    We are doing 4 days in March with this schedule:

    Arrival Day: Hotel Pool and DTD
    Day 2: MK
    Day 3: Epcot
    Day 4: HS
    Day 5: AK

    We haven't gotten park hoppers yet, but we may end up wanting to hop the AK day. If we do, we will just add them when we want to hop. That way we don't waste money buying them up front and then not using them.
  17. rachallyy

    rachallyy Earning My Ears

    Feb 15, 2013
    Thanks for all the great suggestions and ideas! While still a work in progress, here is the tentative plan after reviewing's crowd calendar and others:

    Oh and I discussed the tickets with the DW agent, who says you pay more for the park tickets the first few days so the two added ones amount to only 10.85/person. To me that is worth it IF we decide to use them.

    5/23: arrive afternoon hopefully free to explore by 6?....plan HS

    5/24: MK

    5/25: MK

    5/26: AK

    5/27: Either EP or back to HS, then DTD

    5/28: MK possibly....departure around noonish I think

    I've booked the resort, tickets and airfare through WDW, so far a good experience. Def. doing the photopass, saying no to the DP. book ADRs and character dining:cool1:
  18. sammons70

    sammons70 Mouseketeer

    Apr 10, 2006
    So glad you made some decisions. I see you are considering more time for parks. I think that is wise. Have a fun trip:)
  19. DisNikki

    DisNikki Mouseketeer

    Feb 15, 2011
    We'll be there at the same time - staying 5/24-6/3 at Coronado Springs!

    First, have your boys read through a guidebook made for kids like Birnbaum's for kids (check it out at the library or buy it). They describe the rides really well in kid terms. Have them write down or circle the rides that look exciting to them. If you or they are not sure about certain rides you can watch videos on youtube for most if not all the rides. If you can narrow it down to your top 5 or so rides or shows in each park then you can be sure to hit those!

    5/23 - I'm not sure how long your travel day is but since you're arriving in the evening I'd suggest just hanging out at your resort, checking out the pool and getting a good night's sleep.

    5/24 - MK seems like a great park to start your trip off with! Be sure to get there early! Watch the opening show :) Hit your "must do" rides first, especially if they're any of the most popular ones. If you arrive early you can definitely take a mid-day break to return to your resort for some down time in the room or pool. Then go back to MK for more rides and, depending on how late you want to stay, MSEP and fireworks.

    5/25 - I would actually do Epcot on this day. I know you're not sure about doing it at all but I think it would be a great park for you guys! For one, you could sleep in, because you're not aiming to do Epcot's more popular rides like Test Track or Soarin you could get there later in the morning and not "miss out" on anything. Do the boys like Phineas and Ferb? You could do one or more of the P&F missions in World Showcase (we love these!). You could also have them do the passports and visit the Kidcot stations to have them stamped, do a craft, learn a little about each country. For non-thrill seekers it's great! Then there are the tamer rides and shows like Nemo and Turtle Talk and Living with the Land. This is another area where a guide book would help you get familiar with what each offers!

    5/26 - Animal Kingdom. I'd say get there early again because AK feels hotter than the other parks so enjoying the "cooler" AM temps would be to your advantage. Plus you can squeeze in more shows which would seem to appeal to your family. Be sure to read the descriptions of all the shows as things like Tough to be a Bug can be scary for some kids.

    5/27 - I'd say to go to Hollywood Studios on this day. I think there's a lot for non-thrill seeking kids (would one or both like Jedi Training Academy? Toy Story? Lights Motors Action?). You could also do DTD in the evening if you aren't up for staying for Fantasmic.

    5/28 - You're leaving around noon so I'd say spend your last morning at Magic Kingdom.

    I know I'm cutting out a lot of your MK time so I'd suggest, if it's financially feasible, cutting your tickets down to 5 days but adding the park hoppers. Then you could hop to MK after EP, HS, etc. to get some more time there. There are just as many people who love the hoppers as those who say there's no need so you'll just have to guesstimate what would be best for you. Of course you could add the park hopping option after you arrive too if you discover you need it...

    Just some ideas...feel free to take some, all or none as you wish! :)
  20. mommy2jack

    mommy2jack Mouseketeer

    Jun 11, 2009
    We are there the same time as you!! Only we have one extra day. :)

    No park hoppers for us either . We don't see the value of it and I like to be at the park from open to close when possible! Which is why we also try to plan one 'break' day in to our plans.

    Your plan sounds good though. But you might get worn out by the end. Might want to give yourself some resort 'down' time on one day (just my suggestion! All depends on your kids and touring style.)

    We are doing...

    5/22 Arrive late
    5/23 MK
    5/24 HS (star wars weekend, but that's ok with us!)
    5/25 EP
    5/26 'break' day. Explore resort, pool and DTD.
    5/27 MK (this is Memorial day and you are probably better off avoiding MK this day, but it's our last day and we like to go to MK on our last day. So we'll grin and bear it!)
    5/28 Heading home :(
  21. DisNikki

    DisNikki Mouseketeer

    Feb 15, 2011
    For what it's worth there's a blog entry on that says Memorial Day has historically been a good day to go to MK. I guess people who are there for the long weekend generally go to MK on Sunday for the evening EMH and then either leave on Monday to go home or will go to a different park. Not sure how accurate that is, of course, but others' posts on the DIS seem to support that too (those that have been there over the same weekend in prior years). Anyway, we're going to MK that day and it'll be fun no matter what!

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