When planning How do you decide which park you are going to visit each day ?

Thecouch

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jul 13, 2019
Just planning at trip for next year and trying to work out which park to visit each day .

Do you get hard restuarant booking and do fastpasses around that .
Do you go on what hours the park will be open each day including emh
Does fastpass selection make you push back some parks to have better shot at hard to get fast passes .
If doing a splits stay at different hotels does that change plans
 

heidia

Mouseketeer
Joined
Feb 11, 2007
I am also trying to plan a trip for early March 2020 and I'm using my normal strategy: I like to start and end with MK, I'm heavy on AK and HS at the end (for FP reasons), we like to do a couple morning EMHs and we avoid evening EMHs. We'll have 10 day hoppers so I use all that criteria and then try to space parks out so we don't do the same ones back to back (I'm OCD about this for absolutely no good reason at all lol). With all my personal criteria, it becomes rather easy to pick what parks on each day. You know, as long as Disney doesn't mess with what I think their hours are gonna be. :D
 

cjlong88

Earning My Ears
Joined
Aug 1, 2019
I think there are multiple factors to consider when selecting park days, and I think it comes down to what you and your family prioritize when visiting WDW.

If your family is dead set on riding specific attractions, consider putting those park days near the end of your trip to get the maximum FastPass availability. If you find a coveted FP or ADR for a specific day, consider making that your park for that day. In terms of importance, I typically place my FP's above my ADR's unless everyone is adament on eating at a specific restaurant. We aren't TS people, though. We would rather snack and graze throughout the day.

I always look at a crowd calendar. While these should be taken with a grain of salt, I think they are more useful at telling you which park to NOT go to. In this case, we learned that for us personally it's best to avoid EMH at all costs. That park is almost always the busiest. Some will disagree, as their experiences will inevitably differ from mine. If we have a park hopper, we may choose to utilize the morning EMH before heading to a different park with slower crowds.

I've never done a split stay, but then again our trips are never longer than 4 days. We typically do quick weekend getaways with a park hopper and can get in we want to do (granted, we don't do EVERYTHING).

Pick a few things that are a must do, prioritize those, be flexible when your ADR and FP windows open, and you will have a great trip.
 
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  • MyTwoPrincesses

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 1, 2009
    I am heading on my very first trip since FP+ (prior trips to Disney included one where i had access to both FP+ and paper fast passes and a one day trip over Christmas last year). I learned a lot and realize that I have to change how I plan for next year.

    - put animal kingdom and DHS at the end of the trip if you want to have a FP+ for FOP or Slinky Dog. But there are fairly low pain ways to ride without FP+, as I have researched when I scheduled AK for the beginning of our trip. I still think that day works best overall for the itinerary but... the FP+ issue is real.
    - park hours do change, so don’t base your days on closing times necessarily. Those may change a few weeks before your trip.
    - since we are not morning people, we avoid parks with morning EMH.
    - Park Hopping can help, especially during party season. You can hit MK until about 4 on a party day and then hop somewhere else in the evening if you aren’t attending the party.
    - I book ADRs early but move them around a lot. The only ADR I kept that I made 6 months ago is CRT. I adjusted the others to accommodate changes I made to our itinerary and to accommodate or FP+.
     

    igrsod

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 11, 2010
    I think all of the above go into planning what day in what park. For us, dining reservations are less of a factor, as the restaurants we love are not generally hard to get reservations. FP selections really do influence, placing hard to get FP parks later in the trip so as to have a better chance getting that FOP FP etc. Evening EMH are nice for our family, so sometimes that is taken into account. When we have done split stays, we have taken advantage of being close to certain parks, that only makes sense. One trip we split stayed, BC and BLT... it was nice to use the proximity of each of these resorts to their respective parks. Different trips call for different strategies.
     

    PollyannaMom

    I was a click-clack champ!!
    Joined
    May 16, 2006
    Good advice so far!

    Generally, I do look at a crowd calendar. Certain parks are historically busier on certain days of the week. (People are creatures of habit.)

    Our last trip was heavily dictated by the fact that it was a split stay, so we used the "grouping parks" strategy to minimize travel time.

    (The split stay also sort of blew the strategy of putting hard-to-get FP+s at the end, as it was considered two separate reservations, but it was worth it!)

    Definitely look at special events as well. You don't want to plan a long day at MK only to find out there's a hard-ticket event in the morning and/or evening that reduces the hours.

    The other thing I try to do is plan slower days after late nights.
     

    TiggerBouncy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 4, 2013
    1. I look at crowd calendars.
    2. For Saturdays, I try to avoid the parks if I can and make that a resort day / Disney Springs / other day. Otherwise, I go to EPCOT for crowd control.
    3. Sundays I try to go to EPCOT if I didn't go Saturday which handles crowds better. Otherwise, Animal Kingdom which is fine as long as I am not going to Avatar.
    4. I try to do Hoop Dee Doo one day usually, so I will try to put that on the same day as AK since the park closes early / no fireworks to miss. So I hunt for availability.
    5. If I want a desert party, I try to nail down what day I can get one. That will dictate the park.
    6. After all the above has been settled, I will try to rebalance out the parks.
    7. try for other dining reservations based on park schedules. Some parks are now 'locked' in on days.
    8. rebalance again if necessary
    9. go back and look at other non park experiences that we may want (painting / cake making / whatever). Try to fit those in.
    10. Rebalance again
    11. When FP+ is available, get what I can based on park schedule. If I have a high priority ride that I want which I can only get on a different day, I will snag the FP+ and rebalance again.
     
  • MomOTwins

    The Mommy Fairy
    Joined
    Mar 5, 2018
    Our first priority is scheduling to avoid EMH. EMH days are so much more crowded. After that we use restaurant rezzies to decide toss-ups between non-EMH days.
     

    cakebaker

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 27, 2013
    I go strictly by what FP availability determines. Once I have FOP, SDD and SDMT down at least once, then I look at park hours- avoiding being at a park that has evening EMH or is closing early due to an event etc. I sometimes schedule us for morning EMH parks, but we park hop so they work for me. I pay no attention to crowd calendars. We do very few if any ADR's anymore. It takes up park time and makes getting FP's more difficult. If we do one, they are the last thing I add on as they're the least important to me. I don't really even make a schedule until I have those coveted FP's. When our window opens, I book those and little else until I make up a rough schedule.
     
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    MrsDuck

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 2, 2011
    We typically look at extra magic hours and our schedule (what day we are leaving, etc).

    We try to do morning EMH and then go with whatever FP availability there is. Sometimes, FP availability does impact where we go but rarely as we have a toddler and are fortunate enough to get to WDW pretty frequently (we are FL residents and my in-laws are cast members).
     

    cedricandsophie

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2014
    We go to Dw every March for about two weeks but only go to parks once. We try to hit 3 parks in a day and pick a day when AK opens early for guests so we can run to the Flight ride and keep the wait time down to an hour or less. Than we do a few other rides, we then usually go to Hollywood and that’s where we have our FP. Once those are done I try to get late FP to soarin and we end the night at Epcot for a late dinner. We usually skip MK unless there is a day when one park opens early and another stays open late for hotel guests.
     
  • gharter

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 3, 2004
    Generally, we avoid EMH (usually busier in the parks) and go to the park the next day. This fall, thats not really possible with all of the EMHs days at AK, MK and HS.
    Instead, for F&W, we plan the EPCOT days around the food and wine pairings that we want to do. Then move AK later into the week to increase the chances of getting FoP FPs.
    Then add the other parks.
     

    MaC410

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 29, 2015
    We pretty much always have the same park order every trip. We always go into Epcot on our arrival day because it was our first park we ever went to in Disney World and it has become tradition. We also do that to save Magic Kingdom for our first full day. After that arrival day we do each other park once. We do Magic Kingdom as our first full day after arrival and then HS and AK in any order the next two days depending on their closing times. After those 4 initial days we pretty much just alternate between going to Epcot and Magic Kingdom since those are our two favorite parks. Our first 4 days are pretty much always like that. After that we do make some adjustments to have us going to parks that are open the latest.
     

    disneyfav4ever

    No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep
    Joined
    Mar 19, 2005
    I base it on park hours. We usually avoid all EMH, we like to go to MK on party days since it's less crowded. We don't really care what park we start and end with.
     

    DisLiss

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 2, 2018
    Fastpasses and ADRs actually don't play into how we decide on what park to go to at all because we don't have any do or die attractions or restaurants to schedule.
    Also, we park hop, so that allows us to go to more than one park per day, which we often opt to do.

    Before the hours are ever even announced, we make a preliminary schedule based on our own preferences and and any special events. Like for our next trip we'll be buying tickets for MNSSHP, and we prefer to go to that on a Tuesday, so we will mark Tuesday as an all day MK day.

    My kids like the water parks, so since we'll likely be tired after being at MK all darn day Tuesday, I'll schedule a water park for Wednesday morning, allowing us to sleep in a bit since those parks open a bit later, plus they're more laid back once you get there, too. Nothing eases sore feet like a few hours of drifting around a lazy river. ;)

    We like to break AK into 2 days, one morning, and one evening. So we'll stick AK after the water park on Wednesday and let that be our evening day there.

    The day we leave is always our Disney Springs day, so for our next trip, that will be a Saturday.

    And so on and so forth. If we've heard or experienced ourselves that some parks are crazier on certain days of the week, we'll try to work around that. And we will split days based on extra magic hours. If HS has early hours, for instance, then we'll go early on, but then leave for a resort break and go someplace else later...typically Epcot. Then another day we'll go back to HS in the evening. :)
     

    revdon64

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 12, 2011
    I used to use easyWDW crowd calendars, but he doesn't do them anymore because they've become almost worthless. I still use a similar strategy though, avoid EMH parks, MK middle of the week, plan my park days first then FP then ADRs.
     

    Cschiffy

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Apr 10, 2019
    1. I look at crowd calendars.
    2. For Saturdays, I try to avoid the parks if I can and make that a resort day / Disney Springs / other day. Otherwise, I go to EPCOT for crowd control.
    3. Sundays I try to go to EPCOT if I didn't go Saturday which handles crowds better. Otherwise, Animal Kingdom which is fine as long as I am not going to Avatar.
    4. I try to do Hoop Dee Doo one day usually, so I will try to put that on the same day as AK since the park closes early / no fireworks to miss. So I hunt for availability.
    5. If I want a desert party, I try to nail down what day I can get one. That will dictate the park.
    6. After all the above has been settled, I will try to rebalance out the parks.
    7. try for other dining reservations based on park schedules. Some parks are now 'locked' in on days.
    8. rebalance again if necessary
    9. go back and look at other non park experiences that we may want (painting / cake making / whatever). Try to fit those in.
    10. Rebalance again
    11. When FP+ is available, get what I can based on park schedule. If I have a high priority ride that I want which I can only get on a different day, I will snag the FP+ and rebalance again.
    Great advice
     

    delux

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 23, 2012
    For me, it depends on my length of stay. I do a lot of short trips, so sometimes that means skipping a park (pre toy story land it was HS. Pre Flight of Passage it was AK) It also depends on flight. If I get in early I go to MK just to get that first day rush. If we get in late day we base it around our dinner reservation for example dinner in Epcot we go to epcot. After all that, we base it around fast passes with hard to get passes at the end of the week.

    If I stay for a full week, I base it on EMH I am the one that avoids parks on EMH days because I feel they are more busy. So I go to a less crowded park. Another thing to consider is, say your first full day is MK (I usually pick MK know that I usually try to go there at least twice) I check park hours. On slower times of year it closes at 8pm or 9pm so I will switch my MK day to one where the park stays open till 10 or 11 or later.
     

    rongarbutt

    Mathemagician
    Joined
    Jun 20, 2018
    If you are staying on site, plan back to front. At 181 days prior, assume what your hardest to get FP+ will be and plan for that on your last day, and work your way backwards to the first day of your trip. For example, going for 5 days, Day 5: FOP (AK), Day 4: SDD (HS), Day 3: 7DMT (MK), Day 2: FEA (EP), Day 1: 7DMT (again? MK). Then choose any ADRs based on your assumed FPs, and book them at 180 days prior. At 60 days, book your FPs back to front, hope for the best but be flexible. At that time, ADRs will have a lot of variability because of everyone else doing the same. Then cruise to check in and #poundtheapp to get whatever you couldn't get during your initial planning. Well that's how I do it, anyway.
     

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