Which park should we visit on day of arrival???


Earning My Ears
Jul 30, 2002
DH, 3 DDs and I will be visiting the MGM, MK, AK, and EPCOT on a four-day hopper pass. All of us love the rides and will want to ride the major atttractions. Which park should we visit on the day we arrive? We'll arrive at the park around 9 or 10 in the morning.

I was thinking maybe we should try to see the Animal Kingdom on that day. I read somewhere that we should be able to see most of the park in a day.

Any ideas??
How old are your daughters? My first thought was Studios but you probably want TOT and the roller coaster which I can't remember the name of but I don't know how fast the Fast Passes go for that. Do you think you'll get out any early on the other days? I would probably wait for Animal Kingdom and try to get out early one morning for that.

You could start at Epcot Future W and grab a fast pass for Test Track. Then in the afternoon go over to the Studios, and stay for Fantasmic. You'll probably need more than one day at MK. I always take two days or more days for Epcot - I slice it in four parts because it is soooo big but if you want rides, you may not be as interested in World Showcase.
Epcot doesn't usually open until later, so its a good choice for a late start. Also, although its big, there isn't that much to do back in World Showcase except look and shop and eat. (Especially for kids). There are two big attractions (Norway and the American Pavillion), the Mexico ride (which is skippable) and movies in France, Canada, and China.

I always disagree with the AK in one day crowd. We spent the better part of two days their with small kids - so we skipped some of the big rides (Kali River Rapids, Dinosaur) and still missed a couple of things. In our case, though, we'd been through the other parks, and had small children - so we could self edit quickly through the MK, Epcot and MGM - but had "first timers delay" at AK.
I think I'm more confused now than ever :cool:

Someone suggested visiting AK and then to EPCOT--but if we don't arrive at AK until 10 am and they close at 5 pm, I'm thinking there won't be time to do what we hoped (i.e., Kilamanjaro Safari; Kali River; Legend of the Lion King; Dinosaur; It's Tough to Be a Bug!; Jungle Trek, and lunch), let alone do that and then see some of EPCOT. :( Could it be that I am anticipating longer lines than we'll encounter?

Our DDs are 13, 11, 8. Our 8 yo DD is fearless and plans to ride along with her older sisters; she doesn't usually care about the attractions for her age group.

What are your thoughts on this: Visit AK on day of arrival and see all we can until closing. Spend day 2 at MK; Day 3 at Future World only at EPCOT; and last day at MGM. Since WS in EPCOT doesn't close until 9 p.m., we'll try to see the WS after the other parks have closed for the day.

You're all so helpful and I really APPRECIATE your advice. We've only been to WDW one other time as a family (when the DDs were 3, 6 and 8) and we visited in February when we didn't have to deal with the heat and crowds. I guess I might be overly concerned because this is a vacation we can't afford every year, so we want to make it special and, as everyone hopes, see as much as possible.

ONE MORE THING: Someone suggested hopping around a lot from park to park. Since we're staying off-site, I'm afraid that will cause us to waste precious time. Your thoughts??

I say don't hop around the parks - it does waste valuable time IMHO. However, park hopping has been known to revive many a weary Disney walker and allow for naps! :)

You want to hit all of the major attractions, which is what I think is the hard part. You will want to arrive at each park for Fast Passes - and they seem to go quickly for Fast Track in Epcot. Perhaps the person who gave you advice about Epcot thought you could do Animal Kingdom in a day, and head over to Epcot for the parade and Illuminations. I agree with this strategy.

I would definitely build some 'down' time into your schedule. If your group crashes from exhaustion it won't be pretty.

You can do AK on the day you arrive, the park always seems so hot to me, so it could be a draining day. I love the Safari Ride just before the park closes but the addition of the parade has made it tough to get over there in time. I do think you will get most of your touring done if you do AK on the first day. You'll need a plan!

At the end of the day, drive over to Epcot OR MGM and see Illuminations/parade at Epcot or Fantasmic.

Day 2 - MK - arrive in parking lot 45-60 minutes prior to opening. (are there fireworks that day?) Head over to Splash Mountain the BTMR. Hop the train over to Toon Town and head to Space Mountain and Buzz.


Finish your tour according to your family. Stake a good spot for 3pm parade, keeping in mind the floats are very high and you won't miss much by not being in the first row. If you don't want to do the parade, steer clear of the parade route!

Day 3 - Epcot (you can sleep in a tad due to later opening). Future World tour. Relax in the LAND either by doing Ice Cream Social at 3pm or grabbing light snack.

Hit the World Showcase by 4pm until closing!

Day 4 - MGM - like every other person make a dash for TOT and ride it. Grab fast pass and head to Rock n Rollercoaster. Do TOT again. Now that you are all thrilled out, you should have a good idea of what shows you'd like to see and sweat to death in. Good idea to grab fast passes for Ariel Show, bad idea to show up early for show and stand in line and be herded like a cow. MOOO.

We love the great movie ride!
Head over to the other side of the park. The Muppets are a good place to relax and never seemed crowded. We never had very long waits at Star Tours either.

I like to finish my visits with Downtown Disney the morning we leave. Hope this helps!
Robinmarie: Thanks for the lengthy, informative post!

You're the second or third person who mentioned that EPCOT opens later than the other parks. All the Disney recorded messages state that all parks open at 9 a.m. the week of 8/25. Have I been misinformed?

Again, thanks!

You're the second or third person who mentioned that EPCOT opens later than the other parks. All the Disney recorded messages state that all parks open at 9 a.m. the week of 8/25. Have I been misinformed?

I want to say you might have had more luck with responses if you posted on the Parks area of the board rather than families.

FW opens at 9am but WS at 11am, I think that's what people mean. I am pretty sure that FW was opening later when I was last there. When are you going?

Here is the site to check for opening times. I didn't have any luck arriving earlier when we were there, they really didn't open until opening time but check trip reports for some inside info, or ask on the parks board.

We always like to do MK the first day...and the last day! :-) Puts us right in the Disney mood.
If you are only doing parks for four days, do AK on your first (& shortened) day. You won't be able to do everything in each park. However, AK is the easiest park to do most, if not all, of what you want to do in one day.

I agree with RobinMarie, don't waste time going from park to park. I also agree (if you are not too tired) with heading over for IllumiNations (& possible dinner) after AK closes.

Have a great trip! :D
I would avoid AK if you can't get there until after 10am. This park gets very hot and crowded by noon. I find this park at its best when you can be there at opening and out by noon.

I would suggest Epcot instead. The only attractions that will be very crowded in the morning are test track and you still may be able to get a fast pass for a ride later in the day.
Since the last time you visited WDW new attractions have opened and some have gone.
Obtain a tour book and sit down with the kids and ask them what they want to see and missed last time, then look in the guide for the new shows that appeal to the kids. Like MGM Disney Tv on stage(Bear in the big blue house, Rolly Polley Olley etc.) shows end early in the afternoon.
AK Lion King show, use the fast pass!
We estimate that it takes two weeks to visit every attraction,water park, Hotel, and night life.
Planning is the key to a fun time.
ENJOY! :jester:


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