Before your actual arrival at the Walt Disney World Resort it is important to have a basic plan in place for each day of your stay.
Take into consideration the time of year that you are attending and the activity preferences for your group.
For my upcoming trip next week I started with the fact that we will have 6 days available to visit the parks.
Since we are travelling in August, while the weather is very hot, we are going to follow a basic split day strategy, which means that we will have a park destination for each morning and plan to return to our resort for either resting or pool time in the early afternoon each day as it reaches its hottest point.
Each evening we will let our Dinner ADRs (advanced Dining Reservations) guide where we head.
We will be traveling as a family of 4 with children that are 10 & 12. They have moved from the stage where characters were the most important to the stage that thrill rides are the most important, so our plans reflect that.
Since we are looking at 6 days in the parks, there is the opportunity to visit all 4 parks on different days and repeat 2 of them on the remaining days. The kids chose Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios to be the parks we visit twice since they have the thrill rides that they want to ride the most.
In order to plan which park to visit each day the next step is to check the official park hours, and most importantly which parks have Extra Magic Hours each day. In order to avoid crowds, we will purposely avoid Extra Magic Hour parks each day.
Based upon that information, this is our basic plan:
Each day we will plan to arrive at the designated park prior to opening (9:00 AM). We arrive at park opening in order to ride the most popular attractions early in the day, before the crowds. Typically we will get FastPasses for the most popular attraction and wait in line at the 2nd most popular attraction as soon as the park opens.
We will then use FastPasses and only wait in lines that are 20 minutes or less as we make our way through the day. We will also mix in attractions that are indoors and air conditioned to avoid overheating.
We will eat lunch in the parks and plan to leave the parks around 2:00 pm to return to our resort.
If we are not able to hit one of our favorite attractions due to long lines, we don't worry about it and just note that we move it up on our list for the next time.
If you are a frequent visitor remember to take the time to check out all of the wonderful live entertainment that goes on in the parks. These are the some of the things that are missed when you are rushing to ride all of the attractions, but they are part of what makes Disney World so special.
It is also a good idea to spend some time enjoying the details of the theming throughout the parks. When you take the time to look, you will be amazed at all you will notice and maybe never even realized was there.
Planning ahead is essential to enjoying a Disney World Vacation. You don't need to plan out every minute (and I would strongly advise against it), but a basic plan does help tremendously.
Crowds and the Florida heat can take the fun out of your day if you don't plan ahead. If you are planning a summer trip keep this in mind.
Especially in August you want to make use of the FastPasses to avoid long waits in the hot sun.
If you have a Park Hopper or Annual Pass, you are probably best served by avoiding the Extra Magic Hour Parks (at least during the daytime). You can hop to that park in the evening if you wish to catch some night time attractions.
Lastly, keep your schedule flexible. If the group decides mid-trip that they really don't want a 2nd day at Animal Kingdom, change that day to a different park. The idea is to create an enjoyable and memorable experience for you and your family. By being flexible with your plans it is much easier to accomplish that goal.
Posted by Jamie Collins on 5:55 AM // 3 comments