After taking a year off from our annual, family Disney vacation, we’re excited to be returning to the most magical place on earth! What is even more exciting is this will be our first stay at a Deluxe Resort so you can only imagine just how much we are looking forward to our return! Just when it all began sinking in, the excitement continues to build as we recently were able to take our plans that much further by booking our Fastpasses and a couple of bonuses experiences. So for fun, we are going to share some of our booking decisions, why we chose them, and give a little insight that may assist in planning your next magical vacation.
Day 1 – Magic Kingdom
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train
Dinner: Liberty Tree Tavern
Comments: The Magic Kingdom is always a tough one for us in terms of Fastpasses. Even though many of our favorites such as The Haunted Mansion, Buzz Lightyear, and Pirates of the Caribbean, did not make our initial Fastpasses, typically we are able to get those after we burn through the three listed above. Seven Dwarf’s and Space Mountain tend to have the longest wait times and landing a Fastpass at a convenient time can be difficult. However, Extra Magic Hours has always been a great way to catch those attractions you may have missed but even then Seven Dwarf’s can be difficult. Another attraction I have been rolling the dice on has been Peter Pan’s Flight. This attraction can be surprisingly difficult to land and it remains one of my favorites so make sure you do a little homework when making your choices. Check our the MyExperience app to get a feel of wait times, speak to your travel agent, or ask around, as the Magic Kingdom is probably the most difficult park to hit everything especially in one day.
Day 2 – Hollywood Studios
- Toy Story Mania
- Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster
- Star Tours
Dinner: Sanaa (Animal Kingdom Lodge)
Comments: Hollywood Studios continues to be my the one park that I really just can’t find a dining spot I enjoy. The Sci-fi Drive-in can be a neat experience and the Brown Derby requires TWO table service credits so it can be really difficult to find value in any dining experience at Hollywood Studios. Please comment if you feel otherwise. However, we typically take advantage of resort dining, Disney Springs, or Epcot on Hollywood Studios visits. Personally I prefer to take this time to resort hop, but to each their own. Another little bit of information that is not necessarily exclusive to Hollywood Studios but currently, the Slinky Dog Dash is the hard-to-get ticket. It’s the latest major attraction in the newest land/park. When you’re attempting to snag these popular rides the only day you really have an opportunity to land such a demanding experience is the last day of your trip. Remember, people checking in the day prior to your visit will have access to every day to book Fastpasses except your last day (depending on your length of stay of course). Keep that in mind as experiences such a Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge remain the new and demanding experiences for the near future.
Day 3 – Epcot / Epcot Extra Magic Hours
- Mission: Space
- Spaceship Earth
Dinner: Rose & Crown Pub and Dining Room Dinner
Comments: Epcot is the park of choices and difficult choices at that! The most difficult choice is obviously the food. There is only so many dining credits, so much money, room in your belly, and time so you have to make some difficult choices (or just keep visiting), of course, we have chosen the latter. Not only can dining choices be difficult but attractions can also be a sticking point as popular attractions such as Soarin’, Test Track, and Frozen are all in a tier together. For many, if you plan on visiting just one or even two days, making a choice may lead to missing out on at least one attraction. As Walt Disney World continues to open more attractions this may change but we continue to make Soarin’ our first priority with Test Track being an experience we hope to catch later in the evening. If you have a Frozen fan in your family that can understandably change but best of luck catching all three. It’s possible but can be difficult.
*Bonus: One thing I love about Epcot are the connecting transportation opportunities. For example, we purchased spa experiences for people in our party as a gift, the Grand Floridian is a monorail trip away making this an easy logistical transition. Same for when we have made plans at Chef Mickey’s. Another perk is the gateway to the Beach Club just in case you want to experience the Kitchen Sink at Beaches and Creme Soda shop or you can catch a boat ride to Hollywood Studios by walking just a little bit further. While Epcot has enough to keep you busy for multiple days, getting to and from, is Disney Planner’s dream just in case you want to divide and conquer or simply break up the trip. Which is why we chose Epcot for this day as we can easily get to the Magic Kingdom for some extra Magic Hours without riding the bus. (Plus the kids love the monorail)
Day 4 – Animal Kingdom / Magic Kingdom Extra Magic Hours
- Expedition Everest
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Kali River Rapids
Dinner: Chef Mickey’s (Contemporary Resort) -> Taking the monorail to enjoy fireworks and Extra Magic Hours works out perfect. Plus we love Chef Mickey’s!
Comments: Animal Kingdom does not typically fall this deep into our vacations but because we are so close, we’ll probably be bouncing back and forth quite a bit. We love the attractions at Animal Kingdom and the dining experiences. However, this will be the first time in years that we are not taking advantage of a Table Service in Animal Kingdom. It’s not because we do not enjoy it, we do, but I will say though Flame Tree BBQ is a Quick Service, it can go toe to toe with a lot of Table Service experiences in terms of quality and portion-size in any park. Animal Kingdom is also home to possibly our favorite attraction in all of Walt Disney World, Avatar Flight of Passage, so if you’re curious which attraction choice to make in that tier, don’t even hesitate. The Navi River ride is short and somewhat underwhelming. You will not regret the Flight of Passage. It’s awesome!
Day 5 – Hollywood Studios
- Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster
- Star Tours
- Slinky Dog Dash
Dinner: Whispering Canyon Cafe (Wilderness Lodge) – Review coming soon!
Comments: As I said earlier, the last day of your visit, is really the best chance to land those hard-to-get Fastpasses as you will only be competing with those who unlock their Fastpasses on the same day. This is why we were forced to return to Hollywood Studios. I attempted to land a Slinky Dog Dash on everyday, unfortunately it was completely booked. However, the last day of our trip was essentially wide open. This worked out great anyway as our family really enjoys Hollywood Studios and we have it down to an art for at least with the attractions that are available to accomplish everything in a matter of a few hours. So, on our last day, it’s hard to tell just how much we will park hop but if nothing else, we are very excited to enjoy the Whispering Canyon Cafe for a dining experience like not other. Very few dining options has the experience and level of food Whispering Canyon boasts.
That about wraps it up. I will be writing another blog about the “small things” that can make the trip even more magical (primarily in terms of snacks and attractions) that I didn’t include in this post.
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