The other day I met some guests who were visiting Disney World for the first time! Yay! Ok ok, that happens every single day… but what doesn’t happen every day is someone who hasn’t planned anything and wants to do everything! These ladies had 2 days in Disney World (1 in between at Universal). Money didn’t seem to be an issue since the ladies had interest in purchasing after hours and doing tours around Animal Kingdom lodge (there just weren’t any after hours during their trip and the tours unfortunately were all booked). While trying to help them pick their game plan I was concerned they were going to just feel overwhelmed and not going to do anything–essentially leaving thinking Disney sucks. These ladies didn’t have any fast passes or any idea what kind of rides they did want to do. They didn’t have any reservations but wanted sushi which is something I am not good at recommending. But I have done some thinking and realized my plan wasn’t all that bad for them considering it was made at 10 PM the night before.
Here was the advice I gave them and how to apply it to your own vacation:
Decide what is important to you
If you really want to see the opening ceremonies and the Trolly show in Magic Kingdom, you definitely need to start in Magic Kingdom!
If you really want to enjoy your hotel and it’s amenities carve out time to stay at the hotel!
Food: If you really want to eat at high end restaurants, BOOK THEM early. If you want to try all the Mickey shaped food, get to the parks and use those snack credits!
- I recommended these ladies enjoy the festival and its food in Epcot. Flower and Garden has a lot of great food each year that are just so very yummy and aesthetically pleasing. Epcot festivals are a great way to eat around the world without having to book any reservations. But some of the best restaurants on property are in this park so don’t skip if you want a table service!
- If you are on a time crunch SKIP THE HOTEL BREAKFAST, I will never understand why people insist on using their quick service credits at the hotel when they’re running to a fast pass before you go to the parks! Do not get in the line for the Mickey waffles if you are not prepared to wait for them. There are great food options in the parks and if you can just get to the parks and get through a ride you can get one of the great options in the parks. And there’s starbucks in every park (and 2 in Disney Springs ;)).
- Skip the quick service that is a basic pizza or chicken nuggets. If you are struggling to find vegetables, sometimes, you’re just going to the wrong places. Satuli Canteen, Yak and Yeti, and Flame Tree Barbecue are great options in Animal Kingdom that offer better than a typical quick service and you can find some veggies your body is craving.
This was the plan these ladies went with:
- Extra Magic Hours- I wouldn’t usually explain EMH but I have experienced a lot of guest confusion about them lately! if you’re staying on Disney property in a Disney hotel there is an EMH every day but NOT every park. EMHs allow Disney resort guests in the parks with a lot less people because the only people allowed in are resort guests. That confusing explanation out of the way, these ladies had EMHs in Animal Kingdom the next morning beginning at 8AM. I recommended they START their day there in Pandora and get out. The park that has EMHs tends to be the busiest because people will stay there after the Magic Hours and then you have the general public as well.
- Festivals on Weekdays- if you value your sanity do not do any Epcot Festival on a weekend. After the ladies left Animal Kingdom I recommended they head to Epcot and I got them a FastPass for soarin’. I told them to enjoy as much time walking around the world showcase and eating through the Flower and Garden Festival.
- Their next day I recommended starting in Hollywood (they got really lucky with their EMHs) for Toy Story, Tower of Terror, Rockin Rollercoaster and to pick a show. I recommended the Frozen Sing Along-I LOVE that thing! Then jump over to Magic Kingdom for the remainder of the day and told them my favorite firework viewing location. You’re dreaming if you think I am going to put that on the internet!!
Now obviously you have to pay attention to extra magic hours and the new thing isn’t going to be Pandora and Toy Story for ever. But for now, this is a great way to Disney with a 2 day crunch and NO time to plan it.