We all recognise the White Rabbit’s iconic cry “I’m late, I’m late! For a very important date!” Like him, you will have a long list of things to do in Walt Disney World and will want to make sure you make the most of your precious time in the parks. Creating a day to day itinerary is one of my favourite ways to prepare for an exciting trip like going to Florida, and is a great way to keep you occupied as you wait for the day to finally arrive. Plus, if everyone in your party has different interests and preferences, then compromise will definitely be needed in order to keep everyone happy!
After learning from his past mistakes, the White Rabbit has come up with his top tips to make sure you’ll never need to rush around like him again.
1) Make a list of everywhere you want to go
The number one decision you need to make is where you want to go and how many times. As I briefly touched on in my post, Part One: “Hakuna Matata means No Worries” and so does planning! each park needs at least one day to experience a variety of the attractions there, however I would say Epcot and Magic Kingdom should be visited more than once, and it is possible you may want to return to a park if you missed out on something the first time. Factoring in other places in Florida you may want to visit, as well as rest days to recharge your batteries, have a much needed lie in and swim in a pool, create a list of how you are going to spend each day you have available. (e.g. 14 days = Magic Kingdom x 2, Animal Kingdom x1, rest day x3 etc) I wrote mine onto post-it notes so I could arrange them into different orders visually as I worked out dates and order.
Don’t forget, if you have the Park Hopper ticket option, you can change parks half way through the day, spending the morning at one park, then jumping on a bus or monorail to see the fireworks at another.
2) Take a look at historic crowd calendars
Undercover Tourist is a great website to look at for predictions of crowd levels at the Disney and Universal theme parks. The calendar uses a traffic light system to show the intensity of how the crowds will be that day, and to recommend which park you should therefore visit. It also takes into consideration Extra Magic Hours, fireworks, special events and the specific day of the week (e.g. parks can be busier at weekends). I find this really helpful to then arrange my days to correspond with the predicted crowd levels, as well as putting the parks we are most looking forward to at the start of the holiday, and second visits to parks later on.
3) Look into attraction refurbishments, closures and special events
My last visit to Walt Disney World earlier this year fell at a time when Hollywood Studios was beginning to prepare for the Star Wars and Toy Story Land expansions, therefore many attractions, shops and kiosks were saying their last goodbyes. I made sure to plan to visit the Studios before these closures, seeing the last ever performance of Lights, Motor, Action! Extreme Stunt Show, and visiting my favourite coffee shop the Writer’s Stop before it closed forever (although after researching, it seems this has remained open temporarily but the bakery is no longer operational). Be sure to check http://www.wdwinfo.com/wdwinfo/rehab.htm to check for any closures around the time of your trip. (For instance, the waterparks Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard beach tend to take a few months out a year for refurbishments).
4) See where you will have late nights and early mornings
Days at Disney are long, with the fireworks and shows at the end of the night being the most magical part of the day. When organising your itinerary, see which days will be more tiring than others, so you don’t end up booking that early morning character breakfast following a late night at Magic Kingdom watching Wishes, which is exhausting for adults as well as children! Seeing where you will be spending evenings will also help you budget and organise meals if you don’t want to spend each night eating in the parks. Staying in a WDW resort also has its benefits here as you can to go back to your resort midday for a break and come back later to see the night-time attractions. Rest days or half days at parks are so important to factor into your itinerary to keep you going, otherwise you will return home feeling like you need another holiday!
5) Check park hours and Extra Magic hours
Taking a look at the park hours for each day ahead of time will also help you decide which days to go to which park, as these are subject to change, plus if you are staying on WDW property you will have access to the Extra Magic Hours (before official opening or after closing) to fit even more into your day.
Here is a picture of my rough itinerary from March/April this year! Of course, plans are bound to change, for instance we decided to go to Hollywood Studios again in the afternoon on the 2nd April, and we were too tired to go to Aquatica after a late night watching the Star Wars Symphony with the Stars. I coloured coded it to show when we were going to a Universal park (yellow), a Disney park (pink), another attraction in Florida (green) or having a more relaxing, less intense day (blue).
I always take with me a blank copy of the table, along with print outs of the crowd calendar and park hours just in case plans need to be changed.
Having an itinerary is always such a comfort, knowing where we are going in the next days so we can plan ahead, and is vital in helping us arrange dining reservations and Fastpasses before we go, to have the best times to choose from in the busy periods. I hope this has offered you some guidance and inspiration for your own Walt Disney World itinerary!
✨ Please feel free contact me with any enquires about planning your own WDW itinerary! I am more than happy to take on personal requests to work with you and create your day to day schedule for a stress free and fun-packed holiday! ✨
Header image source: anotherdisney.tumblr.com