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  1. #1

    Let's Start At the Very Beginning...

    So this is the kids first trip to WDW.
    Part of me feels like I should start with the Magic Kingdom, BUT it doesn't have the magic hours on the day we arrive.
    We are not doing park hoppers but do have 6 day passes. I want to stay the most at Magic Kingdom, but to maximize hours I should be beginning with Animal Kingdom.
    Anyone have specific opinions about this? I sort of feel like it's a shame not to start with MK but maybe I'm over thinking it.


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  3. #2

    Assuming they've been to DL (I'm guessing based on your SoCal location?), it may not be a big deal.

    Are they old enough that they understand the basics about what is in each of the parks? For maximum number of rides, obviously MK is the top, but very similar (though we all know with differences) to DL.

    Only you can probably judge how your kids will react to the different parks. Many kids may find much of Epcot boring since it's not a lot of rides (though a few really great ones are of course there - but then you need to fill the rest of your day without them getting bored since you are not hopping).

    Do you have a rough schedule in mind, like MK 3 days and each of the other parks one day? If so, spacing things out such as MK-DHS-EPC-MK-DAK-MK (just an example) might be a good spread (assuming MK is the favorite, that's also good for any desired "repeats" on the last day, assuming your desired repeats won't be all big headliners (with long standby lines) that will be hard to get FP+ for at the last minute once your trip is underway)

    I'd suggest the bigger plan is maybe more important than maximizing extra magic hours. Others may disagree.

    -Dave

  4. #3

    I started with MK and actually wished I hadn't. It started my trip with much frustration: there should be X here or why isn't the bathroom around this corner. It was REALLY hard to not make comparisons between MK and DL.


  5. #4
    Registered User GrumpyPete's Avatar
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    6 days... I would do MK and EPCOT twice each, and once each for AK and HS. Definitely start or finish with MK, or maybe bookend with MK.


  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by LoveCats View Post
    Part of me feels like I should start with the Magic Kingdom, BUT it doesn't have the magic hours on the day we arrive.
    We are not doing park hoppers but do have 6 day passes. I want to stay the most at Magic Kingdom, but to maximize hours I should be beginning with Animal Kingdom.
    I do understand the sentiment that you have to start with Magic Kingdom first, but if you can get over that sort of "automatic" instinct, I think you should go with maximizing hours. Animal Kingdom is third on my list of WDW parks, but I do think there's quite a bit to do there. I agree with GrumpyPete that both Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios really only require a day each, but if you can manage to do four different parks in your first four days (whatever order), then I think you can get a better idea of where to spend the extra two days. I would also agree with the general sentiment of allocating the two extra days to Magic Kingdom and Epcot because there's a lot to do at Magic Kingdom, and Epcot is my favorite WDW park, but you may find that you and your kids enjoy the other two parks more.

    Have fun!
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  7. #6
    At home in the hills candles71's Avatar
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    In the spirit of maximizing hours, we did Epcot first. We were off property so we avoided the park with extra hours, and there were Halloween parties so I think we did MK third. We were happy we did that one first as it is the least Disney feeling park. We enjoyed it but at the end of the day everyone was glad we started there. We actually ended there as well, but we had hoppers and it was the third park of that day.


  8. #7

    Wow! So many great responses!

    Dave1313 - yes, they've been to Disneyland a few times. Their ages are currently 8, 10, and 11. We purchased a WDW guide book for them at Christmas and they sort of understand what's going on. We are still explaining there is no Screamin' or Matterhorn and they kind of understand the idea of four different parks. They do not understand how expansive the parks are and we've more than once had to explain you can just walk to one. There is a large part of me that wanted MK to be front/back of the trip but I think I need to let that go.

    3Princess1Prince - This has consistently been my problem in the park! Especially after Space Mountain. I do the piddle waddle to that bathroom that seems a mile away from the exit. It's excruciating.

    GrumpyPete - I was definitely thinking along those lines! I think they are still young enough to enjoy the kid activities at Epcot.

    cstephens - Agreed. My only worry is that once Avatar opens (we are going in August - brutal) Animal Kingdom is going to want more time. I've done everything in that park, it's actually my favorite park to end a trip with when I go on NO KIDS trips.

    candles71 - I'm actually thinking of converting one day to a hopper. We didn't get them this time because I felt a day per park would be sufficient. Now I'm considering an Epcot/Hollywood Studios option.

    So I'm hoping that this image attaches correctly. It's all the hours of the week we are going and the blue squares indicate my suggested park visit for that day. Oddly enough, I'm thinking about NOT going to a park on the day we arrive. Usually we "hit the ground running" and my plan all along had been to go straight to MK. There is part of me that likes the idea of taking it easy day 1 and just doing the luau.

    If the image is too small you can also check out the copy on my Dropbox. https://www.dropbox.com/s/jl5tqmund5...%20AM.png?dl=0

    IMG_1753.jpg

    EDIT TO ADD: my thinking is to ask the travel agent how much making Thursday a hooper would cost additionally as well as adding in a seventh day. The extra day seems less important, I just know I'm going to be itching to get into the parks.


  9. #8

    The hopper upgrade is the same if you hop one day or all.


  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by 3Princesses1Prince View Post
    The hopper upgrade is the same if you hop one day or all.
    Aaah, so that wouldn't be what I wanted. Back to the drawing board.

  11. #10

    I always try to make MK my last park of the trip. I try to milk every last second of it before having to leave. I think ending a vacation with that magic feeling that MK provides is awesome.

    Disneyland will always be home, but WDW is starting to win me over.

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by 3Princesses1Prince View Post
    The hopper upgrade is the same if you hop one day or all.
    Quote Originally Posted by LoveCats View Post
    Aaah, so that wouldn't be what I wanted. Back to the drawing board.
    Just running simple comparisons on the WDW web site for tickets, there was a slight delta for the park hopper add-on when you passed the 4 day mark. I guessed (based on kids' ages, assuming they are "trip time ages" - I also assumed 2 adults) at four "Age 10+" tickets and one "Age 3-9" tickets. Up to 3 days the delta between the ticket costs was $60 per person to add park hopper (pretty sure the party size has no impact on the add-on price per person). When I went to 4 days up to 7 days (didn't try more than 7) it went up to $75 difference per person.

    I am not sure I understand what sets off the difference in the park hopper add-on costing an extra $15 per ticket at the 4 day mark. I do agree that the math doesn't make sense to try something like buying 5 days single and one day hopper.

    The discount you get for the multiple days easily offsets the cost of adding a stand-alone single day park hopper ticket.
    • Changing from 6 days single park to 6 days hopper is only an added $375 for the group (total $2305 for 6 day hopper)
    • Changing to 5 days single park and one day hopper ends up costing significantly more ($1830 for 5 day single, minimum $804 for one day hopper (I think your spreadsheet indicates later August, but I can't view dropbox right now to confirm) is $2634 for the 6 days, over $300 more than if you opt for the hopper the whole trip)
    • Meanwhile a 7 day hopper is $2405 ($2030 single park - with a 6 day single at $1930, it's only $100 for your whole group to have the extra park day if not hopping).

    Good luck with your decisions. Other thing to seriously consider is the crowds and the impact of the extra magic hours. The extra magic hours park is generally more crowded than the others on any given day. Some people (probably more frequent visitors though) intentionally avoid the EMH park. With later August being slightly lower attendance due to some schools heading back, maybe it won't be too noticeable.
    Last edited by Dave1313; 02-17-2017 at 08:56 AM.
    -Dave

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrsharp21 View Post
    I always try to make MK my last park of the trip. I try to milk every last second of it before having to leave. I think ending a vacation with that magic feeling that MK provides is awesome.
    Our last day is usually spent hopping between Magic Kingdom and Epcot. If I had to pick one park, I'm not sure which I'd pick.
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  14. #13

    Our tradition is always MK our first FULL day so we can rope drop and watch the morning show. I haven't experienced the new show yet but am still looking forward to something new with enjoying Main Street before park opening. We tend to go to HS for a short evening or Springs on our arrival day.

    Michelle
    offsite '86, ASMo '01, POR '02, CBR '05, POR '08, POR '10, BCV '10, Pop '11, BC '14, POR '16, FQ '17

  15. #14

    That's interesting Dave1313, last time we compared (several years ago) the park hopper rate was the same if it was 2 days or 10.

    Found the breakdown:
    The extra cost on top of the base-price ticket is $53.25 for a Peak 1-day Magic Kingdom ticket; $58.58 for a Value or Regular 1-day Magic Kingdom ticket or a Peak 1-day Epcot, Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom ticket; $67.10 for add-on to a Value or Regular 1-day Epcot, Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom ticket; $63.90 for add-on to 2- or 3-day tickets; or $79.88 for add-on to any 4-day or longer ticket. This works out to a little over $11 per day on a 7-day ticket.


  16. #15

    Let's Start At the Very Beginning...

    Not to confuse it further, but won't you want to visit a water park in August? As for your question. I have to start at MK. I can't help it!!!! We are on the first full day of our trip today and we were there at 7.30am waiting for them to let us in We don't have Disneyland on our doorstep though.

     

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  17. #16

    Oh, wow, Dave1313! That's a lot of great information. Thank you so much for compiling all of it! SUPER DUPER HELPFUL!!!! I talked it over with the hubster and the babies and everyone agrees we should add the 7th day if the cost incremental is that low. Even if we go for four hours on the first day it will still be worth it.

    So with that, now we can go to MK on the first day and the last day! Plus one more day in between. Lol!

    Oh scoobdooby, you can bet on me going to some water parks! The two magic hour days that go till 11pm will have the morning/early afternoons spent inside the water parks first. I know my kids' limits so 4 hours in a water park will be more than sufficient. My eldest daughter loves the thrilling drops and my son will do them but for only so long. My little one is not a big thrill seeker and still has separation anxiety from her parents. There are only so many hours I can spend on a lazy river. We also planned in pool time for them so they will get at least 4 opportunities to end their day at the resort pool.

    Tomorrow is ADR day! I'm so nervous!!!!


  18. #17

    I know everyone has their own park preferences, but if your kids like the big rides, Studios may be worth two days. It's personally my favorite park, and I think part of it is because it reminds me of California Adventure. It also has some of the best rides - Rock'n'Roller Coaster, Tower, Star Wars, & Toy Story Mania. Early magic hours at this park are wonderful - we got three rides on RnRC and one on Tower within the first hour without much of a wait. So in that regard, maybe you don't need two days.


  19. #18
    Registered User GrumpyPete's Avatar
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    I would never recommend the hopper option at WDW for any visit longer than 2 days, and maybe not even then. You lose too much time getting from park to park.

    With kids and a long stay I DO recommend a non-park day in the middle of the week to rest and relax. Or, at the very least, one day where you stay at your resort enjoying its' amenities, then go into a park in the late afternoon and enjoy it for a few hours.


  20. #19
    Registered User petesimac's Avatar
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    I don't have a lot of specific information or opinions, but I do have to suggest one thing: try to relax and enjoy! You asked early on if you were overthinking things. I think you are just a bit. I always like to start with MK even though it is usually a late day arrival for us. We hit Philharmagic, Small World and eat at Columbia Harbour House before using some of our fastpasses. Maybe the easiest thing to do is just upgrade to park hopper, and then it won't matter that MK doesn't have extra hours; you can just hop over to the park that does. But in the end, remember that a trip to WDW shouldn't be stressful. Relax, have fun, and realize that there are no bad choices. Roll with it. Have an adventure. Throw caution to the wind. Just my $.02. Have a ton of fun.

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  21. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyPete View Post
    I would never recommend the hopper option at WDW for any visit longer than 2 days, and maybe not even then. You lose too much time getting from park to park.
    That may work well for you. For me, I really need some time back in the hotel room in the afternoon for my old guy nap. And then it's nice to have the option of picking any park for the evening. So park hopping is a must for me.
    Dan
    The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
    - James Taylor


  22. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by danyoung View Post
    That may work well for you. For me, I really need some time back in the hotel room in the afternoon for my old guy nap. And then it's nice to have the option of picking any park for the evening. So park hopping is a must for me.
    Agreed.

    Also, it allows for flexibility if your plans need to "mutate" a bit during your vacation.

    Example: If you have selected all your FP+ for your trip, and you later realize for some reason some interfere or directly conflict with some night time entertainment, you are not restricted to the offering for the particular park you are in. You can't realistically expect to re-plan some of the top attractions too close to your trip (or at the least, your options will be very limited). Assuming you have not scheduled all of your FP+ in other parks on other days to line up right on top of night time shows, you can come back to (lets say) EPC after spending most of the day in MK. Apply to any other combination that may come up. I did my clean up day on Friday hitting DHS (where my initial 3 FP+ were), EPC for some lunch and shopping (where I picked up another quick FP+ for after my lunch), and finally MK essentially just to see the 1st showing of Happily Ever After (though I believe I got a final FP+ there after the fireworks as well).
    -Dave

  23. #22
    Registered User ericles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by petesimac View Post
    I don't have a lot of specific information or opinions, but I do have to suggest one thing: try to relax and enjoy! You asked early on if you were overthinking things. I think you are just a bit. I always like to start with MK even though it is usually a late day arrival for us. We hit Philharmagic, Small World and eat at Columbia Harbour House before using some of our fastpasses. Maybe the easiest thing to do is just upgrade to park hopper, and then it won't matter that MK doesn't have extra hours; you can just hop over to the park that does. But in the end, remember that a trip to WDW shouldn't be stressful. Relax, have fun, and realize that there are no bad choices. Roll with it. Have an adventure. Throw caution to the wind. Just my $.02. Have a ton of fun.
    Quote Originally Posted by danyoung View Post
    That may work well for you. For me, I really need some time back in the hotel room in the afternoon for my old guy nap. And then it's nice to have the option of picking any park for the evening. So park hopping is a must for me.
    These two guys hit the nail on the head...now for my 2 cents, we've always gotten hoppers and always used them. I can't imagine having gone on the trips with our kids without them, they add such a huge degree of flexibility, we found it to be really great and well worth the cost. Now we go without the kids and we still get them. BUT - we are the get-up-and-see-what -park-we-are-in-the-mood-for types and we like to travel at off (or as off as we can manage these days) times of year so that flexibility comes in handy. Often we start off in one park and end up in another - but that's just us.

    Whichever you go with have a wonderful time - your kids are going to have a BLAST!
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  24. #23
    Out of this world for Disney DwarfPlanet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave1313 View Post
    Other thing to seriously consider is the crowds and the impact of the extra magic hours. The extra magic hours park is generally more crowded than the others on any given day. Some people (probably more frequent visitors though) intentionally avoid the EMH park.
    We avoid morning extra magic hours in parks, but will go back to the room have a rest and then attend a park having late extra magic hours, but if you have younger kids this may not work.
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  25. #24

    Thanks for the park hopper input! There was a bit of going back and forth on that.
    I've personally never had issues with EMH the few times I've been to WDW. I'm going on a medium-low week so I'm hoping that helps out.
    Back to the park hopping - we thought about it and will sort of be doing that on the days we visit the water parks in the AM and another park in the PM. I just can't imagine the three kids wanting to leave a park. Not this time at least since it is their first visit. They have a tendency to be very narrow in their focus. Getting them out of the water parks after 6 hours is probably going to be difficult as well! I did think if it was miserable one day we could return midday to the hotel for pool time. We will play that part by ear.


  26. #25

    We always go to the Magic Kingdom first. We thought everybody did?


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