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Planning Help!


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  • [Question] Planning Help!

    Hey guys! I'm new here. I recently found out that my boyfriend and his family have graciously offered to take me to Orlando, Florida this May..and of course I accepted! I'm 20 years old and have never been to either Disney World or Universal Studios so I really want to experience everything. The only thing is, we are only going to be there for 5 days. Which Disney parks do you think would be best to do a half day of? Keep in mind that we also want to set apart time to go to Universal. We were thinking of doing half a day in Universal, one day and a half in Islands of Adventure (part of Universal), half a day in Animal Kingdom, half a day in MGM, one day in Magic Kingdom, and one day in Epcot. Do you think this is a good plan?

  • #2
    Re: Planning Help!

    Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios are both half day parks. If you spent a half a day at both of those parks, and a day at Magic Kingdom and Epcot, that will still leave you two days for Universal.

    Keep in mind too, even when a park closes, if you stay on property, there will (usually) always be another park open due to Extra Magic Hours.


    • #3
      Re: Planning Help!

      Kinda sounds good to me. It'll be my first trip to WDW in May as well. Try checking out tour guide mike to help plan. I'm using him and his layout really helps.


      • #4
        Re: Planning Help!

        Sounds like a good plan to me!

        In my view, Animal Kingdom is a morning park - the safari is best and the animals are most active in the morning, and lines for Expedition Everest are the shortest after the park opens. If you prioritize, get there early and skip some of the "lesser" rides like the carnival rides in Dino-Land, then you can probably expect to see most of the park by early afternoon (hopefully, that leaves you time for the worthwhile attractions like Everest, the Safari, the walking trails, Dinosaur, and the Lion King or Nemo shows).

        Then take a bus over to Hollywood Studios, and take in that park til park closing. DHS also has several attractions that may not be worth your time (Backlot Tour), but if you prioritize, you can probably do the best attractions with the remainder of your day (Tower of Terror, Rock'n'Roller Coaster, Star Tours, Great Movie Ride, MuppetVision). Toy Story Midway Mania may not be an option if you choose to do this, since FastPasses tend to go early and lines can often be obnoxious (2+ hours), depending on what time of year you're planning on going. Also, if you're planning on seeing Fantasmic, make sure you make your Animal Kingdom/MGM day is on a day Fantasmic is playing, and keep in mind it often takes a few hours between getting in line for the show and when the show is over... so plan accordingly.

        Magic Kingdom and Epcot are absolutely worth full days.

        As for Universal... you say you want a day and a half in Islands? In that case, I would spend a full day in Islands first, and see how much you can do in that day. We spent a day in Islands for the first time this past summer and found we had plenty of time for everything, including a second ride on Harry Potter. If you spend a day in Islands first, you can go to the Studios on your second day, and if you feel like you'd like a full day there, you can stay, and if you'd like to go back to Islands instead, you can do that too. That allows for a bit more on-the-dime flexibility.

        So let's review:
        Day 1: Magic Kingdom
        Day 2: Epcot
        Day 3: Animal Kingdom - Hollywood Studios
        Day 4: Islands of Adventure
        Day 5: Universal Studios (- Islands of Adventure?)

        Your schedule is going to be suicide on your feet, but is probably the smartest way to see the best Orlando has to offer in your time frame.

        Hope this helps.


        • #5
          Re: Planning Help!

          Thank you all for your responses! I really appreciate you all taking time out to help me with planning. And thank you MarkTwain for your advice about when to go on certain rides! I'm definitely not as nervous about getting everything done now.

          I'm so excited for my trip! Hopefully it will be one of many.


          • #6
            Re: Planning Help!

            You'll need three days to be able to do Universal properly because just the Harry Potter section of Islands of Adventure will take an entire day.

            As for WDW I suggest figuring out exactly what attractions you want to hit. The difficult part is the time it takes to get from one park to the next, so while some parks can be done in a half day, it will take almost a quarter of a day to just shuttle between parks unless you drive. Of course, then you have to deal with parking in the afternoon, which pretty much puts you in the back of the parking lot.

            I'd do Universal during the day and then hit MK during extra magic hours when the electrical light parade is running. I'm not sure if it's still running this year, but it's awesome. Also, with parents rushing to put their kids to bed, you'll have better luck catching some of the attractions.

            Then, give yourself a solid day to hit Harry Potter. When Islands of Adventure closes, either eat in City Walk or head over to EPCOT for your evenings.

            Animal Kingdom is pretty cool, but it's really just a wild animal park with a few attractions thrown in. It's also closes early. I'd get to this park right when it opens and leave it after lunch. Then, run over to DHS and hit the new Star Tours. The Indiana Jones stunt show isn't all that great, so skip it. Instead, hit Lights, Motor, Action and another attraction or two. While I love the Muppets 3D, it's really in disrepair, so it's tough to recommend. If you don't mind wasting almost two hours in line, you can catch Toy Story Mania. Fun ride, but the wait time for this ride is crazy.

            After you finish up your afternoon, run over to EPCOT, jump on Test Track via the single rider line and then hit one of the countries for food.

            Then, spend the next day going back to MK during the day and hitting EPCOT one last time in the afternoon and evening. It tends to stay open the latest.

            Of course, the above assumes you're in fairly good shape and don't mind a few jogs in places like the parking lots. If you're not in shape, try to get yourself to the point that you can run a 5k five days in a row. If you can handle that, then you'll be good. Also, check out insoles like Super Feet since you'll be standing a lot.


            • #7
              Re: Planning Help!

              As a fellow 20-year-old who did pretty much the same trip in July, I can give you a few tips. We normally go to Disney World every Christmas, so we were used to very long lines and very, very crowded parks. Since we went July 4th weekend, though, we were expecting pretty comparable crowds. We ended up overestimating the time it would take at every park we went to.

              We decided to do Islands of Adventure on the first day, since we had never been there before and we really wanted to experience WWoHP. From our experience, I would recommend heading straight to Harry Potter and riding Forbidden Journey, no matter how long the wait time is. We waited about an hour and a half, but that was the longest wait of the day. After that, hit Dragon Challenge and Flight of the Hippogriff, then get out of the Harry Potter area before it gets very busy. We were able to do Forbidden Journey, 3 rides on Dragon Challenge, and Flight of the Hippogriff before noon, so factoring in that it will be significantly less busy in May, you should have no trouble finishing WWoHP before noon.

              As for the rest of Islands of Adventure, we were done with everything we wanted to do by about 7pm. We used our extra time to go back and ride a couple Harry Potter rides again, as the area gets less busy close to closing time. Therefore, if you're only planning on experiencing everything once, a day at Islands of Adventure should be good; if you want to ride your favourites a couple times, then go back for another half day. I can't speak about Universal because I have never been there, but I would definitely go to Islands of Adventure on your first day.

              For the rest of Disney, I agree with MarkTwain's strategy. Definitely do at least a full day at Magic Kingdom and Epcot, and go to Animal Kingdom in the morning of one of your last days. The only other thing I would recommend is that Magic Kingdom is not a park that you absolutely have to get to first thing in the morning if you're planning on spending the whole day. There aren't any attractions that will run out of FastPasses before, say, 11 in the morning. Epcot, though, is a different story. I might suggest that if you get to Epcot one day and the lines are too long, explore the World Showcase, then use your next morning to get to Epcot early, ride everything in Future World, and then hop on the monorail over to the Magic Kingdom. Have a great trip!


              • #8
                Re: Planning Help!

                Alternately, do EPCOT during the afternnon/evening on the days that you do Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. That lets you hit HS first thing and get Toy Story in. Test Track is down, so it isn't a factor. Fast Pass Soarin' and work everything else around that. Stroll around World showcase (which will include dinner time!) If you do 2 afternoon/evenings,you can have dinner in 2 different countries

                As for Universal, we usually do Islands first (Harry Potter at rope drop) and then work our way back via Jurassic Park and Ripsaw Falls, etc. Move over to Studios side after lunch.


                • #9
                  Re: Planning Help!

                  Had enough advice yet?


                  • #10
                    Re: Planning Help!

                    Sorry I haven't checked here in awhile to see the new suggestions. Thanks everyone else who responded!

                    Also, BizDoc, did you say Test Track will not be open? If that's true I'll be so sad! I was really looking forward to that one.