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Best way to split my time at the parks?


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  • [Question] Best way to split my time at the parks?

    Maybe a silly question, but I have never been to WDW and I have limited time there (3.5 days) to experience the parks. One day I will be with my friend and we are visiting EPCOT and HS. But then I have 2.5 days on my own to experience the rest of the parks. I should also note that I am a diehard DLR fan who stays in the part from opening to closing - and my friend who will be with me on the EPCOT/HS is not. So I am unsure if I will get to do everything I want at those two parks when we go together. I will probably want to go back to both again. I am planning to get a park-hopper so I can go wherever, whenever, but I have NO clue in the world how to split my time up. I was debating eliminating AK from my agenda so I am sure experience all that the other three parks have to offer...I am not sure if AK is worth spending the time at since I have so little time to experience everything?

    I post a thread before about going alone and got some great suggestions. But I am still struggling with all the planning! I am so used to knowing what I like to do in DLR that I don't even have to plan when I go! I guess my question is...knowing that I am a diehard DLR fan, how would you plan to split your time? I am all about the rides. And the food! Once I get my schedule set, I want to make some dining reservations.

    Oh, I will be there May 20-23. Not sure if that matters, but I'm throwing it out there. I also am staying at an off-site hotel, so I unfortunately will not have the opportunity to experience the Extra Magic Hours

  • #2
    Re: Best way to split my time at the parks?

    DHS is a 1/2 day park at best, so you will most likely be able to do that with your friend and not need to go back. Remember that Star Tours and Toy Story Mania are the same as Disneyland so you can skip those. For sure hit Tower of Terror, it's so much better than DCA's.

    I'm a little biased towards EPCOT as it's my favorite park EVER. I could spend a day just wandering through World Showcase. Soarin' is the most popular ride there, but again, same ride as DCA's, so you can skip this. Test Track will also be closed so really the only ride you'll need a FP for is Misison:Space. I'd suggest dining in World Showcase at least once. Also, on whatever day you are doing MK, it's easy to ride the Monorail to EPCOT. DAK is the only park that's really hard to get to.

    I wouldn't bypass DAK though. The Safari and Everest are GREAT!!! Even if you just spend 1/2 day in the park walking around and doing a few things it will be worth it. It's an absolutely beautiful park. ITTBAB is the same as DCA's so you can skip.

    As for MK, there are many "similar" attractions, but nothing is really a "Clone". Their Mansion is better than DL's, Pirates is not. Big Thunder is pretty much on-par (not sure if it will be open for your trip though as it's in rehab right now).

    Be sure to ride Snow White since it's leaving and is actually a really good dark ride (unlike Disneyland's). Philharmagic is my favorite 3D show. And of course, be sure to ride the Peoplemover, a few times.

    So I guess the remaining 2.5 days I'd say do .5 days at DAK (the shows are what take the longest, I'd see Nemo over any of the others) and then split your other 2 days between MK and EPCOT. It's not as easy to park hop as it is at DL/DCA, but it IS possible.

    Or you can just do another full day in EPCOT and a full day at MK.


    • #3
      Re: Best way to split my time at the parks?

      Do not skip Animal Kingdom. Sir Clinks is correct that the safari and Everest are must-sees. Dinosaur is a poor mans Indy clone, but it's usually not too busy so do it as well. AK is a park that is meant to be savoured, i.e. spend time exploring the side trails and soaking it all in. In your case, being on a tight schedule, you may not have that mindset in which case you should be able to see everything in a half day or so. Nemo is the best of the AK shows.

      You said you're all about the rides, but do you care about seeing shows as well? WDW is more show-heavy than Disneyland, and your interest in shows can impact your touring plans quite a bit. The Studios and Animal Kingdom can be done in a half day if you don't see all the shows. If you absolutely must see all the shows at DHS your day there will be longer. Indy and Lights Motors Action are the best ones. I think you'll see everything you need to on day one with your friend, especially if you skip TSMM and Star Tours as Sir Clinks suggested.

      Magic Kingdom has a few attractions that are inferior or clones and can be skipped (POTC, Peter Pan, BTMRR) if time is tight.

      Epcot tends be open the latest, so whatever you miss on day one you can probably do in the evenings on your remaining days.

      If I were you, my schedule might look something like this:

      Day 1: DHS and Epcot

      Day 2: Animal Kingdom and Epcot

      Day 3: Magic Kingdom and Epcot

      Day 4: Whatever you missed or want to do again.
      My Micechat cruise trip report, Part 1:


      • #4
        Re: Best way to split my time at the parks?

        Animal Kingdom you only need a half day. It is not ride heavy. Everest is a must and so is the safari. I would go just for those 2 rides. I also like the show Flights of Wonder, which is usually overlooked.

        I would spend an entire day at Magic Kingdom. Yes, there are similarities to DL, but there are also differences. Don't miss Haunted Mansion, the Peoplemover, and Philharmagic. Ride WDW jungle cruise which is different than DLs. Walk Swiss family treehouse. Have fun!

        You need a full day or two at Epcot. It is not ride heavy but my favorite park. There is so much to see and dinner at the World Showcase is a must. Pick a country and eat there. It is a completely different park than anything in CA.

        Have a great time!
        Fratsor Sister - Delta Mu Chi Alpha



        • #5
          Re: Best way to split my time at the parks?

          ^ LOVE Flights of Wonder. You are right, it's easy to forget that show for some reason despite how great it is.


          • #6
            Re: Best way to split my time at the parks?

            I've only been once, and I'm a huge DLR dude, but unexpectedly, I found myself spending most of my time at Epcot and DAK. I guess I'm more about atmosphere than rides though. DHS has a similar feel to DCA in my opinion, and while I wanted to experience a different Magic Kingdom, it was way more crowded than the other parks, so I just kind of gave up. For me, spending 5 days there, EPCOT and DAK provided a really unique and new Disney experience for me, where DHS and the Magic Kingdom had something a lil more familiar.


            • #7
              Re: Best way to split my time at the parks?

              Agree with everyone else - do NOT skip AK! If you're a huge DLR fan, you'll want to see things that are different than what you experience at DLR, and AK and EPCOT are your best bets at that. I think AK is vastly underrated - we always spend one full day there and wish we had more time - and a friend who went for the first time recently said it was her family's favorite park.

              For your friend's visit - if he/she isn't a hard core park commando - I'd recommend spending the morning at DHS - you can grab FPs for Toy Story Mania, do Rock n' Roller Coaster and ToT, catch the car show and Indy show, and then ride TSM with your FP.

              That may sound like a full day, but it will only take until noon or so if you can get to DHS at rope drop. After your busy morning there, head over to the World Showcase at EPCOT and grab snacks/drinks from the different countries. You can meander around - not commando style touring - and there are three movies and two dark rides - very hot afternoon friendly! That way you've covered some really good stuff, and your friend won't be in park touring overload

              The Unofficial Guide to DLR has a page in the front that compares the rides at DL to the rides at MK, and which ones are different/ tend to be favored at one park over the other. That may help you decide what to spend your time on. And, if you'd like me to scan and send to you, I'd be more than happy to do so.

              Good luck with your planning - that's half the fun to me (or at LEAST 25%)!
              “Walt Disney is a thing, an image that people have . . . I drink and I smoke and there are a lot of other things I do that don’t fit that image. But that image stands for something, and you don’t have to explain to people what it means.”Walt Disney

              Follow me on Twitter at WaltsMartini for Disney Happy Hour at any hour!


              • #8
                Re: Best way to split my time at the parks?

                Thanks so much for all the help, everyone! I have so much to consider! Getting excited as I leave for the trip in just 10 days!!


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